Kennedy Library of English Medical Books, 1700-1825

Dublin Core


Kennedy Library of English Medical Books, 1700-1825


In April 1921, Dr. Harris Kennedy (1871-1951) presented the Boston Medical Library with some 2,000 English imprints and dissertations, collected by himself, his father, and his grandfather, comprising the Kennedy Library of English Medical Books. The holdings range from the 17th century to 1825 and includes rare titles by Thomas Willis, Everard Maynwaringe, Sir Richard Blackmore, Richard Brookes, James Lind, Andrew Duncan, and William Hunter, as well as English translations of classic foreign works by Albrecht von Haller and Henry-François LeDran.

Harris Kennedy was a graduate of both Harvard College (1894) and Harvard Medical School (1898); his father, George Golding Kennedy (1841-1918) was an 1867 graduate of the Medical School. Harris Kennedy’s grandfather, Donald Kennedy (1812-1889), emigrated from Scotland and, in Roxbury, began the manufacture and sale of “Kennedy’s Medical Discovery,” a compound derived from burdock root which was said to “cure every disease that flesh is heir to ‘except thunder humor’”; his descendants also were associated with the business.

Collection Items

The medical pocket-book
This encyclopedia of popular medical practice lists common diseases and treatments. The pages are interleaved with manuscript notes by an unnamed reader who contrasts John Elliot’s recommendations with information culled from an English…

The seaman's medical advocate
Arthy, a naval surgeon, outlines the heavy losses to the British navy due to yellow fever, suggesting ways to limit the exposure of seamen, and calling for more and better educated naval surgeons to treat them.
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