This broadside begins: 'This is to acquaint the PUBLIC, That lately arrived in this Town from Beverley, The very celebrated Dr. Puff Stuff Sham Quirko Ye-Trick'. Unfortunately, but not unusually, the names of the author and publisher of this piece have not been included, nor has any date.
This light-hearted broadside tells the incredulous tale of Dr Puff Stuff from Beverley, who, according to this account, arrived in Europe with a veritable treasure trove of miracle cures. These included a potion enabling the growth of a set of new teeth and an ointment for the regeneration of entire limbs. Whilst many broadsides carried news of important events and provided factual accounts, this sheet is a good example of the role broadsides played in entertaining the public. Whilst most people would have taken the story of the doctor with a pinch of salt, at a time when there was a plethora of charlatans claiming miracle cures, there would have been a few readers who believed the strange tale of Dr Puff Stuff.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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