English Midwives, their History and Prospects

Abstract

the social and cultural sense'. So far, however, only a handful of trained historians have explored systematically the lessons of the past which emerge from the study of morbid behaviour and its management. A book of nearly 400 pages on this topic by a professor of American history is therefore something of an event. Professor Grob has chosen as his theme the development of a single institution, the Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts, from the time of its foundation in the early 1830s until 1920. Over the greater part of a century he is therefore able to trace the story of how changes in the management of the insane reflected not so much advances in scientific knowledge as a variety of social, economic, religious and personal factors, all contributing to the fluctuating climate of pyschiatric opinion. The contemporary psychiatrist must find it chastening to view the past forty years in the light of his predecessors' experience. He will as surely be impressed by the modernity of the outlook of the young Adolf Meyer during the six years he spent at Worcester from 1896 to 1902. Above all, he will be compelled to echo SirAubrey Lewis's question about the changing face of pyschiatry: 'how much of this change is the work of doctors and how much the product of the Zeitgeist, or rather of social and technological movements working powerfully on the course of human affairs?' MICHAEL SHEPHERD

Cite this paper

@article{McConaghey1968EnglishMT, title={English Midwives, their History and Prospects}, author={R. M. S. McConaghey}, journal={Medical History}, year={1968}, volume={12}, pages={321 - 322} }