The Miner Library has recently acquired a previously unrecorded copy of William Buchan’s Domestic medicine. The Scottish physician William Buchan (1729-1805) published the first edition of his manual of medical and hygienic advice for lay audiences at Edinburgh in 1769. The Domestic medicine was phenomenally successful, appearing in at least a hundred editions published on both sides of the Atlantic through the third quarter of the 19th century. The book was also translated into several European languages. There are presently 91 editions of Buchan’s Domestic medicine in the Miner Library’s Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine.
Our most recently acquired edition of Buchan is the “New edition” published at London by Thomas Kelly in 1824. It includes the full text of Buchan’s original manual, as well as excerpts from his Advice to mothers, the full text of Luigi Cornaro’s (1475-1566) often republished 16th-century manual on diet and hygiene, and supplemental texts on sea-bathing, vaccination, electro-therapeutics, etc. added by later editors and publishers.
The above image illustrates Chapter LX, “Of medical electricity,” one of the sections added posthumously to this edition.