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July 1976

American Pediatric Writings of the 18th Century

Author Affiliations

From the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(7):741-746. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120080063007

Writings on pediatric subjects go as far back as the aphorisms of Hippocrates, the works of Soranus in the second century, and to Rhazes' Practica puerorum1 in the ninth century. In those early days, they were rare and sketchy and, after Rhazes' time, were based largely on his work. While the troubles of children were mentioned briefly by many other early writers, it was not until the 16th century that a separate treatise appeared in English as Thomas Phaer's Boke of Children,2 which was heavily indebted to Rhazes, and not until the latter part of the 18th century did pediatric books begin to become more available. One important exception to this statement was Walter Harris' De morbis acutis infantum,3 published in Latin in London just before the beginning of the 18th century and running through many editions and translations, including two in English in the midcentury (1742).

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