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November 10, 2021

Victorian Fatherhood: Sweet Studio Photos of Men With Their Children in the 19th Century

Of all the characteristics attributed to defining Victorian male masculinity, the one least emphasized or spoken about was that of the Victorian man as a father. Little attention was directed to the role the Victorian man played as a father till the end of the period.

If the public and private spheres were defined by gender, then child-rearing fell under the domain of his wife; however, as domesticity revolved around the roles of both parents, parenting was defined as the Victorian man’s commitment to his home and the family unit. With both of these views in existence, the actual role of the Victorian man in the Victorian family unit was unclear.

The biggest change seen during the period was in the area of discipline. The Victorian male had the right to physically beat his children and/or servants, a demonstration of the ultimate power he had over his household. But as time went on, these attitudes began to change and in 1889 laws passed to prevent cruelty towards their children.

Children were a demanding part of the Victorian father’s emotional life. Children successfully raised in a good marriage brought the family stability and respect. While the role of fatherhood changed dramatically, it continued to affect his masculinity and how he saw himself.

Here is a set of sweet photos that shows portraits of Victorian fathers with their children from the 19th century.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how many were widowers. I imagine that most of them were




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