Thomas Phaire's (1510-1560) The Boke of Children (Figure 1), published in 1544, was the first book on pediatrics ever written by an Englishman. It was also among the earliest medical books to be printed in the English language. When Phaire's book was published spelling was very variable. Phaire, for instance, spelled his own name in several ways (Phaer, Faer, Phaier, Phayre, Phayer). In the text the same word may be spelled in different ways on the same page (boke, book, or booke; chyldren, children, etc.).

The Boke of Children was in the form of a treatise appended to a volume containing Phaire's translation from the French of the Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanus, entitled by Phaire the Regiment of Life. The Regimen Sanitatis, a medieval medical production associated with the School of Salerno, is easily the most famous medical poem ever written. It contains much excellent medical advice and was written in a form convenient for memorization.

Phaire studied at Oxford (college unknown) and later went to Lincoln's Inn to study law. He was awarded a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Oxford in 1559 (after having practiced medicine for twenty years).

The Boke of Children went through at least seven editions with an active life of at least half a century. In it the author considers 40 diseases with their "remedyes" being included in each case. Among these are "swelling of the head, terrible dreames, the fallying evill, the palsey, stiffenes of limmes, scalles of the head, wormes, the stone, sacer ignis or chingles, small pockes and measles, watching out of measure (wakefulness), bredyng of teeth, colyke and rumbling in the guttes, bloodshoten eyes, pyssing in bed, and burnyng and scaldyng."

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