Babies Made Us Modern: How Infants Brought Americans into the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
Interview about the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgGKEMSVnuQ
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.
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.
Paula Fass – University of California, Berkeley
Steven Mintz – University of Texas, Austin
Perri Klass – New York University
Randi Hutter Epstein – Yale University
Janet Golden, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Rutgers University where she specializes in the history of medicine, history of childhood, women’s history and American social history. She is the author or editor of nine books. She co-edits the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine Series at Rutgers University Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s public health blog “The Public’s Health.” Dr. Golden is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including those awarded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Commonwealth Fund, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the Commonwealth Fund, among others.