Traditionally, the historiography of early modern British medicine has tended to concentrate primarily on women in their roles as practitioners, especially lay healers and midwives.1 Much less attention has been afforded to females as patients within the medical marketplace; those works which have concentrated on the illness experiences of early modern women have done so primarily within the confines of gynaecological and obstetrical ailments.2 In addition, gendered morbidity for early modern British patients awaits examination through the lens of practitioner records. Underlying the scholarship on women’s health and medical treatment of this period has been the assumption that female patients fared worse than male patients.3 Such notions, however, have not been adequately evaluated through multiple manuscript sources pertaining to actual medical practice. Following in the wake of Barbara Duden’s 1991 study of the female patients of eighteenthcentury German physician Johann Storch,4 a number of scholars have begun to approach the diagnosis and treatment of early modern British women from broader perspectives that encompass a range of issues pertinent to the relationships between female patients and male medical practitioners. These include: agency, privacy and confidentiality, consent, and trust.5 Nevertheless, many scholarly works that have examined such issues for early modern medicine have largely ignored the role of gender in the context of medical practice, or else have explored it only in a limited capacity through printed medical treatises.6 Scholars have long been
Role of the Family’; Siena, ‘The “Foul Disease” and Privacy’; Siena, Venereal Disease; Wendy D. Churchill, ‘Gendered Medical Advice within Anglo-Irish Correspondence: A Case Study of the Cary-Jurin Letters’, in James Kelly and Fiona Clarke (eds), Ireland and Medicine in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The History of Medicine in Context Series (Aldershot, England, 2010), 163-82.