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BOURGEOIS, Louise (1563-1636)

Hebammen Buch: darinn von Fruchtbarkeit und Unfruchtbarkeit der Weiber, zeitigen und unzeitigen Geburt, Zustand der Frucht in und ausserhalb Mutterleib, zufälligen Kranckheiten so wol der Kindbetterin als dess Kindes ... erstmals durch Louyse Bourgeois ... in Frantzösischer Sprach beschreiben, hernach ... zum besten in die Teutsche Sprach ... ubergesetzt, und nach der Frau Urheberin corrigirtem und vermehrtem Exemplar wider von neuen auffgelegt. + ‘Apologia’: Schutzrede oder Verantwortung Frawen Loysa Burgeois ... zu Rettung ihrer Enren wieder den Bericht etlicher Medicorum und WundArtzte zu Pariss ...
Franckfurt, bey Matthaeus Merian, [1626]-1629.

First German edition of this celebrated hand book on obstetrics, complete with the Apologia. The first edition, Observations diverses, appeared in Paris in 1609 and the second one in 1617, the considerably enlarged third edition in 1626 from which this German version is translated. It is the first work on obstetrics to be published by a midwife. The book became very poular and was reprinted many times in French, German, Dutch and English, well into the eighteenth century. A “collection of secrets” was added to the sixth edition of 1634 as and appendix and was also issued separately in various editions. Louise Bourgeois was born in a Paris suburb. She was a member of a middle class family whose residence was adjacent to that of a certain barber-surgeon, named Martin Boursier, who had studied as a pupil and assistant to Ambroise Paré for many years. Boursier became attracted to Louise Bourgeois who manifested great interest in his profession, and theiy soon married. Subsequent to the birth of their first child Louise practised midwifery among the poor in the neighbourhood having recieved some instruction from her husband. Although she was probably more skilful than the best of the female midwives of the period, the guild of midwives vigorously but without success opposed her application for a licence. At the age of thirty-six she was called to attend Marie de Medici (1573-1642), wife of Henry IV. After the fortunate delivery of the future Louis XIII she was much sought after by the French arisotcracy, until 1627, when the Duchesee d’Orleans, one of the royal princesses developed sepsis, and died under her care. Louise Borgeois was forced to withdraw from the social life.

Collation: Four parts in one, Part I: pp 186 [pp 178-186 mispaginated 168-175], (6). Additional engraved title-leaf and full-page portrait of the authoress at page 12; Part II: pp 170 [pp 169-170 mispaginated 171-172], (6), with one full-page engraving; Part III: pp 45, (1) blank; Anhang: (47) - 67, (5), with 10 full-page and one half-page anatomical engravings in the text; Part IV: Apologia: pp 14, including additional engraved title-leaf, one blank leaf, 55, (3), one blank leaf.

Binding: Contemporary vellum with hand written spine title.

Provenance: Johan Nordenheim (1681-1740).

References: Garrison & Morton, 6145 (1609 ed.); Cutter and Viets, A Short History of Midwifery (1964) pp 73-77, 196-97; Wellcome 1014; Hagelin, The Womans Booke pp 38-41. Waller 1363.

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