792G Nicholas Culpeper 1616-1654

A directory for midwives: or, A guide for women in their conception, bearing, and suckling their children. The first part contains, 1. The anatomy of the vessels of generation. 2. The formation of the child in the womb. 3. What hinders conception, and its remedies. 4. What furthers conception. 5. A guide for women in conception. 6. Of miscarriage in women. 7. A guide for women in their labour. 8. A guide for women in their lying-in. 9. Of nursing children. To cure all diseases in women, read the second part of this book. By Nicholas Culpeper, Gent. student in physic and astrology.


London : printed, and are to be sold by most book sellers in London and Westminster, 1700 $5,500

Octavo  A-Q12 Newly corrected from many gross errors.

dsc_0040This is a lovely copy bound in Contemporary  full blind stamped calf; slightly rubbed. A nice copy of a popular and ill-surviving text in contemporary binding. Slightly dusted, worming to lower gutter of gathering M slightly touching text.

A Directory of Midwives was first published in 1651 and became one of the seminal texts on midwifery and female health for the next two centuries. This volume contains – with continuous pagination – both Culpeper’s Directory, which focuses on obstetrics, and a separately titled Fourth Book of Practical Physick, which deals with female diseases and general health. The first two books first appeared together in 1671 but not in a continuously paginated edition until 1693.

Though the work was frequently reprinted, seveneteenth and early eighteenth-century editions do not survive well, most being well-used on a regular basis.

Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654) was arguably the most prominent medical writer in seventeenth-century London. A ‘gentleman student of physick and astrology’, as the title-pages of his books frequently styled him, Culpeper practiced medicine as an apothecary and astro-physician, but found lasting fame during the last five years of his short life as an author and translator.dsc_0049

His career as an author started auspiciously as the author of the London Dispensatory (1649), the unlicensed translation of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, the official medicine book of the Royal College of Physicians. Thereafter, Culpeper wrote and translated a number of best-selling titles, and became a marketing phenomenon, with more than 230 entries in the English Short Title Catalogue (henceforth ESTC) bearing the name Nicholas Culpeper. His name became a byword for printing medicine for the masses and, by so doing, fighting the Latinate establishment.


Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), C7496; ESTC R232056, Wellcome only in UK; U.S. National Library of Medicine & Yale only in North America; Copac adds Edinburgh and York Universities; OCLC adds University of Essex.

see:Doreen Evenden, The Midwives of Seventeenth-Century London.  Cambridge University Press, Nov 2, 2006