Philadelphia: Kimber & Richardson, 1812. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo (5-1/4" x 8-1/2") bound in full contemporary calf leather with a gilt-ruled spine and gilt-lettered burgundy morocco spine label, early rebacking; iii-viii, -367, , [4 1-advertisement for Kimber & Richardson Medical Books] pages. THE FIRST AMERICAN TEXTBOOK ON PSYCHIATRY with some appreciation of psychoanalysis. AUSTIN, 1670: Second Issue (It appears that no one has firm evidence of the existence of a first issue.); GARRISON-MORTON, 4924; NORMAN,1867: "This is the first psychiatric treatise produced by an American native, representing the first attempt made in the United States to place the study of mental illness on a scientific foundation." Not all of Rush's observations were very enlightened. For example, Rush believed that dreams were the effect of unsound or imperfect sleep "induced by morbid or irregular action in the blood-vessels of the brain, and hence it is accompanied with the same erroneous train, or the same incoherence of thought, which takes place in delirium. This is so much the case, that a dream may be considered as a transient paroxysm of delirium, and delirium as a permanent dream. It differs from madness in not being attended with muscular action. As dreams are generally accompanied with distress, and are often premonitory signs of acute diseases, their cure is an important object of the science of medicine. Their remote cause are an increase, or diminution, of stimuli upon the brain" (pages 300-301). As a cure Rush suggests "a draught of porter, a glass of wine, or a dose of opium" (page 302). Commenting on the "frequent and rapid transition of the mind from one subject to another," Rush states that "it is said that booksellers have sometimes become deranged from this cause." Perhaps he did know what he was talking about. Early bookplate on front and rear pastedowns of "Doctr Wright's SI MUTUARIS REDDE." Ink stamp of "T. H. Wright" on top margin of title page with small ink name of C.W. G. Rohrer on front endpaper. Fairly even, typical browning of the text due to the quality of the paper; old dampstaining to margins of some pages. Very Good. Item #020852
Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was also one of the most respected medical doctors and theorists in America. He served as Surgeon General to the Continental Army during the American Revolution and was present at most of the major battles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The emblem of the American Psychiatric Association bears his portrait.