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A Sett [sic] of Anatomical Tables, with Explanations - SMELLIE, William - 1754. 
[D. Wilson], London 1754 - First edition, a very fine copy, of Smellie?s great obstetrical atlas, ?which is very rare and is said to have been issued in only 100 copies? (Heirs of Hippocrates). ?The plates in this classic of obstetrical illustration are far superior to any that had appeared before. They give everywhere a masterly representation, true to nature, of the relations of the parts of mother and child, and have perhaps contributed more to spreading correct ideas of labor than all the books that have ever been written on the subject? (Grolier Medicine). ?Whcn Smellie?s Theory and Practice of Midwifery was published, Jan van Rymsdyk had already completed a series of twenty-six anatomical illustrations for use in Smellie?s obstetrical lectures, and in an advertisement published at the end of the work, Smellie announced his intention to publish these drawings in an atlas to be paid for by subscription. The atlas was published two years later, with the number of plates increased to thirty-nine, eleven of which had been supplied by Pieter Camper, professor of medicine at Francker in the Netherlands. Smellie was the leading forceps practitioner in London, and several of the plates illustrate the use of this instrument in various presentations of the fetus. These engravings are the first accurate anatomical illustrations of the fetus in utero. Three of the plates are devoted to obstetric instruments, with plate XXXVII illustrating the Smellie forceps, a short, straight instrument with leather-covered blades, which was widely used for many years? (Norman).â§ Grolier, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine 43b; Norman 1955; Heirs of Hippocrates 522.?Smellie?s (1697-1763) Sett [sic] of Anatomical Tables ? was designed to illustrate as accurately as possible the female pelvis and uterus. Smellie, the ?master of British Midwifery,? is stated to have been the foremost obstetrician of the eighteenth century, and made a number of contributions to the field. In the Preface, Smellie gave his rationale for this work. ?As in a long course of teaching and practice in Midwifery, I hope I may without vanity say, that I have done something towards reducing that Art, into a more simple and mechanical method than has hitherto been done. I have attempted to explain the same in my Treatise of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery ?? He continued, that he was induced to prepare this volume as, ?? most of the representations hitherto given ? were in many respects deficient.? Smellie assured the reader, ?the greatest part of the figures were taken from Subjects prepared on purpose, to show everything that might conduce to the improvement of the young Practitioner ???Smellie described more accurately than any previous writer the mechanical relations of the fetal head to that of the mother?s pelvis during parturition, i.e. the mechanism of labor. He also stressed the importance of precise pelvic measurements, and was the first to measure the internal or diagonal conjugate. Importantly for the accoucher, he laid down rules regarding the safe use of obstetrical forceps which remain valid today. He introduced the steel ?English? lock on the forceps and, coincidentally with André Levret (1703-1780) of Paris, added the pelvic curve. He apparently was the first to use forceps to rotate the fetal head, and to use forceps on the aftercoming head of a breech delivery. He also invented several important obstetrical instruments.?The anatomical plates of this elephant folio, and classic of illustrated obstetrics, are far superior to any that had appeared previously, and present masterly representations of the relations of the parts of the mother and child at several stages of gestation. The Sett of Anatomical Tables?, (the Sett of which was a misprint, corrected in later editions) may have achieved more in the spread of correct ideas of labor and parturition than all of the works previously written on the subject. Undoubtedly, it also played an important role in Smellie?s rise to fame. [Attributes: First Edition]
[Bookseller: SOPHIA RARE BOOKS]
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