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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c292

Seth Hastings and Seth Hastings, Jr. commonplace books, medical records, and papers,

The Seth Hastings and Seth Hastings, Jr. commonplace books, medical records, and papers, 1772-1830 (inclusive), contain writings, patient records, manuscript addresses, and papers of the father and son physicians. The commonplace books include transcriptions and excerpts from medical textbooks and medicinal recipes and instructions for delivering medicine and medical care to patients with occasional patient case histories from their medical practice. The manuscript addresses and other assorted papers in the collection contain the speeches of Hastings, Jr., to local medical societies, and the charter for the Woodbury Medical Society, Woodbury, Connecticut, signed by Hastings, Sr.

Dates

  • 1772-1830 (inclusive), undated.

Language of Materials

Collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

Extent

0.31 cubic feet (1 letter size document box and one half legal size document box)

The Seth Hastings and Seth Hastings, Jr. commonplace books, medical records, and papers, 1772-1830 (inclusive), contain writings, patient records, manuscript addresses, and papers of the father and son physicians. The commonplace books include transcriptions and excerpts from medical textbooks and medicinal recipes and instructions for delivering medicine and medical care to patients with occasional patient case histories from their medical practice. The manuscript addresses and other assorted papers in the collection contain the speeches of Hastings, Jr., to local medical societies, and the charter for the Woodbury Medical Society, Woodbury, Connecticut, signed by Hastings, Sr.

Hastings, Sr., and Hastings, Jr., recorded in their commonplace books information on human anatomy, diseases and illnesses, medical remedies, and surgical procedures taken from the works of contemporary European and British physicians, among them John Allen (1660?-1741), Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738), William Cullen (1710-1790), John Friend (1675-1728), and Robery Whytt (1714-1766). Several commonplace books contain information on female reproductive health, menstruation, childbirth, and treatment of post-partum infections, including excerpts from John Freind's Emmenologia, published in 1729. While the commonplace books chiefly include notes on the published works of other physicians, there is original writing by Hastings, Sr., and Hastings, Jr., on medical recipes and the administration of medicine for certain illnesses. The Hastings' patient case histories recorded the symptoms of illness, courses of treatment they prescribed to their respective patients, and their observations on the success or failure of treatment, often over days or weeks. The case histories also note when they consulted with other physicians.

The Hastings also included information on financial transactions, farming and gardening, and notes on religion and philosophy in their commonplace books. There are additionally materials unrelated to medicine, including a commonplace book containing an account of the American Revolution written by Hastings, Sr., and one containing transcriptions of religious texts addressed to Abigail and Pernilia Young from Hastings, Jr.

Materials are entirely in English.

Biographical Notes

Seth Hastings (1745-1830) and his son, Seth Hastings, Jr. (1780-1861) were physicians in Clinton, New York. After the younger Hastings completed his medical studies in 1801, father and son established a practice in the town.

Seth Hastings was born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, on 6 December 1745 to Lydia and Hopestill Hastings. He moved to Washington, Connecticut, at an unknown date and joined the medical practice of Daniel Sheldon in nearby Woodbury. Hastings was a member of the Woodbury Medical Society and a fellow of the Connecticut Medical Society. He was also a surgeon in the Connecticut militia detachment of Colonel Increase Moseley (1740-1811) during the American Revolution.

The Hastings family moved to Clinton, New York, in 1797, settling on a farm on Paris Hill Road. In addition to his work as a physician, Hastings was a trustee of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, which became Hamilton College in 1812.

Hastings married Eunice Parmele (1763-1821), a native of Washington, Connecticut, in 1779, and they had eleven children, including the composer Thomas Hastings (1784-1872). He died in Clinton, New York, on 29 April 1830 at age 85.

Hastings, Jr., was born in Washington, Connecticut, on 23 August 1780. He studied medicine under his father, and at age twenty-one, entered into a partnership with the elder Hastings in Clinton, New York. After his father's death in 1830, Hastings, Jr., maintained the practice for another twenty-one years.

In 1806, both Hastings were present at the first meeting of the Oneida County Medical Society, during which Hastings, Jr., was elected treasurer of the group. He served as President of the Society from 1828 to 1829. In 1811, he was commissioned as a surgeon in a regiment of the militia in Oneida County. He was also a leader of the choir in the Old White Meeting House in Clinton and a deacon of the church.

Hastings, Jr., married Huldah Clark (1783-1850) in 1802, and they had fifteen children, one of whom died in infancy. He retired from his practice after suffering a stroke in 1851, and died on 26 March 1861 at age 81.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Includes accession number 2008-048.

Resources about the Hastings family

  • Francis H. Hastings. Family record of Dr. Seth Hastings, senior, of Clinton, Oneida County, New York. Cincinnati: Earhart & Richardson, 1899.
  • Hermine Weigel Williams. Thomas Hastings: an introduction to his life and music. New York: iUniverse, 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Brooke McManus, 2015 October.

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Folder titles were devised by the archivist unless otherwise noted.
Link to catalog
Title
Hastings, Seth, 1745-1830, and Seth Hastings, Jr., 1780-1861. Commonplace books, medical records, and papers, 1772-1830 (inclusive), undated: Finding Aid
Author
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Sponsor
Preservation and description was supported by the Arcadia-funded Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.
EAD ID
med00212

Repository Details

Part of the Countway Library of Medicine Repository

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