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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bottling #2

Bottling #2

Again the ladies in the wonderful uniforms or costumes doing their thing. A glass negative found in Maine. View full size.

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Thank you.

I really appreciated your research into these photos. It has puzzled me for as long as I've had them, which has been quite a few years now. I found them interesting at the time I got them, and not your usual run of family photos.

Thanks again,


Prepared infant formula circa 1900

I think Vintagelover's group of three pictures from Maine is a very interesting find! They rang a bell, with me, that sent me to dig out a huge volume I have that was published in 1901, entitled "Medicology".

Most babies born around the turn of the 20th century were breastfed, but physicians generally advocated that an infant who was not breastfed be raised on a formula based on fresh cow's milk. By this point in time, the components of all animal milk had been determined to be fat, sugar, protein, ash(minerals), and water. Great care was taken to alter the ratio of the components in the cow's milk so that it closely resembled that of human milk. There were recipes for home preparation, which even reflected the natural changes that take place in human milk, based on the baby's age.

For those who lived in the city, and could afford such a service, there were "chemists" who prepared and bottled the formulas, and delivered them to the home, on a daily basis. That is what I think is going on in these pictures. The women in them are definitely working with milk, and making use of various items that would be used in sterile preparation. The bottles they are filling are the size and shape, that are typical of infant feeding bottles of the time ( The picture of what looks to be a cream separator would make sense, too, because extra cream was used in the formulas.

It doesn't look like a hospital kitchen, but the women are dressed as nurses. I don't know if they really were nurses or if they just dressed as nurses to give the impression that the bottles were prepared under strict medical supervision.

One of my favorite things about this website is that the pictures, combined with the knowledge of various members, here, often result in discovery of things that have pretty much gone by the wayside. That, to me, is extremely valuable and exciting!

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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