Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Folger Exhibitions
• Past Exhibitions
Beyond Home Remedy

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Women's Ownership

The many published medical texts owned by women provide evidence of their literacy and of their engagement with medical practices. Examples from the Folger collection represent just a few of the early ownership inscriptions found in medical texts of various purposes and for different audiences. Along with the books printed or otherwise produced mainly for a female audience, women also owned volumes intended for male authorities. While it does not necessarily follow that owning such books meant medical practice, it did mean a level of investment in medical knowledge.

John Parkinson. Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris. London, 1629

Part herbal, part gardening manual, part picture-book, the Folger’s copy of Paradisus Terrestris [Earthly Paradise] -- pictured above -- provides an interesting example of the place of herbal knowledge in a young woman’s education. An inscription tells us that Lady Elizabeth Franklin, wife of a Parliament member and mother of seventeen children, gave the book to her yet unmarried sister, Anne Purefoy. The page seen above on “the Kitchen Garden” includes the medicinal aspects of many herbs, such as rue, which because of its “many good properties” was known as “Herb of Grace.”  

Leonhart Fuchs. De historia stirpium commentarii impensis et vigiliis elaborati. Basel, 1542

Girolamo Ruscelli. Secreti. Part 1. English. London, 1568

Thomas Lodge. The poor man's talent. Manuscript, ca. 1623?

Katherine Packer. A book of very good medicines for several diseases wound and sores both new and old. Manuscript, 1639


Countess and Caretaker

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623