8 Baffling Things You Won’t Believe People Did 100 Years Ago

When life was more than tough

Just where would child literature be without the tales of orphaned children, abandoned in some God-forsaken orphanage, scrubbing floors and sleeping in the same bedroom with 20 other ill-fated children, only to be rescued from a life of misery by a rich, distant relative or a kind but lonely millionaire? The orphanage theme was quite popular in children’s stories, but it was unfortunately based on true facts. It was a hard knock life one hundred years ago.

The first orphanage in America was first opened in 1729 for white children, orphaned by a conflict between Indians and Whites at Natchez, Mississippi. Before the establishment of orphanages, children who no longer had any parent alive were taken in by relatives, apprenticed to tradesmen or living on the streets, begging for food or money. It wasn’t until the 1920s that putting children into institutionalized care (more often than not, these children were not orphans but had poor, single mothers) raised public awareness. It was also back then when mother’s pensions were also implemented, offering poor mothers the opportunity to keep their children at home with them instead of taking them to orphanages.

Orphanages, in the old sense, started disappearing at the beginning of the 20th century, but institutionalized care facilities, group homes or foster homes still exist today. Children in these facilities no longer scrub floors with their toothbrushes like Charles Dicken’s characters or Little Orphan Annie, but then again, they are not saved by kind millionaires either.

RELATED: 9 Gruesome Things That Were Perfectly Normal a Century Ago

We are not dressing up the next thing…..

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5 thoughts on “8 Baffling Things You Won’t Believe People Did 100 Years Ago”

    1. Did you know, Rita, that the mayor is defunding the police and St. Louis is beating Chicago in murder rate now?

  1. When I was a little girl

    When I was a little girl my mother made my costume, but that was before mothers worked outside the home. Mostly I went as a hobo or a clown.

  2. I started smocking in High school. I remember saying “they” can’t make American’s stop smoking. How can they enforce it ? LOL

  3. “The first orphanage in America was first opened in 1729 for white children”…
    Let’s be fair here, in America then there were practically nothing BUT white children. This sounds like it was established as a racist institution. I doubt the Indians were going to put their war orphans in the enemy’s care anyhow.