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Podophyllum Peltatum and Observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians: William Bartram’s Preservation of Native American Pharmacology

By Laura E. Ray

Abstract

Historians have examined the significant contributions John and William Bartram made to 18th- and 19th-century knowledge of indigenous North American flora. However, the Bartrams’ contribution to medicinal botanical knowledge, particularly William Bartram’s compilation of Indians’ knowledge on the preparation and use of medicinal botanicals, is not well-known. In addition, while William Bartram’s contemporaries relied on his accounts of medicinal botanicals, they rarely acknowledged Bartram or Indians in their own works. Contemporaries plagiarized Bartram’s writings and used his exquisite illustrations to ornament their own publications. This paper reconstructs William Bartram’s careful collection and recording of medicinal botanical knowledge that became part of late 18th- and early 19th-century American pharmacology, as well as provides evidence for 54 Bartram-identified indigenous species and the pirating of William Bartram’s work by contemporaries

Topics: Arts & Humanities
Publisher: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2660592
Provided by: PubMed Central
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