DR. MATHIS P. GREENSWORD 1857 - 1860s ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT MEDICAL CASE BOOK OF A PROGRESSIVE PHYSICIAN, PATHOLOGIST AND WOULD BE AUTHOR
New York State 1857 Decorative Cloth Good+ English
On offer is the original handwritten manuscript doctor's case book/journal of a pre Civil War era New York State doctor describing in meticulous detail cases from his practice, from 1857 through the early 1860s. This is not a standard doctor's agenda - this book was superbly detailed as a book highlighting our esteemed author's practice relating to specific illnesses and no doubt for future publishing. Doctor M[athis] P. Greensword practiced Medicine in various parts of the state, from Canandaigua and Hopewell in Ontario County to New York City to Rochester for approximately 40 years. He ultimately settled in Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County and was active there through at least 1896. He was a member of professional organizations and published articles in medical journals. Later in his life, he published a novel and a book of poetry. Although there is no indication that any of this material was ever published, Dr. Greensword apparently thought of himself as a writer as well as a physician. An ad soliciting submissions for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper is pasted to the inside cover. There are a few much later notations in the same handwriting, one referring to later volumes of his cases, although only this one volume appears to be extant. This journal of his cases was apparently for his own reference, but with a great deal of attention to presentation having an embellished title page, as well as a title at the head of the text: "Medical Facts by M.P. Greensword M.D., or A Record of Cases Occuring in his Practice Commencing with the Year 1857 Volume I" and lovely calligraphic script on every page. The descriptions of the cases for the most part provide a detailed narrative of the progress of the treatment, noting improvements, setbacks, cures and in some cases, deaths. The symptoms are often described in detail, in some cases quoted from letters received from the patient. It isn't clear if he was primary physician in every case, or was referred. In one case, he was apparently called in to review another doctor's work. He recounts the results of a post mortem confirming his diagnosis, then notes "Dr. Witter owned up in a manly way that he was mistaken". At the end of the volume, he has compiled an index of the illnesses treated with page number references, and a list of the names of patients, also with page numbers. The latter index could potentially provide limited details about the lives of some specific people. The journal is oddly organized, with no clear chronological sequence to the listings. There are pencil check marks in the text, perhaps added when the index was compiled. There are some symbols scattered in the text, although it is not certain whether these are a standard medical shorthand or a code specific to this writer. The treatments prescribed are sometimes cryptic, although in one margin the Doctor provided a detailed recipe for a "Cure for Cancer". In a few cases, Greensword provides details only tangentially related to the treatment, relating that one patient was French, or that a woman contracted Syphilis from her husband, who then abandoned her. In one case, he apparently alludes to homosexuality when he notes that a man with Gonnorhea "said he Contracted by Sleeping with a Man affected by it..." In another case he provides dramatic details of a patient found dead: "She is Dead...We put her in a Large bathing tub in warm water for two hours but no signs life...This Woman caused her own death in trying to produce Abortion on herself by means [of] an Instrument furnished her by a Doctor's Wife-She passed Instrument too high in [the] Uterus- She was just Going up to [the] Fair Ground to see [the] Soldiers -a Horse & Buggy were ready for her & her Husband Waiting. She ran up stairs for a little While- She was there but a few moments when a Lady who lived on a lower floor heard a fall & a Groan. She ran up stairs & found...Dead & found the Instrument she had just used about her clothes." Many of the cases relate to obstetrics and gynecology, others to fevers, respiratory diseases and accidents. The doctor recounts several operations, as well as corrective apparatus used to help with curvature of the spine. In one case he discovers that an infant has been poisoned "by accident or design" with a corrosive substance. A post mortem reveals copper sulphate poisoning. The doctor clearly thought himself at the forefront of current medical practice, but a good portion of his diagnoses and treatments seem primitive by modern standards. Some case notes end with the phrase "entirely well", even when this result seems doubtful. In other cases his comments reveal a Victorian attitude toward sex, as he notes several times that he suspects that a patient "practices masturbation". In any case, his patients must have been grateful to receive assistance, and a large number of case histories seem to end with a favorable result. Selected family names of patients included in the index: Abrahams, Adams, Austin, Bateman, Barras, Bearnes, Bolger, Brower, Butler, Coffee, Corgan, Cornmaier, Cutler, Decker, Deming, Dinsmore, Doolittle, Eckert, Francisco, Gillett, Gilmartin, Goldstone, Greensword, Hawley, Hall, Higinbotham, Hill, Hillman, Horgan, Isenhour, Kellogg, Kimber, King, Kirk, Knowles, Leland, Magee, Mahony, Mc Anally, McCormick, McCarthy, Mckinstry, Mulholland, Newman, O'Neill, Pickel, Richter, Robbins, Sands, Scheuch, Schoonmaker, Sutherland, Thatcher, Tillotson, Twist, Van Gorder, Van Tyne, Wagner, Warfield, Wheeler, Wheelock, Wilt, Woodlin, Young. Selected illnesses included in the index: Anaemia, Amenorrhoea, Asthma, Bronchitis, Barber's itch, Burns, Cancer, Cholera, Coup de Soleil, Chicken Pox, Catalyptic fits, Diptheria, Dysentery, Dropsy, Deafness, Diabetes, Eye Disease, Typhoid fever, False conception, Gastritis, Hydrocephalus, Hysteria, Influenza, Labor, leneorrhoea, Miscarriage, Masturbation, Mania, Neuralgia, Ovaritis, Operations, Pleurisy, Poisoning, Scrofula, Seminal Weakness, Spine Curvature, Sciatica, Scarlet Fever, Tape Worm. Condition: The front cover and first few pages are detached from the book, but present, and the journal is complete. There is some handling wear, shelf wear, age toning and scattered soiling, but the text is in good condition, written in a clear legible hand.