McGoogan News

From the archives: ancient Roman baby bottle

By John Schleicher

The Alberts collection contains over 130 rare and historic infant feeding devices, baby bottles, and other associated items.  The infant feeders date from an ancient Persian clay feeding pot circa 100-200 B.C., to mid-to-late twentieth century glass and plastic baby bottles.  The collection includes various types of feeders, such as nursing flasks, pap boats and bubby pots.

The collection was assembled by M. E. Alberts, M.D. (born 1923), during his career as a pediatrician in Des Moines, Iowa.  Dr. Alberts is originally from Hastings, Nebraska, and is a 1948 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.  Many of the artifacts in the library’s special collections were gifts from UNMC alumni.

Roman_Infant_Feeder__500_A.D.__DC
Roman Infant Feeder, 500 A.D.

One of the oldest and most interesting items in the collection is a Roman era baby bottle, made of pale translucent green blown glass.  The bottle is 3½ inches tall with an open flare top and a spout starting near the base.  The artifact was obtained from archeological excavations in Germany, probably from Nidda, a 5th century Roman settlement (near Frankfurt), and is dated circa 500 C.E.

To see more artifacts from the Alberts collection, as well as archival materials and historic photos of the UNMC campus, visit the special collections page at DigitalCommons@UNMC.

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