Medicine Without Doctors: Home Health Care in American History
Edited with Ronald L. Numbers, and Judith W. Leavitt. New York: Science History Publications, 1977.
The tradition of self-help in medicine has existed since time immemorial. Until healing roles were clearly defined and professionalization was on its way, much of what constituted healing was fundamentally domestic in nature. In fact, it could be argued that healing was originally a familial or communal activity before being ritualized and invested in special persons. The essays that follow, originally delivered in April 1975 at a symposium organized by the Department of the History of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, develop a number of themes. The decision to focus on the American scene—especially the last 150 years—is, of course arbitrary. The choice was primarily prompted by the availability of sources and the existence of a nucleus of prominent social historians interested in the topic. Medical self-help continues to be an essential practice and resource, and its history should be subjected to critical examination.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Guenter B. Risse
From Buchan to Fishbein: The Literature of Domestic Medicine
John B. Blake
Why Self-Help? Americans Alone With their Diseases, 1800-1850
James H. Cassedy
Do-It-Yourself the Sectarian Way
Ronald L. Numbers
Nineteenth-Century Health Reforms and Women: A Program of Self-Help
Regina Markell Morantz
Patent Medicines and the Self-Help Syndrome
James Harvey Young