- Gaskell, Roger
Medical Books in English: 1550-1703: from the collection of Edwin Clarke
Roger Gaskell, Warboys, Cambridgeshire, , Illustrated Wraps, , , Very Good
unpag. 130 items. Illustrated. Bumping to corners, a light 3-inch crease extending in 4 pages from front wrap, otherwise fine. Introductory essay; 130 items described with impeccable bibliographic bravura, with generous notes; Bibliographical References; Geographical Index of Printers. Dr. Edwin Clarke (1919 - 1996) was a medical historian and director of the Wellcome Institute. ''In order to sell their politics and their wares, English medical publishers addressed these doctors, as well as surgeons, apothecaries and midwives who had served apprenticeships but were not university trained; empirics who it was suggested might want to gain a solid foundation for what they only knew by experience; and women of all classes, responsible for the health of their own households, and, in grander houses, the sick poor of the neighbourhood. It was these practitioners and private individuals, above all women, who provided everyday healthcare to the great majority of the population. Women’s roles are recognised in such titles as ‘The Charitable Physitian’ (no. 53) and ‘The Family Physician’ (no. 57) and in books which combine medical receipts with culinary recipes (no. 74). Pechey omitted from his herbal plants ‘that every Woman knows, or keeps in her Garden’ (no. 89), and as late as 1790 Pultney could write that Culpeper’s ‘Herbal’, first published in 1652, ‘continued for more than a century, to be the manual of good ladies in the country’. Like popular medical texts today, these books were read by women to form a preliminary diagnosis, to decide if the services of a professional were called for, and in order to follow the directions of the physician for themselves and their families. The publisher Peter Cole claimed that publishing in English did not hurt the Latinate physician’s interests; on the contrary by aiding the cure in this way the physician’s reputation was enhanced (Riviere, Practice of Physick, 1655, A1r).'' - from the introduction.