Want to read an old book?
How about as old as 1734 or 1752?
The Sydney office of the Australian College of Midwives is home to the Pam Hayes Midwifery Archive: a historical collection of books, artefacts and memorabilia associated with midwifery.
Among this collection are books such as a first edition of A treatise on the theory and practice of midwifery written by British physician and lecturer in obstetrics, William Smellie in 1752. You can read all about this textbook in an online article published by the Arizona State University: Tran, Yvette, “A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery (1752-1764), by William Smellie“. Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2017).
We have an even older text in the collection, Cases in midwifery written by British physician William Giffard, published in 1734. This book was owned by 2 other people, presumed to be doctors, in 1760 and later in 1821 prior to ACM’s acquisition (not that far back it has to be said!). In 1725, William Gifford began recording the cases he was called out to by midwives in in London, with a view to publication. You can read about some of the 225 cases that are described in his book in this blog and also here.
The book collection has many other early works going back to the turn of the 20th century, as well as a very extensive catalogue covering the development of midwifery and associated areas of expertise up to current times. Many of the works are rare and may only be found elsewhere in private collections. These works are a wonderful resource for midwifery historians and researchers.
Lorraine Doyle. Custodian of the Pam Hayes Midwifery Archive Collection with Pam Mulholland and Ann Grieve.