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Unique digital resource for the study of the social and culture history of medicine in America

August 5, 2015

Publisher Adam Matthew launches ‘Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900’

(Marlborough, UK) In collaboration with the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Adam Matthew has today published Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900.

This new addition to Adam Matthew’s growing portfolio of digital primary source collections for social history exposes the wealth of printed and visual materials that were produced to educate consumers on health issues and to sell medicines used to treat common ailments of the era.

The history of marketing and advertising and the rise of ‘over the counter’ healthcare during the 19th century is apparent throughout this highly visual collection, which includes material relating to homeopathic remedies, botanical cures, beauty and dentistry.

Fashionable studies and treatments, such as Phrenology, Electrotherapy, Hydrotherapy, and ‘Thomsonian Medicine’ are well covered, as are self-help guides focusing on common topics of interest such as sexual health, childbirth, and childcare.

Primary source materials include:

  • Printed books and pamphlets
  • ‘Trade cards’, posters and broadside advertisements
  • Business papers from prominent nineteenth century manufacturers Ayers, Hoods  and Seabury & Johnson
  • Comical illustrations satirising the ‘quack’ doctor
  • Admission cards – tickets and other literature from medical lectures
  • Street and anatomy guides – factual pocket books

These full colour, fully text-searchable unique primary sources are supplemented by interactive tools and a range of secondary features to allow more in-depth research, including an image gallery, online exhibitions and topical academic essays.

Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900 is now available. Request a free trial or contact us for more information.


Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE, is an award winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to 20th century history, literature and culture.


Library Company of Philadelphia

The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library concentrating on American society and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Free and open to the public, the Library Company houses an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art. The mission of the Library Company is to preserve, interpret, make available, and augment the valuable materials within its care. We serve a diverse constituency throughout Philadelphia and the nation, offering comprehensive reader services, an internationally renowned fellowship program, online catalogs, and regular exhibitions and public programs.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the United States with a renowned art collection and database of over 227,000 online collections. It began as a legacy of the great Centennial Exhibition of 1876 and has since developed into a fantastic resource for art lovers around the world. Notable works housed at the museum include the George Grey Barnard Collection and 71 objects from designer Elsa Schiaparelli.


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