Unique Digital Resource for The Study of The Social and Cultural History of Medicine in America

05 August 2015

In collaboration with the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Adam Matthew has today published Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900.

This new addition to Adam Matthew’s growing portfolio of digital primary source collections for social history exposes the wealth of printed and visual materials that were produced to educate consumers on health issues and to sell medicines used to treat common ailments of the era.

The history of marketing and advertising and the rise of ‘over the counter’ healthcare during the nineteenth century is apparent throughout this highly visual collection, which includes material relating to homeopathic remedies, botanical cures, beauty and dentistry.

Fashionable studies and treatments, such as Phrenology, Electrotherapy, Hydrotherapy, and ‘Thomsonian Medicine’ are well covered, as are self-help guides focusing on common topics of interest such as sexual health, childbirth, and childcare.

Primary source materials include:


  • Printed books and pamphlets
  • ‘Trade cards’, posters and broadside advertisements
  • Business papers from prominent nineteenth century manufacturers Ayers, Hoods and Seabury & Johnson
  • Comical illustrations satirising the ‘quack’ doctor
  • Admission cards – tickets and other literature from medical lectures
  • Street and anatomy guides – factual pocket books

These full colour, fully text-searchable unique primary sources are supplemented by interactive tools and a range of secondary features to allow more in-depth research, including an image gallery, online exhibitions and topical academic essays.

Popular Medicine in America, 1800-1900 is now available. Join us for a free 30 minute webinar on August 19 that will take a look at the collection in more detail - register here. Alternatively, request a free trial or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.