While searching the surname "Sedgwick" at World Vital Records and Google Books the other day, I found reference to a couple of interesting books not about Sedgwicks, but rather by Sedgwicks.
My fourth great-grandfather, Elijah Sedgwick, was the father of Tryphena Sedgwick, who married Micajah Petit Pettis. Tryphena's brother, Elijah Jr., was the author of one of these books, which is listed in Volume II (M-Z) of A Catalogue of the Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform by Christopher Hoolihan (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press 2001-2008) on p. 317:
3134. SEDGWICK, Elijah.At the time of publication, the author would have been about thirty years old.
The plain physician, giving directions for the preservation of health, and the cure of disease . . . Rochester [N.Y.]: Printed by E.F. Marshall, 1827...
After a brief introduction on the preservation of health, the author provides equally brief directions for the treatment of fifty disorders common to the human frame. Elijah Sedgwick, junior, was an 1826 graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District (Fairfield, N.Y.). On 15 June 1826, a copy of his diploma was filed with the Ontario County (New York) clerk...
The Plain Physician is a rare book just 48 pages long. I don't believe it's been digitized. A search at WorldCat lists only four copies, three of them in Rochester and one in Bethesda, Md.
Also part of the Atwater Collection and listed immediately following Elijah's book is one by his brother, Dr. Parker Sedgwick, and Parker's son, Dr. Sherman Parker Sedgwick:
3135. SEDGWICK, Parker.In this case, you can have the benefit of the Sedgwick medical expertise at Google Books, where you will find the full text of The House We Live In online. It's worth a scroll, or you can download the 11.6MB PDF for later browsing. There are some interesting case stories, and instructions for making up lots of eye-popping old-time remedies, like this one:
The house we live in: how to keep it in order; or, the experience of seventy years' successful practice of the medical profession, east and west, in plain English for the people. By Drs. Parker Sedgwick and S.P. Sedgwick . . . Fifth edition, revised and enlarged. Chicago: J.N. Clarke, publisher, 1869...
The first edition of The house we live in also appears to have been published at Chicago in 1869 (c1868). In the introductory chapter the Sedgwicks describe their domestic medicine as "a perfect family physician," proclaiming that "excepting the Bible, [it is] of more value to any family than any other book published" (p. 20). In its pages the doctors Sedgwick inform their readers "how to distinguish one disease from another" and "how to cure all curable diseases, in so plain a manner that you will have perfect confidence in your ability to manage all ordinary diseases yourself" (p. 19).
Parker Sedgwick appears to have begun his career in Oneida County, N.Y. in the mid-1820s. Some time thereafter he moved to Illinois, where father and son lived and practiced in Wheaton, twenty-five miles west of Chicago. The younger Sedgwick is still listed in Wheaton in the first edition of Polk's Medical and surgical directory of the United States (1886), although no data are provided regarding his medical training. In an obituary of Louise Sedgwick (1864?-1891), a graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Chicago, published in the Chicago medical recorder (1891, 1:485), it is stated that her father, S.P. Sedgwick, of Wheaton, died in July 1890.
Kids, don't try this at home!Dover's Powder, Or Fever Powder.Opium, finely pulverized, one drachm; ipecac, one drachm; nitrate potash (saltpetre pure), four drachms; pulverize and mix. This forms the regular " Dover's powder." But to make the Dover's powder, or fever powder, described in this work, take four drachms of gum camphor, pour upon it sufficient ether to completely saturate it, holding it in your hand; pulverize this finely and mix thoroughly with the three first articles. It should be kept in a close bottle.
For more on the Sedgwick family, visit Sedgwick Genealogy Worldwide. It's a spectacular surname website. I'm grateful for all the amazing materials made available to me there, including the original photo of Dr. Parker Sedgwick from which I made the image used in today's post.