Many Victorian mothers, while intending to provide the best food and feeding methods for their infants, tragically caused the deaths of their own little ones. Although doctors condemned the bottles and infant mortality rates of the time were shocking – only two out of ten infants lived to their second birthday – parents continued to buy and use them. The bottles eventually earned the nickname, “Murder Bottles.”
Photography educated people about social problems within their own communities and people around the world. During the time when child labor was abundant in America, pictures of children in high risk jobs, at the time, were not out of the ordinary.
Coffins of the Victorian period came equipped with an extensive system of the bell, which reportedly detained person can ring if you woke up Six Feet Under. These rarely work, however, because even if the person they called, no one hears. Gravediggers sometimes paid to keep watch over the graves and hear the bells to go off. This is the where the term, "Saved by the Bell" derived from.
Although she looks very much alive, she is not. This photo was taken of a young woman (possibly a teenager) not long after her death. If the photographer got there just before, or right after the death, it was easier to pose someone. Such a remarkable photo of a beautiful young lady who died in her prime.
Nicolae Minovici - The Doctor Who Hanged Himself for Science - During the first decade of the twentieth century, while employed as a professor of forensic science at the State School of Science in Bucharest, Nicolae Minovici undertook a comprehensive study of death by hanging. Inspired by his research, he decided to find out, first-hand, what it would feel like to die in this way.
During a search for Victorian examples of post-mortem photography, I came across these mysterious and extremely odd vintage portraits of families in which the mother is disguised as a chair. In some cases there seems to be a real attempt to make the figure of the mother appear like an actual chair; in other cases,like this one it looks like they simply want to conceal the mother's identity. Maybe it's to keep a live child still enough to take a clear photo or to keep a deceased one in…
A dead woman surrounded by her family. ca.1875. Later in the 19th century and early 20th century photographing the body in the coffin became commonplace. Earlier photos usually portrayed the body as sleeping or, like this photo, alive.
"Edward Mordrake was a 19th century English nobleman who had an extra face on the back of his head. According to the story, the extra face could neither eat nor speak, but it could laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to have his ‘devil twin’ removed, because, supposedly, it whispered horrible things to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23 by poisoning himself because he could no longer stand having to live with the face on the b...
Children gaze out at the photographer just prior to their execution. An estimated one million Jewish children died in the Holocaust, most of them in the gas chambers of the death camps. As the Germans swept into Soviet territory, they sometimes turned the task of killing Jewish children over to their Ukrainian allies. (Photo: Central State Archive of Film, Photo and Phonographic Documents / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive.)
Momento Mori - The child seeming asleep on the setee is dead. These photographs served less as a reminder of mortality than as a keepsake to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and a post-mortem photograph might be the only image of the child the family ever had.