A warning for all collectors of manuscripts

Boerhaave picA snippet featured in the miscellany Medley dated October 1936 comes from ‘Ripley’ in the Sunday Express. It concerns the famous Dutch physician Dr Herman Boerhaave (1668 – 1738), ‘founder of clinical teaching’ and called by some ‘The father of physiology’:

“When he died his effects were sold by auction, and among his manuscripts was a sealed book for which there was a heated scramble. It was sold for £2,000 in gold, and when opened was found to contain all blank pages except one on which the doctor had written:

 “Keep your head cold —your feet warm, and you’ll make the best doctor poor “

I wonder if there are similar instances of bibliomaniacs fighting at auction for a particular sealed manuscript or printed book with annotations by an eminent, and perhaps controversial, person. Information welcome.

[R.M.Healey]

440px-Alfred_Salter_Statue

Dr. Alfred Salter

Statue of Dr. Salter in Bermondsey

Found among the Reeve* papers this portrait of Dr. Alfred Salter (1873 - 1945) medical doctor and Labour politician - still famous in Bermondsey - as Reeve says he was 'the salt of the earth…'

DOCTOR ALFRED SALTER

Fenner Brockway says that Dr Salter was the most brilliant medical student of his time. He could have had a nameplate proudly displayed in Harley Street, and ended his days a wealthy, outstanding medical practitioner welcomed by the affluent anywhere he sought his leisure moments. Instead he installed his surgery among the somewhat turbulent extroverts of Bermondsey, where the underprivileged masses suffered a shortage of skilful medical talent; and although the borough's alcoholic content may be proportionately higher than many places in England, throughout the district a sense of rightness, perhaps even a touch of gratitude exists for the services of a man whom people knew was a genuine servant of mankind. The dockers, usually fond of their pints, returned to parliament again and again, an ardent teetotaler who loved his fellow men. Bermondsey is like that.
Continue reading