A digital edition of Simon Forman’s & Richard Napier’s medical records 1596–1634
What is my disease? Am I pregnant? Will I die? These are the sorts of questions that thousands of people asked Simon Forman and Richard Napier, two of the most popular astrologers in early modern England. Through four busy decades, Forman and Napier recorded approximately 80,000 consultations. Their casebooks are one of the most extensive surviving sets of medical records in history. They provide a unique view of the lives of ordinary — and extraordinary — people four centuries ago.
Our freely available electronic edition combines sophisticated editorial expertise and cutting-edge digital humanities to make these records accessible as never before, allowing you to browse and search the casebooks.
Transcriptions of the first nine volumes of Napier’s casebooks, comprising nearly 12,000 cases, can now be browsed and searched. All the Forman cases are accompanied by images of the original manuscripts. Images and further transcriptions of Napier’s material will follow in due course.
Editing the new material has entailed a substantial revision and expansion of our search topic options, as Napier tended to be much more specific than Forman about the nature of his clients’ complaints. The user guides, particularly the Guide to reading the texts and the Topics of consultations page, have been updated accordingly, and a new Guide to searching added.
Visitors should be aware that the Napier material remains in a state of flux, as the editorial work is still in progress. The Forman material is now stable barring minor revisions, but we will continue to work on refining the search function and expanding its scope. A ‘search results summary’ function has already been introduced, providing a graphic overview of the data retrieved by any search.
The Wellcome Trust has granted the project a twelve-month extension, until 30 June 2014. We are developing an application for further funding.
Document last modified: 1 October 2013
Cite this as: "Welcome | Casebooks Project", Casebooks Project (http://www.magicandmedicine.hps.cam.ac.uk/)