A Home for Foundlings
By Marthe Jocelyn
(Tundra Books, Paperback, 9780887767098, 120pp.)
Publication Date: April 12, 2005
List Price: $16.95*
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Nominated for the 2005 Norma Fleck Award
Thousands of mothers carried their babies to the gates of the Foundling Hospital desperate to save them from the cruel streets of eighteenth-century London. Each baby was left with a personal “token” – identification if a repentant mother ever returned to reclaim her child.
Captain Thomas Coram, himself childless, was inspired by the sight of babies abandoned on dung heaps to petition the king for support in building a home for England’s poorest children. Coram’s vision saved countless children’s lives.
A Home for Foundlings describes the hospital Captain Coram founded, the luminaries involved – including Handel, Hogarth, and Dickens – and the daily lives of the foundlings themselves.
Full of archival photos and materials, and published in cooperation with the newly established Foundling Museum in London and Lord Cultural Resources, A Home for Foundlings is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and timely book. Author Marthe Jocelyn’s text has particular resonance: her grandfather, Arthur Jocelyn, was raised in the Foundling Hospital.