Operating Gown

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.
A pleated white cotton ankle length gown with two metal snaps in front, middle; one pocket on wearer's right side; belt loop at each side (2 total); and three-quarter length sleeves. The gown was probably homemade. It was part of a midwife's kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
gown, midwife's kit
gown, operating
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
Measurements
overall, as folded and stored: 2 3/4 in x 17 in x 9 1/2 in; 6.985 cm x 43.18 cm x 24.13 cm
overall: 107.5 cm x 111 cm; 42 5/16 in x 43 11/16 in
ID Number
2012.0128.13
accession number
2012.0128
catalog number
2012.0128.13
subject
Medical
Women's Health
Gynecology
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Midwife Kit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Comments

Add a comment about this object