DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is hosting Threads of Feeling, a display of mid-1700's billet books from London's Foundling Hospital, on loan from England's Coram. Women and families who were unable to care for their infants for any reason took them to the Foundling Hospital to receive care until they could get on their feet again and return to collect their babies. When a mother left her baby, she also left a small token, a piece of cloth, clothing, or ribbon, as a means to identify her child when she returned for him or her -- because there was always the hope that she would return.
My love of history and family history pulled me to the online exhibit of some of these tokens. My mother's heart weeps for the mothers who were unable to keep and care
for their babies; for the babies without their mothers; and for the babies who were never retrieved, living their childhood without the love and support of family.
My love of sewing led my eyes to the pins and bits of fabric, lace, and embroidery. Below are just a few. I thought it was interesting that the ends of some of the pins were wrapped in thread. (I'm not using Lightbox so you can click the image to see a close-up, then click again for an even larger view.)
If you'd like to view more of these tokens of love, you can seem them at Threads of Feeling from the Foundling Museum.
How I wish I lived close enough to spend a day at the Colonial Williamsburg exhibit!