Blue Glass, Phrenology & Blood Food: 19th Century Health Crazes

Blue Glass, Phrenology & Blood Food: 19th Century Health Crazes

As researchers rush to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the pandemic has spawned a bevy of supposed miracle cures. People desperate for any glimmer of hope rush  to try the magic elixirs and when they fail to produce the anticipated result, the users abandon them and move on to the next new thing. It has always been thus.

In early 1877, when Lavinia Goodell was weighing various options for the treatment of her ovarian tumor and her mother’s dementia was making life in the Goodell household increasingly difficult, Lavinia turned to a health craze that was sweeping the nation: blue glass.

Continue reading →
Posted by admin in Illness, 0 comments

The death of Wisconsin’s 1st woman lawyer

The death of Wisconsin’s 1st woman lawyer

Rhoda Lavinia Goodell (May 2, 1839-March 31, 1880)

In the early morning hours of March 31, 1880, Lavinia Goodell died in Milwaukee. She was just a month shy of her 41st birthday. Lavinia had left Janesville in November of 1879 and moved to Madison, setting up her law practice there. She went to Milwaukee in January 1880 to seek treatment for her rapidly declining health at a Turkish bath establishment. When that treatment failed, she was taken to a private residence where she spent her final days. Her cousin Sarah Thomas was with her when she died of ovarian cancer. The Janesville Gazette wrote:

Continue reading →

Posted by admin in Death/estate, Life in Wisconsin: 1871-1880, Illness, 2 comments