Pharmacopoeias and Related Literature in Britain and America, 1618–1847: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Pharmacopoeias and Related Literature in Britain and America, 1618–1847

1st Edition


308 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788423
pub: 2001-05-24

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Collected in this volume are the author’s historical and bibliographical studies of what may be described as the British and American literature of pharmacotherapeutics. The practitioner of medicine in the period covered was intimately concerned with the selection, compounding, dispensing and operation of the materia medica. Medical theories, etiology and nosology were left to the academics, although the academics often played a dominant role in what went into the pharmacopoeia. The very first business of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh recorded in 1682 concerned the issuance of a pharmacopoeia. Indeed, with a few exceptions the pharmacopoeia was the province, not of the pharmacist, but of the physician, well into the 19th century. The Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia, particularly, was revised almost decennially from 1699 to 1841 and provides a detailed history of the changes taking place in pharmacotherapy and the impact of developments in science upon it. Major portions of the volume are devoted to the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia and the Edinburgh Dispensatories, but the spread abroad of the whole gamut of British literature in the genre - to the continent, to India, to Madagascar and to the United States - is covered in detail. The studies of the American literature describe the imports to the colonies, the reprinting of European originals, and the American publications prior to the appearance of the first United States Pharmacopoeia in 1820. Included also is the literature of the German population of the colonies and early united States in which the professional encountered the folk medicine of the pow-pow doctor. The studies include checklists of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia, the Edinburgh Dispensatories, the foreign publication of the British literature in the genre, and the American publications in German of the relevant literature.


'… a wealth of detail…' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada '… detailed and interesting… it is striking how many of the questions raised by these articles remain unresolved. Moreover, in the issues of readership, reception, and interpretation that they implicitly present, these articles offer a further substantial challenge which historians of medicine need to face.' Social History of Medicine '… Cowen has done excellent work… an invaluable resource for the history of pharmacy.' Metascience '… an informative collection… a thirty-page bibliography, twelve title-page reproductions and seven distribution maps. Additionally, there is a fourteen-page table that charts the publication of British pharmacopoeial literature (1677-1871) in the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Portugal, North America, Spain, Austria, India and Madagascar. These lists and illustrations alone make he book an excellent reference work…' British Journal for the History of Science '… David Cowen has done much to enrich and […] legitimize the history of pharmacy…' Pharmacy in History '… for the historiography of an often neglected field, the vast and painstaking account of sources that form a major component of this book is invaluable.' Medical History

Table of Contents

Contents: The Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia; The Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia; Expunctum est Mithridatium; The Edinburgh Dispensatories; The influence of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia and the Edinburgh Dispensatories; A note on pharmaceutical literature and the introduction of the new chemical nomenclature; The spread and influence of British pharmacopoeial and related literature; America's pre-pharmacopoeial literature; The Boston editions of Nicholas Culpeper; 'Zum Dienst des gemeinen Mannes, insonderheit für die Landleute'. The domestic and veterinary medicine books printed in colonial North America and the United States in the German language; Diegendesch's Nachrichters Rossartzneybüchlein; The folk medicine of the Pennsylvania Dutch; The New York Hospital and its pharmacopoeia; Agenda; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General