By James Wolveridge
London   E. Okes
5.5" by 3.5" [56], 2-148, 125-160pp
A vanishingly scarce copy of the first English work on midwifery by Wolveridge, illustrated throughout, including with folding plates.
By James Wolveridge

1671 Speculum Matrics; or, the Expert Midwives Handmaid

London   E. Okes
5.5" by 3.5" [56], 2-148, 125-160pp
A vanishingly scarce copy of the first English work on midwifery by Wolveridge, illustrated throughout, including with folding plates.
£8,500.00
: 0.5kgs / : 657P5

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Description

Illustrated, Leather Binding, Very Scarce

A very scarce work. Last seen at auction in 1989. Almost never seen complete or in a good state this was a very practical treatise was designed for use and rarely survives. Illustrated with six folding plates, one plate, and twenty-one in-text engravings. This work is an octavo. The signatures run as A7, a8, *8, b4, B-C8, D7, E-K8, L2, L7-8. ESTC citation number R231964. ESTC calls for seven leaves of plates as here, The Wellcome collection copy likewise has eight including the frontis, not present here. Other copies have been seen at auction with an additional plate but this plate is not specified. With an index. Bound without leaves D1, L3-6, and M1-4. Bound without the frontispiece and rear endpapers. Front endpaper and front free endpaper are leaves of old printer's waste. The second edition of this work. An early work on midwifery, considered to be the oldest work on midwifery in the English language. Further it is 'the first printed medical textbook written in Ireland' (Carpenter, ed., Verse in English from Tudor and Stuart Ireland, 2003, p. 418). An important text. Childbirth was still at this point incredibly dangerous, with death during childbirth - of both the mother and baby - being very common. The work offers advice on how to proceed in trickier situations during childbirth. At this time, midwives were unofficially trained by apprenticeships which typically varied from two to three years, being trained under the supervision of an experienced midwife. Licences could be awarded when midwives were older, however they were expensive, and so they were not popular among midwives, and the licensing system for midwives soon stopped. In the Middle Ages, midwives were associated with witchcraft, and were at risk of being accused of being a witch. The work advises on nutriment of the child in the womb, due times, the causes of pain in childbirth, preternatural births, afterbirth, conception, the differences in sexes, abortion, miscarriage, and many more useful topics. Written by James Wolveridge, who styled himself as a 'man midwife' who worked in Cork, Ireland. He is considered to be the first midwife to write about childbirth in Ireland as a scientific manner. Before this, midwifery wasn't something that physicians weren't required to study. Wolveridge graduated from the University of Dublin. A very scarce early work on midwives in Great Britain, illustrated with folding plates.

Condition

Disbound with the rear full calf board detached but present, lacking the front board. Most of spine is lacking, with cracks to the leather present. Rubbing to the rear board, with bumping to the extremities. Front endpaper is working loose, with a large chip to the bottom and fore edge. Internally, generally firmly bound. Pages are age-toned with some scattered handling marks and dusting. Small chip to the bottom edge of the title page close to the gutter, affecting approximately two words of text of the imprint. Leaf A3 with large chip to the fore edge, not affecting text. Small closed tears to the bottom of leaves A3-A6. Closed tear to leaves *3 and *4. Leaves C4, C5, F4, F5, working loose. Leaves from gathering D working loose. Repairs to leaf I2, with a tear being sewn closed. Tail of leaves I6 and I7 lifting at the tail. Leaves L7 and L8 are detached but present. L7 with a closed tear across the text. Edgewear to the first and last few pages. Tear to the folding plate facing page 12, resulting in a small amount of loss to the image to the left hand side. Loss to the bottom of the folding plate facing page 21, resulting in a small amount of loss to the image. Folding plate facing page 32 with loss to the top edge. Closed tear to the folding plate facing page 85. Edgewear to all plates.

Fair

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