- 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.
- Metal case containing a glass syringe of 25 mm and 1.5 milliters with red markings, four metal needles of various sizes, and a spare mechanism for holding needles. All stored on and covered by layers of cotton. This syringe was used as part of a midwives kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- midwife's kit
- Meinecke and Company
- place made
- United States: New York, New York City
- Physical Description
- metal (container material)
- glass (part: syringe material)
- wire (part: needles material)
- metal (part: needles material)
- overall: 3/4 in x 3 1/2 in x 1 1/8 in; 1.905 cm x 8.89 cm x 2.8575 cm
- part: syringe: 6.6 cm x 1.2 cm; 2 19/32 in x 15/32 in
- overall: 8.9 cm x 2.7 cm x 2 cm; 3 1/2 in x 1 1/16 in x 25/32 in
- 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
- Surgical instruments
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.