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Dr. William Stoddard Williams' description of a throat distemper diagnosis
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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William Stoddard Williams (1762-1829) learned to be a doctor through the apprenticeship system. His own father, also a doctor, died in 1775, and so he was sent to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to apprentice to a cousin, Dr. Sargeant. After his training in the Berkshires, he spent a year as physician in the nearby town of Richmond, after which he returned to Deerfield to practice. His meticulous entries in his medical account books are very revealing of the state of medicine in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in America.
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