Household Books Published in Britain: all volumes


Wife's handbook

By ALLBUTT, Henry Arthur

subjects: maternal health,

  • 1. The wife's handbook: how a woman should order herself during pregnancy, in the lying-in room, and after delivery. With hints on the management of the baby, and on other matters of importance necessary to be known by married women. Second edition, revised.
    1886
    17.5 x 11.5 cm   Pp [1-2] [i] ii 1-58, [i-viii] ads   6d
    GB:   *LB   LoEN  

  • 2. — Third edition.
    17.5 x 11.5 cm   Pp [1-5] 6-45 [46]   6d
    GB:   *LB  

  • 3. — Fourth edition.
    17.5 x 12.0 cm   Pp [1-5] 6-58 [i-vi]   [6d on cover]
    GB:   LB   LoEN   *ORS  

  • 4. — [Sixth edition, 1887]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a sixth edition as published London: R. Forder, 1887.

  • 5. — [Seventh edition, 1888]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a seventh edition as pubished London: R. Forder, 1888.

  • 6. — [Another edition]
    18.0 x 12.0 cm   Pp [1-5] 6-58 [1-2] [i-iv] ads  
    GB:   LB   *LWel  

    Date from foreword. This edition contains Allbutt's appeal to his readers for help and monetary contributions in his fight against "bigotry, ignorance and injustice' after being struck off the Medical Register by the General Medical Council in November 1887. He was "judged guilty of infamous conduct in a professional respect ... for having published and publicly sold "The wife's handbook" at too low a price'. Allbutt's foreword defends his own conduct as being in the interests of working- class women, and attacks the GMC for their hypocrisy and class bias. In his own words, "Knowledge may be all right for the rich lady who can afford to buy a guinea medical book and pay a big fee to a doctor, but it is an offence of an infamous character for a physician to write and sell a book at sixpence showing the poor how to better their hard lot'.

  • 7. — [Ninth edition, [1888]]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a ninth edition as published London: R. Forder [1888].

  • 8. — [Tenth edition, 1889]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a tenth edition as published London: R. Forder 1889.

  • 9. — [Eleventh edition, 1889]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists an eleventh edition as published London: R. Forder 1889.

  • 10. — [Twelfth edition, 1889]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a twelfth edition as published London: R. Forder 1889.

  • 11. — [Fourteenth edition, [1890]]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a fourteenth edition as published London: R. Forder [1890].

  • 12. — Sixteenth edition.
    18.0 x 12.0 cm   Pp [1-5] 6-59 [60], [i-xii] ads  
    GB:   *ORS  

    Date from cover.

  • 13. — [Twenty-third edition, [1894]]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a twenty-third edition as published London: R. Forder [1894].

  • 14. — [Forty-fifth edition, 1913]
    GB:   LB  

    The BMCat lists a forty-fifth edition as published London: Geo. Standring 1913. General comments: "The wife's handbook' consists mostly of the same information on pregnancy and childcare given in other nineteenth- century manuals, but it became notorious because of the final chapter on birth control (see note to the eighth edition). Some editions also included advertisements for contraceptive devices, and the book as a whole was officially condemned as "lewd'. In spite of the persecution Allbutt faced, and the threat of prosecution for those selling the book, the Malthusian League continued to recommend his manual for its clear and practical information. There was even a Yiddish edition, aimed at the influx of Jewish refugees. See Angus McLaren, "Birth control in nineteenth century England', 1978.