As a contribution to establishing the antecedents of nurse-midwifery, this article focuses on the career of Louyse Bourgeois(1563–1636), a major figure in the history of modern midwifery. She was the first midwife to publish a book on obstetrics and the first to publish on midwifery. Within her writings she outlined clear guidelines for sound clinical practice and articulated an ethical code to govern the practice of midwives. For example, Bourgeois recommended induced labor in cases of contracted pelvis; she was the first to discuss the management of umbilical prolapse; she offered a detailed description of facepresentation and its management; and she was the first to cut the cord between two ligatures, when it was wrapped about the neck. She was an ambitious woman, not only for her personal advancement but for the advancement of female midwives as a group. More than 350 years ago she called for improvements in the training of midwives and saw the value of providing midwives with theoretical framework in support of clinical practice. As midwife to the Queen of France and to other influentialfamilies, Bourgeois took advantage of every opportunity to improve her own position and that of her calling. Her eventual fall fromprominence, due to attacks by physicians and surgeons, is remarkably similar to the emotional conflict that surrounds present day nurse-midwife and medical profession confrontations over practice issues.