Commonplace book of Moses Appleton, 1791-1815 (inclusive)

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Content Notes

Volume containing medicinal recipes, medical notes, poetry, and obituaries written by Dr. Moses Appleton (1773-1849), dated 1791-1815. Many of the recipes were copied from medical texts or other publications. His "cure for the dropsy," taken from the New York Herald, contained stale cider, parsley, horseradish, oxymel squills (sea onion in honey), and juniper berries. For diarrhea, he prescribed a blackberry syrup. Several entries indicate Appleton practiced Thomsonian medicine, an alternative system based on use of botanicals. The medical notes include an account of his treatment of a man with smallpox in 1815, and entries on patients he inoculated with cowpox matter. Another entry dated in 1796 provides instructions from the Massachusetts Humane Society for "treatment to be used with persons apparently dead from drowning," which included blowing tobacco smoke in the victim's lungs and applying warm blankets for several hours. Appleton adds a note questioning whether or not the lungs also should be "often artificially inflated." There is additionally a history of prominent physicians dating from ancient Greece.

Biographical Notes

Moses Appleton (1773-1849), A.B., Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, was a physician and apothecary shop owner in Waterville, Maine. He attended medical lectures at Harvard, and was licensed to practice medicine in 1796 by the Massachusetts Medical Society. He relocated the same year to Waterville, where he was the town's first full time physician and apothecary.