1/18 Meeting with Dr. Crowther

Update on what I’ve been doing:

  • Read Taking the Waters in TexasThe Great American Water-Cure Craze, “The Patient’s Narrative and Hospital Medicine,” Wash and Be Healed, “Chemistry, microscopy, and smell: bloodstains and nineteenth-century legal medicine,” and Frontier Medicine.
  • Formulating argument (see thesis statement)
  • Finding primary source material to support argument
    • Article in St. Louis newspaper about meeting to discuss experiences at ES
    • St. Louis Globe-Democrat. 1881. “Local Personals.,” May 16. – “Mr. S. J. Fisher, of the real estate firm of Fisher & Co., leaves the city to-day for ES for a week’s recreation. He leaves by the advice of his physician, Dr. F. A. V. Brokaw, who says he needs rest.”

    • Daily Arkansas Gazette. 1882. “Arkansas Resorts. A St. Louis Chemist in the City Yesterday – Object of His Visit.,” October 27. Chemist — Dr. Juan H. Wright — was testing water in a few different places. Sounds like people could send him water samples and he’d perform various tests on the water, occasionally even offering potential medicinal benefits (for specific diseases).

    • St. Louis Globe-Democrat. 1882. “Scientists on Springs. The Academy Discusses Medicinal Waters – Engelman, Potter and Nipher Give Their Experiences.,” January 17. Meeting of scientists from WASHU that discuss mineral waters in CO, NM, AR, and MO. Claim MO was in the midst of a “spring fever,” that ES waters had 1/5 the mineral contents of MO springs, that “the springs of AR and MO” should be considered “humbugs,” that the professors get a lot of requests (1/week) to analyze spring waters but discouraged people by charging a “high tariff,” and finally talks about the way that “proprietors of the springs would take the unprofessional visitor around and tell him here as iron and what it was good for, here sulphur, etc. etc.”

What I need to do:

  • Orient myself with late 19th century chemistry
    • Hamlin, A Science of Impurity (checked out, in my backpack, will read Friday)
    • Weisz, “Spas, Mineral Waters, and Hydrological Science in Twentieth-Century France” (in progress)
  • Orient myself with late 19th century climatology
    • Ward, Simon Baruch: rebel in the ranks of medicine (next week’s goal)
    • Need more!
  • Plan on writing the paper and preparing powerpoint the week of January 28th.

Proposed thesis of conference paper: The conversation surrounding the professionalization of medicine was heavily influenced by science, so much so that the sects of the early to mid-nineteenth century — many of them previously being very anti-establishment — centered their efforts at achieving legitimacy in the public and professional arena around a distinct association with scientist and scientists.


  • How can I confirm the existence of some of the experts — doctors, judges — who testified to the efficacy of the water or proposed mechanisms explaining it?
    • Polk’s Medical Register (1886, 1890)?

Notes from Meeting:

  • Intro, early days, chemistry, climatology, conclusion.
    • Twenty pages a chapter? + intro & conclusion = ~80 pages
  • Write first chapter of thesis for last two weeks in January, switch to conference paper and have it done the week of February 8th.
  • Matt Maupin, frontier medicine

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