An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15957 entries, 13939 authors and 1935 subjects. Updated: February 16, 2024

SMELLIE, William

3 entries
  • 6154

A treatise on the theory and practice of midwifery.

London: D. Wilson, 1752.

Smellie contributed more to the fundamentals of obstetrics than virtually any individual. In his Treatise he described more accurately than any previous writer the mechanism of parturition, stressing the importance of exact measurement of the pelvis. He was the first to lay down safe rules regarding the use of forceps, and personally introduced the steel-lock, the curved, and the double forceps. He invented the “Smellie manoeuvre” to deliver breech cases. His book was followed by two volumes of case reports, 1754 and 1764; it was re-published by the New Sydenham Society, edited with annotations by Alfred H. McClintock, 3 vols., 1876-78. It includes the first illustration of a rachitic pelvis. Digital facsimile of the 1876 edition from the Internet Archive at this link.

Biography of Smellie by R. W. Johnstone, Edinburgh, 1952.



Subjects: INSTRUMENTS & TECHNOLOGIES › Medical Instruments › Forceps, Illustration, Biomedical, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS
  • 6154.1

A sett [sic] of anatomical tables, with explanations, and an abridgment, of the practice of midwifery…

London: Printed in the year, 1754.

The celebrated atlas for No. 6154, which is a complete work in itself. The 39 superb engravings include 26 after drawings by Jan van Rymsdyk, which are preserved in the Hunterian Collection at the University of Glasgow Library. The remainder were by Smellie, “assisted by a pupil called [Pieter] Camper”. Camper’s drawings are preserved in the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and in Leiden University. Camper’s illustrated MS of his studies with Smellie and of his third visit to England in 1785 is preserved in Amsterdam University. It was translated into English with notes, and published as Opuscula selecta Neerlandicorum de arte medica, 1939, 15. See J.L. Thornton, Jan van Rymsdyk: Medical artist of the eighteenth century (Cambridge: Oleander Press, 1982.) For the first American edition of the plates (in greatly reduced format) see No. 6154.



Subjects: ART & Medicine & Biology, Illustration, Biomedical, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS
  • 11534

The first American edition, An abridgement of the practice of midwifery: and a set of anatomical tables.

Boston: J. Norman, 1786.

An abridgement of Smellie's obstetrical writings, with plates engraved by the editor and publisher, John Norman, was the first medical book with engraved illustrations published in North America, and also the first book on obstetrics published in the United States. Digital facsimile of the 1786 edition from Internet Archive at this link.



Subjects: INSTRUMENTS & TECHNOLOGIES › Medical Instruments › Forceps, Illustration, Medical, OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY › OBSTETRICS