The Lost Museum Archive

Prize and No Prize, or What's a Baby? Infantine and Maternal Jealousy, New York Picayune

Barnum staged baby shows in several cities, and they were, for a few months, a national craze, drawing widespread popular and press attention. But many criticized the baby shows for crassly publicizing the private female world of home and motherhood. In the words of one female commentator, "There is something intrinsically revolting in this attempt to force aside the veil which screens and protects the chaste matron, where she and her 'pretty brood' within the sanctuary of home are exempt from the rude gaze of a prying curiosity." These illustrations are an example of the public scrutiny and mockery that critics feared.

Baby ShowBaby Show