History of Childbirth/Patient Records Disc./May 1997


Query From Maxine Rhodes m.rhodes@westhill.ac.uk 19 May 1997

I am currently writing about the impact of municipal maternity hospitals on the culture of childbirth in inter-war Britain. Does anyone have any suggestions for references on using patient case notes to write medical history? (any area of medicine would be useful.) All suggestions gratefully received.

Responses:
From Jayne Elliott jelliott@cyberus.ca 19 May 1997

I am very interested in this topic as well, and would appreciate it is postings could be made to the list. Here are some suggestions:

Duffin, Jacalyn _Langstaff: A Medical Life_ (Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 1993)

Nowell-Smith, Harriet "Nineteenth-Century Narrative Case Histories" _Canadian Bulletin of History of Medicine_, Vol. 12, 1995

Risse, Guenter and John Harley Warner "Reconstructing Clinical Activities: Patient Records in Medical History", _ Social History of Medicine_, Vol. 5, 1992

Stowe, Steven "Obstetrics and the Work of Doctoring in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century American South," _Bulletin of History of Medicine, Vol. 64, 1990

From Marjorie Levine-Clark mlevine@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu 19 May 1997

In my dissertation on women's health in the 1830s and 40s in england, I have been relying heavily on patient case histories. Theoretical material that has been especially useful to me has been found in the journal _Literature and Medicine_, particularly the special issue on the "Art of the Case History", 11:1 (Spring, 1992), and Julia Epstein's book _Altered Conditions: Disease, Medicine and Storytelling_.

...I'm wondering if you might have problems getting access to twentieth century patient records--all the collections I looked at had 100 year closures. I hope these suggestions are helpful. Good luck.

From Jessica Syme s86254@student.uq.edu.au 19 May 1997

I am currently writing up a research Masters in Medical Anthropology with the University of Queensland looking at healing in Gaelic Scotland. The one interesting text I have come across is _Culture, Health and Illness_ ny Cecil Helman- he has a section on Reproduction and Childbirth which focuses on Britain-although it is small, the bibliography contains several references on midwifery and clinics. I would speculate that the best way to use case notes to determine impact of clinics would be to use them in conjunction with midwives stories, as during the period you are speaking of dramatic changes in midwives in hospital numbers took place in Britain, and also with the Wellwoman clinics replacing travelling midwives. This Helman book quotes some figures...might be worth a look.

From Miranda Morris mimorris@netspace.net.au 20 May 1997

Jill Julius Matthews used patient records of women admitted to a psychiatric hospital between 1930-1975 in _Good & Mad Women_(1984) as the basis for an analysis of the construction of femininity.

From Lisa Cody lcody@cmcvax.mckenna.edu 21 May 1997

There are *marvelous*, practically untapped records at the Greater London Record Office relevant to your topic---although I'm not sure that they go into the 20th century. (I used them for my diss., which stopped in the 1840s.) The records of three of London's lying-in hospitals est'd in the 18th century (City of London, British and General_westminster) are housed at the GLRO. There are patient registers, minutes, assorted clippings, etc. There's a lot there---it took me several weeks to work through one hundred years of records. Good luck and have fun!

From David Doughan doughan@lgu.ac.uk 21 May 1997

To follow up Lisa Cody's pointer to the Greater London Record Office: it's changed its name to the London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northhampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB; phone 171 332 3820, fax: 171 833 9136). For those visiting the area in person, it's become quite rich in resource centres for Britain - the new Family Records Centra in Myddleton Street now contains all records of births, adoptions, marriages, and deaths (formerly St. Catherine's House) and censuses, death duty, and other registers, wills to 1858 (formerly at Chancery Lane). And the Society of Genealogists is not too far away (nor is the Marx Memorial Library).


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