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The Female Physician, by John Maubray. 1724.
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 11:28 AM

Using the Margaret and William Stobie Library Purchase Fund, the UM Libraries acquired an important book in the history of midwifery.

Maubray, John. The female physician, containing all the diseases incident to that sex, in virgins, wives, and widows : together with their causes and symptoms, their degrees of danger, and respective methods of prevention and cure : to which is added, the whole art of new improv'd midwifery, comprehending the necessary qualifications of a midwife, and particular directions for laying women, in cases of difficult and preternatural births, together with the diet and regimen of both the mother and child. London: Printed for James Holland, 1724.

Location: Archives & Special Collections
Call Number / Volume: RG 93 M38 1724
Status: Rare Book Room

Maubray, who died in 1732, was a Scot who practised in London as an early, unlicensed teacher of midwives (or 'andro-boethogynists', to use the term he coined).  As a member of a group of London based man-midwives, Maubray was a follower of the ideas of the Dutch surgeon, Hendrik van Deventer (1651-1724), whose wife was also a midwife. "The Female Physician" was first published in 1724, and then in 1726, 1727, and 1730, before going out of print. Our copy is from the first edition.

Rejecting the inhumane use of tools in delivery, particularly obstetric forceps, Maubray was the first to propose lying-in hospitals in England, modeled on the Hotel Dieu in Paris. 'He was the first to describe different shapes of bony pelvis, categorizing them as deep, large, broad, flat, oval, and round'. At the same time he believed strongly in the influence of the stars and numerology: 'a mixture of the far-sighted and the credulous'.  (Rhodes, P. “Maubray, John (d. 1732).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Oxford: OUP. 14 Jan. 2011)

WorldCat, a global catalogue of library collections, lists seven institutional holdings for the first edition - none in Canada. Maubray’s book is not referenced in Garrison & Morton’s Medical Bibliography, or in Heirs of Hippocrates, but it does appear in Bibliotheca Osleriana.

Submitted by,
Lyle Ford, Elizabeth Dafoe Library

For more information, contact:
Information Centre
Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library
Phone: (204) 789-3464
Fax: (204) 789-3922