We recently hosted students from the Tai Sophia Institute, to whom we exhibited copies of the Library’s 19th– century books on holistic and eclectic medicine, also called Thomsonian medicine. My colleague found some unusal art work within a copy of Samuel Thomson’s A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson, which may amuse our readers.
Apparently, a child left his mark on this book with drawings of animals, people, and plant life. Without a doubt, these drawings were already part of the book when it was acquired.
According to the bookplate on the inside cover, this book once belonged to Charles J. Fox. Another interesting clue is a small stamp on the copyright page that reads “Exchange Harvard Memorial Library.” We do know, from the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) and markings in the margin of the book, that this book was cataloged in 1905.
The subject matter of the drawing gives us some clues to the time period. There is a drawing of a horse, not of the horseless carriage (aka automobile). The true automobile was developed in the 1880’s. Also, the portraits appear to be 19th- century vintage. I wish I had more time to trace Charles J. Fox, his library and how the book happened to be in his Library. Did he practice eclectic medicine? Maybe our readers can provide some clues? Or perhaps, I should submit this curiousity to PBS’ History Detectives for further investigation?