McGoogan News

Davis Lecture explores American childbirth, April 23

By John Schleicher

The history of childbirth in the United States will be the focus of the 7th Annual Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D. History of Medicine Lecture, to be held at noon on April 23 in the Eppley Science Hall Amphitheater (room 3010).

The guest speaker is Judith Leavitt, Ph.D., professor emerita in the department of medical history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The title of Dr. Leavitt’s lecture is “From ‘Brought to Bed’ to ‘Alone among Strangers’: Medical and Social Issues in American Childbirth History.” She will focus on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the transition from home births to hospital births. Dr. Leavitt is author or co-author of several books including “Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750 to 1950,” and her most recent work “Make Room for Daddy: The Journey from Waiting Room to Birthing Room.”

Dr. Leavitt’s major research interests are 19th and 20th century public health and women’s health. Her other publications include: “The Healthiest City: Milwaukee and the Politics of Health Reform” and “Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health.”

She has edited “Sickness and Health in America” and “Women and Health in America,” and she chaired the department of medical history and bioethics at UW for 11 years. She was associate dean for faculty in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health for four years. She was president of the American Association for the History of Medicine from 2000-2002.

Box lunches provided for the first 75 attendees starting at 11:30 a.m. The McGoogan Library of Medicine is hosting the event.

The Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., History of Medicine Lectureship brings national experts to the UNMC campus to discuss the history of medicine, in support of special collections at the McGoogan Library, including rare books and works on the history of medicine. The lectureship is supported through an endowed fund given by the late Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D. (1926-2010), professor emeritus of internal medicine at UNMC, and his wife, Jean. Davis supported this lectureship out of his long-standing interest in the history of medicine; he was a faculty member at UNMC from 1969-1994.

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