Many years ago, I found this handwritten doctor’s recipe book in a trunk in my grandmother’s attic along with a first edition Longfellow’s Wayside Inn and other books from the mid-1800’s. It is a clear depiction of the life of a doctor during the early years of Michigan history. For years, we wondered who this doctor was, and how this book came into our possession. We were quite certain it came from the lumber baron’s house in Lewiston inherited by my grandmother from her uncle. But the whole story of Dr. Wallace A. Hale, a grandson of Nathaniel Wallace, aide to George Washington in the Revolutionary War, was revealed through an Internet search, and ultimately led us to his living descendants.
I have wanted to restore and publish this book for many years, and finally decided to print the original pages from the book with facing pages that transcribes the handwritten script, along with coded ingredients and the old English apothecary system of weights and measures that was replaced in 1864. Keep in mind that dictionaries were still not common then, so some detective work was necessary to match the spellings. This give a picture of how medicine was used in the 19th century and how many of these remedies are still used today. The original book is part of a collection donated to the State of Michigan Archives.