Braided Umbilical Tape

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 Bonfanto. 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.
Cylindrical glass container with screw grooves at neck. White braided string (carbonized) wound inside and protrudes from bottle 8.5 cm. 20 yards. Bottle is stopped with cork which has a small hole at center with tape fed through. White paper label with black and red printing. Two large red L's with a dash between surrounded by the outline of a C and O. Paper wrapper surrounds bottle. Was used as part of a midwives kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
Currently not on view
Object Name
tape, umbilical
midwife's kit
date made
after 1904
Lyons-Laeri Company
Physical Description
glass (container material)
cork (lid material)
paper (packaging material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 1 1/4 in; 9.525 cm x 3.175 cm
container: 7.25 cm x 3.75 cm; 2 27/32 in x 1 15/32 in
overall: 7.5 cm x 6 cm; 2 15/16 in x 2 3/8 in
place made
United States: Ohio, Youngstown
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Health & Medicine
Midwife Kit
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Midwife Kit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift from Joseph Badlotto in memory of Rosa Bonfante and her daughter Mary Bonfante Chirchirillo Badlotto

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.