Much has changed in the lives of children, and in the health care provided to them, over the past century. Formative Years explores how children’s lives have become increasingly medicalized, traces the emergence of the fields of pediatrics and child health, and offers fascinating case studies of important and timely issues.
With contributions from historians and physicians, this collection illuminates some of the most important transformations in children’s health in the United States since the 1880s. Opening with a history of pediatrics as a medical specialty, the book addresses such topics as the formulation of normal growth curves, Better Babies contests at county fairs, the “discovery” of the sexual abuse of children, and the political radicalism of the founder of pediatrics, Dr. Abraham Jacobi.
One of the first long-term historical and analytical overviews of pediatrics and child health in the twentieth century, Formative Years will be a welcome addition to several fields, including the history of medicine and technology, the history of childhood, modern U.S. history, women’s history, and American studies. It also has ramifications for policymakers concerned with child welfare and development and poses important questions about the direction of children’s health in the twenty-first century.
Alexandra Minna Stern is Associate Director of the Center for the History of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and American Culture at the University of Michigan. Howard Markel is the George Edward Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, and Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.