Monday workshop
Monday, March 26, 2018 - 3:30pm

337 Claudia Cohen Hall

Matt Crawford, Department of History, Kent State University

"Always an Object of Abuse:" Pharmacopoeias, Materia Medica, and Therapeutics (c. 1600-1850)


Pharmacopoeias - texts that provide information on medicinal substances and how to prepare them for therapeutic use - have been a persistent genre of medical writing since the fifteenth century. Yet, they have been underused by historians of pharmacy and medicine relative to other types of medical texts and sources. This presentation explores some of the possibilities and pitfalls of pharmacopoeias as historical sources. In particular, it will present some preliminary results of research on the timing and speed of changes in the materiality of pharmaceutical therapeutics using European pharmacopeias from the seventeenth to nineteenth century. The results are part of a larger project that seeks to provide new insight into an important revolution in the pharmaceutical therapeutics of Western medicine: the transition from predominantly botanical medicaments to predominantly chemical drugs.