DOCTOR SAMUEL POZZI –
‘THE FATHER OF FRENCH GYNAECOLOGY’
HIS LIFE AND WORK, AND MADAME SARAH BERNHARDT
Welcome to the updated Doctor Pozzi website, first created by Francesca Miller in 2005. While some of the new site is now in place the creators will be adding more in the coming weeks.
Since 2005 Francesca Miller and Caroline de Costa have carried out extensive research into the life and work of Samuel Pozzi, published a number of articles in French and English in both medical journals and journals of history, written a biography of Pozzi published in both English and French (the latter has won several awards in France), and Caroline has spoken at several major medical and historical meetings in France on the topic of Pozzi, as well as on French radio.
Both creators of the revamped site acknowledge the assistance of many people in their endeavours. Firstly, Claude Vanderpooten, himself a gynaecologist, who in his retirement worked with Claude Bourdet, grandson of Samuel Pozzi, on Pozzi’s enormous correspondence and journals, and published the book ‘Samuel Pozzi – Ami des Femmes’in 1993.
In 2005 Caroline de Costa approached Claude Vanderpooten through Madame Véronique Clin, Curator and Director of the Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine in the Ecole de Médecine (Pozzi’s own medical school, in the heart of Paris). Claude was at that time quite unwell, and died the following year, but he was very enthusiastic in his responses and conversations with Caroline, and granted permission to both Caroline and Francesca to freely use his book and other notes, in order to write about Pozzi, with the intention of re-establishing him as the important figure he was in French surgery and society between 1875 and his death in 1918.
In 2006 in Paris Caroline met Nicolas Bourdet, the son of Claude Bourdet; Nicolas is now the keeper of the Pozzi archives in Paris. Nicolas has been enormously helpful and generous over many years in allowing us access to letters, notes, journals and photos, in particular the letters from Sarah Bernhardt. These were transcribed by Nicolas, with the help of Mireille Cardot, in 2006 and translated into English by Caroline. We also received much help and support from Professor Larry Joseph, formerly at Smith College, and an acknowledged expert on the work of Cathérine Pozzi, Samuel’s daughter.
In 2010 Caroline and Francesca published ‘The Diva and Doctor God – Letters from Sarah Bernhardt to Dr Samuel Pozzi.’ While this was based around the letters it contained a full account of Pozzi’s life, medical work, writing, publications and role in the politics and society of his time.
The French translation of this book was subsequently published in Paris by Editions Glyphe in 2013 (translation by Francine Sièty) and launched in March 2013 in the Musée d’histoire de la Médecine in Paris. Professor Jacques Battin of the French Académie de Médecine supplied a supportive Preface. The book is entitled ‘Sarah Bernhardt et le Docteur Pozzi’, and includes a bibliography and appropriate footnotes and acknowledgements. It has won a number of awards-details in the Recognition section of this website.