Placing babies' lives at the center of her narrative, historian Janet Golden analyzes the dramatic transformations in the lives of American babies during the twentieth century. She examines how babies shaped American society and culture and led their families into the modern world to become more accepting of scientific medicine, active consumers, open to new theories of human psychological development, and welcoming of government advice and programs. Importantly Golden also connects the reduction in infant mortality to the increasing privatization of American lives. She also examines the influence of cultural traditions and religious practices upon the diversity of infant lives, exploring the ways class, race, region, gender, and community shaped life in the nursery and household.
Table of Contents
1. Infant lives and deaths: incubators, demographics, photographs; 2. Valuing babies: economics, social welfare, progressives; 3. Helping citizen baby: the US Children's Bureau, good advice, better babies; 4. Bringing up babies I: giving, spending, saving, praying; 5. Bringing up babies II: health and illness, food and drink; 6. Helping baby citizens: traditional healers, patent medicines, local cultures; 7. The inner lives of babies: infant psychology; 8. Babies' changing times: depression, war, peace; 9. Baby boom babies; Coda. Kissing and dismissing babies: American exceptionalism.