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Books, Journals, New Media
February 9, 2005

History, Self-Help

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(6):743-747. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.744

This intriguing collection is drawn from a Philadelphia exhibit and conference on “print culture and popular health.” The essays, edited by the distinguished historian Charles E. Rosenberg, address a wide variety of printed materials used by ordinary people in the United States and Britain to guide the domestic practice of medicine, manners, hygiene, and sexuality. Medical and etiquette manuals, scientific and anatomical guides, posters, broadsides, advertisements, and almanacs offering health advice were widely disseminated in Britain and America from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The popularity of these printed materials, writes Rosenberg, “expressed the fundamental desire of men and women to manage their bodies, to maintain and restore health, and to guarantee that health to their children” (p ix)—often without the guidance of a physician.

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