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The Unwanted Child
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The Unwanted Child: The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany

Joel F. Harrington


The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem for parents, government officials, and society. This book recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned, neglected, abused, or delinquent children in this critical period. The author tackles this question by focusing on the stories of five individuals. He recounts the experiences of an unmarried mother-to-be, a roaming mercenary who drifts in and out of his children's lives, a civic leader handl ... More

Keywords: foundlings, orphans, juvenile criminals, Nuremberg, early modern Germany, state care, children, sixteenth century

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780226317274
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226317298.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joel F. Harrington, author