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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Baby Buffet: 1919

Baby Buffet: 1919

Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Maternity ward. Nurses with babies." Please have your claim check ready. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Baby Mix-up?

So, how do we know that the little bundles of joy were all returned to their rightful cribs, when these student nurses were done posing? After all, babies mostly all look alike.

How do we know the little Smith baby boy didn't get returned to the Jones family instead? Who knows what mix-ups and errors were made, for the sake of a photo?

Of course, by now, 94 years later, it's probably too late to worry about it.

[You really think they had no method in place to deal with that? -tterrace]

Times sure change!

Wonder how many nurses (or student nurses) actually watched over these newborns. When my granddaughters were born 5 and 3 1/2 years ago, the maternity ward had about 14 newborns, and only two nurses on duty. Actually, one sat at a desk with a computer monitor typing away, and the other made the rounds, going from baby to baby. Of course, I was only watching one of the newborns.

Measurably hot

Thought Nurse #5 was the departmental scribe, with a fountain pen clipped to her cleavage? Much more likely that it's a thermometer in a classy pen-style case... after all, that was the height of diagnostic technology at the time.


My guess is the center nurse is the instructor/supervisor - she has a black band about her cap, and the others are all white, and she has a very stern expression - and the others are student nurses. Second from the left is very sweet-looking.

And what a lot of babies!

Health code violation

No sneeze guard.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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