Rear Admiral Andrew Foote, Unique Medical Document Providing Insight into Human Sexuality in the Armed Forces

Foote, Andrew H. (1806-1863). Rear Admiral, USN. DS, 1p, 8.5 x 11 in. on blue lined paper, Portsmouth, NH. June 14, 1858. “Approved, A. H. Foote, Commanding US Ship ‘Portsmouth.’” 

Foote here approves the transfer of an afflicted sailor to the Naval hospital at Portsmouth, NH. The sailor, Henry C. Gorman, a transfer case from the frigate USS Minnesota, suffered from “Mania.”

A series of endorsements from Navy surgeons makes his condition progressively clear as Surgeon M.G. Delany first certifies that Gorman is “afflicted with Mania.” Then Dr. M.G. DeGanory (?) further explains that Gorman “has a derangement of the Liver with tumescence [a swelling] & constipation.” In a postscript he then adds that “Gorman is addicted to ‘Masturbation'” and that that activity is thus “the cause of mania.” A “swelling” that will not go down!

The document serves as Gorman’s travel pass, and is docketed “Sick Ticket / Henry C. Gorman / Served on the US Ship Portsmouth / 14 June, 1858.” 


A fresh document with usual horizontal folds; the clean, dark ink easily readable throughout, with no loss from chipping.

Estimate: $400 - $600
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