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Pic(s) of the Week: Child Leaves His Mark

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Title page of A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson (1827) and portrait.

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.

Child's drawing of a horse and house in A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson (1827).

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.

Child's drawing inside A Narrative of the Life and Medical Discoveries of Samuel Thomson (1827).

 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?

Comments (3)

  1. Ms J.Harbster

    You are digging very interesting subject

    I could not find Charles J.Fox’s name in the wikipedia…!
    May be Charles was interested to have a large library and he was a good reader.
    From my experience…I can tell… when i use to read my medical books my children where interested to take my books and draw pictures in…as they were young and unable to read…
    The drawing in this book seems to be for a child who is between 8-11 years old…could be drawn by his children or grandchildren…!

  2. Just have to love children – at least the heart of children never change as the rest of the world does.

  3. This is so cool! I love finding doodles in old books. It would definitely be fun to try to trace the history of the doodler. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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