Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Almanacs and Health Advice in Early America

Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Almanacs and Health Advice in Early America

by Thomas A. Horrocks
     
 

ISBN-10: 1558496572

ISBN-13: 9781558496576

Pub. Date: 07/16/2008

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

In this innovative study of the relationship between popular print and popular attitudes toward the body, health, and disease in antebellum America, Thomas A. Horrocks focuses our attention on a publication long neglected by scholars -- the almanac. Approaching his subject as both a historian of the book and a historian of medicine, Horrocks contends that the

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Overview

In this innovative study of the relationship between popular print and popular attitudes toward the body, health, and disease in antebellum America, Thomas A. Horrocks focuses our attention on a publication long neglected by scholars -- the almanac. Approaching his subject as both a historian of the book and a historian of medicine, Horrocks contends that the almanac, the most popular secular publication in America from the late eighteenth century to the first quarter of the nineteenth, both shaped and was shaped by early Americans' beliefs and practices pertaining to health and medicine. Analyzing the astrological, therapeutic, and regimen advice offered in American almanacs over two centuries, and comparing it with similar advice offered in other genres of popular print of the period, Horrocks effectively demonstrates that the almanac was a leading source of health information in America prior to the Civil War. He contends that the almanac was an integral component of a complicated, fragmented, semi-vernacular health literature of the period, and that the genre played a leading role in disseminating astrological health advice as well as shaping contemporary and future perceptions of astrology. In terms of therapeutic and regimen advice, Horrocks asserts that the almanac performed a complementary role, confirming and reinforcing traditional beliefs and practices. By analyzing the almanac as a cultural artifact that represents a time, a place, and a certain set of assumptions and beliefs, he demonstrates that the genre can provide a lens through which scholars may examine early American attitudes and practices concerning their health in particular and American popular culture in general.

University of Massachusetts Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558496576
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
07/16/2008
Series:
Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction Almanacs and the Literature of Popular Health in Early America 1

1 Heavenly Guidance 17

2 Advice for the Afflicted 42

3 Prescribing Prevention 67

4 Health Advice with an Agenda 90

Epilogue 107

Appendix 113

Notes 161

Bibliography 187

Index 213

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