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The Wife's Handbook [Censored Edition]

The Wife's Handbook [Censored Edition] by ALLBUTT, Dr Henry Arthur (1901)

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Author: ALLBUTT, Dr Henry Arthur
Title: The Wife's Handbook: How a Woman should Order Herself During Pregnancy, in the Lying-in Room, and after Delivery
Year: 1901
Publisher: George Standring
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £400
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Added under Rare books

Unrecorded imprint of the earliest book by an English doctor to describe contraceptive methods - heavily censored in order to remove references to pessaries and contraceptive devices.

The book is bound in printed wrappers, spine reinforced with paper. It describes itself on the cover as ‘Thirty-fourth Edition (320th Thousand). - 1901’. OCLC does not locate this edition but there are 5 other editions by George Standring which are extant from 1901-1917. The censorship of the book targets both its commercial and editorial references to contraception. In Chapter VII ‘How to Prevent Conception’ the printed paragraph on the withdrawal method ‘largely practised in France’ is ignored but the rest of the chapter dealing with contraceptive methods has been removed or obscured,: the lower 2 cm of p47-8 is cut out, only the stub of pp49-50 remains and p51 is pasted over until the beginning of Chapter VIII on Menstruation. The verso of the final printed leaf and recto of lower cover are also pasted with an innocuous ‘Telemac’ advert to conceal advertisements, probably for contraceptive pessaries. At page 4 an advertisement for a Pessary has been scribbled on but not fully removed.

Dr. Henry Allbutt was a Leeds doctor who helped to organise the Malthusian League aimed at planned population control. Allbutt fell foul of the medical profession for advocating birth control and this publication led to his prosecution by the General Medical Council; in 1887 he was struck off the Medical Register. This heavily censored edition gives a sense of the outrage that greeted its publication.
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