A previously unpublished manuscript written by rural New England doctor Jeremiah Barker was discovered at the Maine Historical Society Library in Portland by medical historian Richard Kahn. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD KAHN

Rediscovered physician’s manuscript focus of Zoom talk 



CAMDEN  On Thursday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., the Camden Public Library will host an online presentation with physician and medical historian Richard Kahn about his new book,Diseases in the District of Maine 1772-1820: The Unpublished Work of Jeremiah Barker, a Rural Physician in New England. The book explores a manuscript written 200 years ago by a New England doctor who lived and practiced in Gorham and Portland.  

Assisted by his wife Patricia, a medical librarian, Kahn began work on the Jeremiah Barker papers more than 30 years ago with the rediscovery of the Barker manuscript at the Maine Historical Society Library in Portland. The papers contain a 50-year record of Barker’s reflections on diseases, diagnoses, treatments and outcomes, with an unusual effort to consult and cite the medical literature and other physicians in a changing medical landscape. 
Kahn’s book delivers Barker’s manuscript transcribed and presented in its entirety with extensive annotations, a five-chapter introduction to contextualize the work and a glossary to make it accessible to 21st century general readers, genealogists, students and historians. 

Kahn retired after having practiced internal medicine in the midcoast area for 50 years. He confesses to have developed an “almost pathological” interest in medical history since attending medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine. He has been active in several organizations devoted to medical history, most notably the American Association for the History of Medicine and the American Osler Society. Kahn will donate all proceeds from the sale of his book to Maine Historical Society. 

The program will be held on the Zoom meeting platform. Email [email protected] to request a link to attend. 

For more information on this and other library programs, visit librarycamden.org. 

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