Article ID: CBB001550313

Families, Medical Secrets and Public Health in Early Modern Venice (2014)


Crawshaw, Jane L. Stevens (Author)

Renaissance Studies
Volume: 28, no. 4
Issue: 4
Pages: 597-618

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Part of a Series
Language: English

This article highlights women's contribution to public health in early modern Venice using the case study of Marieta Colochi and her family's medical secret. This medical cure operated as a dowry, an important object within female inheritance and was also sold to the Venetian Republic for a significant sum of money because of its apparent success in treating the plague. The city's Health Office employed family members to administer the treatment, including Marieta. Surviving texts describe her as a salaried doctor and the Health Office archive records the use of her medical services in Venice and across the territorial state. Marieta's attempt at election as an independent Health Office doctor failed but she continued to be employed alongside male members of her family. Her history suggests that the nature of record-keeping for early modern public health, with its emphasis on office-holding, may have obscured the contributions made by women. The family unit emerges as significant in a private and public sense: the Health Office authorities dealt with individual, skilled medical women by employing them within family relationships and provided opportunities for female employment in healthcare within institutions that were modelled on the family in a symbolic way. Viewing women's work through the lens of the family allows historians to acknowledge the gender hierarchies of early modern society whilst illuminating the valuable contributions which could be made by women to the healthcare of this period.

Included in

Article Strocchia, Sharon T. (2014) Women and Healthcare in Early Modern Europe. Renaissance Studies (pp. 496-515). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
McCormick, Michael
Park, Katharine
Laughran, Michelle A.
Smith, Lisa W.
Heiss, Hans
Vivo, Filippo de
Pharmacy in History
Social History of Medicine
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadien d'Histoire de la Medecine
Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie
Renaissance Studies
Studien Verlag
Pallas Publications
University of North Carolina Press
Ashgate Publishing
Harvard University
Cierre edizioni
Public health
Women and health
Medicine and government
Venice (Italy)
United States
Great Britain
Alberta, Canada
17th century
16th century
18th century
19th century
Early modern
15th century

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