Centenarians, the New Generation

By Belle Boone Beard; Albert J. E. Wilson III | Go to book overview

About the Book

Dr. Belle Boone Beard's unfinished "great book" dream was left in the hands of the Director of the Belle Boone Beard Gerontology Center at Lynchburg College. The editors aimed to conserve Dr. Beard's goals, writing style, and content themes. The cooperation of the University of Georgia's Gerontology Center faculty was obtained; through their efforts, verification of centenarian birth, death, or last contact date was possible. The book could not have been completed without this information. An advisory committee from the University of Georgia contributed many helpful and constructive ideas for both shortening and reorganizing parts of the manuscript. The members of this committee were Dr. Leonard W. Poon, Dr. Peter Martin, Dr. Everett S. Lee, and Dr. Gloria Clayton.

Centenarians: The New Generation is composed of five parts. In Part I, Introduction, Dr. Beard gives an overview of centenarians from the viewpoint of her entire 40 years of study. This quick sketch is not intended to be the essence of the book; it summarizes only a few of the ideas about centenarians.

Part II delineates some aspects and characteristics in the daily lives of centenarians. This part shows centenarians as well- defined individuals with certain important commonalities in actions, thought, and goals.

Part III presents centenarians' contributions in the areas of work, family, and community. Centenarians' persistence, imagination, and work ethic helped in the struggle for stability while forging ahead with tremendous changes. The strongest element shown here is the "persistent romantic feeling about all of life--their love of new experiences, work, family, friends, community, and improvements to benefit all humanity."

Part IV extends Dr. Beard's belief that centenarians had a grasp of the essence-of-life, itself. As centenarians speak, they reveal

-xv-

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Centenarians, the New Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Note About the Author vii
  • Notes xi
  • Preface xiii
  • About the Book xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • PART I INTRODUCTION 1
  • Chapter 1 Centenarians: the New Generation 3
  • Note 14
  • PART II PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CENTENARIANS 15
  • Chapter 2: Centenarians Think Health 17
  • Chapter 3 37
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 4: Keeping Active 49
  • Chapter 5 Learning and Memory 73
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 6 Artists and Artisans 93
  • Notes 114
  • Chapter 7 Faith and Philosophy 126
  • Chapter 8 Personal Characteristics Summary 129
  • PART III WORK, FAMILY, COMMUNITY 131
  • Chapter 10 Romance, Marriage, and Fertility 151
  • Note 162
  • Note 163
  • Note 184
  • PART IV PERSONAL AND NATIONAL HISTORY 185
  • Chapter 12 Roots 187
  • Notes 206
  • Chapter 13 War and Longevity 219
  • Chapter 14 As the Nation Grew 236
  • Chapter 15 Centenarians' Life History Summary 237
  • PART V THE STUDY FINDINGS AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS 241
  • Chapter 16 Findings and Implications 243
  • Appendix A Centenarians' Special Stories 251
  • Appendix B Communication Form 269
  • Selected Bibliography 271
  • Index 279
  • About the Editors 281
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Aging 282
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