Baby-O-Rama, Or, Mid Century Wee Bairn Worship, What War?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,854
Location
Central Pennsylvania
baby housekeeprs loc crop.jpg

From LoC, entitled " Young Housekeepers ", this series from a popular press included images of this couple during courtship, a wedding, etc. Their penultimate, finale - the introduction of ' Baby '

Thanks to @John Hartwell 's thread on PT Barnum's baby ' exhibit ', one result of our country's veritable baby mania, thought a look at pervasive, era devotion to all-things-baby would be explanatory.

era hiddn mom.jpg

In 2018 we delight in the ' hidden mothers ' genre of photography. Mothers wearing quilts wrapped around their heads, dressed as curtains, chairs and rugs or disembodied fingers holding rotund cuteness is a wonderful, flukey thought- not so odd if one's baby was the focal point.


PT Barnum's knowledge of human foibles ( heck, humans across the board ) knew no bounds. His ' genius ' consisted of a shrewd, frequently exploitive understanding of what makes us tick. Banking ( literally ) on this country's middle Victorian devotion to all-things-romantic, he gave the public babies on parade, as it were. Why, in a country where babies could suffer the indignity of being abandoned and sold, we could concurrently worship them could have to do with war's tragic shadow. Life in the midst of death. Cute life.

baby new loc.JPG

Also LoC, this idyllic for-purchase family scene is an image drawn from life- however saccharine it appears in 2018. Mom recovering ( remember that? ), Dad, Grandmother and siblings meeting the new little one. These were in demand for a reason- we cherished babies, or at least tried.

baby robe.jpg

Too many patterns devoted to baby wear to count appeared in periodicals like Demorests, Godey's, McClures and a plethora of ' Lady's Companion ' publications. We have some era christening gowns but nothing this elaborate- a confection befitting the new ruler of the household.

baby ad.JPG

Then ( well, we see it in 2018 too ), it was possible to scare mothers into purchasing remedies guaranteed to keep their baby well. High mortality rates from disease probably helped sales quite a bit. Can't say worms are problematic 150 years later although diaper rash figures large.

Era periodicals adored images of adored babies- fictional or not, we bit.
baby mom.JPG


Another.
baby mother crop lg.jpg


baby fam.JPG

Slightly post war, a baby was frequently a good reason for a family portrait. This is just one of my favorites- there are dozens.

baby soldier in case.jpg

A reason to go to war, a baby at home. ( pretty sure this is another hidden mother portrait, so the whole family is represented )

baby2 (2).JPG

Believe it or not, this ad would have drawn ire. ' Hand feeding' was considered lax- and frequently attacked as child abuse. It was a mother's solemn, sacred duty to provide mother's milk.

baby cherub.jpg

Babies as fairies, cherubs and in this case somehow a royal couple running ( flying ) into matrimony would be typical, idealizing all three. Saccharine? Of course. As a delightful indication of a baby's place in the world? Perfect.



 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
8,885
Location
District of Columbia
View attachment 205350
From LoC, entitled " Young Housekeepers ", this series from a popular press included images of this couple during courtship, a wedding, etc. Their penultimate, finale - the introduction of ' Baby '

Thanks to @John Hartwell 's thread on PT Barnum's baby ' exhibit ', one result of our country's veritable baby mania, thought a look at pervasive, era devotion to all-things-baby would be explanatory.

View attachment 205351
In 2018 we delight in the ' hidden mothers ' genre of photography. Mothers wearing quilts wrapped around their heads, dressed as curtains, chairs and rugs or disembodied fingers holding rotund cuteness is a wonderful, flukey thought- not so odd if one's baby was the focal point.


PT Barnum's knowledge of human foibles ( heck, humans across the board ) knew no bounds. His ' genius ' consisted of a shrewd, frequently exploitive understanding of what makes us tick. Banking ( literally ) on this country's middle Victorian devotion to all-things-romantic, he gave the public babies on parade, as it were. Why, in a country where babies could suffer the indignity of being abandoned and sold, we could concurrently worship them could have to do with war's tragic shadow. Life in the midst of death. Cute life.

View attachment 205355
Also LoC, this idyllic for-purchase family scene is an image drawn from life- however saccharine it appears in 2018. Mom recovering ( remember that? ), Dad, Grandmother and siblings meeting the new little one. These were in demand for a reason- we cherished babies, or at least tried.

View attachment 205356
Too many patterns devoted to baby wear to count appeared in periodicals like Demorests, Godey's, McClures and a plethora of ' Lady's Companion ' publications. We have some era christening gowns but nothing this elaborate- a confection befitting the new ruler of the household.

View attachment 205352
Then ( well, we see it in 2018 too ), it was possible to scare mothers into purchasing remedies guaranteed to keep their baby well. High mortality rates from disease probably helped sales quite a bit. Can't say worms are problematic 150 years later although diaper rash figures large.

Era periodicals adored images of adored babies- fictional or not, we bit.
View attachment 205353

Another.
View attachment 205354

View attachment 205358
Slightly post war, a baby was frequently a good reason for a family portrait. This is just one of my favorites- there are dozens.

View attachment 205359
A reason to go to war, a baby at home. ( pretty sure this is another hidden mother portrait, so the whole family is represented )

View attachment 205360
Believe it or not, this ad would have drawn ire. ' Hand feeding' was considered lax- and frequently attacked as child abuse. It was a mother's solemn, sacred duty to provide mother's milk.

View attachment 205361
Babies as fairies, cherubs and in this case somehow a royal couple running ( flying ) into matrimony would be typical, idealizing all three. Saccharine? Of course. As a delightful indication of a baby's place in the world? Perfect.
It's almost amazing to see how much different our attitudes toward child rearing and pictorial depiction are compared to those of the 19th century. Those hidden mother pictures, for example, just look odd today.

- Alan
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,854
Location
Central Pennsylvania
"Baby worship" may have sprung from the fact that roughly one-in-ten infants surviving childbirth did not live to be ten years old during that era. Children still are our hope for the future, and in those days, much needed farm hands.

There was a bizarre flip side, or rather, tragic? The problem was much worse in England- the shocking practice of abandoning infants to their doom. It was most certainly economically ( hence socially ) based. Dickens didn't invent the portrait of squalor resulting from sheer poverty. No ( gasp ) education on birth control, parents with no hope of feeding children whose future was a childhood in the factories, anyway. Heck, we did not get serious about child labor laws until what, the 1930's? Mandatory education wasn't even the result of attention to child welfare- the concept was, get those unsightly poor kids off the streets.( I can source that )

You just know mothers were no different based on income. We don't discuss it at all, this dichotomy.
 

Mrs. V

First Sergeant
Joined
May 5, 2017
Messages
1,616
I am going to have to post pictures of the christening gowns I own. They are most likely post CW but they may be older. Wrassled them from former Sister in law..She had 5 kids, but my hubby is the eldest..so the clothes devolved to us..I was a right biatch getting them back, I am glad I did now.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
3,556
Location
New York, New York
Excellent post as always @JPK Huson 1863! I feel like the very first lithograph reminds me very much of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their family -

-Prince-Albert-and-their-children-in-the-play-room-at-Buckingham-Palace-Lithograph-English-c1847.jpg
colour-lithograph-printed-by-dean-co-of-threadneedle-street-london-a-picture-id90746835.jpg


Of course the irony there was the Queen wasn't overly fond of her children but always felt the need be depicted as the modicum of motherhood :O o:

Believe it or not, this ad would have drawn ire. ' Hand feeding' was considered lax- and frequently attacked as child abuse. It was a mother's solemn, sacred duty to provide mother's milk.
Given the great number of mothers who died during childbirth while their babies survived them, I imagine hand feeding and what we'd consider formula were sadly very necessary if one couldn't afford a wet nurse. :frown:
 
Top