Description (Brief)
Midwives have been helping deliver babies for millennia. Midwives in the early 20th century, with the advent of big-city hospitals continued to serve the needs of immigrants and rural American women.
The owner of this midwife kit was Rosa Bonfante. Rosa was from Palermo, Sicily, and immigrated to the United States in 1922, settling first in Buffalo, NY, and later in Albany. Her satchel and its contents, along with her story are shrouded in mystery. Rosa's grandson, Joseph Badlotto, writes in a brief statement that according to family lore, Rosa had an affair in Sicily with Carlo Chirchirillo (the donor's natural grandfather). Born of that affair in 1918 was a baby girl, named Mary (the donor's mother). Carlos and his wife, Felicia, raised the child, and in 1920 immigrated to the United States. Rosa followed about two years later posing as the child's godmother. Years passed before the truth about Mary's parentage became known.
Small glass thermometer with metal tip and black and red Centigrade scale (35-42 degrees). The thermometer is housed in a red cylindrical case. This thermometer is part of a midwife's kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
Currently not on view
Physical Description
glass (part: thermometer material)
metal (part: thermometer material)
mercury (part: thermometer material)
cardboard (part: case material)
overall: 1/2 in x 5/8 in x 5 1/2 in; 1.27 cm x 1.5875 cm x 13.97 cm
part: thermometer: 12 cm x 1.3 cm x .6 cm; 4 23/32 in x 1/2 in x 1/4 in
overall: 13.7 cm x 1.7 cm x 1 5/16 in; 5 13/32 in x 21/32 in x 3.302 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift from Joseph Badlotto in memory of Rosa Bonfante and her daughter Mary Bonfante Chirchirillo Badlotto
Women's Health
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Midwife Kit
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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