Funds from the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture have been used to acquire a new manuscript for its Library and Archive at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center. It is an English receipt book, with a fancy calligraphic title page and contains medical, veterinary, household, and culinary recipes, both copied out by hand and cut from contemporary newspapers, including one clipping that reprints a cure for inflamed eyes of the horse, from The American Agriculturalist. The recipes were clearly intended for use on a farm and an inscription on the front pastedown says this commonplace book belonged to “Mark Sandford, junior, Martin Farm, near Dover,” according to the ownership inscription on the front pastedown. It appears to date from 1832-1852. Attached to the inside back cover is a folded broadside titled “What to Do in Cases of Poisoning or of Accidents.” The volume also contains a six page alphabetical index at the front.
The vast majority of the recipes are medical and veterinary. Many are for horses (from farriery to fattening lean horses and curing blood spavins); sheep (e.g. “foot rot,” “sore lips in lambs,” and blood in the urine); and cattle (especially milking cows, notably several recipes for cordials for cows – some introducing gin or brandy into the mixture; also foot and mouth disease – and those combating “milk fever”). The ingredients bear noting: for “sheep dipping,” for instance, a solution of arsenic, common soda, soap and sulphur is advised (a later annotation comments ‘The more sulphur the better’); vitriol, Epsom salts, lead and honey are just a few of the common ingredients otherwise employed. The arrangement of these recipes is very pragmatic, in sections according to species, but also intrinsically useful. For example, an “injection for a cow after abortion” is followed by recipes for disinfectants for floors and walls.
The Sandford family was documented in the parish of East Langdon at various points in the nineteenth century: one Mark Sandford, who provided information about his harvest to the Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist in 1866 and 1873, appears as fire officer, and member of the Dover Union’s Board of Guardians (responsible for both East Langdon and near-by Oxney), in the 1875 Dover, Folkestone, & Deal Guide & Appendix. Given the watermarking of the paper for 1827, and the dating of some recipes between 1832 and 1852, it seems likely that this compendium was started by Mark Sandford, Senior, in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and then, as was traditional, completed by several further owners and users over the course of the following decades.