1st Edition

Early Modern Medicine An Introduction to Source Analysis

Edited By Olivia Weisser Copyright 2024
    366 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    366 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection offers readers a guide to analyzing historical texts and objects using a diverse selection of sources in early modern medicine. It provides an array of interpretive strategies while also highlighting new trends in the field.

    Each chapter serves as a study of a different type of source, including the benefits and limitations of that source and what it can reveal about the history of medicine. Contributors provide practical strategies for locating and interpreting sources, putting texts and objects into conversation, and explaining potential contradictions. A wide variety of sources, including account books, legal records, and personal letters, provide new opportunities for understanding early modern medicine and developing skills in historical analysis. Together, the chapters highlight emerging methodologies and debates, while covering a range of themes in the field, from reproductive health to hospital care to household medicine.

    With wide geographical breadth, this book is a valuable resource for students and researchers looking to understand how to better engage with primary sources, as well as readers interested in early modern history and the history of medicine.


    Olivia Weisser

    Part 1: Institutions

    1. The Transatlantic Business of Medicine

    Zachary Dorner

    2. Medicine in the Convent

    Sharon T. Strocchia

    3. The Curious Case of the Two Antonios: What Hospital Records Can and Cannot Tell Us

    Elizabeth W. Mellyn

    4. Legal Records in Early Modern Spain

    Carolin Schmitz

    5. Brotherhoods, Poor Relief, and Healthcare

    Laurinda Abreu

    Part 2: Medical Writing

    6. Medical Casebooks

    Lauren Kassell

    7. Experimenting with Drugs

    Alisha Rankin

    8. An Imperial Doctor’s Guide to Bone Setting, 1742

    Yi-Li Wu

    9. Physicians’ Treatises: the Ottoman Case

    Miri Shefer-Mossensohn

    10. Missionary Remedies

    Sebestian Kroupa

    11. Vernacular Medical Print: Or How to Read a Recipe Book

    Elaine Leong 

    Part 3: The Everyday

    12. Life Writing

    Olivia Weisser

    13. Family Letters

    Sandra Cavallo

    14. Newspaper Advertisements from the Eighteenth-Century Caribbean

    Elise A. Mitchell

    15. Disability History from Slavery’s Archive

    Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy

    16. Reproducing Ballads

    Mary E. Fissell

    Part 4: Objects & Images

    17. Book Illustrations: Jane Sharp’s The Midwives Book

    Rebecca Whiteley

    18. Medicine Containers and Healing Vessels

    Anna Winterbottom


    Olivia Weisser is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she teaches and writes about the history of health and healing in the 1500s–1700s. Her first book, Ill Composed (2015), examined how gender shaped patients’ perceptions of sickness. She is finishing a new book on the history of venereal disease.