Pituitrin (O) (Obstetrical)

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.
Gray and white cardboard box with black printing containing six small, white rectangular boxes with black printing. Each holds 1cc cylindrical glass ampoules with white paper labels. The Pituitrin medication was part of a midwife's kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
Currently not on view
Object Name
midwife's kit
date made
before 1924
Parke, Davis and Company
Physical Description
cardboard (packaging material)
glass (container material)
paper (label material)
pituitrin (drug active ingredients)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 1 5/8 in x 1 1/8 in; 8.89 cm x 4.1275 cm x 2.8575 cm
overall: 9.25 cm x 4.25 cm x 4 cm; 3 21/32 in x 1 11/16 in x 1 9/16 in
part: ampoule box: 5.75 cm x 1.25 cm x 1.25 cm; 2 1/4 in x 1/2 in x 1/2 in
part: ampoule: 5.25 cm x 1 cm; 2 1/16 in x 13/32 in
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
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

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