Female Physician Trade Sign, ca. 1835
Well, this is a sign that was found in my home in Urbana, Ohio, back in, like, 1970s, when I was a kid. And it was behind an upstairs wall, like a knee wall space. After some research, I do know that there was a Dr. Jacob Leonard that lived in my home in the 1800s, and he had a daughter by the name of Sarah, and she married a John Dupler, and she might have been a doctor. That's all I can tell.
This is a very, very rare American trade sign. It's made of one piece of wood with a beautiful deep dish surround molding. The lettering is gilt, which is gold, and all around the sign is this sparkly substance. People call these sand signs. But they're really smalt, S-M-A-L-T. And smalt is crushed glass. And they would actually glue that to the wood to these early trade signs, which made the wood almost impervious to the weather. And that's one of the reasons this sign is in such wonderful condition. The bracket is all original early iron. Probably dates to about 1830, 1840. And, obviously, a woman physician, pretty rare. The sign would have hung perpendicular to the street. And on the other side of the sign it says, "Mrs. S. Dupler," and it used the word "doctress." And a doctress is a female physician. However, in the early 19th century, the term doctress was also applied to someone that had magical healing powers.
So she's putting the word out there that possibly she's doing a little avant-garde medicine. This is a very, very rare trade sign. And we're going to put an insurance value on the sign of $2,500 to $3,500.
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