In 1888, evangelical, educator and feminist Constance Maynard adopted Effie Anthon, a six year old girl from a Salvation Army orphanage. Her mother, Rosabianca Fasulo was an unmarried, Italian woman recently "rescued" by the Salvation Army. Maynard anticipated that Effie would one day join her at her college but she met none of the expectations for her. She entered domestic service but fell ill with tuberculosis and died in a workhouse in 1915. This is one particular case history of an adoption when the practice was not yet formalized but small numbers began to adopt children unknown to them. It tentatively opens up the history of adoption in Victorian Britain. It also illuminates some broader questions about family ties, the meanings associated with motherhood, and how the body and character formation were understood.

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History of the Family
Department of History

Walker, P. (2007). Adoption and Victorian culture. History of the Family, 11(4), 211–221. doi:10.1016/j.hisfam.2006.12.003