*Historial Document Archive

by faithgibson on March 4, 2016

{12-13-2020 To Print Big Apple; file name ~ FG-org_Hx-Doc-Archive_ToPRINT_12-13-2020} 

Directory to historical documents published in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century

Link to–> contemporary politics of normal childbirth (1970 to present)

Link to PDFs

{1} HISTORY: Medicine & Midwifery ~Part 1

{2} HISTORY: Medicine & Midwifery ~ Part 2  (Part 3 -Work-n-progress –> Dr. JWW’s Plan to fund a national system of general hospitals by electively hospitalizing healthy maternity patients (3293 words // Nov 2012)

Links to website essays

1. The Official Plan to Eliminate the Midwife: 1910-1935 ~ The Great Debate: the historical conflict between medicine & midwifery in the United States ~ an overview of the historical clash btw doctors and midwives in the US during the first three decades of the 20th century

This compilation of quotes and excerpts was compiled by Faith Gibson from material originally published by Neal Devitt, MD in 1974 as an academic thesis of the same name, and many of historical documents included in the bibliography of his thesis.

2.Edinburgh OB society 1880 ~ “On the systematic use of antiseptics in midwifery practice” ~ Edinburgh Obstetrical Society Session 1880-1881~

This treatise is a published report on the efforts of physicians to reduce maternal mortality from sepsis in the lying-in wards of charity hospitals in Scotland and was written before the “germ theory” of infection and contagion was generally understood or accepted by the medical profession. Until the end of the 19th century, infection was thought to be the effect of “poisons” or “noxious material”.  Even after the work of Semmelweis, Koch and Pasteur, doctors continued to be skeptical and there was a lot of disagreement over these new ideas.  As a result, the words ‘bacteria’ and ‘germs’ occur only once, at the very end of the paper.

Scientifically establishing that microscopic bacteria and other pathogens were the sole cause of infection was the life’s work of the French chemist Louis Pasteur. He presented this radical explanation at a meeting of the medical society in France in 1881 by drawing a picture of the rod-like streptococcus on a chalkboard. Pointing to what looked like a line of tanker cars on a railroad track, he very famously said: “This gentleman is the cause of childbed fever”.

3. “Inaugural Address on the Future of Obstetrics” ~ Edinburgh Obstetrical Society Inaugural Address by Dr. Ballantyne, 1906.

This is extraordinary, MUST-READ  document in many ways — the speaker uses a ‘science-fiction’ narrative to communicate his extraordinary vision. The amazing accuracy of his technological predictions makes this a very positive and interesting read.

4.  Supervision of Midwives ~ Journal of the American Medical Association ~ Jan-June 1907

5. Bio & Background on Abraham Flexner 1866-1950 ~ co-author of the Flexner Report compiled from various sources

5-b The Amazing Logistics of Flexner’s Fieldwork ~  Mark D. Hiatt, MD, MBA 

Originally published in Medical Sentinel 2000;5(5):167-168. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

6.  A Review of the Midwife Situation ~ Boston Medical & Surgical Journal ~ 1911

7.  Section on Midwifery ~ Am Assoc. for the Study & Prevention of Infant Mortality ~ 1912



8.  The Elimination of the Midwife ~ 1912 ~posted in 3 parts

American Association for Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality Transactions of the Third Annual Meeting  October 2-5, 1912 —pages 222-237

9. Has the Trained and Supervised Midwife Made Good? 1912 ~ posted in 3 parts

By Emmons, 2nd, M. D., and Huntington, M. D., Boston, Mass.

American Association for Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality
Transactions of the First Annual Meeting
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, November 9-11, 1910 pp. 199-213

10.  The Midwife Problem ~ New York State Journal of Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 8, August 1915

11.  Subdirectories #1  Twilight Sleep: Simple Discoveries in Painless Childbirth ~ 1914 ~ Dr. H. Smith Williams & Dr. J. Whitridge Williams 


Subdirectory #2 –> All other sources and all degrees of completion material about Dr. JWW’s 1914 book




12. A  Further Study of the Use of Chloroform in Labor ~ 1917 ~ Dr. I. L. HILL, M. D.;
New York

13. Medicine & Childbirth: Nature v. Drugs TIME Magazine article on the 1936  AMA convention and a controversy over the use drugs and anesthesia for normal childbirth

14.  Vanishing Midwives ~ 1947 ~ Newsweek, Volume 30


15. Draft of a work-in-progress by Faith Gibson, LM: All chapters for –>

“How Normal Childbirth Got Trapped on the Wrong Side of History: The Last and Most Important UNTOLD Story of the 20th Century –> how healthy women became the patients of a surgical specialty and normal birth became a surgical procedure”  

16. The Economic Story of American Hospitals: Invention of Elective Hospitalization & its role as the Economic Engine of the American Hospital System by FAITHGIBSON

Historical background material and critical information on Dr. J. Whitridge Williams’ “plan” was taken from the Drs. Williams’ 1914 book “Twilight Sleep: Simple Discoveries in Painless Childbirth”.

The following 5 sections are still draft versions.

17. The Decline in Maternal Mortality in Sweden: The Role of Community Midwifery ~ 2004 ~ by Ulf Högberg, MD, PhD ~ Influence of state-regulated midwives on reducing childbirth-related mortality from the mid-17oo’s to the early 20th century

Link to the archive on contemporary political and scientific Issues ~ obstetrical management of normal childbirth, contemporary midwifery issues, and the physiological management of normal childbirth in all setting and by all types of birth attendants