Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7315
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): O'Tool , Mark P.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Seeing Gender in the House of the Blind: Charitable Practices at the Quinze-Vingts
  • Source: Seeing Gender: Perspectives on Medieval Gender and Sexuality. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, King's College, London, January 4-6, 2002.. 2002.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Charity Paris- Quinze-Vingts, Charitable Home for the Blind
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 14
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: While historians have established some general trends in medieval women’s charitable activities, particularly distributing charity at their doors and working in hospitals, the stories of these women often remain obscured. Perhaps ironically the Quinze-Vingts, the congregation that King Louis IX established to house 300 blind people, presents an opportunity to see the veiled activities of the wives of the institution’s administrators and to compare their obligations with those of their husbands. In fact, the congregation’s rule stipulated that certain administrators must be married because their wives were assigned specific tasks, mirroring somewhat the rule forbidding blind residents from marrying other blind residents while encouraging them to marry sighted people. Due to the often invisible nature of women’s charitable activities, it is essential to piece together as much of the lives of individual women in order to understand the richness of their endeavors. The Quinze-Vingts maintains an archive of information on the activities and legacies of these administrative families permitting an examination into their lives and, used with other Parisian sources, their social status. Additionally, the creation of the congregation’s rule in the 1350s, based on established traditions and desires for the future, presents a snap-shot, if used cautiously, of the lives of these early administrators, their wives, and the residents. [Reproduced by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available