Monday, October 26, 2009

First US Book on Psychiatry Published 197 Years Ago

On this date in 1812, Medical inquiries and observations upon the diseases of the mind, by Benjamin Rush, M.D., was copyrighted. Published by Kimber and Richardson of Philadelphia, it was the first U.S. book on psychiatry. Oberlin College Library owns three editions in print, all shelved in Special Collections. We also link to digital versions of the book from records in OBIS [1812 digital version].

Works of Benjamin Rush are covered in a guide from Greenwood Press: Benjamin Rush, M.D. : a bibliographic guide / compiled by Claire G. Fox, Gordon L. Miller, and Jacquelyn C. Miller.

This tidbit of publishing history was taken from The Illustrated almanac of science, technology, and invention: day by day; facts, figures, and the fanciful / Raymond L. Francis. Shelved behind our reference desk [OBIS record], it is great fun to browse through. Also on this date in history the Erie Canal opened in upstate New York, connecting the Hudson River with Lake Erie; the washing machine was patented; and the mule first arrived in the United States (shipped from King Charles III of Spain to George Washington).

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