Medical books for sale, 1884-85

In a medical/surgical state of mind lately, thanks to recent orthopedic surgery, I browsed my bibliophemera collection and found a related catalog from a 19th-century bookseller to share. Further, the bookseller shares my name, albeit with a different middle initial.


Charles H. Whiting, Bookseller, of Boston (successor to Hall & Whiting, Booksellers & Stationers), offers in the 1884-85 season Catalogue No. 3: A Classified List of Medical, Surgical, Dental, Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Scientific Books. The space beneath the title was left blank for the bookseller's stamp, which led me to believe Whiting was an agent for a medical book publisher. If so, the publisher's name is nowhere to be found in this catalogue.


This compact little catalogue measures 3 by 5.5 inches (8 by 14 cm) and has 27 pages of book listings with prices. Following page 27 are several pages, including the back cover pictured above, of ads for books and student manuals.



Curious about how well-represented the field of orthopedic surgery was in this bookseller's stock in 1884, or if it was represented at all, I did find after a couple of passes through the Surgery and Surgical Cases section the book, Orthopaedic Surgery, by Sayre. Back then, you could have it for $5 cloth-bound or $6 in sheepskin.

Author Lewis A. Sayre (1820-1900) wasn't hard to find, as he's considered a founding father of orthopedic surgery in the United States and the first professor of orthopedic surgery in the US as well. The link above provides a fascinating look into one branch of surgical history. And a comparable catalogue from Charles H. Whiting today would likely go many more pages than its 1884-85 counterpart and include a better selection on orthopedic surgery.

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