Massachusetts Infant Asylum, 1875, Report of the Directors

It is with feelings of heartfelt gratitude that the Directors of the Massachusetts Infant Asylum present their Eighth Annual Report. In no year since our incorporation has the health of the children under our care been so good, and this notwithstanding five months of whooping cough which affected every child in the house at Brookline.

We began the year with thirty-four children, and have had sixty-three under our care. Of these, six have died, thirteen have been discharged, and seven adopted. Our success in saving life seems largely owing to our having had almost all the time one wet-nurse to every two children in the house, and to our making no changes from the Asylum to boarding places during the months from June to October. Children who became ill at their boarding places were in these months brought back to the Asylum, where they could receive closer attention and more careful nursing.

The faithfulness and loving devotion of our Matron, Miss Clapp, and of our Assistant Matron, Miss Stockman, have been as ever shown in promoting the welfare of children and nurses, and in advancing the general interests of the Asylum.

We have been fortunate in securing happy homes for our adopted children; and the good report of continued well doing from several mothers of illegitimate children, who have made themselves respected in the families where they are employed, cheers us and assures us that we are doing a good work for the mothers.

Our Building Committee have given much time and thought to the elaboration of a plan for the new house, and have been able to present such a plan as commands the approval of our Physicians and of our Matron. The Directors have unanimously voted to build at once on the land bought for this purpose near the Boylston Station, on the Providence Railroad. The Building Funds, already collected and promised, together with a legacy from Miss Shaw of $2,000, and another of $5,000 yet to be paid under the will of Mrs. Lincoln, give us sufficient money to meet the estimates of the cost of the proposed building, but leave us with only a small margin for any excess over estimates or for furnishing the rooms. We shall be very glad to increase our Building Fund and also to add to our list of Annual Subscribers. Our friends who have aided us with money and with materials cannot but feel, as they look over our Annual Report, that infant life can be saved even in an Asylum.

The Clothing Committee report that all the garments asked for by Miss Clapp for this year’s use, have been supplied by societies and by individual gifts, without drawing upon the funds of the Asylum, and the Committee hope that this assistance will be continued, so that this branch of our wants will be supplied without touching the money voted by the Directors for clothing.

We return our grateful thanks to all persons who have sent us bundles of old linen, baby-clothing, dresses and clothing for nurses, baby carriages, chairs, or any other article. Each one is useful to us, and we shall always be glad to have the name of the giver, that we may know who are our friends.

Among the many cases of hardship which we have been able to relieve was one, the child of a woman so desperately poor that she had not sufficient food to keep her own milk, with which to nourish her child. The little thing, in the few months of life before she came to us, had struggled to keep up existence by sucking corned beef, cold potatoes, and the like, and it was not until she was more than a year old that a vigorous constitution and our best efforts overcame the effects of this diet. To this mother, as to other mothers in similar poverty, our Asylum offers the only reasonable chance of saving their children’s lives. To save the beloved life, they bring the child to us to care for, and then to give away in adoption, a parting, because they must, only a little less painful than the parting of death. We refer you to the Physicians’ Report for more particular information in regard to the health of the children.

1. "Report of the Directors", Eighth Annual Report of the Directors of the Massachusetts Infant Asylum, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1875, Pages 7-9.

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