Event Title

Causes for Child Abandonment in Eighteenth-Century France

Location

CSU 201

Start Date

5-4-2011 9:00 AM

End Date

5-4-2011 10:30 AM

Student's Major

History

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Christopher Corley

Mentor's Department

History

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

The rate of the abandonment of children in eighteenth century France was fairly high. The causes of these abandonments are mostly correlated to social problems, such as premarital sexuality, and economic problems, such as a rise in the price of grain. Those who experienced the brunt of these problems may have abandoned their children, in most cases newborn children, at an orphanage or in some cases on the streets for someone else to find and bring to an orphanage. Orphanages provided a crucial safety-net for these children.

I conducted my research to trace patterns in the abandonment of these children. To do so, I have examined orphanage records from the St. Anne‘s orphanage in Dijon, France between 1775 and 1780. By studying these records I was given an inside look at the main causes of abandonment in eighteenth-century France. These records have consistently shown social and economic problems as the main cause of abandonment with disability as a significant but understudied underlying motive.

These findings will not only help historians solidify their evidence on the main causes of the abandonment in children being socially and economically motivated, but also suggest other important causes that also contribute to the reasons for abandoning a child. With this research we are able to suggest what has changed since the eighteenth-century to significantly decrease the rate of child abandonment today in modern industrialized societies.

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Apr 5th, 9:00 AM Apr 5th, 10:30 AM

Causes for Child Abandonment in Eighteenth-Century France

CSU 201

The rate of the abandonment of children in eighteenth century France was fairly high. The causes of these abandonments are mostly correlated to social problems, such as premarital sexuality, and economic problems, such as a rise in the price of grain. Those who experienced the brunt of these problems may have abandoned their children, in most cases newborn children, at an orphanage or in some cases on the streets for someone else to find and bring to an orphanage. Orphanages provided a crucial safety-net for these children.

I conducted my research to trace patterns in the abandonment of these children. To do so, I have examined orphanage records from the St. Anne‘s orphanage in Dijon, France between 1775 and 1780. By studying these records I was given an inside look at the main causes of abandonment in eighteenth-century France. These records have consistently shown social and economic problems as the main cause of abandonment with disability as a significant but understudied underlying motive.

These findings will not only help historians solidify their evidence on the main causes of the abandonment in children being socially and economically motivated, but also suggest other important causes that also contribute to the reasons for abandoning a child. With this research we are able to suggest what has changed since the eighteenth-century to significantly decrease the rate of child abandonment today in modern industrialized societies.

Recommended Citation

Timm, Emily. "Causes for Child Abandonment in Eighteenth-Century France." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 5, 2011.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2011/oral-session-10/5