Natural Child at Nurse: migrant mothers and their children in New York’s almshouse system.

Author(s): Katherine Fennelly

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Women’s Work: Archaeology and Mothering" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Throughout the nineteenth century the city of New York expanded significantly, its growth fed by large numbers of migrant groups. Many of these groups came from the British Isles and northern Europe, where established systems of charitable institutional care were in place. Consequently, migrants were familiar with the types of institutions available to them should they need them. Women at the mercy of the city often brought their children into one of New York’s institutions, or sent them out for wet-nursing. This paper will examine the ways in which mothers managed their children when admitted to institutions. Employing the Almshouses Ledgers from 1820-1860, this research will map these women across the city, attempting to identify areas and shifts in concentration, as different ethnic groups migrated to the city of New York. This paper will focus specifically on Irish migrants as a distinctive ethnic group in the city.

Cite this Record

Natural Child at Nurse: migrant mothers and their children in New York’s almshouse system.. Katherine Fennelly. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457601)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Children Migration Poverty

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 666