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7 a.m. Day’s Start: The Price Children’s Caps

Likely linen, eighteenth century.

 



 

Elizabeth Price and her husband, King's Chapel rector Reverend Roger Price, clothed their babies in these little caps. Between 1735 and 1753, the couple had eleven children, with only five surviving past the age of eighteen. In eighteenth century New England, Elizabeth’s position as a bereaved mother was not unique. The bustling ports and crowded streets of cities like Boston fostered deadly diseases. Caregivers did what they could to increase the survival rate of their children, such as layering as many three caps upon a baby's head keep away the dangerous cold.

No amount of warmth, however, could save the children of Boston from smallpox, and Elizabeth's own decision not to inoculate her family against the virus had disastrous consequences. During their adulthood, both of Elizabeth’s daughters contracted the disease while living in England. Smallpox eventually killed Mary Ann and badly scarred her older sister, Elizabeth.


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