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Resources

 Blum, Linda M., and Elizabeth A. Vandewater.  “‘Mother to Mother’: A Maternalist Organization in Late Capitalist America.” Social Problems 40 (1993): 285–300.

This article discusses the La Leche League, an organization formed in the 1950's to promote breast-feeding and natural techniques. Specifically, the article focuses on how the league  changes in response to changing family norms and practices. Unlike many other conservative groups of the time, the League had no religious basis, and relied solely on maternalism. 

 

Denton, Georgina. “‘Neither Guns nor Bombs – Neither the State nor God – Will Stop Us from Fighting for Our Children’: Motherhood and Protest in 1960s and 1970s America.” Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics & Culture 5 (2012): 205–28.

This article looks the ideas of motherhood within the welfare rights movement of the late 1960's, focusing on the role that the mother identity played in activism. It also touches upon how gender was a key factor of their ideas, social protest impacting this. This article looks at the effects of feminism from a welfare point-of-view. 

 

Downes, Lawrence. "Word for Word/ Dr. Spock; Time to Change the Baby Advice: Evolution of Child-Care Advice." The New York Times (1998). 

 This article presents a side-by-side comparison of exerpts from various earlier versions of Spock's work to various later versions. The purpose of the article is to compare how Spock's views have changed over time, which is exactly what the project focuses on. 

 

Held, Lisa, and Alexandra Rutherford. “CAN’T A MOTHER SING THE BLUES? Postpartum Depression and the Construction of Motherhood in Late 20th-Century America.” History of Psychology 15 (2012): 107–23.

This article discusses how postpartum depression was depicted in the media during the late 1900's. It is argued that the media attempts to aid mothers in adapting to the role of motherhood, and dismiss motherhood itself as a cause of depression. The shift to a greater emphasis on scientific child-care advice in the 1950s is described, as well as the emergence of working mothers and feminist views.  

 

Kleinberg, S. J. “The No-Win Mom: Motherhood in Twentieth-Century America.” Women’s History Review 8 (1999): 387–95.

This is a review of "The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood" by Sharon Hays,  "'Bad' Mothers: the Politics of Blame in Twentieth-century America" by Molly Ladd-Taylor and Lauri Umansky, and Lauri Umansky's "Motherhood Reconceived". Each of these articles investigate motherhood in America and how it has changed culturally throughout history. Attention is drawn to positions of mothers in the workforce. 

 

Klemesrud, Judy. “The Spocks: Bittersweet Recognition in A Revised Classic .” The New York Times (1976).

This article is based on an interview with Jane Cheney, Dr. Spock's ex-wife. She talks about their relationship, as well as the part she played in the development of the books. Additionally, she elaborates on some of the controversy that surounded her ex-husband. 

 

Ryan, Mary P.  “The Empire of the Mother: American Writing About Domesticity, 1830-1860.”        Women & History (1983): 1–170.

In the ninteenth century, family roles were questioned in terms of working and childcare duties. The article discusses how advice literature targeted women through persuasive work. This literature was in favor of domestic women, not working women. Mothers were believed to be the center of socialization and moral stability in a home, and advice literature often worked to persuade them that this domestic role was the most powerful and important role in a family dynamic.  

 

Scott, John W.  “The History of the Family as an Affective Unit.” Social History 4 (1979): 509–16.

 This article compares three analyses of the family unit. Two of the articles discuss the weakened position of the family in both America and France, which rely on ideological methods. The third article investigates an idealized version of past families examining emotional quality of life in the unit. 

 

Weiner, Lynn Y. “Reconstructing Motherhood: The La Leche League in Postwar America.” Journal of American History 80 (1994): 1357–81.

This article investigates the values that the La Leche League was founded on. It explains the reasons behind the formation of this pro-natural motherhood group, as well as how it grew as the years went on. The League believed that through the use of breast feeding and other natural techniques, the baby would be healthier. 

 

Weiss, Nancy Pottishman.  “Mother, the Invention of Necessity: Dr. Benjamin Spock’s ‘Baby and Child Care.’” American Quarterly 29 (1977): 519–46.

 This article compares Spock's Baby and Child Care (1976) with Mary Mills West's "Infant Care" (1921). It compares them through the analysis of letters to the Children's Bureau and to Spock. The specific focus of this article is Dr. Spock's permissiveness and how it affects mothers. 

 

Wrigley, Julia.  “Do Young Children Need Intellectual Stimulation? Experts’ Advice to Parents, 1920-1985.” History of Education Quarterly 29 (1989): 41–75.

This article looks at the attitudes of parents in cognitive development of their children. Specifically, this article provides information on how industrialization has affected family relations, the educative role of parents and possible issues, and social policy for appropriate early intervention.