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Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The collection consists of approximately .25 cubic feet of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, and books documenting Charles Came. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from Charles Came to his second wife, Cynthia (Chadwick) Came which were written during his travels throughout upstate New York. The correspondence is not inclusive, and distinctions have been made between existing original correspondence, photostats, photocopies, and typed copies. The photostats appear to be the most complete set of letters between Dr. Came and his wife.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1: Biographical, undated
Series 2: Correspondence, 1845-1860
Series 3: Photographs, undated
Series 4: Writings, undated
Series 5: Pamphlets, 1838-1849
Series 6: Books, 1846-1854
Charles Came (1806-1881) was born in Henrietta, New York. Came did not attend school, but held work as both a cabinetmaker and a carver of gravestones. He had a strong interest in astronomy and electricity and during the late 1840s and 1850s, he traveled through upstate New York demonstrating the marvels of science, with an emphasis on electricity. Came discovered that he could make money on his own by traveling from town to town, presenting basic science to the people in a dramatic, entertaining style, or enlightening them about recent discoveries. Came began calling himself "Dr." Came and also prescribed medical remedies. The handbills in the collection note Dr. Came's Cough Balsam, Magnetic Stimulating Drops, Magnetic Vermifuge, Volatile Liniment, Vegetable Cathartric Powder, and Easy Emetic Tincture to name a few. The collection represents the popularization of science and its role in American culture.
Sherman, Roger. "Charles Came, Itinerant Science Lecturer, and His Splendid Apparatus," Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1991, p. 120.
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
The collection was purchased by the Division of Electricity and Modern Physics, now known as the Division of Medicine and Science in 1989.
Ownership and Custodial History
Collection was transferred from theDivision of Information Technology & Society (now Division of Medicine and Science) to the Archives Center in January 1999.
Collection processed by Alison Oswald, 2003.
Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Charles Came Collection, 1838-1979, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Related Archival Materials
Approximately 138 scientific instruments—some of which include electrical apparatuses, phrenology heads, tellurian, a celestial globe, colored lantern slides, and electromagnetic engines—from Dr. Came's personal collection are housed in the Division of Medicine and Science.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012