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Von Frieling's Salve collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-65

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 17 folders. In addition to the untitled book, designated the "Von Frieling Sammelband," the collection contains photocopies of the book and materials related to the 20th century version of Von Frieling’s green butter salve, also called Von Frieling’s plaster salve. These materials include documentation and packaging for the salve, patent paperwork, correspondence, and various items related to herbal medicine and early German printing, as well as two samples of the salve itself.

The Von Frieling Sammelband is believed to have been owned by the Von Frieling family of Soltau, Germany. The book is a composite work in German with pages taken from at least three apparently separate works and sewn together into one bound volume. These texts include a work on the interpretation of dreams, another on the medicinal properties of various local waters, and other writings related to astrology and early medicine. In a description of the 20th century rediscovery of the Von Frieling Sammelband, the authors note that “this book contains quotations from philosophers of that period, notes upon the art of steel making and a formula for making a green butter salve that made Doctor Von Frieling famous as a man of healing power.” The book is bound in leather; the text is printed in Gothic-style German and includes small woodblock prints. Following the sections of printed text, the book includes an extensive section of handwritten notes, also in German, which appear to have been added by different hands and at various times up to the 1800s. Among the notes are several hand-drawn designs and sketches.


  • Creation: circa 1512-1977,
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1932

Language of Materials

English and German

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials, including the Kräuter Atlas and the Gutenberg Museum Guide, may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

This collection includes an untitled work that supposedly belonged to Dr. Albert Von Frieling, a physician living in Soltau, Germany, in the early 16th century. No additional information could be found related to Dr. Von Frieling’s life or medical practice. Documentation written by Edward Colman and George Von Frieling that accompanies the book describes its discovery in approximately 1902 on the Von Frieling estate in Soltau, Germany. Colman and G. Von Frieling write that the book, which included an ancient recipe for green butter salve, was found inside an iron box with several decaying, unreadable papers. Their record dates the book to 1512, but this date lacks additional authentication and should be considered unconfirmed.

Much of the Von Frieling's Salve Collection pertains to the recipe for green butter salve, which supposedly was created by Dr. Albert Von Frieling in the 16th century. After the discovery of the untitled work on the estate in Soltau, Henry Von Frieling, a descendant of Dr. Albert Von Frieling, is said to have recreated the salve described by his ancestor. Heinrich (Henry) Von Frieling was born 21 September 1885 in Soltau, according to the inscription in the front of his notebook. He came to New York in the early 20th century, but little is know about his life, other than his business venture to market “Von Frieling’s Salve.” H. Von Frieling applied for a patent for the salve in 1911, and historical newspapers show that advertisements for Von Frieling’s Salve continued to run in several Iowa papers until at least 1931. An undated and unidentified newspaper clipping reports the filing of a bankruptcy petition for “Frieling Bros. (Henry’s Restaurant),” owned by "Henry V. and George V. Frieling" in the southern district, which possibly refers to the Southern District of New York.


.5 Linear Feet


Materials are arranged by approximate chronology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia in 2010 by Chris VonFrieling. Prior to the creation of this finding aid in 2014, two items from the collection were processed into the Historical Collections artifacts collection in 2012.

Physical Description

1 box with the dimensions of 5.5 inches x 10 inches x 15.5 inches, 1 folder with the dimensions of 8.5 inches by 14 inches, and 2 jars measuring 2 inches tall and 1.5 inches in diameter.

A Guide to the Von Frieling's Salve Collection, circa 1512?-1977
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0722 United States