Jonathan Murduck notes on Materia Medica lectures delivered by Benjamin Smith Barton at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
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Overview and metadata sections
Jonathan Murduck (born circa 1782) was a student at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1802, but did not receive his degree until 1811. Between 1803 and 1805, Murduck practiced medicine in Port-au-Prince. Murduck's financial records, patient records, and memoranda from these voyages are held in the Manuscripts Division of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.
Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815) was a leading botanist and naturalist of his day, and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1813.
Sources: Jonathan Murduck Account Book and Memoranda, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/clementsmss/umich-wcl-M-1890mur?byte=14434455;focusrgn=frontmatter;subview=standard;view=reslist
This volume of handwritten lecture notes, titled "A Course of Lectures on the Materia Medica by Benjamin Smith Barton M.D., Professor […] in the University of Pennsylvania," was kept by Jonathan Murduck in 1802, and provides a fairly comprehensive survey of the medicinal substances commonly in use in the early nineteenth century United States. The detailed table of contents at the beginning of the notebook lists a number of broad categories into which various medicines are sorted. The primary classes of drugs and medicinal substances noted are astringents, tonics, "Alimentary Matter," stimulants, evacuants (including errhines and sialogogues, drugs that produce a runny nose and salivation, respectively), diuretics, emetics, cathartics, and antithelmintics (anti-parasitic medicines). There is also an opening chapter on milk, which mainly discusses lactation in humans and the properties of milk, and a short final section titled "Materia Nutrentia," which relates to diet, nutrition and the component elements of food (acid, sugar, oil, etc.). The main chapters or sections of the text consist of a passage discussing the general characteristics, properties and applications of this type of medicine, followed by a list of "particular" drugs within the category. The great majority of "particulars" are medicinal plants, though some sections are subdivided into "metallic," "mineral" or "animal" substances (and in some instances, medicinal plants are arranged based on their indigeneity to the United States).
The medicinal substances are usually listed by their Latin names, and discussed in a few paragraphs. For botanical medicines, these descriptions provide the plant's common and Latin names, native region, pharmaceutical preparation, effects upon the body, therapeutic applications, and sometimes one or two brief case studies indicating its efficacy or inefficacy in treating particular conditions. The three drugs described at greatest length are opium, "Cortex Peruvianus" (Peruvian bark or cinchona) and mercury; the discussion of each of these medicines is organized by the specific diseases they can be used to combat.
Gift of Benjamin S. Paschell, 1903.
Formerly: Dewey MS 615.1 B283.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Rive Cadwallader
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 October 9
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
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