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Parsons (Charles Wesley, Rev.) correspondence
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"A fascinating archive of letters from Rev. Charles Wesley Parsons (1851-1907) to his close friend Henry M. Quackenbush (1847-1933), gun manufacturer and inventor of the extension ladder and the nutcracker. Once a highly respected Methodist Episcopal minister, by his late forties Parsons had begun to suffer severely from both the symptoms and the treatment of tic douloureux (also called trigeminal neuralgia), a neurologic disorder that causes intense pain in the face. The pain was treated with topical cocaine, which over time caused Parsons to experience paranoia and hallucinations. In series of letters written to Quackenbush between 1895 and 1902, Parsons writes repeatedly of being watched in his home, followed by detectives and 'sneaks,' and harassed by gangs and policemen. On January 28, 1902, he told Quackenbush he was out of cocaine and desperate for more to ease the pain, asking 'Will you please (I beg) send me by the quickest way possible (mail, I think best) one oz. of cocaine.' The next letter thanks his friend for the package, saying the pain has diminished, but reports that they tapped the wires of our telephone, put a microphone on and heard every word spoken in our house. And on March 9: 'I am cutting down, and by summer will hardly use any at all. ... This is the last time I'll ask it of you, I feel sure -- just mail me one more oz. of cocaine.' The archive includes 17 letters and a postcard from Parsons to Quackenbush (three typed and the rest handwritten, c. 70 pages in all), as well as 3 letters to Quackenbush from a mutual friend, expressing concern that Parsons' 'brain power' is failing and enclosing two postcards he received from Parsons complaining of abuse by the police."--Antiquarian bookseller's description, 2016.
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