The Carolina medical journal was published in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the year 1900, by doctors from Winston, Salisbury, Raleigh, and many more cities, including the collaboration of Richard H. Whitehead, M.D, from Chapel Hill. When discussing if this journal is applicable to our food story of Chapel Hill, we see evidence of clippings inside the cover that suggest that the journal was available for use at the medical library at UNC (Image 1). The access to this journal proposes the idea that university students and medical students used it, and that the research found inside was applicable to Chapel Hill.

This source, although not obvious at first glance, is quintessential for understanding the food story of Chapel Hill, because it tells more than just a doctor’s advice concerning the best diets when treating ailments. It does not suggest certain prescriptions or an intake of superfoods, rather an emphasis on the intake of one specific food: milk (Image 2 and 3). This simple staple foods was the “go-to” fix when dealing with illnesses that had not yet been thoroughly researched, and its importance in the medical community of North Carolina, and it’s citizens, is unexpected. The journal is full of medical remedies based on the use of milk, and the two images presented are only a fraction of the suggested treatments. 

Diets and health fads are constantly changing; from the low-fat diet of the 90s, to the boom of superfoods in today’s society, opinions on “what’s right for our bodies,” often varies, and health trends tell an important part about the society in which they emerged. Eating in the age of decadence and empire often conjures images of great feasts, luxurious dining parties, and expensive courses. But what the Carolina Medical Journal does is tells the story of the simplistic and rational benefits of a common food during this time, rather than pursuing the benefits of more elegant food, which further emphasizes good health and well-being in an era when access to a potpourri of food, as well as the sociality of expensive food, was steadily increasing.

Image 1
Gibbon, Robert L., Robert D. Jewett, and W. H. Wakefield. Carolina Medical Journal 45, no. 1 (January 1900).

Image 2 Wakefield, W. H. “Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Department.” Carolina Medical Journal 45, no. 1 (January 1900): 75.

Image 3 Conklink, A. B. “Diet in Lithaema.” Carolina Medical Journal 45, no. 1 (January 1900): 18.