Strange midwifery

I found a terrific online newsletter today, Wonders and Marvels, edited by one Holly King, professor of Bioethics AND French at Vanderbilt University. This little gem has both outstanding historical trivia and articles of Important Note on themes very close to my heart -- women in the history of science. One disturbing story they recently … Continue reading Strange midwifery

The Renaissance Healer – a Brief Overview of the Evolution of the Female Medical Professional

P.K. Adams

Guest post by Laura Matthias Bendoly

cosmos coverDid women of the late medieval and early modern era (1500-1650) take part in paid professions? Could they earn an income? Were they permitted to study or to transmit their learning to others? The short answer is ‘no.’ And yet, there were occasions in 16th and 17th century Europe for ‘however.’

Under most circumstances, medieval and renaissance trade guilds did not permit women full membership. Rare, too, were cases when women earned an income. If a female did receive payment for services, including those of home-healing, those payments would have been sporadic. They would have been far less than payments made to a male counterpart, and the woman might receive her fees in secret. Opinion in most European communities of the 16th and 17th centuries held that women’s services should be for free, and that such services as healing, midwifery…

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Field Healing and Dry Stone Walls

  June Newsletter So who hasn't nearly swooned during scenes from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? Though the epic is a tad melodramatic for me, I am grateful to Clare Randall Fraser for popularizing the healer character in popular fiction. Though it's a role we somewhat expect from historic women, there aren't many, beyond professional nurses, whose entire … Continue reading Field Healing and Dry Stone Walls

Renaissance Fare — chefs of Provence ca. 1600

Among my current tasks to prepare my historic novel manuscript for its final edit, I need to locate some of the foodstuffs my protagonist, Irene, would have had available in 1630. To that end, I have found a translated handbook, the Viandier of Taillevent or "The Meaty Wind-slicer," that was compiled for the benefit of courtly … Continue reading Renaissance Fare — chefs of Provence ca. 1600