Pennsylvania's Unique Occupations Found in the Census:
© Stephanie Hoover - All Rights Reserved

Dr. Jonas Preston of Delaware County and Dr. B. Magoffin of Butler County had something in common. They were both known as "accoucheurs."

The term, as used in the 1800s, denoted a male midwife, or, a doctor who specialized in helping women with their pregnancies.

So dedicated to women's health was Dr. Preston that in his will he left $400,000 to create "an institution for the relief of indigent married women of good character, distinct and unconnected with any hospital, where they may be received and provided with proper obstetric aid for their delivery, with suitable attendance and comforts during their period of weakness and susceptibility which ensues." This provision established the Preston Retreat in Philadelphia, a long-respected feature of the city's hospital system.

Visitors to Delaware County can see Dr. Preston's Federal-style mansion, built around 1805, at 6 Boot Road in Newtown Township.

Books by Stephanie Hoover...