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Traveling exhibit traces medicine in Washington’s time

Jan. 9, 2014, 9:18 AM

A National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit, “George Washington and Medicine,” is on display in the History of Medicine Room at the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The exhibit is augmented by items from the historical collection at the library, such as lancets, bleeding bowls and medical texts from Washington’s time.

“During Washington’s life (1732-1799), medicine in America followed the practices of England,” the first of the six large posters that comprise the exhibit notes. “These practices were defined by speculative hypotheses, domestic remedies and the beginning of scientific investigation and formal education.”

Photos of portraits include several of Washington and family members, as well as views of his home, Mt. Vernon, and medical implements and devices of the time, including a medicine chest, such as was carried by physicians of that era. The library display includes an English physician’s medicine kit from the 19th Century, as well as a copy of the 1763 book, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” which contains recipes for home remedies.

The exhibit is open in the Special Collections area of the library Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and runs through Jan. 31.

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