In London in the 18th century when gin drinking, infanticide, and illegitimacy were condoned, if not accepted, as contemporary mores, infant mortality was as high as 50%. The opulent social life of a few stood in sharp contrast to the poverty of many, which encouraged wanton neglect of a significant percentage of infants born either within wedlock or without. If the babe lived through delivery, the odds were against survival in the following years. The establishment of the Foundling Hospital in London was one of the first attempts in London to correct this deplorable situation. Thomas Coram (1668-1751), a seafarer and shipmaster, has been considered the prime mover in the founding of the hospital. Coram, at one time a shipwright employed in Taunton, Mass, and subsequently the donor of a library to this community, was also a trustee of the Oglethorpe Colony in Georgia. After he had retired from the
WILLIAM CADOGAN (1711-1797). JAMA. 1963;185(10):780–781. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060100060023
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