I would call these three untitled workbooks
"Lost Recipes of an Old Healer: Medicines, Tonics, Elixirs, and
Balms for the Care of Human and Animal Patients; Developed and Administered by the 'Best Doctor around these parts'...Dr.
S.E. Ball." [Circa 1904]
Partial list of recipes:
(An amazing note: The quantities mixed
reached into the hundreds of pounds per batch!
My favorites are large
Almond Face Cream
Bed Bug Killer
Flesh Wound Balm
Hog Lung Remedy
& Bladder Tablets
Lump Jaw Remedy
Red Blood Elixor
Vanishing Face Cream
These untitled workbooks were hand published and kept by doctor/pharmacist, S.E. Ball.
Samuel Ephraim Ball. Born 1870, Mappleton, Kansas. Died 1956, Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
These are S.E. Ball's "secret" recipe books: Documenting all the balms, elixirs, tonics, and concoctions,
and medicines that he administered to human and animal patients from 1900-1912.
S.E. Ball lived medical history: He lived right in the moment of transition from old school quackery
to serious legitimate medicine.
His workbooks are
an important snapshot of the state and practice of Medicine in the central United States post turn-of-the-century, pre-world
Dr. S.E. Ball began his
entrepreneurial journey selling concoctions from a horse drawn "circus" wagon.
Later he opened a small drugstore.
Eventually his entrepreneurial
spirit lead him to create the Ball Clinic--a health business so large that it occupied a full city block in the
town of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. [On ebay you can see postcards of the old Ball Clinic]
I acquired these three books from S.E. Ball's son, one
C.B. Ball, who would be 100 this year, if he were still living.
[the son] called these workbooks "home remedies 1900-1912." C.B. wrote that on a note card to go
with the volumes. He also is the one who wrote "Front" on the cover of the second book pictured
C.B. was a scholar humorist--his father's workbooks are
a reflection of the whimsical smarts running through the Ball bloodline.
To the best of my ability, here are the specifics on the three
- First edition
hand-prepared circa 1904. 4 1/2 x 7 in. Approx. 200 grid-paper pages. Typed. Pages inserted into metal binder with
leather cover. Binder is actually a tabbed alphabetized address book/day planner Contents: 50+ plus recipes
of medical healants in alphabetical order. Format: Ingredients are listed on the left page, process for mixing those
ingredients is described on the facing page. Also included: Assorted promotional literature from the doctor to promote
his products; Prescription slips for his various tonics; Documentation of the source vendor companies from
which he acquired the base elements of his recipes; Form for potential shareholders to buy shares in his privately-held company
(and on the back of that is written in his hand an entire recipe for one of his concoctions.) We know 100% sure that Dr. S.E.
prepared this volume himself.
- Second edition hand
prepared circa 1908. 4 1/2 x 7 in. Approx. 200 typed pages inserted into metal binder with leather cover.Leather layer
of cover is completely gone. Only paper layer left. Seems to be exact in content to the first edition. Binder is again
tabbed alphabetized address book/day planner, this time for the calendar year 1908-1909. Contents: 50+ plus
recipes of medical healants are in alphabetical order. Format: Ingredients are listed on the left page, process for mixing
those ingredients is described on the facing page.This volume includes written in pencil by the doctor's own hand,
notations. Including several pages of what looks to be a list of monies owed to him by patients who could not pay for the
medicines they needed. He listed patient's name, the medicine, the dollar (cents usually) amount due. The doctor's
son, C.B., at a later date wrote "FRONT" on the front cover of this volume. It is C.B.'s handwriting
on the cover. All handwriting inside this volume is Dr. S.E. Balls. We know 100% sure that Dr. S.E. prepared this volume himself.
- Third edition. Hand prepared. Unbound. Date unknown. 4 1/2 x 7 in. Plain paper--not grid paper as in two previous volumes. Contents: 50+ plus recipes of medical
healants are in alphabetical order. Format: Ingredients are listed on the left page, process for mixing those ingredients
is described on the facing page. Seems to be exact in content to the first edition. There is the possibility that this
edition was made by the son, not the doctor himself. I say this because the type in this volume was made by a different typewriter
than the first two. It would at least indicate that if Dr. S.E. did prepare this third volume himself, he did so at a later
date on a updated typewriter.