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NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE

History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Maryland 20894
(301) 496-5405
WWW: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/hmd.html

The National Library of Medicine is the successor to the Library of the Surgeon General, founded in 1836. It contains numerous books and pamphlets on Meteorology and Medical Meteorology, which reflect the role of the Surgeon General and the Army Medical Department in meteorology from 1814 to about 1874.

Cf. Charles Smart, "The Connection of the Army Medical Department with the Development of Meteorology in the United States," U.S. Weather Bureau Bulletin 11 (1893): 207-16; and Edgar Erskine Hume, "The Foundation of American Meteorology by the United States Army Medical Department," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 8 (1940): 202-38.

METEOROLOGICAL REGISTER, 1881-84. 1 vol.
U.S. Army Medical Department, Fort Lapwai, Idaho.

PHILADELPHIA MORTALITY AND METEOROLOGICAL REPORTS, 1836-45. 2 vols. Statistics.

WATERHOUSE, BENJAMIN. 1754-1846. Topographico-medical remarks together with meteorological tables, or diary of the weather, made near the headquarters of the 2d Military Department. Cambridge, Mass., 1816.

In 1814, Surgeon General James Tilton (1745-1822), issued a general order directing all hospital surgeons, mates, and post surgeons under his command to "keep a diary of the weather" and report quarterly as part of their official duties. One of the few surgeons to comply with the new orders was Benjamin Waterhouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose diary of the weather dated July 1816 is the earliest meteorological journal preserved in the Army Medical Library. Barometer, thermometer, face of the sky, wind and rain and snow were noted for the hours of 7 a.m., 2 p.m., and 9 p.m.

PERSONAL DIARY OF CONSUMPTION OF SOLIDS AND FLUIDS, EXERCISE, SLEEP, AMOUNT OF URINE VOIDED, METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS, ETC., FOR ONE YEAR. Hamburg. 1755-56.

These observations are related to an earlier series of instrumental meteorological observations by Dr. John Lining in Charleston, South Carolina in 1740. Lining, who found the climatic conditions in Charleston radically different from those of his native Scotland, decided to observe both the weather and the intake and outgo of his own body for a period of one year in order to understand their relation to epidemic disease.

Cf. John Lining to Secretary of the Royal Society, Jan. 22, 1741 Phil. Trans. 42 (1742-43): 491-509; (1744-45): 318-30; Robert C. Aldredge, "Weather observers and observations at Charleston, South Carolina from 1670-1871," in Year Book of the City of Charleston, Historical Appendix (1940), 190-257; and J.H. Cassedy, "Meteorology and Medicine in Colonial America: Beginnings of the Experimental Approach," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 24 (1969): 193-204.


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