J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Midwifery at the Shirley-Eustis House, 19 June

At the Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury this Sunday, 19 June, from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M., there will be a hands-on demonstration of eighteenth-century midwifery techniques by Executive Director Patti Violette.

My first thought is that a hands-on demonstration must mean that site has a really dedicated set of volunteers.

But the event description says:
The midwife's duties would consist of gynecology, obstetrics, pharmacy, nursing, and grief counseling – she performed all aspects of medicine in the 18th century – except for surgery. This program will demonstrate the historical time line of a midwife while comparing the occupations of apothecary, physician, and man-midwives.

“This is a great way to truly understand how medicine and science has brought us into the 21st century,” said Executive Director Patti Violette, “After you experience this program, you will marvel at our great strides in medicinal technology since the 18th century. We will have hands-on activities creating soothing herbal remedies. Most of the items that we will use are probably already stored in your own kitchen!”
So it looks like the “hands-on” part will be restricted to those herbal remedies. Unless, of course, someone wants to volunteer.

The demonstrations run continuously, and the Shirley-Eustis House suggests a $5 donation. Or perhaps you could volunteer. For review, here’s a transcript of a podcast about midwifery from Colonial Williamsburg. And another podcast from the University of Houston about the man-midwife controversy.

Upcoming events at the Shirley-Eustis House this summer explore an eighteenth-century town meeting, a day in the life of a servant, and country/contra dancing.

(Photo of the Shirley-Eustis House gazebo by Tim Sackton via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.)


Unknown said...

It's a bummer that this event is on Father's Day.

Unknown said...

Actually, it's rather odd to do this particular demonstration on Father's Day. Or am I the only one who sees the irony?

Unknown said...

I agree. I would have attended if it wasn't my husband's first Father's Day.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't we be mentioning Laurel Thatcher Ulrich here?