children in history

Ellis Island Immigrants: Lapland Children, Possibly from Sweden.
ca. 1905–14
Photographer: Augustus F. Sherman (American; 1865–1925)


Mother and daughter goals 👩‍👧👸🏾

Today is Sesame Street’s birthday. We might not have everything in the whole wide world, but Grover is welcome anytime.

This book, from an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of the show at our National Museum of American History, is now in Smithsonian Institution Archives.

What the world of tomorrow will be like is greatly dependent on the power of imagination in those who are learning to read today.
—  Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (1907-2002), Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for children’s book series featuring Pippi Longstocking, as well as the children’s fantasy novels Mio min Mio, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter and The Brothers Lionheart. Lindgren’s works have been translated into over 90 languages, and Pippi Longstocking has been translated into over 60 languages alone!

Ellis Island Immigrants
ca. 1905–14
Photographer: Augustus F. Sherman (American; 1865–1925)

Zinaida Serebriakova (1884-1967)
“House of Cards” (1919)

At the time of this painting, just 2 years after the October Revolution of 1917, Serebriakova’s husband had died of typhus, contracted in a Bolshevik jail. She was left without any income, responsible for her four children and her sick mother. All her husband’s reserves had been plundered, so the family suffered from hunger. “House of Cards” depicts her four children.


February 14th 1852: Great Ormond Street hospital founded

On this day in 1852, the Great Ormond Street Hopsital for Sick Children opened in London. In the mid-nineteenth century, despite high child mortality rates, there was little professional medical help available for children, with many parents opting to care for their children themselves. Dr. Charles West identified this problem, and drew attention to childhood diseases in a series of lectures. It was Dr. West who fought for the opening of Great Ormond Street, the first hospital of its kind in the UK. When the hospital first opened its doors, it had only ten beds, and was led by the matron Frances Willey. Great Ormond Street struggled financially in its first years, but in 1858 it was saved when famed author Charles Dickens gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol to raise money for the hospital. With Dickens’s money, the hospital could expand and increase its bed capacity to 75. In the years that followed, Great Ormond Street further expanded and attracted notable patrons who wanted to support its work. Most famously, in 1929 the author J.M. Barrie donated the copyright to his creation Peter Pan to the hospital, which has provided the hospital with a steady income. Great Ormond Street is a British institution, and continues to have a worldwide reputation for patient care.


Set in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral is a small park called Postman’s Park, it is the home of a very special Victorian memorial which was built in 1900 by George Frederic Watts, a famous Victorian artist who not only wanted to memorialise the heroic self-sacrifice of ordinary men, women and children who’d died performing selfless acts of bravery for others. But to also make sure that these people had a place of recognition and were not forgotten.

“A lot of these tragedies that Watts became, I think, it’s fair to say, obsessed with involved water. Canals, rivers, the River Thames of course, the sea, there seemed to be so many accidents often involving children and then somebody would jump in, try and save them and sadly of course as we know if you jump into a canal with all your clothes on, no matter how brave and strong you are, you’re not going to make it. 

So an awful lot of these are double tragedies, the person who was trying to be saved dies but all too often the person trying to do the saving dies as well. So it’s really, really heart wrenching stuff. It’s a kind of an extreme version of heroism, almost actually more extreme than you might find in kind of military or imperial endeavours and I guess that that’s what Watts was trying to show, that there were feats of heroism, feats of extreme endurance and suffering that took place in Kentish Town that were just as extreme as anything you might encounter in the battle fields of that period…”

Nicholas Tromans, Curator, Watts Gallery - Artists’ Village