Why Use This Guide?
This guide seeks to provide a sample of the wide variety of materials relating to health and medicine in The Loyalist Collection at the Harriet Irving Library, with an overview of what they contain and how to search them. Though the study of Loyalists is the primary focus of the collection, the selected materials transcend beyond the American Revolution to provide an overview of health and medicine c.1750 and 1850 in the British Atlantic world. With geographic coverage spanning from Canada to the West Indies, the sources provide a firsthand view of the diseases faced, medical treatments, and impact of health on daily life during that time.
Types of Materials: Primary and Secondary
Primary materials are sources usually created at the time of an event and involve first-hand accounts of historical events without secondary analysis or interpretation. These include personal records of individual doctors, health regulations in cities and towns, military health records, and other papers such as account books, and government records, to name a few. Secondary sources offer an analysis, description, or interpretation of a primary resource; and often provide the historical context. For example, if a diary were the primary resource, the secondary resource could be an article explaining the significance and context of the diary; or if a personal letter during the American Revolution were the primary resource, the secondary resource could be a book or encyclopedia article about the American Revolution.
Understanding Military Material
A large number of the records in this subject guide pertain to the British military. These military records provide insight into the organization of hospitals, the wellbeing of soldiers, and the diseases rampant during the period. Unfortunately military records may be difficult to understand due to their organization and the wide variety of ranks associated with them. Researchers are encouraged to consult "The British Officer: His Position, Duties, Emoluments, and Privileges…” by Joachim Hayward Stocqueler for helpful information on this topic. Please note, this monograph is also available in full electronic text through Internet Archive.
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The following reference sources act as a starting point for researchers looking to familiarize themselves with health and medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Reference sources, such as subject-specific encyclopedias, dictionaries, and bibliographies provide an overview of a topic and its related issues, help define unfamiliar terms, and contain key secondary sources. Aside from the selected sources below, researchers may wish to consult the libraries' reference database.
Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies
Author: Cooke, Jacob Earnest
Abstract: A three-volume set that discusses various aspects of the European colonies in North America including labour systems, technology, religion, and racial interaction. Search the terms almshouses, disease, military (hospitals, diseases), medical practice, and medicine societies.
Call Number: HIL-REF E45 .E53 1993 v.1-3
A Guide to Health Care History Materials in New Brunswick
Author: Liebenberg, Gillian and Arlee McGee
Call Number: HIL-SPECAR RA450 .N49 L54 1998
Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 18th Century
Author: Shectman, Jonathan
Abstract: The eighteenth century saw the emergence of the industrial and chemical revolutions and witnessed the near-universal acceptance of applied science. It was a time of revolutionary, lasting transformation in the practice of science and mathematics. Most procedures and precepts of modern science took hold during the eighteenth century, when scientists first paired scientific research with practical application to astonishing results. In over sixty alphabetical entries, Shectman examines the tremendous scientific discoveries, inventions, and inquiries of the period. Search terms such as: dental drill, digestion, and smallpox for more information on health and medicine.
Call Number: ebook
These primary sources provide a sample of materials relating to health and medicine found in The Loyalist Collection. A broad range of subject matter and a wide geographic area are covered in the sources.
***Click on the title links for further information in the catalogue record, particularly the Finding Aid sections within for any indexes, etc. that may be available to assist research.
Public and Military Health
John Clarkson. Papers: 1787-1853
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .C5J6P3
Keywords: American Revolution post-settlement, Black Loyalists, Nova Scotia, Sierra Leone
After the American Revolution, John Clarkson joined a small group of reformers who were behind the growing opposition to the slave trade. Between 1791 and 1792 Clarkson organized the historic migration of 1190 Black Loyalists from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Sierra Leone. Clarkson worked with Thomas Peters, a prominent Black Loyalist, to organize this movement. Pertaining to health, a distinct group of documents in Volume IV includes a Register of Medical Cases among the Black Loyalists in Sierra Leone, 1791-1792 (pp. 1-5), and a private journal which appears to have been kept by the surgeon to the Colony between 1791 and 1792. The register of medical cases contains a list of diseases/ailments including the name of the inflicted, ages, complexion (primarily 'black'), disease, date ill, and if they recovered or died. The private journal (pp. 6-36) provides information on the experience of the settlers in the early days of the colony of Sierra Leone. While the emphasis is on daily life, the unnamed surgeon does make mention of some medical concerns, and provides the number of deaths in the colony. The final item in the volume is a list of sick (pp 36-41) which includes the patient's name, illness, and medicine prescribed. Finding aids are available for some volumes, as well as a transcription of the surgeon's private journal.
John Jeffries. Papers: 1755-1835
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .J4J4P3
Keywords: Boston, Halifax, hospital administration, surgeon
Dr. Jeffries was a loyalist from Massachusetts who came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1776 where he continued his profession assisting the British military, later in private practice in England, then Boston. Records include his personal diary, military orderly book, accounts, appointments, and letters. Medical staff appointments, details of sick and wounded soldiers, concern for the well-being of soldiers and prisoners, and additional hospital administrative records are prominent within his papers. Finding aids include a proper name index (with a few subjects such as small pox, hospital, and surgeon general), and a summary of diary entries for 1778-1779.
William Paine. Papers: 1768-1835
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .P3W5P3
Keywords: apothecary, American Revolution, diseases, doctor, Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Massachusetts, medicine, New York, treatments and cures
Dr. William Paine practiced in Massachusetts, New York, Portugal, England, and Nova Scotia. The papers provide a detailed account of his medical career in the years preceding, during, and after the American Revolution. Documents include prescriptions, lists of cures, journals, diaries, medical notes, memorandum, payments received for medical services, treatments, and various other medical records. Finding aid - A list summarising each of the documents in the first section of material - Correspondence 1768-1822 - is available.
Remarks and Rough Memorandum: Captain William Booth, Corps of Royal Engineers, Shelburne, Nova Scotia, 1787, 1789
Call Number: HIL-MICGDL FC 2349 .S55 B65 2008
Keywords: Corps of Engineers, Doctor Drummond, Hannah Booth, tuberculosis, William Booth, medicine and treatment, tubercolosis, William Booth
This monograph, available with The Loyalist Collection books, contains the transcribed memoranda (brief, diary-like entries) of Captain William Booth, who spent time in Halifax and Shelburne, Nova Scotia, where his wife became ill with tuberculosis. Entries on health, medicine, and well-being are prominent, providing information on 18th century Nova Scotia living conditions. Booth mentioned illnesses by name, often describing their symptoms and prescribed treatments. His friendship with Dr. Drummond, as well as his wife's illness, provides the bulk of content on health and wellness, but also includes mentions of his health and mental illness due to loss of his wife. Entries on pages 28-37 chronicle Mrs. Booth’s illness, treatments, and death in February of 1789. Finding aids - Researchers are encouraged to browse the memoranda in addition to using the index for many of the keywords above.
Great Britain. Audit Office. American Loyalist Claims: Series II (AO 13): 1780-1835
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .G7A9C5L7
Keywords: disabilities, hospitals, military/war injuries/invalids, post settlement, smallpox, widow/widower, mental illness, physicians/surgeons
The Audit Office series relates to claims for compensation submitted by persons who had suffered losses during the American Revolution due to their loyalty to the British Crown. These claims contain supporting papers such as: affidavits, property deeds and wills, descriptions and valuations of property, correspondence, etc. The paperwork provides the researcher insight into these refugees' situations during and directly after the war. It may also include information pertaining to their families, their places of residence, and their experiences in America, as a Loyalist, or victim of hostilities. Finding aids - See catalogue record for research paths and strategies available, including indices, and published abstracts. Some surgeons/doctors/druggists include: Charles Earle, Samuel Adams, James Boggs, Peter Browne, James Carscallion, and Christopher Carter. Examples of those sick include: Berah Chilson (small pox), Henry Finlayson (mental illness), James McCaw (whose wife had small pox); and Robert Foster was a nurse.
Complementary series: Series I (AO 12).
Edward Winslow. Papers: 1695-1866
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .W5E3P3
Keywords: indisposition, medical board, military hospitals
Winslow was an American loyalist from Massachusetts, and held a military role as muster master general of all provincial forces during the American Revolution, and a role in loyalist resettlement post war. This collection consists primarily of the notebooks and correspondence of Edward Winslow. Researchers interested in the study of health and medicine will find medical documents primarily related to the military during the American Revolution and the subsequent early New Brunswick settlements. Finding aids include a searchable online database; a book which lists, abstracts, and includes an index; as well as a separately produced index on microfilm. Index health search terms include: diseases, ailments, indispositions, hospitals, military hospitals, doctors, medical board, medicine and remedies (ie. sulphur for venereal disease - gonorrhea), and Paine (Dr.).
Frederick Haldimand. Papers and Correspondence: 1758-1784
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .H3F7P3
Keywords: doctors, expenses, infirmaries, hospitals, housing for the sick, health issues of soldiers, medical supplies, medicine, surgeons
Collection contains the records of Frederick Haldimand who held the following commands: military governor of Trois Rivières (1762-64), Québec; military command of East and West Florida (1765-73); acting commander-in-chief of North America (1773-74); and governor of Québec, which included Ontario, (1778-84). This collection is very extensive in its geography, spanning from Florida northward to Québec and even the West Indies, and scattered throughout are opportunities to better understand the health and welfare of soldier and civlian. A good example is a group of documents in Section 21,857 which includes correspondence with Doctor Hugh Alexander Kennedy, Inspector of Infirmaries, and William Barr, Purveyor of Hospitals in Canada, 1778-1784; together with returns (lists) and accounts of the general hospital at Three Rivers (Trois Rivieres), and the hospitals at Montreal, Quebec, etc.. Finding aids include nominal indexes for some volumes, and calendars with abstracted lists of documents.
Great Britain. War Office. Headquarters Records, Great Britain. America (WO28/2-10): 1775-1785
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3A4H4
Keywords: hospital administration, personnel, medicine issues, surgeons, patients, garrisons, Quebec
This collection, in broad terms, contains the paperwork received by the adjutant-general or deputy adjutant-general at the British military headquarters in Canada (Québec), from officers in the field and others during the American Revolution. Some topics and documents relating to health and medicine include as examples: general hospital returns and letters, medicines, appointments of surgeons, diet for sick, and reports of sick. Finding aid: A content list describing each of the documents in volume 6, Hospital Department, 1776-1783, and Garrison States and Reports in the Upper Posts, 1780-1783, is available.
Great Britain. War Office. In-Letters: America and West Indies (WO1/683): 1776-1781
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3A4I7
Keywords: hospital administration, medical supplies, West Indies
British War Office 1 contains the letters and enclosures from officers in America to the Secretary at War. Volume 683 contains letters from Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies to Secretary at War, Viscount Barrington, concerning American affairs, which includes the West Indies. The correspondence contains a great amount of detail about the transport of regiments, camp equipage, hospital supplies, horses and forage, clothing, and other provisions that were loading or had sailed from several British ports. Specific to health matters, pages 313-653 deal with the administration of military hospitals during the American Revolution; and within this range, pages 415-653 deal with the West Indies and the excessive sickness therein owing to the want of medical stores and clothing.
Great Britain. War Office. In-Letters: America and West Indies (WO1/1-13): 1755-1785
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3A4I5
Keywords: diseases, hospital administration, medicine lists, provisions
These volumes contain the letters and enclosures from officers in America to the Secretary at War in England dealing with military affairs. Documents relating to health and medicine include hospital returns/ lists, hospital information (nurses, expenses, admissions, discharges, deaths), hospital orders, medicines for troops, provision lists, living conditions of soldiers, lists of sick, information on the health of soldiers, etc. Finding aid - A Health and Medicine finding was created to summarise content and provide a selection of document examples.
Great Britain. War Office. Muster Books and Pay Lists (WO12/11233, 11237-11238): Royal West India Rangers: 1806-1814
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3R79
Keywords: West Indies, army, soldiers, health, deaths, hospital, accounts
Muster rolls were prepared for each company of a regiment for the purpose of paying the soldiers recording the name, rank, military station, and pay period of each soldier. The Royal West India Rangers were mainly used for garrison duties in the West Indies, but the regiment also saw action in two invasions of the French island of Guadeloupe. In 1819, the regiment was disbanded to New Brunswick. The musters contribute to the general understanding of the general health of the regiment. The personnel data is included showing any changes in staff circumstances, : in hospital; attending hospital; died; and deserted. In the early years there are slips of paper with names of those discharged and the medical reason deemed unfit, and those musters show a frequent notation attached to men indicating they were in hospital or deserted, in part, possibly due to the nature of the climate and the spread of disease. Finding aid - There is no finding aid but the material is organised chronologically.
Great Britain. War Office. Out-Letters: Secretary at War: American Letter Books (WO4/273-276, 987-988): 1763-1790
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LMR .G7W3S4A5O9
Keywords: military hospitals - West Indies, Florida; hospital--administration (American Revolution), allowances, stoppages, personnel, sickness (West Indies), need for medicines, troop health (including provisions), accounts, etc.
This collection contains the Secretary at War's correspondence to his colonial representatives, such as, the commanders, officials and officers in North America, and the West Indies. Typically the Secretary is replying to a request of some sort, or giving direction or comments on matters pertaining to the Army. Finding aid - A Health and Medicine finding aid was created to provide a summary of content and some specific document examples.
A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing the Boston Town Records, 1770-1777
Call Number: HIL-MICGDL F73 .4 .B747 1887
Keywords: Almshouse, disease, hospitals, inoculation, laws (preventing infectious disease), orders (concerning infectious disease), plague, smallpox, "negroes."
These are transcriptions of the Boston town records and found with The Loyalist Collection's book collection. These proceedings include the resolves, instructions, and reports of Boston as it established itself prior to the Revolutionary War. Those interested in the study of health and medicine will find information on preventing the spread of diseases, primarily smallpox, in the 1770s. These records tie into aspects such as the poor, cleanliness, the Navy, and slaves. Township records provide insight into the impact of health and medicine on 18th century settlements. They illuminate approaches to health and well-being at a lower administrative level, and researchers are encouraged to consult additional township records from other places. Finding aid - Keyword terms above can be found in the index.
America. Public Records. Selected Cases of the Mayor's Court of New York City: 1674-1768, 1784
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .A4P8C6N6C6
Keywords: almshouse, children and infants, hospitals, New York, poor, smallpox
These are organised into several large sections, further subdivided into subtopics. Information found within include: diseases, health regulations, persons unable to support themselves (primarily due to disabilities or ailments), and midwives. Finding aids - Terms in the online table of contents, and the paper index found in the corresponding Loyalist Collection red binder, include charitable relief, health regulation (small pox), orphans, French pox, and infanticide.
New Brunswick. Executive Council. Papers: 1784-1877
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .N4E9P3
Keywords: almshouse, Department of Health and Well-being, disabled, Health Board, the poor, seamen; infectious diseases
The papers contain topics which came to the attention of the Executive Council or emanated from that body. Those interested in the study of health and medicine will primarily find nineteenth-century records pertaining to the Department of Health and Wellness, including general correspondence and papers, the health and sickness of seamen, and documents relating to the poor. Executive Council records are recommended and available for other regions. Finding aid - A Health and Medicine finding aid with a general summary of the contents is available pertaining to two distinct health-related sections - health and sickness, and the poor.
Nova Scotia. Court of the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace Shelburne County. Records: 1784-1880
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .N6C6S4S5R4
KEYWORDS: caretaking, charity, expenses (regarding public health and safety), illegitimate children, poor and disabled, regulations, infectious disease
These records provide a sample of the kinds of documents relating to health and medicine available in county court records, which initially were the local government body with both administrative and judicial functions within a county. Divided into 10 series, Series "C" titiled Charities and Poor, and Health Matters includes but is not limited to: petitions for funeral expenses, accounts of provisions to the poor, conditions of the poor house, compensation for providing care, notes on illegitimate children, notes on the mentally unstable, and health regulations - primarily to prevent infectious disease (smallpox), etc. Series "M" includes lists of medicines, spices, and essences ordered from Halifax (1825-1829). Finding aid - Health and Medicine finding aid is available, listing each of the health-related documents for Series "C" and "M".
Public and Military Health
Great Britain. Colonial Office. Original Correspondence: West Indies (CO 318): 1699-1830
Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LPR .G7C6W4C6
Contains original correspondence found in the files of the British secretaries of state responsible for the colonies, relating generally to the British colonies in the West Indies. Relevant is content in Volume 32, Report of the Board of Health on the West Indian Station, 1799-1807 containing mostly letters from the governors and presidents in council with reports from medical officials on the health situation in the various island colonies and on board vessels, including seamen and black persons on vessels, and land regiments, including black people.
Finding Aid: Detailed summary of content available digitally.
When searching by keyword in WorldCat for books, journals, articles, etc., or in The Loyalist Collection catalogue for primary sources, depending on your topic, you can search, for example, by a particular disease, place, or person.
The Loyalist Collection
Remember you are searching the summaries of each of the titles typically, often with no subject search fields as in WorldCat; consequently, you are advised to check the Finding Aid fields within a record for any detailed content.
Suggested Loyalist Collection search terms include:
Finding The Loyalist Collection in the library: The Collection is in the basement of the Harriet Irving Library and shelved into 5 sections: Church (LCR), Family (LFR), Military (LMR), Public (government) (LPR), and Special Collections (LSC). See floor plan.
Reading call numbers: MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .B7E3L4 is located in the Loyalist Collection on microfilm, in the Family Records section (LFR). “.B7E3L4” represents the call number within that section.
In the Libraries' catalogue you can combine your search terms, for example,
suggested WorldCat searches include:
- Diseases - Canada - History
- Disease Outbreaks - History
- Great Britain - Army Medical Department - History
- Great Britain - Army Medical Services - History
- Great Britain - Colonies - History
- History of Medicine
- Medicine - Europe - History - 18th Century
- Medicine - History - 18th Century
- Medicine - United States - History
- Medical Care
- Naval Medicine - Great Britain - History
See how to search UNB WorldCat to find relevant books in this short video.
These futher reading sources seek to provide researchers with more information on topics relating to health and medical materials in The Loyalist Collection. For more options, researchers may want to perform a title, subject, or keyword search in the Library's catalogue, WorldCat, to find books, journals, articles, etc. Remember to utilise the footnotes and bibliographies within your secondary sources, books for example, to point you in the direction of key sources on your topic. The Locations Guide under the WorldCat search box will help you translate the location code.
The Medical Profession in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. An historical narrative, with original documents relating to the profession, including some brief biographies
Author: Canniff, William
Call Number: HIL-STACKS R463 .O6 C2 1894
A History of the Army Medical Department
Author: Cantlie, Neil, Sir.
Call Number: HIL-STACKS UH 257 .C36 1974 v.1
Materials and Medicine: Trade, Conquest, and Therapeutics in the Eighteenth Century
Author: Chakrabarti, Pratik
Call Number: HIL-STACKS R148 C43 2010
Medicine in Colonial Massachusetts, 1620-1820: a Conference Held 25 & 26 May 1978
Author: Colonial Society of Massachusetts
Call Number: HIL-STACKS R245 .M42 1980
Frontier Medicine: From the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1491-1941
Author: Dary, David
Call Number: HIL-STACKS R151 .D37 2009
Epidemics in Colonial America
Author: Duffy, John
Call Number: HIL-STACKS RA 650.5 D8 1972
The Duties of a Regimental Surgeon Considered with Observations on his General Qualifications... By R. Hamilton, M.D.
Author: Hamilton, Robert
Call Number: ebook
Health and Medicine at Sea, 1700-1900
Author: Haycock, David Boyd and Sally Archer
Call Number:HIL-STACKS RC 986 .H43 2009
British Military and Naval Medicine, 1600-1830
Author: Hudson, Geoffrey L.
Call Number: ebook
Surgeons at War: Medical Arrangements for the Treatment of the Sick and Wounded in the British Army... 18th and 19th Centuries
Author: Kaufman, Matthew H.
Call Number: HIL-STACKS UH 258 18th .K38 2001
Health Care in Canada During the 17th and 18th Centuries
Author: Lessard, Renald
Call Number: HIL-GOV FN345 H434ca
Surgeons, Smallpox, and the Poor: A History of Medicine and Social Conditions in Nova Scotia, 1749-1799
Author: Marble, Allan Everett
Call Number: ebook
Medicine and the American Revolution: How Diseases and Their Treatments Affected the Colonial Army
Author: Reiss, Oscar
Call Number: HIL-STACKS E 283 .R45 1998
Access books not available in the libraries:
Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. To search for materials not held by UNB Libraries, try UNB World Cat, and change the default "UNB Libraries" to "Libraries Worldwide." Once you have identified a title that is not locally held, select the "Request Item through Document Delivery" link.
Browse the shelves:
For books relating to health and medicine, try the following ranges in the stacks or the Loyalist Collection guide books (HIL-MICGDL):
- HIL-STACKS 4th floor - 'R'
The following list of external resources was compiled to provide relevant electronic research tools to compliment the other materials referenced within this guide.
The National Archives Health Subject Guide acts as a gateway to health records available through The National Archives, London, England. These records have a much wider time frame than The Loyalist Collection, spanning from the eighteenth to twentieth century, as well as a wider geographic area of coverage.
The Wellcome Library is one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history.
Early Modern Recipes examines recipes focusing on medicine, food, and other subjects circulating before 1800 in print and manuscript in the area now defined as Canada's Maritime provinces.
More Information More Information
Atlantic Provinces History, New Brunswick History, Loyalists, Genealogy, Palaeography, Working With Primary Sources, Newspapers