A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 - Study Guide February 1801 Summary & Analysis

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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John Davis Jr. was the son of Hetty Pierce. Hetty Pierce was the sister of Jonathan Ballard's wife, Sally. A child was born out of wedlock and was fathered by a prominent man of Hallowell, serving as Justice of the Peace. His name was John Davis, Esquire, and he financially supported his son. In 1801, John Davis Jr. died at the age of three. Martha was invited to view the autopsy of the child, and she accepted.

This was one of the four autopsies Martha attended. The other three were young women of Hallowell and included Martha's niece, Parthenia.

It was a common practice for midwives to attend autopsies during Martha's lifetime. However, when autopsies stopped being done in homes and medicine became more institutionalized, the invitations were stopped, and midwives were left out.

Professionalism and male dominance did away with the community female healers. Some of the...

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This section contains 404 words
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Buy the A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 Study Guide
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