A Home for Foundlings

A Home for Foundlings

Book - 2005
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Nominated for the 2005 Norma Fleck Award

Thousands of mothers carried their babies to the gates of the Foundling Hospital desperate to save them from the cruel streets of eighteenth-century London. Each baby was left with a personal "token" - identification if a repentant mother ever returned to reclaim her child.

Captain Thomas Coram, himself childless, was inspired by the sight of babies abandoned on dung heaps to petition the king for support in building a home for England's poorest children. Coram's vision saved countless children's lives.

A Home for Foundlings describes the hospital Captain Coram founded, the luminaries involved - including Handel, Hogarth, and Dickens - and the daily lives of the foundlings themselves.

Full of archival photos and materials, and published in cooperation with the newly established Foundling Museum in London and Lord Cultural Resources, A Home for Foundlings is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and timely book. Author Marthe Jocelyn's text has particular resonance: her grandfather, Arthur Jocelyn, was raised in the Foundling Hospital.
Publisher: Toronto : Tundra Books, c2005.
ISBN: 9780887767098
Characteristics: 120 p. :,ill., ports. ;,26 cm.


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Nov 22, 2010

This is a really good "coffee table" book. I set it down a few places around the house and found others reading it.
The premise of the home for foundlings to take in children, abandoned and otherwise, and care for them till adulthood or the Mother returned, whichever came first. Hundreds of children were dropped off by parents, usually single mothers, unable to cope.
Some amazing pictures show the children eating Sunday dinner, sparse at best, while society folk tour the institution, making comments and generally treating the foundlings such as zoo animals. The home allowed this process because it encouraged donations from the well to do.
Children often went on to service jobs or apprenticeships, working just as hard as they had most of their lives.

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