Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Observations in Midwifery

One of only two complete surviving copies of Percival Willoughby's 'Observations in Midwifery', written in around 1670, is up for auction.

Willoughby was an obstetrician, practicing from around 1630. He collected and wrote about more than 200 cases in the manuscript, which he intended to be used as a tool for teaching midwives more humane and less brutal practices. In his own words, he wanted to "to inform the ignorant common midwives with such wayes as I have used with good successe ... shewing the wayes how to deliver any difficult birth, bee it naturall, or, unnaturall". Strangely, the manuscript was not published until 1863.

An estimate of between 20,000 to 30,000 British pounds has been given. Read more.

A published version of this manuscript already been digitised and is available online.

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