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John Birkett pharmaceutical recipe book


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Birkett was a chemist and druggist in Morecambe, Lancashire, England. He owned a drugstore in Morecambe, served for twenty years on the board of health, and was associated with the school board. Birkett married Mary Ann Taylor in 1864 and the couple had four children. His eldest son, John took over business.

A ruled volume comprised of formulas written by English chemist and druggist John Birkett spanning the years from 1856 to 1860. The formulas in the volume were used for medicinal, hygienic, and household purposes. An alphabetical index precedes 187 numbered pages followed by several unnumbered leaves. The volume includes recipes for balms, cordials, creams, ethers, ointments, pills, plasters, powders, tinctures, and ungents providing remedies for various ailments and diseases. Some ailments include coughs, corns, digestion, gout, eye ailments, fevers, and rheumatism. Named formulas include Andersons Scott's pills, Gregory's powder, and Hooper's pills. There are some preparations for toiletries including cold creams, colognes, hair tonics, soaps, and tooth powders. There are household recipes for blacking, cements, inks, lacquers, pastes, polishes, stains, varnishes, and waxes. Formulas to control pests included bug poison, fly powder, and vermin destroyer. One section provides formulas for photographic developers, fixers, silver baths, and solutions. A few culinary recipes are included such as browning sauce, children's gum, curing beef, curry powder, ginger beer, meat pie, and walnut ketchup. There are a few formulas regarding the care of animals. One leaf with a typed recipe for beef spice is laid in the volume. On the inside front cover and marbled endpaper is written: Sugar White. Verso of endpaper: John Birkett, Morecambe, Sept. 6th, 1856. On the last leaf and recto of the last endpaper is a diagram with measurements and a short explanation to create what appears to be a hammered dulcimer.

Sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers (London, England), 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Donna Brandolisio
Finding Aid Date
August 2018
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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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John Birkett pharmaceutical recipe book, 1856-1860.
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