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Beyond Home Remedy

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Beyond Home Remedy

Women, Medicine, and Science


Jane Giraud. The Flowers of Shakespeare. London, 1845

This exhibition explores women's roles in early modern medicine through the records they left in recipe books, their ownership marks in books by male authorities, and other evidences of their labors as caregivers and healers. While some of the ingredients and methods women used may seem strange to modern sensibilities, the elaborate nature of the recipes women prepared and shared with one another demonstrate the female contribution to early modern medicine and scientific discovery.


This website takes the viewer through the exhibition using four of the recipes featured in the physical show. Each recipe page contains a transcription of a remedy with numbered, hyper-linked text to take the viewer to more information on related topics.


Select a link below or from the left-hand navigation to read a transcription of a recipe, and start exploring text and images from the exhibition:


Sirrop of Violets

(Includes links to Shakespeare's Ophelia, herbal and humoral theory, and Robert Boyle's experiments with color.)


For the overflowing of them

(Includes links to midwifery, distillation, women's networks, and the effectiveness of remedies.)


An excellent balsame to cure deepe wounds and punctures

(Includes links to women's ownership, surgery, Paracelsian wound salves, unlawful practice, and witches.)


A Plague Water

(Includes links to distillation and women's networks.)

  Additional Information

On view

January 21-May 14, 2011


Monday-Saturday, 10am - 5pm

Closed Sundays and Federal holidays.



Monday-Friday, 11am and 3pm

Saturday 11am and 1pm.


Curated by Rebecca Laroche

with Georgianna Ziegler


Consultation by Steven Turner

and Leslie K. Overstreet

with the generous loans and contributions of the

Smithsonian Institution.


Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Winton and Carolyn Blount exhibition fund of the Folger Shakespeare Library.


Selected Bibliography

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