FIRST SEPARATE EDITION OF REUBEN MUSSEY’S PRIZE ESSAYS ON ARDENT SPIRITS, AND ITS SUBSTITUTES, 1837
MUSSEY, Reuben D. Prize Essay on Ardent Spirits and Its Substitutes as a Means of Invigorating Health. Washington: Duff Green, 1837. Tall 12mo, stitched as issued, original printed blue paper wrappers; pp.65. $300.
First separate edition of this pro-temperance pamphlet, examining medical conditions and urging treatment with substances other than alcohol, in scarce original wrappers.
Written by Reuben Mussey, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Dartmouth College and President of the New Hampshire Medical Society, this work discusses the use of alcoholic beverages as medicine. "Bothered by indigestion and headaches early in his career, Mussey turned to a vegetarian diet and gradually gave up wine and later quit drinking coffee and tea. He found that these changes helped calm his excitable nerves and made his hand steadier during surgical operations" (ANB). Mussey was driven to share the success of his dietary changes with others and thus wrote a number of works on temperance. This work, in particular, urges those suffering from ailments such as fever, inflammation, and nervous diseases to abstain from alcohol and to instead recommend the most natural substitute—water. Mussey offers both anecdotal evidence and medical explanations for his contentions, making this an importance cultural and scientific work from the height of the temperance movement. This essay was first published in 1835 together with another essay on temperance; this is the first separately published edition.
Faint dampstaining to lower corner, small chip to top spine corner of book. An extremely good copy. Scarce.