Children and Youth in Sickness and in Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide

Children and Youth in Sickness and in Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide

Children and Youth in Sickness and in Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide

Children and Youth in Sickness and in Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide

Synopsis

Providing the first comprehensive history of child health in the United States, this book offers a thorough historical account of the ways that professionals and the state have addressed child health problems. Six original essays reflect the growing scholarly interest in the history of childhood and youth, particularly issues affecting child health and welfare. These important new essays show how changing patterns of health and disease have responded to and shaped notions of childhood and adolescence as life stages.

Excerpt

Pocahontas, a legendary figure in American history, was just a preadolescent when she challenged two cultures at odds to cooperate instead of to compete. While Pocahontas forged peace, many more now forgotten Native American, Anglo-American, African American, and other children contributed to their families' survival, communities' development, and America's history in just as legitimate, though perhaps less legendary ways. Contracts and correspondence from colonial Chesapeake reveal that even seventeenth-century toddlers labored. But the historical agency of the vast majority of children and adolescents has been undervalued and overlooked in dominant historical narratives. Instead, generations of Americans have credited fathers and other hoary leaders for their actions and achievements, all the while disregarding pivotal boyhood experiences that shaped skills and ideals. Reflecting these androcentric, Eurocentric, and age-based biases that have framed the nation's history, American history texts have reinforced the historical invisibility of girls and boys for centuries. For students searching libraries for scholarly sources and primary documents about children and adolescents in various historical contexts, this near absence of information in master narratives has vexed their research.

The absence of children in standard history books has not only obscured children's history but also the work of scholars who have been investigating youth's histories and interrogating their cultures since the turn of the last century. a new curiosity about children in times past was generated by the progressive era agenda which sought to educate, acculturate, and elevate American children through child study and child welfare. in Child Life in Colonial Days (1899), “amateur historian” Alice Morse Earl drew upon archival sources and material culture in order to examine the social history of Puritan girls and boys. Children were also included in Arthur W. Calhoun's

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