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Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance

Orphan Care in Florence and Bologna

Nicholas Terpstra

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In the early development of the modern Italian state, individual orphanages were a reflection of the intertwining of politics and charity.

Nearly half of the children who lived in the cities of the late Italian Renaissance were under fifteen years of age. Grinding poverty, unstable families, and the death of a parent could make caring for these young children a burden. Many were abandoned, others orphaned. At a time when political rulers fashioned themselves as the "fathers" of society, these cast-off children presented a very immediate challenge and opportunity.

In Bologna and Florence...

In the early development of the modern Italian state, individual orphanages were a reflection of the intertwining of politics and charity.

Nearly half of the children who lived in the cities of the late Italian Renaissance were under fifteen years of age. Grinding poverty, unstable families, and the death of a parent could make caring for these young children a burden. Many were abandoned, others orphaned. At a time when political rulers fashioned themselves as the "fathers" of society, these cast-off children presented a very immediate challenge and opportunity.

In Bologna and Florence, government and private institutions pioneered orphanages to care for the growing number of homeless children. Nicholas Terpstra discusses the founding and management of these institutions, the procedures for placing children into them, the children's daily routine and education, and finally their departure from these homes. He explores the role of the city-state and considers why Bologna and Florence took different paths in operating the orphanages. Terpstra finds that Bologna's orphanages were better run, looked after the children more effectively, and were more successful in returning their wards to society as productive members of the city's economy. Florence's orphanages were larger and harsher, and made little attempt to reintegrate children into society.

Based on extensive archival research and individual stories, Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance demonstrates how gender and class shaped individual orphanages in each city's network and how politics, charity, and economics intertwined in the development of the early modern state.

Reviews

Reviews

Carefully researched and vigorously written.

A model blend of historical imagination, vivid and engaging writing, and careful scholarship.

Terpstra has unearthed much rich material and offers readers a compelling analysis of the origins, roles, operations and development of children's homes in two important Italian cities... This work is a major contribution to the study of early modern orphanages.

Superbly executed study.

Important contribution to the history of early modern Europe.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
368
ISBN
9781421439242
Illustration Description
4 halftones, 8 line drawings
Table of Contents

List of Tables, Graphs, and Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Down and Out and Off the Streets: Sheltering Renaissance Children
Chapter 1: Opening a Home
Chapter 2: Entering a Home: Prescriptions and

List of Tables, Graphs, and Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Down and Out and Off the Streets: Sheltering Renaissance Children
Chapter 1: Opening a Home
Chapter 2: Entering a Home: Prescriptions and Procedures
Chapter 3: Making a Home with Girls
Chapter 4: Making a Home with Boys
Chapter 5: Running a Home
Chapter 6: Leaving Home
Conclusion: The Politics of Renaissance Orphanages
Appendix: Institutional Finances
Notes
Bibliography

Author Bio