Thursday, March 19, 2009


Mum has been going through some old things lately and passing them onto myself, my sisters and our kids. Little treasures accumulated over her near 79 years of life.  I'd prefer not to think about why she may be doing that at the moment but it has meant that I've been given a book that belonged to my Grandmother.

Called Vitalogy it was written byProfessors Wood and Ruddock and published in chicago in 1927 and was only available by subscription.  Published by the Vitalogy Association, 431 South Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois it claimed to be 20 books in one and included -
  • Diseases of Women and children
  • Hydropathy (Water Cure)
  • Materia Medica
  • Home, Training, Exercise, Hygiene, Secret of Longevity
  • Science of Nursing, Diet for all, Diseases, Homeopathy, Osteopathy, Obstetrics
  • Mental Therapeutics, Magnetism, Palmistry, Mind Cure
  • Psychology, Moral and Sex Hygiene, Marriage, Child Culture
From what I can find on the internet this was published between at least 1899 and 1930.  There are a few volumes for sale on ebay for around $200AU, but given the links to my family I will never sell it.

One website describes it thus -

In 1899, VITALOGY, a home health encyclopedia was first published. In 1930, after a half-million copies were sold, a new expanded edition was published.

The original 1,010-page comprehensive guide to health and home was cherished by millions. Filled with chapters on anatomy, diseases, herbal remedies, and moral advice for the home, it served as a complete reference book for the household.

By WWII its use diminished, more "modern" medical drug guides were issued and the VITALOGY home health encyclopedia faded into obscurity.

Seventy-seven years later, its advice is both strangely prescient and very dated, and the health manual is once more at the cutting edge!

It is a fascinating insight into a truly lost world and over the coming weeks I'll dip into it and share some of the folklore that it dispensed.   I'm sure you'll find it amusing and entertaining and maybe learn a little as well.  It would appear that E. H. Ruddock may well have been one of the founder of homeopathy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I Have just recieved the exact same book from my grandma, who is now 84 years. And what a fascinating read, Ithink i will be using it a lot!