Catharina Schrader

Friesland, Netherlands, 1693-1746

Catharina Schrader

Mother and Child Were Saved  is a memoir written by a Protestant midwife, Catharina Schrader, who lived in Germany during the 1600s. Catherina offers an important window into the daily lives and life cycles of non-elite women living in early modern Europe. She documented some 4000 births she attended.  Analysis of these records shows 95% of these births were spontaneous, without intervention. The corrected maternal mortality was 4.6/1000 and perinatal mortality 54/1000 births.

Schrader, C. G. (1987). Mother and Child Were Saved: The Memoirs (1693-1740) of the Frisian Midwife Catharina Schrader trans. and annotated by Hilary Marland, with introductory essays by MJ van Lieburg and GJ Kloosterman. Rodopi, Amsterdam.  An extract of the book can be found on Google Books.

Dunn, P. (2004). Catherina Schrader (1656–1746): the memoirs of a Friesian midwife. 

Beal, J. (2014). Catharina Schrader: A Midwife of 18th-Century Friesland. Midwifery Today, 110. 

Wiesner-Hanks, M. Excerpt from Memoirs by Catharina Schrader,  Analyzing personal accounts, World History Commons  (On that site, click on ‘Text’ to see the excerpts).

Rosina Heydrich

Schwenkfelder community, Lower Salford, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1819

Rosina Heydrich

An extensive midwifery manuscript  in the archive of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, this journal attributed to Rosina Heydrich, is a rare artefact of women’s work and medical practice in early America, covering 1775 to 1819.

It contains recipes and cures for ailments dealing with childbirth and also records the births of over 1,700 children.

Donmoyer, P. (2021). Deliver, ritual and discretion: Discovering the past in early Pennsylvania midwife’s register. Pennsylvania Heritage, Winter 2021.

Martha Ballard

Hallowell (Augusta) Maine, 1785-1812

Martha Ballard

Explore Martha Ballard’s Diary online

Explore the film A Midwife’s Tale, produced by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt and directed by Richard P. Rogers, which chronicles the interwoven stories of two remarkable women: eighteenth-century midwife and healer Martha Ballard; and the twentieth-century historian who brought her words to light, Laurel Thatcher Urlich.

Buy the book A Midwife’s Tale: The life of Martha Ballard, based on her diary 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Urlich


BEALE J 2012 Martha_Ballard_A_Midwife_of_Maine_1778-1812

BLOOM L, 1990 Midwife, mortician, physician, pharmacist