Preventing Pregnancy

Early modern historians have long discussed whether people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries actively limited their family size. Dorothy McLaren has shown that women might extend the length of time for which they breastfed their babies in order to space pregnancies further apart, while Angus McLaren, Edward Shorter and others have explored in detail …

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Maladies and Medicines

We are very pleased to announce that our new book – coming July 2017 – is now available to pre-order from a range of retail outlets! Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword Press) Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early …

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Thomas Gibson’s Life and Times

The name of Dr Thomas Gibson (1648/9–1722) isn’t one with much impact outside those studying the history of medicine, yet his story is one full of interesting details. Gibson was born in High Knipe, in the parish of Bampton, Westmorland.1 This is near Penrith in modern-day Cumbria. Gibson’s ODNB entry and his obituary in the Munk’s Roll record that …

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Pancake Plasters

Yesterday, as I am sure everyone is well aware, was Shrove Tuesday. A day when Facebook and Twitter feeds abound with people posting picture of their perfect pancakes. Several historical twitter feeds shared images of early modern pancake recipes, so I don’t wish to do that here. The London Metropolitan Archives tweeted a recipe attributed …

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Poking fun at Physicians

For another project I have been reading lots of early modern joke books and I thought I’d share some of what I’d found here. Books of amusing songs, poems, funny stories and jokes, known as jest-books sold a lot in the seventeenth century. These were not a new form, as Michael Mangan has pointed out, …

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