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Angels Only Lent

27th April 2017

Angels Only Lent

I've always found the post mortem photo of the woman and her baby who both died in childbirth creepy. I've found it odder and slightly more unsettling because the Auckland Museum has it in their "Wild Child" display on the ground floor - which is their section on childhood and children that includes a tree house children are encouraged in play in. It is quite up - a little above my head and I'm 5 foot 3 inches - making it very difficult for child to get a decent look at it.

Angels Only Lent

The caption for the photo reads:

"Mrs Gilmer & child, both deceased, January 1892
Eleanor Gilmer, aged 33 years, died in childbirth at her home in Nelson. She died of 'heavy flooding' after 20 hours in labour."

Angels Only Lent

The section it's in looks at the high death rate for children in previous periods, but actually having a post mortem photo of the dead mother and her dead baby has always made it more real and that much creepier. (In the extreme off chance anyone is wondering, the headstone mentioned in the four descriptions had been temporally removed so I don't have a photo of it here).

References:
1) Auckland War Memorial Museum