Art/ Collection/ Art Object

[Child Dead from Dehydration Due to Intestinal Disease]

Unknown (American)
ca. 1854
Image: 6.9 x 8.9 cm (2 11/16 x 3 1/2 in.)
Mount: 8.3 x 10.8 cm (3 1/4 x 4 1/4 in.)
Frame: 9.4 x 11.7 cm (3 11/16 x 4 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2010
Accession Number:
Not on view
Inscription: Inscribed in hand of Peter Mustardo, independent conservator, in pencil on backing board of resealed daguerreotype: "Opened Fragmentary original seal // changed coverglass // clad plate; Hallmark : Rinhart #20A // Resealed w/ FilmoPlast P-90 // Permalife with JADE 403 P.V.A. // 3/1990".

Marking: Hallmark on plate: [Rinhart 20a]
Herbert Mitchell, New York; [Thomas Harris, New York]

Per the conservator, Peter Mustardo, who resealed the daguerreotype in 1990, the plate has hallmark #20a in Floyd and Marion Rinhart, The American Daguerreotype (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1981), p. 424.

See plate 163 for reproduction of case design, "Maiden with Cornucopia" dated ca. 1851 in Floyd and Marion Rinhart, American Miniature Case Art (South Brunswick and New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1969), p. 141.

Text on image per Stanley B. Burns in Sleeping Beauty: "In this dramatic photograph there is no attempt to portray the child as sleeping. This is a dead child. In the nineteenth century, aside from the usual childhood diseases of diptheria, scarlet fever, and measles, water loss by diarrheas killed tens of thousands of children. Epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery were caused by infected milk and water. Even the "ordinary" summer diarrheas were often fatal, because fluid replacement was unknown. One of the prevailing medical thoughts of the time was to treat the patient by producing in them symptoms similar to the disease symptoms from which they were suffering. This often killed them."
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