Louise (Bourgeois) Boursier
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Loyse (Bourgeois) Boursier (1563 - 1636)

Loyse (Louise) "The Scholar" Boursier formerly Bourgeois aka Bourgeoys, Bourcier, Bourgeous
Born in Faubourg Saint-Germain, Paris, Île-de-France, Francemap
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married 30 Dec 1584 in Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, Francemap
Descendants descendants
Died in Faubourg Saint-Germain, Paris, Île-de-France, Francemap
Profile last modified | Created 12 Jul 2016
This page has been accessed 922 times.


Notables Project
Louise (Bourgeois) Boursier is Notable.

"Bourgeois' writings laid out the basic principles of midwifery that practitioners of the art have followed ever since. She likened the midwife's role to that of a ship's pilot, working with natural forces rather than becoming ensnared in a futile quest to overpower them, and she laid out various ethical precepts for midwives that remained well known and have resonated down to the present day'; ." [1]

"The first woman to write a book on childbirth was Louise Boursier (1563-1636), teacher, author, and midwife to the French court for 27 years. In 1609, she wrote a book on midwifery and childbirth practices that was expanded in 1759 by her descendant, Angelique le Boursier du Courdray, who was also a midwife." [2]

"(1563–1636)... a French midwife called The Scholar. She was midwife to the French royal family of King Henry IV of France and his wife Marie de Médicis,... helped raise the art from folklore to science through her prodigious writings and her methods which were based on common sense... parish register reads: The 30 December 1584, married Martin Boursier, barber-surgeon and Loyse Bourgeois.'" [3]

Surgeon Rivalry

"Jacques Guillemeau connection with women of early modern Europe is mainly through obstetrics. Just as he was influential in other medical areas, he also made an impact on the studies of women’s reproductive system and childbirth. However, he also played a major role in devaluing the position of midwives during childbirth. Guillemeau was instrumental in the transition that took place between midwives controlling every aspect of childbirth to the need of the presence of a physician or a surgeon. He made his opinions a public matter through his writings. His efforts were based on the conviction that female midwives did not receive formal education and thus were simply incompetent to have the know-how on safe childbirth.

Later, he would readjust some of his writings to say that he felt that while midwives’ traditional roles were important in building relationships with the mother and child-birthing situations, however, there was a clear line between their roles and the roles of an educated physician. Regardless of his disservice to women of the time, Guillemeau continued to grow. His 'connections to Paré, as well as a host of other physicians and surgeons, led to his promotion to the grade of ordinary surgeon to King Henri III' (Long, 247). Being fluent in Latin gave him the capability to translate Paré’s works from French to Latin, so that the texts were accessible for not only surgeons but also physicians. In a weird twist of irony, Guillemeau’s legitimacy was questioned as well. The medical faculty of Paris questioned his capability of translating the documents accurately as he was only a surgeon. The speculation didn’t stop them from publishing the material and in fact, they even attributed to translation to him. This not only established him as a successful surgeon and a published writer, it also elevated the status of all surgeons. Thus, Jacques Guillemeau holds a unique position in early modern European medicine as he was possibly the only man who managed to become a successful surgeon, a well-accepted published author, and established the position of a physician in childbirth, widening the gap between genders in women’s medicine in the 16th and 17th century." [4][5]


  1. ("Encyclopedia.com: 'Encyclopedia of World Biography: Bourgeois, Loyse'; The Gale Group Inc; 2003)
  2. ("Famous First Facts 2000: 'Bourgeois, Louyse'"; item # 2338, by Steven Anzovin; H. W. Wilson Company, ISBN 0-8242-0958-3, p. 115
  3. (Wikipedia)
  4. Women in European History
  5. Wikipedia
  • "'Les familles pionnières de la Nouvelle-France dans les archives du Minutier central des notaires de Paris', par Jean-Paul Macouin; Société de recherche historique Archiv-Histo"; 2016, p. 62.[1]
  • "The Chicago Medical Recorder: Volume 34; 'Allport An Old Midwife's Tale' Medical Recorder Publishing Company, January 1, 1912, p 197." [2]
  • "'Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture', edited by Professor Kathleen Perry Long; Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2013, p 250." [3]
  • "'Women's Medical Work in Early Modern France', by Susan Broomhall; Manchester University Press, 2004, p 133." [4]
  • "Code A Corp USA: 'Women’s History Blog: The Women of Science'" [5]
  • "'Racines et Rameaux Français d'Acadie:e siècle de femmes'; No. 40, July 2007" [6]
  • "Welcome Library: 'The Scholarly Midwife', by Julia Nurse." [7]
  • "GoodReads: 'The Patricians: 181 Ancestors Who Immigrated to the New World During the 17th CenturyI: Jacques-Jacob Grandjehan dit Bourgeois (1620 - 1701)', by Steven Wood Collins." [8]
  • "'A Midwife on Midwifery', by Linda Hendrick" [9]
  • "Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française', par J.C. de Vaugiraud; 2002, p 20: 'Loyse Bourgoys'"
  • "'Accoucheurs et sages-femmes célèbres: esquisses biographiques', by Gustave-Joseph Witkowski, G. Steinheil, Editor; Havre; Paris; 1891." (see p. 13) Gustave Joseph Witkowski, Accoucheurs et sages-femmes célèbres, (Paris: G. Steinheil, 1891), Open Library Archive .

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Louise is 20 degrees from Jaki Erdoes, 18 degrees from Wallis Windsor and 20 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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