London: D. Wilson, 1754. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition of the finest, most accurate, and largest obstetrical atlas published up to that time. Large folio (21 1/2” X 14 9/16”), 22 leaves of text, unsigned and unpaginated, errata on recto of last leaf, 39 engraved plates, numbered I–XXXIX. 19th century half morocco with gilt leather label to front board, endpapers renewed, but this is a very good and superior copy with no repair, and no stains. Rare (Norman says, “presumably issued in only 100 copies”). The plates in this pioneering book give everywhere, and for the first time, a masterly representation, true to nature, of the relations of the parts of mother and child, and have contributed more to spreading correct ideas of labor than all the books that had previously been written on the subject. Of the 39 plates, 26 were based on drawings by the Dutch comparative anatomist Jan van Rymsdyck. 11 other plates were by one of Smellie’s students from Holland, Dr. Pieter Camper, and Smellie himself is believed to have drawn the illustrations for the other 2 plates. All were beautifully engraved by Charles Grignon and they include the first illustration of a rachitic pelvis. Scarce these days. ABPC records only 1 copy sold at auction in the last 15 years (2015). Refs: Grolier/Medicine 43B. Heirs of Hippocrates 826. Norman 1955. Garrison–Morton 6154.1. Very good. Item #734
“The Sett of Anatomical Tables…published 2 years after the first volume of the Treatise…was intended to illustrate as accurately as possible the female pelvis and the fetus, but is regarded as “a complete work in itself.” –Garrison–Morton
“Smellie was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Following an apprenticeship with a local apothecary–physician, naval service, and general practice, he moved to London where he taught obstetrics in his own home. Smellie used mannequins fabricated from pelvic and fetal bones covered with leather to demonstrate obstetrics scientifically. He became a popular teacher, giving over 280 courses of midwifery to more than nine hundred pupils.” (Grolier/Medicine).
“Smellie, the foremost obstetrician of the eighteenth century, described more accurately than any previous writer the mechanical relation of the fetal head to the mother’s pelvis during parturition. He introduced the English lock on the obstetrical forceps, and coincidentally with André Levret of Paris, added the pelvic curve. He was the first to rotate the fetal head with forceps and to use them on the aftercoming head of a breech delivery. Smellie was the first to lay down rules for the safe use of the forceps; these remain valid today. He also invented several important obstetric instruments...” (Grolier/Medicine).