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De conceptu et generatione hominis: de matrice et ejus partibus, nec non de conditione infantis in utero, et gravidarum cura et officio...libri sex...Nunc denuo recogniti & in plerisque locis castigati (Frankfurt am Main, 1580) Galter Health Sciences Library, Special Collections, Northwestern University, Chicago.
by Jacob Rueff (German, 1500—1558)
About the Book:
First published in 1554, Jacob Rueff’s De conceptu et generatione hominis, was one of the first post–Vesalian, anatomically–informed, illustrated midwifery texts popular with Latin, German, and English reading audiences. Although Rueff (German, 1500—1558), wrote multiple practical texts throughout his life for primarily vernacular consumers, De conceptu was his most popular contribution to science and print, and was recognized as a standard midwifery book for over a century following its publication. Initially printed in both Latin and German, De conceptu was subsequently reprinted with additional engravings by Jost Amman (1539—1591) in 1580 and was translated into English in 1637 with the new title, The Expert Midwife or An Excellent and most necessary Treatise on the Generation and birth of Man. Rueff, the City–Physician of Zurich, was officially responsible for educating and licensing city midwives, and his De conceptu combined practical information gathered from Zurich women with textual and visual material borrowed from multiple extant works. In particular, Rueff adapted anatomical information from Andreas Vesalius’s recently published De humani corporis fabrica (1543), and obstetric advice from ancient texts such as Soranus’s Gynecology and medieval manuals on women's health like the Trotula, as well as from Eucharius Roesslin’s first printed midwifery tract, Der Schwangern Frawen und Hebamen Rosengarten (1513).

Related Essays:
“‘‘To all grave and modest matrons’: Practical Midwifery and Chirurgery in De conceptu et generatione hominis (1580) ”