Child-birth or, The happy delivery of women

Wherein is set downe the government of women. In the time of their breeding childe: of their travaile, both naturall, and contrary to nature: and of their lying in. Together with the diseases, which happen to women in those times, and the meanes to helpe them. To which is added, a treatise of the diseases of infants, and young children: with the cure of them (James Guillimeau, 1635)

Wherein is set downe the government of women. In the time of their breeding childe: of their travaile, both naturall and contrary to nature: and of their lying in. Together with the diseases, which happen to women in those times, and the meanes to helpe them. With a treatise for the nursing of children. To which is added, a treatise of the diseases of infants, and young children: with the cure of them, and also of the small pox. Written in French by James Guillimeau the French Kings chirurgion.

From the Wellcome Collection. A digital transcription can be found in the University of Michigan Library Early English Books:Text Creation Partnership

The Expert Midwife

or An Excellent and most necessary Treatise of the generation and birth of Man (Jacob Rüff, 1637)

The Expert Midwife

From the Edward Worth Library, Dublin Ireland. This 1637 English translation, from the personal collection of Edward Worth’s father John Worth (1648-1688), focuses on maladies that affect women throughout their lives, not only just in childbirth. Rüff was a keen advocate of anatomy and is known for his anatomical treatises… On the first page, Rüff dedicates the volume:

“To all grave and modest Matrons, especially to such as have to do with women in that great danger of child-birth, as also, to all young practitioners in sick and surgery whom these matters may concern, Grace, Peace, and good success, in their undertakings, heartily wished.”

The Expert Midwife can also be found on microform in the National Library of Australia

PM Dunn provides some excerpts in their 2001 article Jacob Rueff (1500–1558) of Zurich and The expert midwife  and you can view some digitised pages at Anatomia Animata

The Midwives Book

or the Whole Art of Midwifry Discovered by Jane Sharp (Jane Sharp, 1671)

The Midwives Book

When the midwife Jane Sharp wrote The Midwives Book in 1671, she became the first British woman to publish a midwifery manual. Drawing on works by her male contemporaries and weaving together medical information and lively anecdotes, she produced a book that is instructive, accessible, witty, and constantly surprising.

Read a synopsis by Josephine Liptrott on the Heroine Collective, and  in-depth analysis by Catherine Morphis Swaddling England: How Jane Sharp’s Midwives Book Shaped the Body of Early Modern Reproductive Tradition.

A digital version of the book can be found on Early English Books, and the original at the University of Cambridge

The Art of Midwifery Improv’d

Fully and Plainly laying down whatever instructions are requisite to make a compleat midwife. And the many errors in all the books hitherto written upon this subject clearly refuted. (Hendrik van Deventer, 1716)

The Art of Midwifery Improv’d: Fully and Plainly laying down whatever instructions are requisite to make a compleat midwife. And the many errors in all the books hitherto written upon this subject clearly refuted.

This 2014 blog post from the New York Academy of Medicine (History of Medicine & Public Health) Library Blog by Sarah Hatoum explores the bibliographical and historiographical context of this book. van Deventer was the first to give a thorough description of the pelvis, and to suggest that the shape and size of pelvis could cause difficulty in birth.

Cases in midwifry

(Written by the late Mr. William Giffard, Surgeon and Man-midwife, 1734)

Cases in midwifry Written by the late Mr. William Giffard, Surgeon and Man-midwife Revis'd and publish'd by Edward Hody, M.D

See a full digitised copy here, courtesy of the Wellcome Collection

Publication/Creation

London : Printed for B. Motte, T. Wotton, and L. Gilliver … and J. Nourse, 1734.

Physical description

xxxii, 520 pages, 3 unnumbered folded leaves of plates : illustrations ; (8vo)

Abrégé de l’art des accouchements

(Angelique Marguerite Le Boursier du Coudray, 1769)

Abrégé de l’art des accouchements

This 2014 blog post from the New York Academy of Medicine (History of Medicine & Public Health) Library Blog by Rebecca Halff explores the bibliographical and historiographical context of this book.

In 1759, King Louis XV charged du Coudray with the responsibility of educating rural midwives, and du Coudray soon became a national sensation and international symbol of French medical advancement… At the King’s request, du Coudray began touring the French countryside to deliver medical lectures to rural midwives… The Abrégé compiles these lectures in the order in which du Coudray delivered them… But the King’s midwife’s most celebrated achievement was not the publication of her book, but rather the invention of her “machine,” to which she refers several times in the Abrégé. This “machine” was the first of its kind: a teaching model of the female reproductive system. It came with a leather and cloth fetus which could be placed in any number of different positions to simulate the complications of a real delivery…”

A set of anatomical tables

with explanations, and an abridgment of the practice of midwifery, with a view to illustrate a treatise on that subject, and collection of cases (William Smellie, 1793)

A set of anatomical tables

See a full digitised copy here, courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

By: Smellie, William, – Hamilton, Alexander,
Edition: 1st Worcester ed., with an entire new set of plates, carefully corr. and rev.
Publication info: Worcester, Massachusetts,Printed by Isaiah Thomas; sold at his bookstore in Worcester; [etc., etc.]1793.
Holding Institution: Univ. of Mass Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library (archive.org)

An elementary treatise on midwifery

or principles of tokology and embryology (Velpeau, 2nd ed., 1838)

An elementary treatise on midwifery, or, Principles of tokology and embryology

See a digital copy here, courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library
By: Velpeau, A. (Alfred), – Meigs, Charles D.
Edition: 2nd American ed.
Publication info: Philadelphia :Grigg & Elliot,1838.
Holding Institution: Univ. of Mass Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library (archive.org)

The midwife's guide

being the complete works of Aristotle (1845)

The midwife's guide: being the complete works of Aristotle

See a digital copy here, courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library
By: Aristotle. – Salmon, William,
Publication info: New York :Published for the Trade,1845.
Holding Institution: Wellcome Library (archive.org)

Treatise on Midwifery

and the diseases of women and children, with remedies (AI Coffin, 17th ed., 1878)

Treatise on Midwifery and the diseases of women and children, with remedies

See a full digitised copy here, courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

By: Coffin, A. I. (Albert Isaiah) – King’s College London.
Edition: Seventeenth edition.
Publication info: London :published by A. I. Coffin,1878.
Holding Institution: King’s College London, Foyle Special Collections Library (archive.org)