When I find historic photos of mothers I often want to find out more about the women who are in them. I guess it's the history buff in me that absolutely cannot shut off. When I found this photo two things immediately struck me: 1) I wonder if she breastfed her baby and 2) I wonder why she looks so sad. Although I couldn't figure out if she breastfed or not (surprisingly sometimes I do find clues that can answer that question) I did find out why she was so sad.

The woman in the photo is named Mrs. Ocey Snead and was photographed by a famous photographer, George Grantham Bain and is housed in the George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress. The title of the photo is: Mrs. Ocey Snead, in bed, baby in arms.

A quick Google search about Mrs. Ocey Snead revealed some very disturbing information about this woman. She was killed by her two sisters for a $32,000 life insurance policy in 1909. Now I know why she looked so sullen and sad even though she just had a baby. She had been treated very poorly up until this point and her baby was taken from her and given to an orphanage. The baby's whereabouts were not known.

Read more about Mrs. Ocey Snead on Wikipedia. The New York Times ran an entire article about her in 1968 and several articles about her death ran in the New York Times between 1909 - 1910.