Friday Photo: For Baby

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My neighbors had a baby recently, and watching them put her in her stroller recently made me think about how much stuff babies seem to require. Clothes, diapers, blankets, bottles, strollers, seats, toys…the list goes on and on and on. Eighteenth century babies didn’t require quite as much specialized equipage, but today’s photo shows one item every upper-class baby would have found useful. This is an 18th century silver baby rattle, complete with a whistle, bells, and a piece of coral for a teething baby to gnaw on. These were so identified with childhood that you can see children holding them in portraits like this one from the collection of Colonial Williamsburg:

"Portrait of Two Children" attributed to Joseph Badger. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, 57.100.15

Don’t be fooled by the dress – the child holding the rattle could be a boy. Yet another thing that’s changed since the 18th century…

Posted on Jul 15, 2011 in , , by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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