Dr. Thompson’s Celebrated Eye Water

Letter from Joseph Thompson to his uncle Isaac Thompson, 1842. Ms 101872

Letter from Joseph Thompson to his uncle Isaac Thompson, 1842. Ms 101872

Joseph Thompson of Bridgeport, Connecticut, wrote a letter to his uncle Dr. Isaac Thompson of New London, Connecticut, in May, 1842. Joseph related the peaceful death of two of his sisters within a week of each other and how devastated he felt. His mother, he mentions, is also dying.

While the above tale is a sad one, what is really interesting about this letter is the recipient. Isaac Thompson was a fairly well-known pharmacist who sold various “patent” medicines including “Dr. Isaac Thompson’s Celebrated Eye Water”. Thompson introduced this remedy in 1795 and it was continuously available for nearly 200 years in Connecticut and the country. In fact it had the largest sale in the U.S. of any topical ophthalmic preparation in the 19th century. Continue reading

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