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Smellie Collection
William Smellie, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery
William Smellie (1698-1763) came from Scotland and studied obstetrics in London and Paris. He was the best known teacher of man-midwives in London and published three texts on midwifery. He was often derided in anti-man-midwife treatises.

Quote from pages 448 - 449


Questions to ask these pages:

1. What qualifications did Smellie say were required of a good midwife?

2. According to the author, what should be the relationship between a female midwife and an "accoucheur," or man-midwife?

Questions to ask the book:

1. According to Smellie, what were the qualifications of a good accoucheur?
Find out in the Archive

2. What were the tasks of men and what were the tasks of women in Smellie's ideal birth?
Find out in the Archive

Reading Help

  Title Page page 448 Page 449  





A Midwife, though she can hardly be supposed mistress of all these qualifications, ought to be a decent, sensible woman, of a middle age, able to bear fatigue; she ought to be perfectly well instructed with regard to the bones of the Pelvis, with all the contained parts, comprehending those that are subservient to generation; she ought to be well skill'd in the method of touching pregnant women, and know in what manner the womb stretches, together with the situation of all the abdominal Viscera; she ought to be perfectly mistress of the art of examination in time of labour, together with all the different kinds of labour, whether natural of præternatural, and the methods of delivering the Placenta; she ought to live in friendship with other women of the same profession, contending with them in nothing but in knowledge, sobriety, diligence, and patience; she ought to void all reflections upon men practitioners, and when she finds

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