Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Amoy (Xiamen), Fukien province, China: foundling children outside a foundling hospital. Photograph by John Thomson, ca. 1870.

  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921
  • Pictures

Selected images from this work

About this work


Ten children sitting outside a lean-to building with straw walls. a woman standing in the doorway on the right hand side. In the 19th century, as result of extreme poverty and war, female infanticide was particularly high in Amoy. A local merchant set up a foundling hospital to care for unwanted children. Often the locals sold their girls to the hospital for as little as five pence, whereas a boy might fetch as much as three pounds. Anyone wishing to adopt a child, however, could go to the hospital and be given one free of charge, provided he could show he was perfectly respectable



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph


Mission school, Amoy, China


This is one of a collection of original glass negatives made by John Thomson. The negatives, made between 1868 and 1872, were purchased from Thomson by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1921

Lettering note

Bears Thomson's negative number: "740"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 104 (reproduced)


Wellcome Library no. 19738i


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores
    By appointmentManual request


Permanent link