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baby farming in nyChicago Tribune, August 4, 1874. This is your standard-issue exposé of the baby-farming racket, which provided unwilling parents with fourth-trimester farming in ny2baby farming in ny3That last bit seems overstated to me. I could see parents doing this who wanted not to hear of the death of their baby. The mindset would be not unlike people who drop their unwanted dogs off in the countryside instead of having them put down. It’s a cheap salve to an underdeveloped conscience. baby farming in ny4I think there is a typo in that first sentence: It should read “is not practiced.” The Commissioners of Charities must have been pissed.


  1. Since I’m in a commenting mood tonight, I should note that this series on baby farmers puts me in mind of Ambrose Bierce’s Oil of Dog, a story that has not lost its capacity to shock despite the coarsening discourse of the last century.

    A taste: “I was born of honest parents in one of the humbler walks of life, my father being a manufacturer of dog-oil and my mother having a small studio in the shadow of the village church, where she disposed of unwelcome babes.”

  2. Woah–that’s got my attention. Never read much Bierce. I was always kinda underwhelmed by that Devil’s Dictionary stuff, is perhaps why. But I definitely check that story out.

    LATER: Jeez, you were not wrong. That’s an amazing tale.

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