How Forceps Permanently Changed the Way Humans Are Born

Childbirth used to be a terrifying ordeal. But women were surrounded by others – mothers, aunts, sisters – who brought love and experience. But midway through the 19th century, this changed. Introduction Obstetric forceps look like ninja weapons. They come as a pair: 16 inches of solid steel for each hand with curved “blades” that[…]

Wombs and Tombs in the Ancient Roman World

Fertility cult, however loosely and often unhelpfully defined, has long been an accepted element of ancient religious practice. In 1988 Mark Golden set out to find what he considered the “correct answer” to a direct question: “Did the ancients care when their children died?” Drawing on cross-cultural parallels his conclusion was perhaps unsurprising: “we should[…]

Lost But Not Yet Found: Medieval Foundlings and Charity in Northern France

By the end of the thirteenth century the social context for the abandonment of infants and children had changed in important ways. Introduction The High Middle Ages was an important period of transition in the care of France’s “miserable persons,” that is, the poor, sick, widows, orphans, aged, and infirm. By 1400, civic initiatives, parish[…]

Children and the Industrial Revolution

Working children were subject to very long work hours under harsh and dangerous conditions. Introduction The children of the Industrial Revolution at once hold all the opportunity of the future in their hands while also facing the terrors of poverty and reality of the present in the other. Perhaps when you imagine these children you[…]

Prehistoric Babies Drank Animal Milk from Bottles

The vessels were found in Bronze Age and Iron Age infant graves in Bavaria, Germany. By Emily Vaughn Breast or bottle? Apparently, parents of infants have been pondering these options for thousands of years. So suggests a new study released Wednesday by the journal Nature. The researchers report finding nonhuman milk residue inside a type[…]

A Brief History of Animals in Early Modern and Modern Children’s Literature

Books had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count, and understand the world around them. Stories about animals have always been a staple of children’s literature. At first, such books were not particularly concerned with entertainment, but had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count and understand[…]