[Milford, Otsego County, New York, ca. 1817 to mid-1840s]. Two saddle-stitched gatherings bound together with stab-stitched soft doeskin thongs, approx. 13.13 x 8 inches, 40 leaves in autograph ink (with evidence of leaves extracted and a few portions of leaves and text torn out). A few ink diagrams in the text. Some light soiling and wear, a few leaves torn (with loss), presumably excised by an early user; in good condition, quite legible. Item #19689
A collection of American manuscripts suggestive of the range of daily concerns of families in early- to mid-19th century upstate New York, this manuscript largely taken up by 72 pages of an early ciphering book copied directly from James Thompson’s American Tutor’s Guide (Albany, 1808); one portion on the subtraction of vulgar fractions is dated Dec. 18th, 1817.
Evidence in other miscellaneous manuscript material points to a provenance from Milford, Otsego County, New York, including one page with a draft opening paragraph for a petition beginning, “To the school commissioners of the town of Milford. We the undersigned inhabitants of the town of Milford . . .” and another page with a manuscript accounting note dated Jan. 4 ‘45 concerning 25.3 feet of Hemlock from Ebenezer Griggs—this suggesting Ebenezer Parmer Griggs (1818-1877), listed in the 1850 federal census as a sawyer in Middlefield, also in Ostego County.
A few other pages of notes and accounts from ca. 1845 are also included. The first page of the ciphering book includes the later childish signature of Sarah Ann Smith, a Milford resident born in 1833 to Hiram and Abigail Smith.
The two pages of verse copied from Samuel Thomson on one outer leaf are a substantial (but incomplete) fragment of a poem copied from Thomson’s Learned Quackery Exposed, a popular and populist work (in keeping with the tenets of the Thomsonian botanic home medical treatments), the work first published in 1824 and republished with some frequency thereafter; the verses suggest that learned doctors (who arrived bathed “with great perfume / Like summer’s rose in height of bloom”) will kill your loved ones with bleeding and drugs, subsequently demanding a fee—”To physic, bleeding drops and stuff / It’s fifty dollars, cheap enough.”.