I recently made a box for an old book titled The Medical and Agricultural Register, For the Years 1806 and 1807. I like the comment on the title page “designed for the use of families.” This book was very interesting, not only in its content, but also in what has happened to the book physically over time.
I see that the price of 35 cents had been handwritten in ink inside both the front and back covers.
Inside there was some moisture damage, foxing, and staining from the oily printing ink, yet the paper quality is in great shape and has a nice “feel” to it.
This book is still in relatively good condition considering it is over 200 years old, and I can handle it without it crumbling in my hands. This is where I get a little misty-eyed thinking of how cool this book really is. Books were made better back then with good materials and strong paper, not like the cheap books that are constructed today, which are pricey and will fall apart easily after a little use and abuse.
What I find most interesting about this book is the information and topics it contains. “To prevent the fatal Effects of drinking cold Water, or cold Liquors of any kind in warm Weather,” “Case of Lock-Jaw Successfully treated with Brandy and Opium,” and “To prevent the fatal Effects of Lightning.” Under the lightning section, it reads:
“When a person is struck by lightning, strip the body and throw buckets full of cold water over it for ten or fifteen minutes; let continued frictions and inflations of the lungs be also practiced: let gentle shocks of electricity be made to pass through the chest, when a skillful person can be procured to apply it; and apply blisters to the breast.”
The books also contains planting and meteorological tables, cider and pickling recipes, more interesting medical treatments and advice, and the “Bill of Mortality for 1806, in 20 Towns.” Just a wealth of information in 1806 and 1807 for a very interesting time, but it makes me happy to be alive in 2015.