Almshouse Artifacts

Almshouse Toys

 

Toys and children's belongings uncovered in excavation of the Philadelphia Almshouse mark the presence of children in these institutions. Many children came through the Almshouse and were quickly bonded out area families if their parents were seen as unfit to raise them. (Katkins and Allitt 2014). 

 

Almshouse Personal Care

 In Philadelphia the "unworthy poor" such as unmarried pregnant women were turned away from hospitals with no other option than to seek care at the infirmary of Almshouses.Medicine bottles and ointment pots, such as the artifact in this exhibit, were uncovered in the excavation of the Philadelphia Almshouse. (Katkins and Allitt 2014).

Ointment pot base (left) and perfume bottle (right)

 

Almshouse Adornments

Many 18th century Almshouses employed  inmates in attached workhouses in tasks including  buttons and shoes manufacture. This labor generated funds for the institution and was justified as a means of reformation of the the poor, who were seen as morally deficient. Thousands of leather scraps, indicative of leatherworking, as well as  bone discs, a byproduct of button manufacture, were recovered in archaeological excavation of the Philadelphia Almshouse. (Katkins and Allitt 2014). 

Almshouse Tobacco

 

White ball clay smoking pipe with "TD" makers mark

Ball clay smoking pipe 

An erotic image graces the molded pewter pipe tamper.  This artifact was excavated by Dr. John Cotter at 310 Cypress Street, the current address of the Almshouse site, and may date to a later post-Almshouse occupation of the site.

Pipe stem? (left) and pewter pipe tamper (right)

 

Almshouse Cookware

Fragments of a scratch blue salt glazed stoneware tea set (bottom left) were uncovered at the Philadelphia Almshouse.  High status teawares such as this teapot could have been belonged to the overseer, been reserved for visitors to the Almshouse or were the donations of wealthy patrons. (Katkins and Allitt 2014). 

Almshouse Weapons

 

Temple Anthropology Laboratory and Museum 

Gladfelter Hall- Lower Level, Temple University

1115 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122

anthlab@temple.edu

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