Adam G.N. Moore, MD, Collection in the History of Family Medicine

A selection of books donated by Adam Moore, MD which comprise the new Adam G.N. Moore, MD Collection on the History of Family Medicine

In December of 2012, through the generous gift of Dr. and Mrs. Adam G.N. Moore of Newmarket, New Hampshire, the Center for the History of Family Medicine received a donation of 22 boxes of materials, which now constitutes the new Adam G.N. Moore, MD, Collection in the History of Family Medicine. The Moore Collection consists of more than 600 books, pamphlets, and other materials that relate to the history of Family Medicine, from pre-revolutionary America up to the present day.

Son of psychiatrist and poet Merrill Moore, MD, and Ann Leslie Nichol Moore, a specialist in preschool education, Dr. Moore is a graduate of Harvard College and of Aberdeen University Faculty of Medicine in Scotland, where he received the M.B. and Ch.B. degrees in 1964. After serving as a resident at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and in its Casualty (Emergency) Department, Dr. Moore returned to the United States and completed additional residencies in pediatrics and medicine at Carney Hospital in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts. A self-described "old family doc," Dr. Moore practiced for three decades as a family physician in his hometown of Squantum, Massachusetts. After closing his private solo practice in 1997, Dr. and Mrs. Moore retired to New Hampshire.

Works on Regional Medicine: Other works in the Moore Collection also address providing medical advice to persons in specific regions of the country. Typical of this is The Planter's Guide and Family Book of Medicine, published in Charleston, South Carolina in 1848. This pre-Civil War work, which was written "for planters, families, country people, and all others who may be out of reach of physicians" also includes a section entitled "general directions for raising negroes."

In addition to his professional career, Dr. Moore served the venerable (and enormous) Boston Medical Library for more than thirty years as Secretary and/or as a member of its Board of Trustees. Over the course of the last six decades, he has also brought together a large personal library and collection of artifacts relating to interests in areas such as medicine, natural history, cartography, and dictionaries.

Periodicals & Other Ephemera: In addition to books, the Moore Collection also features a wide variety of periodicals, pamphlets, flyers, brochures and other ephemera. One example is this 1937 edition of the pamphlet Jayne's Almanac: Medical Guide to Health.

The newly created Moore Collection in the History of Family Medicine at CHFM consists of titles Dr. Moore describes as "the book you'd have if you didn't have a doctor." According to Dr. Moore, "These materials have been collected with the intention of showing, in an historical context, how people's health has been maintained, and also how their medical problems have been recognized, interpreted and treated . . . For literally many decades, topical loan exhibits have been prepared and lent anonymously from these holdings for use by schools, hospitals, libraries, museums and other venues in association with their special events or for general interest. Since use of the Internet has become widespread, the potential usefulness of this eclectic type of collection has broadened considerably."

Works on Women's Health: A major subcollection within the Moore Collection are works specifically addressing women's health. This 1906 book by Florence Dressler, MD, contains a chapter on "Prenatal Inheritance." In it, Dr. Dressler wrote that "A pregnant woman, who was suddenly alarmed from seeing her husband come home with one side of his face swollen and distorted by a blow, bore a girl with a purple swelling on the same side of the face."

The collection as a whole is a true treasure--one that could only be assembled after decades of collecting. It consists not only of books, but also of brochures, pamphlets, advertising materials and other ephemera that relate to the history of medicine or Family Medicine, from pre-revolutionary times up to the present day. The materials range from the 1767 French book Avis au Peuple sur sa Santé ("Advice to People on Health") by S.A.D. Tissot to the 2008 Time Magazine publication Your Body: A User's Guide by Kelly Knauer. The collection is ideal for use as a research, reference and teaching resource to demonstrate both how the specialty has evolved over time and how important Family Medicine has been, and continues to be, in the development of medicine in America as a whole.

Late 18th to Early 19th Century Works: The Moore Collection contains a number of smaller "subcollections" including many works dating from the late 18th to the early 19th centuries. One notable example is Avis Au Peuple Sur Sa Santé, Ou Traité Des Maladies Les Plus Fréquentes (Advice to the People About Their Health, or the Treaty of the Most Common Diseases), which is the oldest book in the Moore Collection, dating to 1767.

The sample of items shown here reflects the sheer depth and variety of this important and valuable collection. For more information on the Adam G.N. Moore, MD Collection, please refer to the Center's catalog Guide to the Collections of the Center for the History of Family Medicine(0 bytes).

Works on Practicing for Special Populations: Many of the early works in the collection were written by physicians with the idea of providing medical advice to people who might not have access to a doctor. A good example is the 1818 House Surgeon and Physician, which was written "to assist heads of families, travelers and sea-faring people," according to its title page. The book devotes three pages to diagnosing symptoms of death. According to the anonymous physician who authored the book, "actual putrefaction is the only certain sign of death."

Special thanks to David Mitchell and Sheri Porter of AAFP News Now

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