Receipts to cure various disorders for my worthy friend Mr. Winthrop, by Edward Stafford, 1643 May 6

To cite this material, use the information provided in the "Cite" tab in the top menu of the viewer with the digitized image. Please also add Colonial North America at Harvard Library to each citation.
Launch viewer
To cite this material, use the information provided in the "Cite" tab in the top menu of the viewer with the digitized image. Please also add Colonial North America at Harvard Library to each citation.

Content Notes

Manuscript containing recipes for medical disorders compiled by London physician Edward W. Stafford (born 1617) for Massachusetts Bay Province Governor John Winthrop (1588-1649), dated 6 May 1643. Stafford's prescribed treatments include Hypericon (St. John's Wort) for madness; a mixture of toad oil and powder with yellow wax for "King's evill" (scrofula); and a drink of sweet milk, saffron, and bay-salt for jaundice. He also offers some "Cautions in Phisick," including instructions to limit bleeding to cases of pleurisy or contusion, and steps to take when a fever occurs, such as fasting and refraining from drinking fluids. Stafford further adds a list of "the best purgers," which include agaric for flem and extract of scammonie, or black hellebore, for melancholy. The manuscript is bound with an 1862 published transcription and 19th century correspondence. The volume, donated in 1879 to the Boston Medical Library by Massachusetts Historical Society President Robert C. Winthrop, includes notes by Oliver Wendell Holmes on Stafford's recipes.

Biographical Notes

Edward Stafford (born 1617) was a physician in London, England. It is unclear how he was acquainted with John Winthrop (1588-1649), who emigrated to American in 1630. Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. He died of a fever in 1649.