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Books, Journals, New Media
December 23/30, 1998

HistoryThe King's Midwife: A History and Mystery of Madame du Coudray

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


by Nina Rattner Gelbart, 347 pp, with illus, $35, ISBN 0-520-21036-0, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998.

JAMA. 1998;280(24):2131-2132. doi:10.1001/jama.280.24.2131-JBK1223-7-1

More than a decade ago, Nina Rattner Gelbart embarked on a quest to reconstruct the life of France's most famous 18th-century midwife, Angelique Marguerite le Boursier du Coudray. That quest involved countless trips to the highways and byways of France, as she searched for evidence that would offer clues about the life of a remarkable woman for whom no full-length biography had been written. Fortitude, patience, and the skillful eye of the historical detective have enabled Gelbart to produce a fascinating account of what she describes in her subtitle as both the "history and mystery of Madame du Coudray."

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