Possibly a Zulu Nurse holding a White Baby

W. W. R. Pearse, Ladysmith, South Africa, active 1888 - 1894


about 1888 - 1894

Carte-de-visite (albumen silver print mounted on card)

Sheet: 6 9/16 × 4 1/4 in. (16.6 × 10.8 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund



Place Made: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa


19th century

Object Name


Research Area


On view


Printed, in gold ink, lower left: E.W.R. Pearse; printed, in gold ink, lower right: LADYSMITH / AND / DUNDEE.


Imagery of Black women caring for white children signals histories of racial slavery and colonialism. In Apartheid South Africa, Black women were forced to become domestic laborers for white families. Despite the caretaking role African women played for white children, they were simultaneously denigrated as mothers and considered unfit. Denied access to tending to their own children and homes, Black domestic workers in South Africa and beyond have sustained white families for several generations. Their labor is overlooked and underappreciated, but their care work has been vital to the prosperity of bourgeois families. One might be tempted to look away from this image, but it is included in this exhibition as a testament to the Black domestic labor often written out of history or appropriated into narratives that justify their oppression.

From the 2023 exhibition Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, curated by Alexandra Thomas, Curatorial Research Associate

Course History

WGSS 30.05/LACS 36, Maid in America, Francine A'Ness, Spring 2021

ANTH 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2022

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, and Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 22, 2023–May 25, 2024.


Jacaranda Tribal, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2019.

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