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German History in Documents and Images
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Orphaned Girls and Boys in a Welfare Institution (1846)
If traditional gender roles were clearly separated in bourgeois family life, such distinction also held true for children growing up outside a regular family. As the two wood engravings from 1846 illustrate, this principle also applied to the “Rauhe Haus,” a home for orphaned and neglected children founded in Hamburg by the Protestant theologian Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881). Whereas the girls do needlework, the boys labor in the workshop. Care and discipline seem to blend here into family-like structures: note the girl in the corner, who is probably knitting as punishment, and the stern yet encouraging supervisory staff.