Patricia Grady Cox

August 3, 2016



“The National Farmer’s and Housekeeper’s Cyclopaedia.” [You’d think that period indicates we’ve reached the end of the title, but no. It continues with a subtitle:] “A Complete Ready Reference Library for Farmers, Gardeners, Fruit growers, Stockmen and Housekeepers, [note the comma, because it continues . . .] Containing a Large Fund of Useful Information, Facts, Hints, and Suggestions, [nope, not done yet] In the various departments of [take a deep breath] Agriculture, Horticulture, Live Stock Raising, Poultry Keeping, Bee Keeping, Dairy Farming, Fertilizers, Rural Architecture, Farm Implements, Household Management, Domestic Affairs, Cookery, Ladies’ Fancy Work, Floriculture, Medical Matters, Etc., Etc. [what could possibly be included in the etc.?] WITH TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE ILLUSTRATIONS

I haven’t posted in a while due to a couple of relatively minor and totally fixable (now fixed) medical issues that kept me from typing. Instead, I worked on research for my current novel-in-progress and discovered I have a book entitled “The National Farmer’s and Housekeeper’s Cyclopaedia.”

This book was published by F. M. Lupton, Publisher, at No. 63 Murray Street, New York in 1888. Apparently the book division changed its name to the Federal Book Company in 1902 and went out of business in 1904. The F. M. Lupton Publishing arm, primarily magazines and periodicals, continued. At least until, rumor has it, until Mr. Lupton offed himself with a pen knife to the neck in 1910.

His obituary claimed he died of “overwork, prolonged ill health and melancholia.” But his own Cyclopaedia offers an opinion on “ill health” after “consultation of the best authorities.” The Home Physician chapter explains “How People Get Sick.”

  • Eating too much and too fast;
  • Swallowing imperfectly masticated food;
  • Using too much fluid at meals;
  • Drinking poisonous whiskey and other intoxicating drinks;
  • Repeatedly using poison [by this my guess is they mean the aforementioned whiskey] as medicines;
  • Keeping late hours at night, and sleeping late in the morning;
  • Wearing clothing too tight;
  • Wearing thin shoes;
  • Neglecting to wash the body sufficiently to keep the pores open;
  • Exchanging the warm clothes worn in a warm room during the day for costumes and exposure incident to evening parties;
  • Compressing the stomach to gratify a vain and foolish passion for dress;
  • Keeping up constant excitement;
  • Fretting the mind with borrowed troubles;
  • Swallowing quack nostrums for every imaginary ill;
  • Taking meals at irregular intervals, etc.

Sounds like a bit of social commentary with a large dose of judgment occurred in that list. I’m not sure what the “etc.” at the end might include, but whatever it is, rest assured that if you’re sick it’s YOUR OWN FAULT! Now I have to end this so I can check the thickness of my shoes as that may be what caused my recent medical problems. I’m certainly not going to admit to some of the other causes!

Images of hickory nut

Here is a photo of some hickory nuts I found on a university webpage. Unfortunately, the Cyclopaedia doesn’t say whether you use a hulled nut. Also, there seems to be a variety of sizes. You’ll just have to experiment until you get the right size saltpeter piece.

Before I do that, though, some of you might be interested in this alternative to Rogaine.

“To prevent the hair falling off, take a piece of saltpeter the size of a hickory nut, and put in a quart of water, and wet the head daily.”

Good luck!


  1. Patricia L. DiGiorgio · · Reply

    Wow. He seems like a very unhappy fellow!


    1. Melancholia will get you every time. He probably wasn’t chewing his food thoroughly.


  2. Patricia McDonald · · Reply

    Well thank God I found out why I’m always sick!!! While I don’t fall victim to all of the list I sure know now that eating to fast and to much … and trying to get my waist to be 20″ (tight clothes)
    is a big part of the illnesses that have been keeping me up late and sleeping late in the AM…Maybe tonight I’ll try the “whiskey”……


    1. I think most of us would fit in most of those categories! One more thing to make us happy at the progress of science, especially in the medical field. But I did get a kick out of it.


  3. That’s quite a list! Don’t know that it’s any less superstitious than thinking ‘a pill’ will cure us! Thanks for an enjoyable read!


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