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Little book of home cures, concoctions, and observations

August 11, 2015

UTSA Libraries Special Collections houses many unique items. Every now and then, an object comes along that is delightfully unexpected. Recently, while reviewing some manuscripts of unknown provenance, we came across a diminutive notebook filled with surprises. Replete with handwritten entries and pasted-in tidbits, the creator drew together an ecclectic collection of home cures and concoctions as well as observations on topics of interest. Cataloger Stephen Dingler describes the book:

A manuscript notebook in ink and pasted in clippings from newspapers or journals. Includes entries for general knowledge topics such as  “matter”, “moon”, “light”, “electricity”, as well as cooking recipes, instructions and tips on housekeeping, such as how to preserve flowers, cleaning feathers, preserving fruit, and home remedies. Possibly from the northeast United States.

Dated from the mid-1800s, the tiny treasure includes a recipe for “Green Fire,” as well as other intriguing potions that makes one think the creator was practicing alchemy in addition to brewing blackberry wine. All entries are faithfully listed alphabetically on an index page at the front of the book.



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Several pages contain prescriptions from chemists. one located in Glasgow, Scotland.

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While the notebook binding is broken, the pages are remarkably well-preserved. Digitization of this unique item is underway and access will soon be available online through Special Collections digital portal. The title as it appears in UTSA Libraries’ print materials catalog is: Manuscript notebook of recipes, home remedies, housekeeping, and general knowledge.

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