London: G. Hill, 1889. First edition. With two illustrations of the female reproductive system and a full-page illustration of a pessary. A very good, clean, and fresh copy of an uncommon health manual for women. Original purple cloth with gilt title. Sunning to spine and edges. Yellow endpapers. Octavo. 139 pp. Item #16987
The present work seeks to educate women about their bodies, as well as motherhood and childcare, and offer women a greater sense of independence. The author also encourages women to find the “common power” among themselves: “Being of the same sex, we may, by a commonality of interest and feeling, understand each other…The womanhood forms the bond between us — we are all bearing the same yoke — we may all draw at the harvest. When we speak of ourselves, we know what is meant though the thing be only half-way spoken, because we share...the man cannot understand the woman as the woman can,” (p. 12-13). The text covers anatomy (including the skeleton, muscles, nerves, and circulatory system), the reproductive system, treatments for women’s health concerns, pessaries, and homeopathy.
Mary Jane Hall-Williams was a Kansas-born homeopathic doctor who graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1880. Dr. Hall-Williams later moved to Kensington, England, where she lived in Phillimore Terrace. She was also an anti-vivisection advocate who hosted the Friends’ Anti-Vivisection Association at her home. The Animal’s Defender and Zoophilist (June 1, 1891), p. 32. King, William Harvey. History of Homeopathy and its Institutions in America (1905), p. 200.