The Midwives of Seventeenth-Century London

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This book is the first comprehensive and detailed study of early modern midwives in seventeenth-century London. Midwives, as a group, have been dismissed by historians as being inadequately educated and trained for the task of child delivery. The Midwives of Seventeenth-Century London rejects these claims by exploring the midwives' training and their licensing in an unofficial apprenticeship by the Church. Dr. Evenden also offers an accurate depiction of the midwives in their socioeconomic context by examining a wide range of seventeenth-century sources. This expansive study not only recovers the names of almost one thousand women who worked as midwives in the twelve London parishes, but also brings to light details about their spouses, their families and their associates.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this book is a remarkable piece of historical sleuthing." ISIS

"...Dr. Evenden has thus uncovered a wealth of information as to midwives' lives, wealth, and social standing; and by thes and other means, she has to a considerable degree caused seventeenth-century London midwives to emerge from the shadows...Dr. Evenden has brought the lives and activities of seventeenth century London midwives to light as never before; and this representss an important landmark." Sixteenth Century Journal

"This carefully crafted book presents the reader with page after page of impeccably researched detail which brings to life the hard-working and often clever and well-reputed midwives of seventeenth-century London . This book is a must not only for scholars working on the history of midwifery and childbirth, but is also essential reading for all those with an interest in early modern women's lives and work." Hilary Marland, University of Warwick

"Evenden produces an extremely well documented account. She utilizes a sizeable number of primary sources; perhaps the most fascinating ones are the diaries and records of the midwives themselves.... A more balanced study on the subject would be difficult to find." E-STREAMS

"The Midwives of Seventeenth-Century London is an excellent piece of historical research, illuminating poorly understood issues associated with the history of midwifery and childbearing. In addition, Evenden has provided a valuable and detailed account of early modern English women's paid work." H-Net Reviews

"Moving beyond traditional sources for the study of mid-wives, Evenden is able to reconstruct the lives and social experiences of London midwives in the seventeenth century. She provides convincing evidence that the unfavorable reputation of midwives is by no means deserved... This is a carefully researched book. Evenden is to be commended for her creative use of sources, and her willingness to work at such a detailed level." Katherine L. French, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This study of midwives in early modern London adds admirably to what we know about who midwives were." Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521027854
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,186,901
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Ecclesiastical licensing of midwives; 2. Pre-licensed experience; 3. Mothers and midwives; 4. A social and economic profile of London midwives; 5. Midwives of twelve London parishes: a socioeconomic case study; Conclusion; Epilogue; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

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