Sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi

Mme Anh-Chi Ton

PDF Signaler ce document 1Historians, often voyeurs into the past, long for precious documentary evidence of the lives of the multitudes who never wrote diaries or left letters for us to decipher.

We endeavor to visualize and understand just how people lived.


In our quest for insight into the past, judicial records, whether civil or criminal, provide one of the richest sources for understanding the daily lives of ordinary people. Although they open a window only on the exceptional aspects of daily russe site de rencontre, those situations that involved a judicial procedure or a sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi trial and leave in the dark the lives sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi the multitudes who never were part of any judicial proceedings, judicial archives often provide the only visibility onto the lives of the working people.

Fuchs, Contested Paternity: They are also disappointing because they contain no letters and no verbatim depositions or interrogations in cases of recherche de la paternité. With all the caveats that come with generalizing from hundreds of cases in the civil courts, I found patterns that allowed me to use these cases to discuss sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi constructions in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France.

But, these records were frustrating because sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi do not contain a wealth of detail. Those judicial archives reveal the lived experiences of people, albeit it via the words of the officials, and allow us to glimpse the values and social mores of the investigators, of the accused, and of the witnesses. This large folder includes material pertaining to the midwife who was the prime suspect, Joséphine Cornu, including all her contacts over several years, ranging from patients, to acquaintances, to present and former lovers, to another midwife accused of performing an abortion, to the male doctor who helped in emergencies.

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Others in the drama include people of the neighborhood: Outside the neighborhood, a young banker and his wealthy mistress who each lived in private houses across the river Seine in the ninth arrondissement came to consult the midwife Cornu. We see a community with spatial boundaries as well as a community of shared interests and shared practices. In this community we can also see gendered power relations of everyday life, including their intimate lives, where information empowers.

Except for the outsiders, the banker and his mistress, all the players in this community drama, except for Cornu, were relatively poor.

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Using nineteenth-century maps of the quartier, the Paris assessment records calepins du cadastremodern search engines e. Google to estimate walking distances, and by walking the quartier myself, it is possible to draw the spatial boundaries of neighborhood networks predicated upon: All were within several blocks of one another.

Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Larue, living with her father on the fourth floor of an apartment building at 35 rue des Missions carefully used her best handwriting in a note on lined pale blue paper and dropped it in the box at the police station on her street. In it, she denounced Joséphine Cornu, a midwife who was living in the same building on the entresol—a short flight of stairs up from the rez-de-chaussée.

No police official followed up on this original denunciation. Larue wrote two others, the last one in August, about six weeks later. Her friend, Célina Bouningue, who lived in the neighborhood and worked as a seamstress for Sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi, also wrote a note, on the same type of paper that Rebecca used; the content of the notes are all similar: In the later letter, Larue added: Cornu never married, but had lived with Théophile Planchais, a writer homme de lettres who was roughly twenty years older, until he died in of a liver disease at age thirty seven in La Charité 7.

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They carefully went through the papers in her home and began to reconstruct her personal and professional network. Cornu moved several times sincebut always stayed within the same quartier.

Police interrogated residents of her building and her past concierges at 33 rue des Missions and around the corner on rue du Cherche-Midi. Some were suspects; others served as character witnesses. Interrogation de la femme Fermis, Pièce 51, Josse, Zephirin, concierge ru For several years previously, Fermis had lived with Cornu at 84 rue du Cherche-Midi but finished her training with another midwife who lived in that same apartment building.

Fermis and Cornu remained close friends, and Cornu even purchased a raincoat for Fermis at the nearby department store, Le Bon Marché.

Fermis accepted some poor clients, such as Emélie Debisschop, whom Cornu refused to treat. Interrogation of Emélie Debisschop and her sister, Louise Debissc Second interrogation sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi Emélie Debisschop. A seamstress, she lived with her sister and brother-in-law on rue du Cherche-Midi. Debisschop previously had one child, whom she abandoned and whose fate is unknown.


The walk from rue du Cherche-Midi to 35 rue des Missions around or through the market could take from three to ten minutes 9. According to Bouningue, who condemned Cornu for her greed, Cornu refused to see Debisschop because there was so little profit in it and sent her to Fermis, who later summoned Cornu who came to help because the procedure took a dangerous turn Cornu escorted Debisschop back home in a fiacre and called for Dr.

Léon Calvo, who lived close by and was always supportive of Cornu, to come and help stop the hemorrhaging. Unfortunately, the records do not indicate rencontres filles tahiti one person knew the other or how Debisschop came to find Cornu.

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Although specific details are absent from the dossier, witnesses referred to neighborhood gossip about Cornu and her expertise. No one mentioned precisely that she was known as a midwife who would perform abortions.

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As Debisschop recounted: Letters between Legrand and Saint-Vel, and from each of them to Cornu, provide details of their intimacy and her gynecological problems. This couple could not get their story straight.

Saint-Vel insisted that he sought the midwife because he feared that he had given Marie Legrand a venereal disease; he wanted Cornu to cure it and also maintain secrecy. Marie Legrand, however, said she came upon Cornu when she was sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi the neighborhood with one of her children and saw the plaque on the door of the building stating that Cornu was a licensed midwife.

Legrand claimed that she was suffering from symptoms that we might associate with endometriosis; her story never changed. Their stories of why and how they contacted Cornu diverge, so the historian is left to figure out the complex connections and networks. Ravizza paid Cornu 70 francs the customary cost for that childbirth delivery.

In July Ravizza again consulted Cornu and both women agreed that Ravizza had a miscarriage, but differed as to whether it was at six weeks or three months. She further testified: Interrogations of Cornu and Ravizza.

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Contact with her daughter who had the rencontre tubize Léon Calvo, other than as a medical back-up for Cornu, is an important, but missing, piece of sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi story. Calvo may have been a center of communication in this spatially bound community sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi common interests.

As a neighborhood doctor, he may have referred patients, such as Ravizza, to Cornu. The police accused Cornu of poisoning the baby out of jealousy.

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Evidence led them to drop that accusation since it indicated that the infant died of bronchitis while in the countryside with a wet nurse. Brouté also stated that she had been pregnant and that Cornu tried to perform sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi abortion on her, but she refused and carried her baby to term.

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Cornu delivered the baby inswaddled him and immediately took the newborn to the Hospice des Enfants Assistés where she abandoned him After an investigation femme rencontre russe lasted four months, six people were accused: Only Debisschop confessed to having had an abortion; all the others insisted they sought the services of Cornu for sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi problems.

Their relationship was once close, with Cornu employing Larue and inviting her to her home to play the piano; she may even have been a mother figure.

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Calvo, going to the pharmacist, making purchases at the market, and delivering messages to patients. After Cornu dismissed Brouté, Larue served as her receptionist, where she witnessed much of what went on, and which she duly reported, or made up, upon interrogation.

Eventually, as Larue told the story, Cornu initiated young Larue into a sexual relationship with one of her own sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi who frequently dropped by to visit. Eventually, their relationship soured and Larue heard gossip about herself on the street corners with Cornu accusing her of immorality and having several lovers.

Josse, Zephirin, 42 years, concierge rue Campagne Première, 8 bis. Déposé sur interpellat Therefore, the concierges knew much and told their stories.

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His testimony, which the interrogators recorded in great detail and believed, was damning: Elle venait voir très souvent la femme Fermis… Je me souviens parfaitement de cette affaire de voiture dont vous me parlez. Throughout subsequent interrogations and confrontations with Fermis, he never wavered from his story The police commissioner who took the interrogation underscored those words in the original do Brouté and Larue both mentioned that Cornu charged clients what they thought was excessive and that she made clients sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi back for several visits so she could charge more and remain in her neighborhood.

In running errands for Cornu, Larue frequented the market, as well as the neighborhood pharmacy and herbalist as she went for the medicines that Cornu requested. All these places served for an exchange of information and as des lieux de rencontre localities where people just got together naturally.

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Childbirth and Fertil Information about informal encounters is best gained in oral interviews, so historians of the nineteenth century sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi rely on the sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi of contemporary sociologists. Although few in this case specified where they encountered one another, knowing how social networks functioned allows for some speculation. Urban Paris, with apartment buildings that had stairwells and common spaces, with bustling streets and markets, and with small parks as sites of chance meetings where women consulted with each other when they needed information abounded.

They were also sites where women gossiped. The women who came together may have been close acquaintances or strangers. She may have had accomplices on the lookout for desperate pregnant women. Connections by word of mouth helped women negotiate their most intimate lives, although this archive reveals no direct evidence about the transmission of information and connections leading from each client to Cornu.

Was it the local pharmacist or herbalist who provided Cornu with drugs of her trade who informed other women? Or was it gossip in the market as women discussed their reproductive issues and needs with one another as they purchased herbs?

Or was it Dr. Calvo who did not perform abortions but may have referred women to Cornu? Cornu was not the only midwife in the area since several testimonies refer to another one nearby on rue du Cherche-Midi. All lived within the spatial limits of a radius of a few sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi of Cornu, separated by a short walking distance varying from three to twenty minutes.

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We know little about the men—the authors of the pregnancies. Even Dr. He helped Cornu when she needed him, but the magistrate never charged him with complicity in abortion.

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Individual communities established some degree of normative behavior and solidarity, and the communication networks of information-sharing among women in the Paris neighborhood where these midwives and their sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi lived contributed to their set of practices or culture. Women, however, could also turn on one another, isolating pariahs who violated sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi norms. Exchange of information, or gossip, could control the lives of women by ostracizing them from the community or protecting them within it.

Gossip could just as easily inform the police about which woman had, or performed, an abortion as it could help a woman get one. Fuchs, Poor and Pregnant in Paris: Strategies for Survival in the Nineteenth Century, N As this story shows, Cornu and Larue at first had a mutual dependency—until Cornu gossiped about Larue having lovers and then Larue denounced Cornu to the police as an abortionist.

Yet, many scraped together the necessary money to take some control over their reproductive lives Cornu had violated community norms not by her midwifery nor by providing abortions, but because of her alleged immorality and by charging more for those abortions than community norms. They used their community connections, engaging in relationships of exchange and reciprocity and fashioning their culture of expediencies within the overlapping private and public spaces that circumscribed their lives.

They sought creative and expedient ways to manage a situation, making up behavior as they went along, sometimes violating the larger cultural parameters of sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi, morality, economics, and the law when the need arose Judicial records illuminate the dynamics of personal and professional relationships, allowing historians to see how community social networks were also sites of individual agency and power.

Abortion was illegal, and if these women sought to terminate a pregnancy, which only one admitted to having done in this case, they were taking some control over their reproductive lives. They did not have complete control, however. She met Cornu in through her friend Euph Cornu had the power to demand frequent visits, whether necessary, as it often was, or in order to gain more money, as some accused her of doing. She even held power over the banker and his mistress who needed her help and confidence.

She certainly had power and authority over the other midwife, Fermis, who suffered financially and depended on Cornu for patients.

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Cornu held power over Rebecca Larue, befriending her, inviting her into her home, and giving her odd jobs. However, the tables turned in the summer of with Larue holding power over Cornu by virtue of her denunciation and testimony, which the magistrates believed All prosecutions of women suspected or accused of abortion proceeded in a similar manner.

Usually within one day of the arrest, the pretrial investigation sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi, which typically lasted several sage femme 86 rue du cherche midi. Cornu and Fermis were the only two incarcerated in Saint-Lazare, where they both spent the four months prior to sentencing.

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