Van Hoosen, Bertha | Scopolamine-Morphine Anaesthesia

  • First edition of this important book on the use of “twilight sleep” anaesthesia during labour by the female surgeon who first advocated its use in the United States. Rare, with WorldCat listing only electronic copies, and only one copy appearing in auction records (Bonhams 2020).

    Born into a Michigan farming family, Bertha van Hoosen (1863-1952) insisted on a medical education despite her parent’s active opposition, and put herself through school by working as a teacher, obstetrical nurse, and demonstrator in anatomy. After graduating she opened a private practice and also worked at the Woman’s Medical School of Northwestern University and as a professor of clinical gynaecology at the Illinois University Medical School. In 1918 Van Hoosen became the first woman to head a medical division at a coeducational university when she was appointed professor and head of obstetrics at Loyola. She was a founder and first president of the American Medical Women's Association, and advocated for women physicians to serve in the First World War.

    “Throughout her career, Bertha van Hoosen’s major interest was in women’s health. She was an excellent general surgeon, but she was particularly concerned with women and children. She pioneered the use of scopolamine-morphine anaesthesia for childbirth. Although this method, known as twilight sleep, had become popular in Germany, it was not used in the United States. She produced a book and two articles on her research in this area” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science p. 1320).

  • ...A Psychological Study of "Twilight Sleep" Made by the Giessen Method. Chicago: The House of Manz, 1915.

    Octavo. Brown cloth library binding, titles to spine and upper board in black. Tipped-in photographic frontispiece and 8 plates from photographs. From the library of the Los Angeles Medical Association, with partially removed numbers at the tail of the spine, blind stamp to the title and page 49, pencilled library notes to the contents list, remnants of a bookplate to the front pastedown, and abraded spots on the rear pastedown where the the card pocket was removed. Cloth a little rubbed and marked with a small knock to the edge of the lower board and a scuff affecting the same board. Contents clean. A very good copy.