Women in medicine -- Europe -- History -- 1492-1648.
Women played substantial roles in health and healing in medieval and early-modern Europe. They have been undercounted in studies that rely upon occupational labels, but when we look at caregiving and bodywork, we can see women providing a broad range of services. Although women often healed in domestic settings, neither female patients nor practitioners should be considered in isolation from larger market forces that shaped men's healing work.
gender, patients, women, healers, bodywork, caregiving, medieval, early modern
Women in medicine -- Iberian Peninsula -- History -- To 1500.
Home care services -- Iberian Peninsula -- History -- To 1500.
Alternative medicine -- Iberian Peninsula -- History -- To 1500.
Assessments of medieval health care used to focus on practitioners holding some sort of occupational label, resulting in a meager representation of women. This article intends to illustrate how women's significant contribution to healthcare can be mapped out by looking at the domestic space that is largely left outside the histories of medieval medicine. First, it explores the language that names women's activities to maintain health and alleviate illness, showing how words identifying women's capacities to heal come from everyday actions and belong to the semantic domain of women and mothers. The caring meanings ascribed to the words women, mothers, midwives, and nurses in the Iberian mother tongues conflate and describe a continuum of practice whose origin is the household, from where it expands to the community. Second, it discusses the importance of women's ordinary domestic care within the theoretical frame of the six non-naturals, particularly feeding and nourishing, as well as presenting the household as an open and flexible space providing health care beyond the family. Third, by considering recipes as privileged evidence, it attempts to piece together a preliminary textual history of women's household knowledges that for centuries had been circumscribed to the domain of the oral. It identifies the written contexts where women's recipes appear through a long timespan, attesting changes in women's literate practices that give rise to new genres that illuminate a sphere previously opaque to the historical record.
health care, women, household, self-care, care-giving, recipes, medical genres, Middle Ages, Iberia
Women in medicine -- England -- London -- History -- 16th century.
Royal College of Physicians of London.
Barber-Surgeons' Company (London, England)
In Elizabethan London, women occupied a significant position in the city's medical marketplace, both as consumers of medical services and as practitioners. Though male medical authors of the period objected to the presence and practices of these women, a very different view of their medical work emerges if we shift our historical vantage point to the streets, houses, churches, and hospitals of the city. Using relatively underutilized sources such as parish records, probate records, lists of immigrants to London, hospital records, and individual manuscripts it is possible to draw a richer, more detailed portrait of how female health-care workers engaged with the business of health and healing. Women emerge from these records as active, prominent, and acknowledged participants in the delivery of services that promoted and preserved the health of many Londoners from cradle to grave. Hired by public institutions such as parishes and hospitals, as well as by private individuals, women were central figures in the delivery of nursing, medical, pharmaceutical, and surgical services throughout the city as part of organized systems of health care. Exploring how Londoners saw female practitioners, and how women played a recognized role within the city's range of health-care options, demonstrates that women were crucial to community health, and were also valued as such by their neighbors and patients.
Women, medical work, surgery, hospitals, health, healing, London College of Physicians, Barber-Surgeons' Company, midwife, nurse, searcher
D'Igard, Barbe-Françoise -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Trials (Fraud) -- France -- Paris -- History -- Case studies.
Medical jurisprudence -- France -- Paris -- History -- Case studies.
This article explores the obstacles faced by the female medical expert in the early modern courtroom through a close reading of three case studies: Marie Garnier, expert midwife tried for false testimony in 1665, and Angélique Perrotin and Barbe-Françoise D'Igard, accused of false accusation of rape and infant substitution, respectively, in the 1730s. The difficulties of determining the veracity of the corporeal signs of a crime were particularly acute with regard to the reproductive female body, which was perceived to be less reliable than its male counterpart. The ability of the female medical expert to accurately and truthfully interpret such signs was also questionable, and at times she seems to have been as much "on trial" as the bodies of those she examined.
Elisabeth, Duchess of Saxony, 1502-1557 -- Health.
Syphilis -- Alternative treatment -- Germany -- History -- 16th century.
Self-care, Health -- Germany -- History -- 16th century.
This article uses the case of German noblewoman Elisabeth of Rochlitz as a window on sixteenth-century patient attitudes toward disease and the body. A widowed duchess of Saxony, Elisabeth spent the last twenty years of her life battling an increasingly serious string of illnesses. Despite her ready access to learned physicians and her friendly relationship with several of them, she used a wide variety of practitioners and frequently privileged lower-status healers when she perceived their methods to be more efficacious. She placed the greatest weight on remedies that would relieve the experienced symptoms of her illness, rather than more holistic methods such as doctors' regimens. This perception of disease as a set of symptoms led to a dispute about the meaning of signs in her final illness.
patients, gentlewomen, recipes, court medicine, signs, French Disease
Women in pharmacy -- England -- Norfolk -- History -- 18th century.
Alternative medicine -- England -- Norfolk -- History -- 18th century.
This article is a study of household medicine production and consumption through an examination of the papers of Elizabeth Freke (1641–1714) and a wider survey of around nine thousand medical recipes in printed and manuscript collections from seventeenth-century England. It investigates the sorts of medicines that may have been produced in early modern households and the production methods, ingredients, and equipment used. Focusing on three inventories of medicines compiled by Freke between 1710 and 1712 as well as her manuscript recipe collection and medical reading notes, I contend that she kept on hand a number of cure-alls and medicines for general weaknesses, while holding onto recipes for more-specific ailments; the recipes, in these cases, would be the "just-in-case" medicine cabinet. I also argue for a close relationship between commercial and domestic medicine, and present the idea that household practitioners purchased not only ingredients (both processed and unprocessed) and equipment, but also medical knowledge.
early modern, gender, household, medical marketplace, early modern drugs and pharmacy
This article provides a transcription and translation of four notarized declarations describing the events surrounding a postmortem caesarean section performed in 1545 in Vercelli, a small city in the Duchy of Savoy. After her death in the late stages of pregnancy, Isabella Della Volpe's body was opened and her fetus excised by a local barber, aided by a surgeon and a midwife. The article argues that the postmortem caesarean section was a well-known and widely accepted procedure and that it might be motivated by financial and legal as well as religious concerns; not only was it important to baptize the child for its salvation, but the fate of the mother's dowry, as in this case, might depend on whether she died with or without living issue.
caesarean section, childbirth, baptism, dowry, medicine and the law, Vercelli