The Mightiest Influence on Earth

Material Information

The Mightiest Influence on Earth Americans' Emerging Conception of Parenthood, 1820-1880
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (245 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Committee Chair:
Kwolek-Folland, Angel
Committee Members:
Barr, Juliana
Harland-Jacobs, Jessica L
Newman, Louise M
Gallman, James M
Babb, Florence E
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Child psychology ( jstor )
Children ( jstor )
Diseases ( jstor )
Fathers ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Parenthood ( jstor )
Parenting ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Physicians ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
History thesis, Ph.D.


This study examines the emergence in the early nineteenth-century United States of the idea of "parenting" and its evolution through the 1880s. During this time, Americans' modern notion of parenthood and what it means to be a parent came into being, shaped in large part by parental advisers. Beginning in the 1820s, parental advisers- physicians, jurists, ministers, and didactic authors- began to articulate expectations of parents, establishing guidelines for proper parenthood and denoting what a 'good' and a 'bad' parent was. Over the course of the century, parental advisers crafted an ideal of purposeful parenthood- parenting with an eye not to raising farm hands or heirs, but to raising children with intention and in a particular way. As they crafted and refined their ideal of a good parent, parental advisers sharply narrowed who qualified for the title. Parental advisers of the early decades of the nineteenth century focused on teaching parents the best way to parent, by providing them with exacting moral and educational standards that they believed represented proper parenting. By midcentury, their successors embraced a more rigid notion of parenthood, casting parenting itself as a profession- one that required particular training and one that not all could attain. In the postbellum era, this idea of proper parenting narrowed even further, as parental advisers of the 1860s and 1870s began to argue that only certain people should be allowed to become parents in the first place. Over the course of the century, then, the idea of parenthood became increasingly restrictive, to the point that it resembled an exclusive club. This history illuminates the development of modern family relations broadly, as well as the articulation of shared middle-class values specifically. Parental advisers themselves were middle class and the values the promoted- such as industry, thrift, and morality- were intended for a middle-class audience. During the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans sought to differentiate themselves from those below and above them. The ideal of parenthood that emerged during this time enabled the middle class to both define itself and police its boundaries. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Adviser: Kwolek-Folland, Angel.
Electronic Access:
Statement of Responsibility:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Rights Management:
Copyright CASEY,EMILY A. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
LD1780 2011 ( lcc )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text




2011 Emily Munce Casey 2


For John 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS An undertaking of this nature is never complete d in solitude. I am indebted to a great many people who helped to shepherd this project to its conclusion. Among my many intellectual debts, I must first acknowledge Angel Kwolek-Folland, without whose unerring help, wisdom, endless support and enthusiasm I could not have finished She has lived up to her name in more ways than I can count, and I am truly grateful fo r our professional relationship and our personal friendship. My committee is also owed my tremendous gratitude. Juliana Barr, Matthew Gallman, Louise Newman, Jessica Harland-Jaco bs, and Florence Babb al l contributed a great deal of time, patience, and couns el as I worked on my manuscrip t, and I am thankful for their guidance. Although not on my committee, I must also thank Steven Noll, Betty Smocovitis, and Elizabeth Dale, each of whom provided support and insight at key points in this project. My manuscript would be woefully incomplete without the assistan ce of archivists and librarians across the country. I w ould like to thank the archivists and staff at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the Linda Hall Li brary of Science, Engineering, and Technology in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Baldwin Librar y of Historical Childrens Literature at the University of Florida. For their help in tracki ng down niggling details, I thank genealogist Kay Haden, Micaela Sullivan-Fowler of the University of Wisconsins Ebling Library, Janice Kahler at the University of Floridas Interlibrary Loan, and Lori McLeod and Leslie McGrath, both of the Toronto Public Library. I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge all of those who provided more intangible support: laughter, comfort, and th e willingness to share in a gra duate students successes and frustrations. My grandmother, mother, and fa therDella, Monika, and Jimall cheered from the sidelines and kept up an e ndless stream of encouragement. My grandfather, Howard Munce, passed away my first semester in graduate school, and so never saw even the beginning of this 4


project, though I think he would have been proud. My brother, Lucas, and my sister, Heather, provided much-needed distraction from my resear ch and helped me to laugh along the way. Im as lucky in friends as I am in family, and my circle of friends marsha led a long-distance support network that always made this journey easier. Most of all, though, I owe a tremendous debt to my husband John, who moved halfway across the country so that I could follow my dream, who read nearly every word I wrote during my entire graduate career, and who believed in me even when I didnt believe in myself. For his unwaver ing support, I dedicate this work to him. 5


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ ..10 2 A REVOLUTION IN PARENTING ......................................................................................36 The Unfaithfulness of Parents .............................................................................................38 Reason and Experience ....................................................................................................... 43 The Foundation of a Pure and Happy Country ...................................................................51 Parental Tutelage .................................................................................................................59 Summary ....................................................................................................................... ..........66 3 HIGH EXPECTATIONS ........................................................................................................69 Untaught and Neglected ......................................................................................................70 A Station so Full of Responsibility .....................................................................................75 Hints to Parents ...................................................................................................................80 A Rational Discharge of Parental Duty ...............................................................................95 Summary ....................................................................................................................... ........100 4 THE GENDER OF PARENTING ........................................................................................102 A Natural Fountain of Unfailing Love ..............................................................................104 Harmonious and Efficient Government ............................................................................118 The True Head of the House .............................................................................................129 Summary ....................................................................................................................... ........135 5 PROFESSIONALIZING PARENTHOOD ..........................................................................137 Good Advisers, Good Books, and Much Encouragement ................................................139 Committed by Divine Providence .....................................................................................153 Proper Attendants ..............................................................................................................162 Hot-Beds of Moral Evil .....................................................................................................167 Summary ....................................................................................................................... ........175 6 SHAPING FUTURE GENERATIONS ...............................................................................177 A Stream of Human Depravity .........................................................................................180 Free from Constitutional Taint ..........................................................................................186 Scientific Human Propagation ..........................................................................................195 6


The Interests of Posterity ..................................................................................................201 Summary ....................................................................................................................... ........206 7 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. ...208 APPENDIX: NOTE ON METHOD AND SOURCES ...............................................................217 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................221 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................245 7


Abstract Of Dissertation Pres ented To The Graduate School Of The University Of Florida In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy THE MIGHTIEST INFLUENCE ON EARTH: AMERICANS EMERGING CONCEP TION OF PARENTHOOD, 1820-1880 By Emily Munce Casey May 2011 Chair: Angel Kwolek-Folland Major: History This study examines the emergence in the earl y nineteenth-century United States of the idea of parenting and its evolution through the 1880s. During this time, Americans modern notion of parenthood and what it means to be a pa rent came into being, shaped in large part by parental advisers. Beginning in the 1820s, parent al advisersphysicians, jurists, ministers, and didactic authorsbegan to articulate expectations of parents, establis hing guidelines for proper parenthood and denoting what a go od and a bad parent was. Over the course of the century, parental advisers crafted an id eal of purposeful parenthoodparenti ng with an eye not to raising farm hands or heirs, but to raising childre n with intention and in a particular way. As they crafted and refined their ideal of a good parent, parental advisers sharply narrowed who qualified for the title. Parent al advisers of the early deca des of the nineteenth century focused on teaching parents the best way to pa rent, by providing them with exacting moral and educational standards that they believed represented proper parenting. By midcentury, their successors embraced a more rigid notion of pa renthood, casting parenting itself as a profession one that required particular trai ning and one that not all could atta in. In the postbellum era, this idea of proper parenting narrowed even further, as parental advisers of the 1860s and 1870s 8


9 began to argue that only certain people should be allowed to become parents in the first place. Over the course of the century, then, the idea of parenthood became increasingly restrictive, to the point that it resembled an exclusive club. This history illuminates the development of modern family relations broadly, as well as the articulation of shared middle-class values specifically. Parental advisers themselves were middle class and the values the promotedsuch as i ndustry, thrift, and moralitywere intended for a middle-class audience. During the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans sought to differentiate themselves from those below and above them. The ideal of parenthood that emerged during this time enabled the middle class to both define itself and police its boundaries.


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Some parents err by presuming that their ch ildren know less, or more, than they do; or have worse or better di spositions than they have; or less or more command over their minds or feelings. Some place too mu ch reliance on force, others on kindness; some change their plans frequently, others have no plans at all, but notice or pass over faults, blame or approve, according to their own feelings at the moment. Many unteach by example faster than they instruct by precept. Theodore Dwight, The Fathers Book1 All too often, the mothers and nannies I see are tuned in to their cellphones, BlackBerrys and iPods, not to their young child ren. There were no such distractions when my husband and I, and most parents of a certain age, spent time with our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. We read to them and sang with them. Jane Brody, From Birth, Engage Your Child with Talk 2 When social commentator and author The odore Dwight (1796-1866) lamented the failures of American parents in 1835, he could not have k nown that he was engaging in an argument that would still be raging more than a cent ury and a half later. And yet, as New York Times columnist and author Jane Brody and countless others demonstrate, this particular argumentabout what makes a good parentis far from being resolv ed. Its origins predate Dwight to the early nineteenth century, when parental advisersdo ctors, ministers, judges, and authors of prescriptive literaturesteppe d forward to define what qualities made a parent, what responsibilities parents had, andmost impor tantlywhat, exactly, a parent was. Positioning themselves as experts in the field, parental advisers answered these questions as they provided guidance to families about what I have termed purposeful parenthood. Over 1 Theodore Dwight, The Fathers Book: or, Suggestions for the Government and Instruction of Young Children on Principles Appropriate to a Christian Country (Springfield, MA: G. and C. Merriam, 1835), 119. 2 Jane Brody, From Birth, Engage Your Child with Talk, New York Times September 28, 2009, (accessed September 30, 2009). 10


the course of the century, they fashioned an ideal of parenthood that emphasized intention, purpose, and merit. Terrified that parents were raising children incorrectly, parental advisers established guidelines by which th ey could instruct parents on how to raise children properly. Early parental advisers first arti culated the notion that parenting was too impor tant to be left to chance and created exacting mora l and educational standards fo r good parenting, while advising parents on how to achieve them. By the 1850s, parental advisers began to frame their own work as trainingnot merely adviceand cast parenting as a profession, complete with trade journals and instruction manuals. During the 1860s and 1870s, parental advisers shifted their focus away from the moral suasion of the earlier periods and instead emphasized their belief in the desirability and necessity of restricting parent hood to particular people for the good of society. At best, according to early pare ntal advisers, parents were inept and made mistakes. At worst, according to their successors, they were th reatening the very fabric of society. As they attempted to teach mothers and father s appropriate childreari ng, these self-defined experts had a particular type of parent in mind. The hallmarks of good parenting that they constructed bore the stamp of ni neteenth-century middle-class values: hard work, morality, religion, thrift, and domesticity. Pa rental advisers themselves were middle class, as were the parents they targeted and the ideals they espous ed. The purposeful parent hood ideal they crafted was a marker of middle-class stat us and it became the model for th e urban middle-class family as well as a benchmark against which real parents were judged. It embodied not only the responsibility of parents to th eir children, but also the obliga tion of mothers and fathers to society to raise children in a particular way. That there were specific traits or attributes that comprised good parenting (and, likewise, unmistaka ble hallmarks of bad parenting) was obvious to parental advisers lik e Dwight. A century and a half later, th ese traits would be obvious to Jane 11


Brody as well. The emergence of this discussion, a nd how it came to be shaped, are the subjects of this dissertation. This dissertation traces the history of the con cept of parenthood in th e United States from its emergence in the 1820s through 1880. It is not a history of parenting, but rather a history of ideas about parentingideas held by one particular group of expert s. Parental advisers started to articulate their notion of proper parenting in the 1820s, wh en they began to establish themselves as experts. By the 1880s, the disc ussion about parenthood had taken a distinctly different path. Where early parental advisers focused on social pa renting and what parents could do to raise their children well, by the late nineteenth century discussi ons of parenting and parenthood began to focus more intensely on biological parenthood, bad stock, and on the desirability of limiting the populat ion of procreating adults. This thread of the conversation would shape the debate about parenthood for decades.3 It also saw the pragmatic ideas of parental advisers intersect with the utopian ideas of John Humphrey Noyes, leader of the Oneida community. At Oneida, Noyes experimented with stirpiculturean effort to create perfect children by scientifically pairing select members for breedin g. Nineteenth-century ideas about parenting ranged widely, yet for pa rental advisers, Noyess ideas were the logical conclusion to many of the issues they raised. While much of what he espoused was too radical for many Americans, some of his ideas became mainstream. 3 In 1877, for example, Richard Dugdale published The Jukes a study of (he claimed) a mentally and morally inferior family. Such people, he argued, led to societys decline. (Richard Dugdale, The Jukes: A Study in Pauperism, Disease, and Heredity [New York: Putnam, 1877].) A stream of arguments like Dugdales followed. Fear that the wrong people were breeding in greater numbers than the right people led many (among them Theodore Roosevelt) to worry about race suicide at the turn of the century. In The Challenge of Facts, published posthumously in 1914, William Graham Sumner declared poor heredity to be part of the correlative of misery and poverty. (William Graham Sumner, The Challenge of Facts and Other Essays, ed. Albert Galloway Keller [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1914], 23.) Writing the majority opinion of Buck v. Bell in 1927, Oliver Wendell Holmes famously asserted that three generations of imb eciles are enough, declaring eugenic sterilization legal and in the publics best interest. ( Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 [1927].) The arguments prevalent in the parenting debate by the late nineteenth century, then, gave way to a larger discussion of the benefits of restrictive parenting. 12


Although this time period spans the Civil Wa r, I have found no indication that the war transformed parental advisers id eas about proper parenthood. This is not to say that the Civil War did not alter parenthood or, indeed, ideas about parenthood more generally. Parental advisers work, though, remained quiet about the war. Rather than an antebellum-postbellum shift, the sources indicate a shift in emphasis between the desirability of influencing social parenting and the necessity of c ontrolling biological parenting. Later generations of parental advisers seem to have been less swayed by the notion that moral suasion could work and more convinced that parenting needed to be managed at the source. In th is regard, they may have been influenced by the rise of science, as the later decades of the nineteenth century saw Americans beginning to embrace science and scientific answer s to social problems. According to Charles Rosenberg, in the decades after Appomattox, science tended to pl ay an increasingly important role in the minds of generations still inspired by the zeal of an earlier, more specifically religious earnestness, but unable any longer to accept solutions formulated in traditional religious terms. The absolute of science became increasingly autonomous.4 Historian Paul St arr concurs, noting that Americans of this period began to regard science as a superior and legitimately complex way of explaining and controlling reality5 Parental advisers came from disparate prof essions: they were judges and lawyers, physicians and phrenologists, ministers and cultura l critics, writers of domestic advice and of childrens literature. As judges and lawyers, they clearly articulated what was expected of American parents through rende ring their decisions and argu ments in custody cases. As physicians such as William Potts Dewees, and phrenologists like Orson Squire Fowler, they used 4 Charles E. Rosenberg, No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961), 12. 5 Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry (New York: Basic Books, 1982), 19. 13


their particular brand of expertis e as a platform from which to deliver medical as well as moral advice. As ministers and writers of traditional prescriptive literature, such as Lydia Sigourney and Reverend John S. C. Abbott, they emphasized the importance of a childs early years to the formation of their character. And as childrens book authors, like Lydia Maria Child and others, they used their books to train a dual audience of children and parents. Although I have grouped them together as parental advisers, these me n and women were rarely united. Their ideas about proper parenting were as divers e as their occupations, and they often disagreed wildly about what proper parenthood was. As a group, though, pare ntal advisers ideas shaped an ideal of middle-class parenthood in nineteenth-century America. The sources they pennedopinions and judgments in court cases, scientific and medi cal treatises, and didactic literatureprovide insights into a broad spectrum of nineteenth-century debate s about parenting. The sources themselves may not be particularly erudite or masterful examples of American writing. Nonetheless, they are invaluable as ideologica l work. To use scholar Diana Pasulkas argument, their value lies in the cultural work they perform, not necessarily in their artistic merits.6 Individually, each type of document only tells a fraction of the story. Taken together, however, these sources provide a much more complete pict ure of what nineteenth-century men and women deemed to be one of their most important undertakings: parenthood. By far, most of the parental advisers consid ered here were North eastern, suggesting that this debate about parenthoodand the norms that it gave rise towas lim ited to that region of the United States. At the same time, there are ou tliers, in places like Ch icago, Cincinnati and San Francisco, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. Such sourcessmaller in number though they 6 Diana Pasulka, A Somber Pedagogy: A History of th e Child Death Bed Scene in Early American Childrens Religious Literature, 1674-1840, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 2, no. 2 (2009): 174. Pasulkas quote refers specifically to popular nineteenth-century didactic texts. 14


arenonetheless raise the question of whether this is a na tional conversation of shared urban middle-class values. This issue is further compli cated by the fact that historians are divided on the question of the presence of a national market for books (a nd ideas) during the nineteenth century. In his study of the burgeoning nineteenth -century American publishing industry, Ronald Zboray notes that if Michigan wheat, Tr oy stoves, Danbury hats, Lackawanna iron, Lowell gingham, and Black Belt cotton found their way into homes across the nation, so could Boston books, Philadelphia fiction, and the New York Knickerbocker. 7 At the same time, though, Zboray argues that the railroad created geographical biases in literary distribution.8 Authors and publishers, he notes, aware th at the Northeast constituted the primary market for literature and that the distribution of impr int by rail left most of the South untouched, could afford to ignore the South altogether.9 Zborays argument regarding the lack of a national market is contradicted by other historians. Daniel Walker Howe, for example, argues that improvements in both printing technologies and transportation had reached the point where a national market for published material ex isted after 1830.10 Sarah Wadsworth concurs, describing a large, national market in which smaller publishers hoped to comp ete by targeting submarkets (distinguished by topic, rather than region).11 Adding another layer of complexity is the question of whether this conversation crossed national boundaries. Certainly, th ere is evidence to suggest that it was at least trans-Atlantic in nature: the works of such British authors as Maria Edgeworth, William 7 Ronald Zboray, A Fictive People: Antebellum Economic D evelopment and the American Reading Public (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), xvi. 8 Zboray, A Fictive People 12. 9 Zboray, A Fictive People 12. 10 Daniel Walker Howe What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 227. 11 Sarah Wadsworth, In the Company of Books: Literature and Its Classes in Nineteenth-Century America (Amherst: University of Mass achusetts Press, 2006), 5. 15


Cobbett, Mary Hughes, Charles Atmore, Elizab eth Sandham, Rev. Thomas Searle, and more mirror that which was being published by contempor ary American didactic authors. In short, elements of this same conversation about parenting extend beyond the American Northeast. It seems likely that, within the United States, th is represents the development of a national conversation that draws on shared urban middle-cla ss values. Much more research would need to be done to prove that unequivocally, however. This dissertation takes as its starting point the idea that this is essentially a stor y of the emerging white northeastern middle class, but does not shy away from utilizing American sources that hint at a broader geographic discussion. When parental advisers began their work in the 1820s, their success was made possible by their ability to capitalize on a unique moment in American hi story during which a number of transformations were underway. New advents in publishing allowed their advice to reach American mothers and fathers more readily. Cha nges in the ways in which Americans perceived professionals enabled parental advisers to crea te a new category of experts. Shifting family dynamics meant that there was an advice vacuum that they could fill. And, perhaps most importantly, the emergence of the American middle class provided them w ith a ready market of men and women open to advice that would help them reinforce their class status. Parental advisers were confident that parent s needed the guidance they alone could offer. Having advice to give, however, was one thing; th ese experts needed to be able to get their advice to those who needed it. In this rega rd, their timing could not have been more advantageous. Several factors converged in the early nineteenth century to help bring these parental advisers into American homes. First, the transportation revolution meant that more people could access published materials.12 Second, new printing technologies that allowed 12 For more on the transportation revolution and its impact on publishing, see Zboray, A Fictive People 16


published materials to be produced not only in great er numbers but also more cheaply meant that more people could afford to buy them.13 Furthermore, the (large ly urban and northeastern) publishing industry was growing exponentiall y. According to Mary and Ronald Zboray, between 1850 and 1860 alone, the printing indus trys product value incr eased by 168 percent, from nearly twelve to over thirty-one million dollars a year.14 There was also a tremendous market for these published materials. Historian Isabelle Lehuu describe s an exuberant print culture in the decades before the Civil War that encompassed books, newspapers, journals, and every variation thereof (serials, the penny press, dailies, and so on). It was in the antebellum era, Lehuu argues, and not the 1880s and 1890s that the United States faced its first information explosion.15 And finally, literacy rates near ing 90 percent for adult white Americans by 1850 meant that more people could read these materials.16 In short, this was an ideal moment for parental a dvisers to make their mark. Yet Americans willingness to entertain the e xpertise of others, with regard to parenting or otherwise, was not a given. Here, too, tran sformations were underw ay that enabled the expertise of parental advisers and others to be heard. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, regular physicians, for example, had a difficult time c onvincing Americans of the need for their particular expertise. Many Americans we re simply too remote or too poor to rely on doctors for healing. Furthermore, they were skep tical of the remedies doctors peddled. For these and other reasons, they turned to widely availabl e medical manuals to treat themselves and their 13 Zboray, A Fictive People 15. 14 Ronald Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, Literary Dollars and Social Sense: A Peoples History of the Mass Market Book (New York: Routledge, 2005), xi. 15 Isabelle Lehuu, Carnival on the Page: Popular Print Media in Antebellum America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 16. 16 Zboray, A Fictive People 96. 17


families.17 In order to grow their field as well as their clientele, re gular physicians standardized medical education and licensing, thereby heighteni ng their claims to authority, and they formed the American Medical Associati on in 1847, which further contribu ted to the professionalization of their ranks.18 Later in the nineteenth century, bew ildered by such sweeping changes as industrialization, nationalism, and urbanization, Americans would embrace the Progressives, who embedded professionalism into American society.19 This Progressive professionaliza tion impulse was able to build on the early work of regular physicians as well as parental advisers. As they collectively worked to shape the American parent, parental advisers indivi dually negotiated claims to expertise. While they were no doubt genuinely concerned about confr onting the changes they saw around them, their assertions about parenthood could also establish their claims to sp eak with cultural authorit y. Self-styled experts, parental advisers attempted to insert themselves into households as indispensable parenting aids, and along the way they shaped the nature of pare nting itself. They worked to convince American parents that their advice was i nvaluable, limited to their ranks and that their voices were trustworthy. Over the course of the century, they provided pare nts with reams of advice and instruction on how to parenthow to wi eld the mightiest influence on earth.20 Advances in transportation and publishing, as well as a growing reliance on expert advice, enabled parental advisers to share their expertise with th eir clientele. Their success in 17 See, for example, Charles Rosenberg The Book in the Sickroom, in Every Man his own Doctor: Popular Medicine in Early America (Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1998). 18 See Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine ; James Mohr, Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978); Charlotte Borst, Catching Babies: The Professionalization of Childbirth, 1870-1920 (Cambridge: Harvard University Pres s, 1995); Judith Walzer Leavitt, Brought to Bed: Child-Bearing in America, 1750-1950 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). 19 See, for example, Robert Wiebe, The Search for Order: 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967). 20 Artemas Bowers Muzzey, The Christian Parent (Boston: Wm. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1850), 40. Muzzeys actual quote reads, The influence of the parent is the mightiest on earth. 18


finding a captive audience was further made possi ble by the advice vacuum left behind as the pre-industrial family grew into something new. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the United States w itnessed a transformation in pa renthood that enabled parental advisers to gain a foothold in family life. The transitions that made it possible for parental advisers to so thoroughly entrench themselves in to American homes did not happen overnight, or even noticeably over the course of a few years. They took place over many decades, after which American families looked fundamentally different. The discrete nuclear families of the nineteen th century urban middle class would have been out of place in pre-industrial America, when families were intimately connected with both community and kin. Pre-industria l communities relied on heads of households to ensure order and discipline, together the foundati on for the success of the community.21 Households also performed a number of functions for the commun ity that today have been outsourced to other entities. According to historian Stephanie Coont z, the household was th e center not only of economic production but also of social services education, socializati on, work training, and religious instruction.22 The household, then, was an indispen sable and integral part of the community. And as much as the community re lied on households, households relied equally on the community for support. Each was not only aide d by the other, but also policed by the other. Puritan communities, according to Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, felt a responsibility not only to punish misconduct but also to interv ene within households to guide and direct 21 See Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life (New York: The Free Press, 1988); Mary Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); John Demos, A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970). 22 Stephanie Coontz, The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families, 1600-1900 (New York: Verso, 1988), 83. See also: John Demos. 19


behavior.23 Pre-industrial households also relied on extended kin networks. Although families often did not live together as extended kin groups, such networks remained heavily involved in a familys day-to-day activities, an intimate connection of support.24 Both the intrusion of communities and the in terconnectedness of families and extended kin networks were critical to shapi ng the pre-industrial no tion of parenthood, as well as the nature of childrearing. To use historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrichs term, pre-i ndustrial parenting was extensive rather than intensi ve. She argues that mothering, for example, meant generalized responsibility for an assembly of youngsters rather than concentrated devotion to a few.25 Indeed, pre-industrial children grew up with any number of people taking care of them. According to Helena Wall, childrearing responsibi lities were dispersed to relatives, neighbors, masters, even strangers.26 Often put out to le arn a trade (or to ease the burden on alreadystretched household resources), children lacked the intense emotional connection with their parents that would become a hallmark of the nineteenth-century idealized family.27 These distinctive features of pre-industrial family life bega n to change as the eighteenth century gave way to the nineteenth and as th e pre-industrial family gave way to the urban middle-class family. As this transition took place, the family turned inward and separated itself from the larger community. From this separati on, more emphasis was placed on parents in 23 Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions, 7. See also Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class. 24 See Demos, A Little Commonwealth; Stephanie Grauman Wolf, Urban Village: Population, Community, and Family Structure in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1683-1800 (Princeton: Princet on University Press, 1976), 288; Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions 25 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 16501750 (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 157. 26 Helena Wall, Fierce Communion: Family and Community in Early America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 86. 27 See Jacqueline Reinier, From Virtue to Character: American Childhood, 1775-1850 (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996); Wall, Fierce Communion ; Coontz, The Social Origins of Private Life ; Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions 20


particular, as they became the sole rearers of children. This focus on parents was made all the more intense in the context of changing notio ns of childhood. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, childhood began to be seen as a unique stage in a persons life, and children were recognized as needing certain things.28 This, in turn, placed a bigger burden on mothers and fathers; parents faced increased scrutiny as they were the ones expected to meet these needs. Furthermore, among the urban middle class, hou seholds became private units of consumption, affection, and socialization. This new kind of family faced new expectations, and parents relationship to their childrent he bond between mother, father and childrenwas a critical component of this. Among the loudest voices articulating expectatio ns of parents were parental advisers. Through their work, they issued endless de crees about what good parenthood was. Some (inadvertently) defined parenthood in terms of what it was not: childlessness. Commentators noted that those who chose not to have childre n were selfish, hard-hearted, and worse. A woman who, by cool and calculating choice, is no mother, and who congratulates herself that she has no young ones tied to her apron strings, is either very unfortunately organized, or she is essentially immoral. A man who can tip up his feet over against his lonely wife, and thank his stars that he has no squalling brats around to bother him, is a brute. 29 More often than not, though, parental advisers defined parenthood (or th e ideal of parenthood) by what it ought to be. Parents needed to remember, for exam ple, that children need, not only government firm and 28 See Carl Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family in Amer ica from the Revolution to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Philip Greven, The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-Rearing, Religious Experience, and the Self in Early America (New York: Knopf, 1 977); Monica Kiefer, American Children through their Books, 1700-1835 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1948). 29 Timothy Titcomb [Josiah Gilbert Holland], Titcombs Letters to Young People, Single and Married rev. ed. (1858; repr., New York: Charles Scribner, 1864), 203. 21


mild, but sympathy warm and tender.30 Parental advisers exhorted parents to exercise your authority as seldom as possibl e, and instead of it employ, [sic ] kind persuasion and deliberate reasoning; but when you exercise it, make it irresistible.31 Parents needed to adopt gentle measures of childrearing which tend to exer t a calming, quieting, and so othing influence on the mind, rather than ungentle measures, which tend to inflame and irritate the mind, or to agitate it with painful excitements.32 This delicate balance was imperative, because children come to us from heaven, with their little souls full of innocence and peace, and parental influence should not interfere w ith the influence of angels.33 This myriad of edicts from parental a dvisers comprised a seemingly unending list of injunctions which, taken together, form a sta ndard of parenting that was nearly (if not completely) unattainable. Mothers and fathers needed to strike an impossible balance in order to be considered a good parent. They needed to be doting, but not too dotin g; protective, but not stifling; unwavering, yet sympathetic; strict, yet te nder. As a group, parental advisers helped to shape the concept of a parent over the course of the nineteenth century, from a relatively amorphous entity to a recognizable constituent of the modern family. But along the way, the bar for a good parent was set so high that few could hope to reach it. The nature of the transition that gave rise to the middle class family targeted by parental advisers has been the subject of much debate among historians. Mary Ryan and Stephanie Coontz argue that external pressures on Am erican familiesspecifically the decreasing 30 Parents, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 2 (February, 1849): 30. Emphasis original. 31 E. D. Griffin, Rules for Governing Children, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 4 (October, 1849): 82. 32 Jacob Abbott, Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1861), 16. Emphasis original. 33 Lydia Maria Child, The Mothers Book (Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1831), 3. 22


availability of farmland a nd jobstriggered the shift.34 This meant that families had to rethink such things as family size, inheritance, and o ccupations for children entering adulthood. It also meant that the strong community bonds that tied pre-industrial children and families to a particular geographic area were weakening.35 These changes had tremendous implications for parenting. Smaller families meant that parents could devote increased atte ntion to their children. However, it also meant that there were fewer opportunities for older children to appren tice as parents with their younger siblings. Furthermore, as land in and around their communities became increasingly scarce, young adults had to look elsewhere for work. When these men and women then became new parents, they had fewer opportunities to get parenting advice from their own families. The result of these changing family dynamics was that parental adviceas well as experience raising childrenwas harder for new parents to obtain from familiar sources. Parental advisers recognized and capitalized on this advice vacuum, providing middle class mothers and fathers with an inexhaustible source of childrearing guidelines. This new middle class worked to distinguish itself from others by adhering to certain markers of class status. Historian Stuart Blumin notes that middle class Americans employed a number of markers to disti nguish themselves from those belowand abovethem. Blumin argues that work was certainly one of these mark ers, noting that the middle class distinguished itself from the working class by (for exampl e) physically separating nonmanual and manual labor. Among other markers, these differences m eant that clerks, retail ers, manufacturers and 34 See Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class ; Coontz, The Social Origins of Private Life 35 For alternate treatments of the rise of the middle class, see Paul Johnson, A Shopkeepers Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978); for a British perspective of the same development, see Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987). 23


others could not be spoken of in the same breat h with the poor and inf erior inhabitants of the citybut neither were they members of the mercantile elite.36 Additionally, Blumin notes, middle-class markers could be found in the home as well as in the workplace. Here, changing domestic ideals helped to distinguish middle cl ass families from both the working class and the elite mercantile class. Historians Jan Lewis, Jacq ueline Reinier, and others agree, arguing that within the family, members of the middle class placed a premium on the affection and emotional support of family life, as well as the privacy their homes afforded.37 As a group, the middle class began to valorize the ideal of th e private home that was insulated from the harsh outside world, despite the fact that so few of its members could attain this ideal.38 In truth, much of the middleclasss first steps were unstea dy. Middle-class status was hardly static, as the unstable economy made for an ever-changing membership. Historia n Scott Sandage argues that, given the rocky nineteenth-century economy, awas h in financial panics, middle-cl ass status, once attained, was no guarantor of future success.39 Furthermore, according to historians Karen Halttunen and Thomas Augst, membership within the middle class was also fraught with identity crises: many legitimate members of the middle class struggled to act their class well, while others simply acted middle class without actually being so.40 36 Stuart Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience and the American City, 1760-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 137. 37 See Jan Lewis, The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jeffersons Virginia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Reinier, From Virtue to Character ; Wall, Fierce Communion ; Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions 38 Wendy Gamber, The Boardinghouse in Nineteenth-Century America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). 39 Scott Sandage, Born Losers: A History of Failure in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), 39. 40 Sandage, Born Losers ; Karen Halttunen, Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830-1870 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); Thomas Augst, The Clerks Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003). 24


As the middle class embraced markers of status with which to define itself, certainly one of them was emerging standards of parenthood. These standards, established by parental advisers, grounded good parenthood in morality, religion, and a commitment to the work ethic demanded by childrearing. Those who fell short of these standards were deemed inappropriate parents. By adopting these ideals, middle-class mo thers and fathers could distinguish themselves from those of the lower classes. By emphasizing other values, such as hard work and thrift, middle-class parents could also distinguish them selves from the upper class. Furthermore, good parents could help to bring some stability to an insecure middle class, as the results of parenting (children) could not be faked. According to pare ntal advisers, it was pa infully clear who was a good or a bad child and, by extension, a good or a bad parent. Such a clea r division helped to distinguish true middle-class pa rents from any imposters. Moreove r, such parentswho adhered to established standards of good parentingwould go on to raise future citizens who were a blessing to their families and a benefit to thei r countrya far cry from confidence men and painted women who led others to belie ve they were something they were not.41 Among markers of middle-class status, however good parenting was as elusive as others. The barrier to entry for good pa renting was impossibly high. Mi ddle-class mothers and fathers had to navigate an endless number of edicts from parental advisers in order to be considered good parents; good parenting was not guarant eed on the basis of ones bank balance. Furthermore, neither middle-class status nor su ccess in parenting were guarantors of future childrearing triumphs. Parenting was as much a method by which the middle class policed itself as it was a means of differentiati ng between social classes. It could help middle-class men and 41 Halttunen, Confidence Men and Painted Women 25


women reinforce their class status but it could also be a harsh re minder of their failure to meet that class status. The middle class also distinguished itself from other classes by embracing certain ideological tenets, perhaps none more so than sepa rate spheres. The ideology of separate spheres, which sociologist Michael Kimmel argues was invented to shore up and defend middle-class masculinity, held that men and wo men occupied distinct spheres that dictated what was expected of them.42 Mens public sphere encompassed (among other things) work, commerce, and politics and was cast as harsh, dirty, and cut-throat. By contrast, womens private sphere of domesticity and the home was gentle, serene, and virtuous. Each was the opposite of its mate, and each was dependent upon the other. Men were the provider s, who toiled to support their families and who, at the end of the day, were able to retreat to their homes, where thei r nurturing wives awaited them. In the early nineteenth century, these emerging ideas of manhood and womanhood, informed by the ideology of separate spheres, were also inextricably tied up with ideas of parenthood; within the middle-cla ss family, they pervaded and shaped notions of fatherhood and motherhood. For middle-class men, breadwinning was central to both their masculinity and their roles as fathers. Robert Griswold writes, to be middl e class was to consume, and men underwrote the act.43 Their work in the public sphere made it possi ble to maintain their familys middle-class lifestyle and status. Whether this led to a decreased role for me n in the household is the subject of much debate among scholars. Several historia ns contend that as men increasingly worked outside the household to provide for their fam ilies and fulfill their roles as breadwinners, they 42 Michael Kimmel, Manhood in America: A Cultural History, rev. ed. (1997; repr., New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 36. 43 Robert Griswold, Fatherhood in America: A History (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 33. 26


had correspondingly less time to spend with their families and raise their children.44 Yet, as historian Shawn Johansen points ou t, twentieth-century fathers w ho similarly labored to provide for their families have not faced such ham-ha nded treatment; scholars recognize that these men (even in fictional depictions) f ound time for both work and home life.45 In the hands of Johansen, Stephen Frank, and John Tosh, nineteen th-century fathers have begun to receive the nuanced treatment they deserve. Their work is invaluable, as it illuminates the ways in which nineteenth-century fathers were vital to their fam ilies, not just as breadw inners and provid as playmates and nurturers, helpmates and companions. ers, but 46As with men, notions of nineteenth-cen tury middle class womanhood were similarly entangled with ideas about parenthood. In the years following the Revolution, fathers increasingly worked outside the home, familie s reliance on servants dwindled, and women became less involved in economic production. This re structuring of what historian Ruth Bloch calls the familial division of labor led to the priv atization and insular nature of the middle-class family, as well as the growing va lorization of women as mothers.47 It was during this time period that women were urged to embrace the pseudo-po litical role open to them through the ideology of republican motherhood. Not recognized as c itizens themselves, repu blican mothers were 44 See Griswold, Fatherhood in America; E. Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era (New York: Basic Books, 1993); John Gillis, A World of their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values (New York: Basic Books, 1996). 45 Shawn Johansen, Family Men: Middle-Class Fatherhood in Industrializing America (New York: Routledge, 2001), Introduction. 46 Johansen, Family Men; Stephen Frank, Life With Father: Parenthood and Masculinity in the Nineteenth-Century American North (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ ersity Press, 1998); John Tosh, A Mans Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven: Yale Un iversity Press, 1999). 47 Ruth Bloch, American Feminine Ideals in Transition: The Rise of the Moral Mother, Feminist Studies 4, no. 2 (June, 1978): 114. 27


nonetheless critical to the f oundation of the new nation as shapers of future citizens.48 Furthermore, women could use their dominan ce in the domestic realm to influence their husbands and children. Pious and pure, moral and submissive, the ideal middle-class woman produced nothing, but her rei gn over home and hearth wa s nonetheless indisputable.49 Understanding the history of men and women, of manhood and womanhood, and of masculinity and femininity are important com ponents of a larger understanding of our gendered history. Yet, as illuminating as such a framew ork is, it is also by necessity limiting because studying the sexes in relative isolation from one another can only tell us so much. The work of Kerber, Griswold, and other comparable studies ar e somewhat limited in that they primarily deal with one sex, attending to the other sex tangentially as it relates to the first. Parenthood, however, provides an ideal way of articulating a unifying theoryone that bridges rather than supplants. It merges the gender history of women with the gender history of men and thereby enables scholars to see things in a new light. Rather than examining men and fathers in isolation from women and mothers, it provides a new way of thinking about how we conceive of people in the fa mily. It builds on the theore tical framework of gender by supplementing our knowledge. Furthermore, its usefulness as a framework extends beyond family and gender history. Parenthood was also a way of demonstrating or defining class status and, in the hands of parental advisers, became a marker of the middle class. Finally, parenthood was a vehicle by which parental advisers themselv es could become experts. In short, parenthood provides a lens through which we can understand the ways in which nineteenth-century 48 Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1980). 49 Barbara Welter, The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860, American Quarterly 18, no. 2 (Summer 1966): 151174; Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: Womans Sphere in New England, 1780-1835 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977); Mary Ryan, The Empire of the Mother: American Writing about Domesticity, 1830-1860 (New York: Harrington Park Press, 1985); Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class 28


Americans negotiated lines of gender, class, and expertise. As a framework, it unifies and builds on other literatures and suggests new wa ys of thinking about this history. The ideological constructs that Kerber, Gr iswold and others have recognized had a profound impact on the family in general and on parents in partic ular. While it is true that mothers and fathers individually faced certain ob ligations within these constructs, what is perhaps more revealing are the expectations th ey faced together, as parents. New demands on family life led to higher expectati ons for parents (not just mothers) to act in certain ways and to raise their children properly. As the urban middle-class family came to place greater importance on affection and emotion, the relationship betwee n parents and children faced increased scrutiny. As my dissertation will demonstrat e, parents were expected to adhe re to a myriad of edicts in order to be considered good pa rents who raised their children well. For parents who did not (or could not) meet such high expectations, the consequences would reach far beyond home and hearth. As the eighteenth century bled into th e nineteenth, the urban middle-class family fundamentally changed. It shifted from a basic economic unit of production to an affective unit of consumption. While the pre-industrial family had been held together by notions of responsibility and duty to one another and to th e community, the family that replaced it was a social unit held together by bonds of affection. Na turally, the pre-industri al family engaged in consumption and childrearing, and certainly showed affection towards one another. Yet the modern urban family that emerged held to f undamentally different ideological underpinnings than its pre-industrial precursor, grounded more in emotion rather than obligation. No longer a unit of economic production, the family focused more intensely on bonds between parents and children. Furthermore, and more im portantly to this dissertation, no longer moored by a world in 29


which expectations were clear, this new family found itself adrift in a fundamentally changing world. It was into this setting that parental a dvisers stepped, asserted their expertise, and reshaped familial expectations by crafting the ideal of the parent. They capitalized on this moment: a crisis of confidence within the family in which parental advisers were able to assert themselves and be heard. It is important to reme mber that their work aimed to instruct and shape a particular kind of family: white, urban, and middle-class. Among rural and farm families, for example, extensive parenting a nd childrearing remained the nor m into the twentieth century. These types of families, as well as immigrant, bl ack, and working-class families, did not fit the mold that parental advisers s ought to standardize. These self-s tyled experts had a particular image in mind of what the ideal American parent looked like, and a particular audience they targeted. Parental advisers success in their professi on is evidenced by the f act that not only does this debate about parenting have a rich histor y, it also does not have an ending. From Theodore Dwight to Dr. Spock and beyond, Americans have continued to debate the proper meaning of parenthood. Pick up any newspaper or magazine in this country and you will likely uncover a wealth of evidence of this contentious and ongoi ng debate. As a society, we argue constantly about what it means to be a good parent, and what responsible parenting is. This debate plays out not only in traditional sources su ch as newspapers and magazine s, but also in online forums, blogs (notably so-called mommy blogs), and social networking services such as Twitter. Here, debates about parenting often fo cus on how to parent properly and they generate discussion (often vehement discussion) about good and bad parents. They reflect a belief that there is a right way and a wrong way to parent. While technology has moved it into new venues, the 30


argument itself is not new. Its roots can be trace d back to the early nineteenth century, to the subject of this dissertation, when parental advisers began to deba te what they believed American parenthood ought to look like and, as a result, sh aped the expectations surrounding parenting for years to come. This dissertation aims to pr ovide the historical b ackground on how American parenting and parenthood came to be such a divisive topic. Understanding the emergence of parenthood as an ideal requires that we understand what historians have said about family history, the rise of the middle class, th e creation of experts and the changing nature of medicine and science, and push it a step furt her by asking slightly different questionsnamely, what can we learn of attitudes about parenting? To what extent was parenting a product of the experts offering advi ce in a burgeoning consumer culture? What did the experts focus on about parenting? My work suggests that the creation of parenting in the nineteenth century was not only a way in which the urban middle class distinguished itself, and in which parenting experts created a market for their advice, but more importantly that it became a hallmark of society that has carried into the present day. The chapters that follow are laid out in chronological order from the 1820s through the 1870s. They pick up threads of the parenting deba te where they are most heavily concentrated. Such long-ranging discussions, however, are not tidy, nor do sources conform easily to the organizational strategies histor ians employ. Therefore, while th ere is a rough chronological order to the chapters, there are outliers of sources in each chapter that belie that chronology. Chapter 2 addresses the rise of advice for this new thing called a parent. Generically speaking, parents, it stands to reason, had been raising children successfully for countless generations. Why, then, did they suddenly emer ge as a new species of family member who needed to be told how to fill their role? As traditional family kin and community networks 31


became more dispersed, and the vacuum created thereby threatened social cohesion, parental advisers stepped in to fill a perceived void. They established themselves as people whose advice could be trusted and, along the way, created their own consumer market: parents as consumers of advice. Here, in the early decades of the nine teenth century, they commenced their work of shaping and defining what it meant to be a pare nt. They began to create a vision of purposeful parenthoodtheir idea of raising children was not th at children would become future laborers or that they could be economic assets, but that the parent-child relationship itself was critical and that parents needed to raise children with intention in orde r for them to thrive in a changed landscape. This notion of a purposeful parent hood was revolutionary and would wind its way through the discourses of parental advisers thro ugh the century. In the 1830s and 1840s, parental advisers bega n to clarify exactly what was expected of parents. The requirements were ri gorous and it is these high expect ations that Chapter 3 explores. During this period, parental advisers began to articulate the idea th at parenting was not an innate skill. Parents, they insisted, were made and not born. In order to stand a chance of being successful, they needed to rely on parental advisers, who could teach them appropriate, purposeful parenthood. Parents also needed to under stand the incredible responsibility that they borea responsibility with ramifi cations not only for home and so ciety, in the here and now, but also into the hereafter. Parental advisers th en took up the monumental task of prescribing appropriate parental behavior. This they did by providing exam ples of good and bad parenting, and illustrating the effects thereof. Although mothers and fathers both were pare nts and had certain shared expectations, parental advisers also articula ted a gendered vision of parentin g. This vision is the topic of Chapter 4. Mothers were cast as the more natur al parentmore nurturing, more innately caring 32


than fathers. As such, they had certain expect ations with parenthood that were uniquely theirs. Yet this did not mean that men were in any way exempt from expectations of their own. In fact, parental advisers insisted that it was because mo thers and fathers imparted different things and had different expectations that children needed both. A family without maternal affection, after all, could hardly be called a home. Nor coul d children growing up in a household lacking paternal guidance be expected to succeed. Children needed both maternal and paternal influences in order to be raised properl y. (In cases involving child custo dy, justices weighed the influence of each parent with the age of the child, awar ding the child to the parent whose gendered influence seemed the most important to the chil d at that age.) Yet although parental advisers were quick to point out womens many virtues as mothers, they also saw womens weaknesses. A woman who was overly doting, or overly lenient, was not a good mother. Parental advisers expressly delineated the no tion that part of a fathers role was to correct the failings of the mother. Therefore, in the realm of parenting, th e will of a father trumped the affection of a mother. In the 1850s and 1860s, parental advisers set ou t to create an elite force of exclusive, highly trained, professional parent s. As Chapter 5 illustrates, they began by insisting that parents needed good information from reputable sources (t hemselves) in order to parent properly and in order to protect their children from the treach erous world beyond home and hearth. Parenting advice gleaned from non-experts, such as neighbors or friends, might be detrimental to children. Furthermore, children faced dangers from nurses, servants, and even childhood acquaintances. In order to minimize the impact of these external th reats, parental advisers insisted that parents alone were the only entity capable of parenting. Servants, nurses, and even family members were unacceptable replacements. Along these same lines, parental advisers found fault with common 33


schools. As schooling became more prevalent in the nineteenth century, parental advisers worried about removing children from parental infl uences for such long hours. Furthermore, they fretted that parents would willingly shirk their du ties and obligations to their children, preferring instead to pass them off to teachers. During the 1860s and 1870s, parental advi sers became increasingly concerned about shaping future generations. Their concern was born out of the societal ills they saw around them, manifested in an army of the infirm and the derangedpeople harboring heritable diseases and tendencies. Were such people to marry and procr eate, parental advisers feared the worst for society. Chapter 6 illustrates the ways in which parental advisers took it upon themselves to protect the family and societ y from certain destruction by insisting that parenthood was a privilege, not a right, and that only the best s hould be allowed to bree d. In this regard, they mirrored certain ideas held by utopian visi onary John Humphrey Noyes, whose Oneida community engaged in a brief experiment in stirpiculturehuman husbandryduring this time period. While other of his ideas were too radical for most, his notion that humans could be selected on the basis of their traits and paired scientifically in order to improve society would have resonated with parental advisers. By the end of this period, they firmly believed in the idea of restrictive parenthood: of perfect parents creating ideal children. Over the course of the century, then, th e purposeful parenthood that early parental advisers pioneered revealed it s less benevolent, more disquie ting character. Its goal was not simply to ensure that parents raised children properly for the wellbeing of the American family and for the good of society. Rather, parental ad visers ultimately sought to transform American parenthood into an exclusive club. In the end, purposeful parenthood meant that only certain people ought to be allowed to become parents. All others were not worthy of the title. At Oneida, 34


35 John Humphrey Noyes acted on this idea in the form of stirpiculture In doing so, he turned the discourse advocated by parental advisers into ac tion. For Noyes and others, the social definition of a parent that theythe white middle and upper classesshaped came to exclude those who did not meet impossibly strict standards. Before the notion of purposeful parenthood b ecame so narrow, though, parental advisers sought to reconfigure the notion of American pa renthood and to establish themselves as people whose advice could be trus ted. In the 1820s and 1830s, their work was just beginning.


CHAPTER 2 A REVOLUTION IN PARENTING It appears that the relation which subsists between parents and children, is a very interesting and important relation. That th e obligations and duties which arise from it are no less interesting and important, and demand th e constant a ttention of parents. That the good of society, the good of posterity in the world, and the eternal happiness of children are, in an interesting and solemn manner, connected with the discharge of these duties. Cyrus Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children1 When Cyrus Comstock (Methodist preach er, 1765-1862) wrote about the duties of parenthood in 1810, he was describing a notion of a familial relation that was relatively new. The American family had undergone a number of changes over the previous century, and had emerged in the nineteenth century fundamentally changed. Over the course of a century, it had shifted focus from a patriarchal and economic unit of production to a more democratic and affective unit of consumption. The family, on ce held together by duty and obligation, now aspired to emphasize emotion and affection. Child rearing practices had changed as well, as childhood began to be seen as a un ique stage in a persons life. It was within this context that Comstock and others began to focus intently on parents themselves. As American mothers and fathers struggled to find their footing on unstabl e ground, parental advisers stepped forward to pin down what it meant to be a parent and what it meant to be a family in this chaotic new era. During this period, parental ad visers began to assert themse lves, giving shape not only to themselves but also to their target audience. Likewise, their target a udience was also beginning to define itself: the middle class, in the 1820s and 1830s, was taking its first steps, defining what it was (and was not). As Stuart Blumin argues, in the urban-industr ial revolution of the 1 Cyrus Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children (Hartford, CT: Oliver D. Cooke, 1810), 341-342. 36


Jacksonian era and beyond, middling folk would re define themselves, and elevate themselves, in ways that were not possible in the craft economie s and little urban worlds of the eighteenth century.2 As Blumin notes, a definable middle cla ss was not fully formed by this time. But it was emerging, differentiating itsel f in many ways from the working class below and the elite class above. Parenting, as we shall see, was becoming one of these distin guishing characteristics. Parental advisers themselves were part of this burgeoning middle class, the values they espoused were middle class, and the parents they targeted were middle class. They helped to build, in short, part of the foundation of the middle class. What they did in the 1820s and 1830s was to assert their claim to expertise, outline th e tenets of purposeful parenthood, and lay the groundwork for their work to come. They began to define parent hood by arguing, first, that parents needed advice in order to parent properly. Second, they hoped to convince th eir audience that theyparental advisers were the ideal people to provide such advice. Self -styled experts, they established themselves as people whose advice could be trusted (and needed to be trusted), in th e process creating their own consumer market along the way. Third, aide d by changes in household authority, parental advisers articulated what they believed was e xpected of both fathers a nd mothers. Finally, as changes in childhood redefined what it meant to be a child, they harnessed these new expectations to give shape and definition to wh at they believed a pare nt to be. Along the way, they articulated a purpose to ra ising children that, in the 1820s and 1830s, was nothing short of revolutionary. 2 Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class 65. 37


The Unfaithfulness of Parents By the early nineteenth century, people around the world had b een raising children successfully for millennia. And ye t, within the United States, there existed a growing body of people who believed that, whatever success parents had enjoyed in the past, the future required a different approach. As pre-indust rial childrearing practices gave way to a recognizably modern family form, these individuals began to focus on pa rents alone as childrearers. In this new era, parents needed advice in order to parent properly. This motley co llection of self-styled experts represented a burgeoning group of pa rental advisers. A varied mix, the parental advisers of the 1820s and 1830s included men and women, traine d physicians, domestic advice writers, and jurists. Different clusters of parental advisers would make a number of arguments over the course of the centurythat paren ting was a learned skill, not an innate talent, for example, or that only certain people should be allowed to pa rent. But here, at the outset of the nineteenth century, parental experts aimed merely to establish themselv esas advisers to and about this new thing called a parent. Although they did not speak with one voice, wh at bonded them together was a firm belief that parents needed to be told how to parent. Without the stead y and reasoned advice of seasoned experts, parents simply could not expect to succeed. Dr. Samuel Kennedy Jennings (1771-1854) observed, if every woman were properly qualif ied, and would faithfully perform her duty in having children; their virtuous affections might be so confirmed, their disposition to vice so effectually subdued, that, the greatest revolution in morals and health of the world, would be the consequence.3 That not being the case (f or if it were, there would be no need for Jennings to publish a book of this nature), mothers and pare nts clearly needed dir ection. Too many parents, 3 Samuel Kennedy Jennings, The Married Ladys Companion, or Poor Mans Friend (New York: Lorenzo Dow, 1808), 6. 38


according to parental advisers, did not take their duties seriously, or perhaps did not know how to execute them properly. Novelist and author Catharine Sedgwick (1789-1867), for example, believed that parenting could not be done slothfully or remissly, yet noted that far too many parents seemed to do just that. There are many who seem to think their duty quite discharged by supplying their children w ith comfortable food, clothes, and lodging, taking them to church on Sunday, and sending them to what is called a suitable school.4 Sedgwicks appraisal of American parenting provides two key insights. Firs t, that proper parentin g could not be passive; parents needed to take an ac tive role in childrearing. Second, her comments anticipated an argument that future parental advisers woul d emphasize in the 1850s and 1860s: that parents should not just assign schools the du ty of raising their children. Beyond being slothful and remiss, it was clear to parental advisers that far too many parents simply did not know what they were doing. Theodore Dwight illustrated the extent of their ignorance. Some parents err by presuming th at their children know less, or more, than they do; or have worse or better di spositions than they have; or less or more command over their minds or feelings. Some place too much reliance on force, others on kindness; some change their plans frequently, others have no plans at all, but notice or pass over faults, blame or approve, according to their own feelings at the moment Many unteach by example faster than they instruct by precept.5 Dwights comments indicate a fa r worse problem than passive childrearing: these parents were actively making poor childrea ring choices. With such illinformed parents raising the nations youth, what la y in store for the future? Parental advisers like Sedgwick, Dwight, and others were wary of wh at they saw in parenting methods and looked 4 Catherine Sedgwick, A Plea for Children, American Ladies Magazine (Boston) 8 (1835): 95. 5 Dwight, The Fathers Book 119. 39


to the future with uncertainty. They did not kno w what it held in store, nor whether the rising generations would be capable of grappling with it if they were raised with unsteady hands. Parents, it seemed to parental advisers, were in dire need of guidance and instruction when it came to raising their children pr operly. Proper training was needed in order to ensure success. While observing that it was up to mothers to ensu re that children were morally, intellectually, and physically fit, author and educator Catherine Beecher (1800-1878) went on to point out that these same mothers were untrained in these ski lls. If it was the profession of women to guard the health and form the physical habits of the young, Beecher wondered why these women were not instructed as people in other professions were.6 On the subject of education, for example, she asked mothers: Have you been taught the powers and faculties of the human mind, and the laws by which it is regulated? Have you studied how to direct its several faculties; how to restore those that are overgrown, and strengthen and mature those that are deficient? Have you been taught the best modes of communicating knowledge as well as of acquiring it? It is feared the same an swer must be returned, if not from all, at least from most of our se x. No; we have acquired wisdom from the observation and experience of others, on almost all other subjects, but the philosophy of the direction and control of the human mind, has not been an object of thought or study.7 While Beecher acknowledged womens important role in the lives of childre n, she also indicated that they were unprepared to take on such a task without the wisdom of others. In these early decades, parental advisers were beginning to esta blish their arguments: that parents were lost without instruction and that they needed to be active and not passive when it came to childrearing. Furthermore, by intimating that pa renting skills needed to be taught, parental 6 Catharine Beecher, Suggestions Respecting Improvements in Education (Hartford, CT: Packard & Butler, 1829), 7, 8. 7 Beecher, Suggestions Respecting Improvements in Education 8-9. Emphasis original. 40


advisers of the 1820s and 1830s anticipated argument s that later parental advisers would make in subsequent decades: that parenting was so mething learned, not something innate. They laid the groundwork for these later ar guments by pointing out the damage that untutored parents had caused. Pare nts could not raise their childr en properly without advice and the proof of this, at least according to Cyrus Coms tock, could be seen in deteriorating conditions around the globe during the early nineteenth century. In Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children Comstock bemoaned the stat e of the world in 1810 and placed the blame on parents. While children were born into the world wholly impressionable, he argued, parents alone could determine how they would mature. Unfortunately, according to Comstock, a great many parents did not take their duties seriousl y, and the ills of the world coul d be blamed on them. He argued, to the unfaithfulness of parents must be attribut ed most of the calamities, which man is bringing upon man, in this sinful, distracted world. The natu ral consequences of unfa ithfulness in parents, are disobedience, obstinacy and unfaithfulne ss in children. And undutif ul, obstinate children commonly make unfaithful parents. To this source may be attributed a grea t part of that moral darkness which covers the earth, and that gross darkness that covers the people.8 In order to remedy this dreadful situation, parents needed ad vice on how to bring up their children properly, to endow them with education, moral fortitude and reverence to God. The happiness of mankind itself, Comstock claimed, depended on it. That parents needed advice seemed clear to parental advisers, who were only too happy to provide it. Why parents needed th is advice is less clear, yet tr ansformations in community and kinship networks may hold at leas t part of the answer. By the second or third decade of the nineteenth century, the urban, middle-class family looked fundamentally different from the rural 8 Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children 37. Emphasis original. 41


or village family in its pre-industrial form: it was smaller and more nucleated; its focus was no longer production and the maintenance of fam ily property, but affection, childrearing, and consumption; the community could no longer tr espass familial boundaries as easily as it once had. Certainly the pre-industrial family had also engaged in childreari ng, had affection for one another, and so on. But the key difference here is that the focus of the family had shifted. This was a new way of thinking about the family and about the role it was suppos ed to play. This new family had evolved, in short, into the modern pr ivate family. Historians Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg support this view: Instead of being viewed as an integr al component of the network of public institutions, the family wa s beginning to be seen as a priv ate retreat. The term family generally referred not to the household or kin gro up but to the smaller and more isolated nuclear, or conjugal, family.9 And where once the community or th e extended kin network would have provided advice about family matters, instruction from professional parental advisers now filled the void left by community and extended fa mily. These men and women responded to the changing social, economic, and even geographic landscape of the middle class family by providing advice to parents in a tim e of crisis. Their work existed, in effect, to fill a perceived vacuum. Books such as those written by Sedgwick a nd Comstock provided parents with important childrearing advice in the early decades of the ni neteenth century, just as the family was groping its way into its modern form. When Mary Palmer Tyler advised parents as to the best method for curing snuffles, when Theodore Dwight urged fath ers to train children early for a trade, and when Rev. Daniel Smith instruct ed parents about the best met hod for teaching children, they worked to fill a gap they saw emerging as the family became more isolated and insular. These 9 Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions, 44. 42


early American advice tracts were among the firs t hints of an enormous wave of advice about parenting that was to come in the years follo wing 1830. They provided parents with critical information on raising their childre n properly, and they did so at a time when ties to community and extended kin networks were weakening. Reason and Experience Merely being able to provide advice, how ever, would hardly be enough for this new group of experts to be welcomed into the nursery. As parental advisers came to the fore, they needed to gain the trust of pare nts in order to fully exert their influence. They accomplished this by establishing themselves as people whose advice could be trusted and needed to be trusted. In the preface to Letters to Mothers, author Lydia Howard Sigourney (1791-1865) addressed herself to mothers, as a mother. You are sitting with your child in your arms. So am I. And I have never been as happy before. Have yo u? How this new affection seems to spread a soft, fresh green over the soul. Does not the w hole heart blossom thick with plants of hope, sparking with perpetual dew-drops? What a lo ss, had we passed through the world without tasting this purest, most exquisite fount of love.10 Using a friendly, conversational tone, Sigourney established herself as a mother, someone who could relate to another mother. In the same breath, though, she also established herself as someone with advice to give: Now, how shall we bring up this babe, which Heaven hath lent us? Great need have we to repeat the question of the father of Samson, to the angel who announced his birth, h ow shall we order the child?11 Sigourney parlayed her congenial tone into an avenue by which she could administer advice. Early in her book, she established that although she was a mother like other mothers, she 10 Lydia Howard Sigourney, Letters to Mothers rev. ed. (1830; repr., New York: Harper and Brothers, 1845), vii. 11 Sigourney, Letters to Mothers vii. 43


differentiated herself from othe rs by having advice to give. Fu rthermore, her status as a published author also gave her claims to expertise. In order to establish themselves in middle-class homes, parental advisers began to position themselves as experts in the field of parenthood. They did so by staking a variety of claims to expertise. Like Sedgwick, Mary Palmer Tyler (1775-1866) took a similar approach in The Maternal Physician by setting herself up as a mother whose advice book was the result of sixteen years experience in the nursery.12 In her book, Tyler acknowledg ed the male physicians who had published similar treatises before her, but argued that did not stop her from writing her own. Though she felt indebted to th ese men for their many useful hi nts, she felt that they were not in the best position to give advice on childrearing.13 These gentlemen must pardon me if I think, after all, that a mo ther is her childs best physician, in all ordinary cases; and that none but a mother can tell how to nurse an infant as it ought to be nursed. W ho but a mother can possibly feel interest enough in a helpless new born babe to pa y it that unwearied, uninterrupted attention necessary to detect in season any latent symptoms of disease lurking in its tender frame, and which, if neglected, or in judiciously treated at first, might in a few hours baffle the physician's skill, and consign it to the grave.14 Tyler not only established women as the proper nurses of their children (usurping fathers, physicians, midwives, and paid nurses), she also es tablished herself as the ideal administrator of advice to mothers. While professional trained physicians such as Dr. Samuel Kennedy Jennings had already published such advice books, Tyler contended that thei r expertise could not compete with her own sixteen years of hands-on experience. There was something in mothers, she 12 Mary Palmer Tyler, The Maternal Physician: A Treatise on the Nurture and Management of Infants, From the Birth Until Two Years Old (New York: Isaac Riley, 1811), 1. Tyler published the book anonymously, using only the name An American Matron. Recently, scholars have discovered that Tyler was the anonymous matron. Rosenberg, The Book in the Sickroom 19. 13 Tyler, Maternal Physician 7. 14 Tyler, Maternal Physician 7. Emphasis original. 44


asserted, that fathers and physicians simply could not mimic. I n eed not attempt to describe the rapture that swells a mother's heart, when, afte r agonies almost insupport able, her babe is given to her arms. Every mother knows that language is inadequate to such a description.15 According to Tyler, enduring such trials established a bond between mother and child that no manfamily or strangercould replicate. Like Sigourney, Tyle r positioned herself as a mother whose advice could be trusted. She indicated that mothers of ten knew more than medical authorities about raising children properly. And in doing so, she esta blished her advice as be tter than that of other parental experts. As mothers, Tyler and Sigourney we re able to stake their claim of expertise, in part, on experience. This claim was fundamentally different than declarations of authority made by physicians. These men could not speak from the experience of motherhood, but spoke from (and staked their claim of expertise on) theory and scholarly knowledge By emphasizing their unique connection with mothers and attempting to gain the confidence of their readers in this way, Tyler and Sigourney signaled that their advice was trustworthy. Other parental advisers took a different tack in establishing themselves as people with important advice, relying on fear and, again, a diff erent type of expertise rather than trust to do the legwork for them. Rather than setting themse lves up as congenial people whose advice and experience could be trusted, they focused inst ead on establishing themselves as people whose advice with regard to parenting needed to be tr usted. Physicians, in particular, relied on this approach, insisting that their wisdom was necessa ry if parents truly want ed what was best for their children. Dr. William Potts Dewees (17681841) noted that much of what dictated childrearing (custom, prejudice, and speculati on, according to him) was based neither in 15 Tyler, Maternal Physician 20. 45


reason nor experience.16 Doctors, he argued by c ontrast, rely on both. Dewe es claimed that were it not for doctors, nineteenth-century parents would still engage in such primitive customs as swaddling their infants. This practice, he note d, left the little ones no resemblance to anything living: its frequent but unavailing crie s alone determined it to be human.17 The inescapable implication is that parents alonerelying on cu stom or guessworkcould not hope to raise their children successfully; in order to do so, they needed to rely on expert advice. Not to do so, they warned, would result in inevitable disaster. Dewees implored pare nts to heed his advice, lest their children fall into infirmity. With regard to a childs health, he argu ed, there was no room for error. For upon the judicious applica tion of physical agents healthy development takes place; and by their misapplication, the s oundest stamina may be converted into never-ending debility, or pitiable helplessness.18 If parents did not heed the advice of parental experts, then, their offspring would suffer the consequences, creatin g for them an uncertain future. Dewees and others like him differentiated themselves from other parental advisers by focusing on the dire outcomes that (they claimed) resulted from pare nts ignorance. Engende ring fear, rather than establishing common ground, was the method by which Dewees and others attempted to gain the trust of their audience. The expert advice that Dewees and others peddled meant, they believed, not only the difference between success and failure, but more importantly between life and death. Dr. Caleb Ticknor (1804-1840) agreed with this assessment. Of one thing, however, I am confident, and may be allowed to express my conviction of its trut h,-that is, that if all the precepts contained in 16 William Potts Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children rev. ed. (1825; repr., Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1858), ix. 17 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children viii. 18 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children x. Emphasis original. 46


the following pages are honestly carried into prac tice, much sickness and suffering in this world, from the cradle to the grave, will be prevented.19 In the eyes of parental advisers like Dewees and Ticknor, parents were not simp ly raising their children improperly; they were harming them. According to Ticknor, notwithstanding the aff ection of parents, from unavoidable ignorance and voluntary inattention, the lives of many of their offspring are no doubt sacrificed.20 Ticknor and others established themselves as people w hose advice needed to be heeded, lest parents consign their children to early graves. The experiences of Philadelphia physician Charles Meigs (1792-1869) corroborated this idea. According to Dr. Meigs, sick childrenincluding those still in the wombare children wounded; they are children dying, an d needing the aid of a physic ian, and depending on his skill and judgment for their rescue.21 Physicians like Ticknor and Meigs were only too happy to provide examples to back up their claims. Meigs provided several examples of patients who had not heeded his expert advice, and had paid the consequences. One woman in particular stood out in his memory. The mother of a young girl strick en with scarlatina, or scarlet fever, she stubbornly refused to keep her sick daughter dressed and confined according to Meigss instructions. She called on him again and again, each time asking if Meigs would consent to loosen his instructions. After he finally consente d, in an evil hour of complaisance, the mother failed to prevent the child from scampering outsid e into the damp and cold weather, after which 19 Caleb Bingham Ticknor, A Guide for Mothers and Nurses in the Management of Young Children (New York: Taylor and Dodd, 1839), iv. 20 Caleb Bingham Ticknor, The Philosophy of Living: Or, the Way to Enjoy Life and its Comforts (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836), 162. 21 Charles Meigs, Observations on Certain of the Diseases of Young Children (Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1850), 23. 47


she became violently ill and died suddenly.22 He noted bitterly, the mother detests me from that hour, though I think she ought rather to mourn over her own folly in abusing the complaisance of a physician to wrest from him a reluctant asse nt to her imprudent and restless desires.23 The fact that Meigs yielded to the mother (his client) i ndicates, in part, the ex tent to which parental advisers like him relied on the market they were creating. Though he insisted he knew best, that his expert advice was sound, he nonetheless submitted to her pressure in order to appease her and retain her as a client. The conseque nces, he argued, were predictable. Meigs was not alone in insisting that families risked disaster if they did not follow the advice of a physician. His colleague s agreed, and many added that the consequences of following the advice of someone other than a physician could be equally dangerous. Navy surgeon and medical author Dr. Thomas Ewell (1785-1862), for example, entreated women not to entrust the care of their children to ignoran t nurses, whose outdate d and foolish practic es could harm the little ones. He claimed to know of one such nurse who made it a practice to shake babies by their heels after birth. Such conventions he argued, could only lead to despair. If the little innocents could speak, they would tell you, they knew no difference between being disordered and destroyed by intended kindness, or by intended neglect.24 Parents simply could not trust (untrained) others to give good advice with rega rd to childrearing. William Potts Dewees agreed, and beseeched readers to speak to none other than their physician about childrens diseases. He urged, let the mother confide in no judgment for he r childs disease, but that of he r physician, if his advice can be commanded, and, above all, let not his prescription be in terfered with by the 22 Meigs, Observations on Certain of the Diseases of Young Children 91. 23 Meigs, Observations on Certain of the Diseases of Young Children 91. 24 Thomas Ewell, Letters to Ladies, Detailing Important Informa tion, Concerning Themselves and Infants (Philadelphia: W. Brown, 1817), 240. 48


obtrusive advice of a nurse, or still more ignorant old woman.25 Deweess remarks not only reinforced the frequency with which physicians relied on fear, they also anticipated an argument that parental advisers would make in later decades: that parents alone were responsible for parenting, and relying on the unt rained advice of others was tantamount to a childs death sentence. However they went about gaining the trust of their parent audience, pa rental advisers cast their advice as indispensable. Th ey established themselves as fixtures in the nursery by providing something that (they claimed) parents desperatel y needed. By casting their advice as trustworthy and essential, parental advisers hoped to insert themselves into the nursery, making themselves an inextricable component of home and hearth. By intimating that they held the secrets to successful parenting and that parents were doomed to fail if they did not make themselves aware of these secrets, they fabricated a market for their product: advice. Among parental advisers, there was perhaps no greater salesman than Jacob Abbott (18031879). A childrens book author, Ab bott went to great lengths to demonstrate to parents how his books ought to be used in child rearing. In the introduction to The Little Philosopher for example, Abbott described how his book should be used to teach children, going so far as to instruct mothers on what they should say when they begin a lesson. After describing how a mother might teach her young child to notice the tra its of a handkerchief or a piece of paper, for example, Abbott then instructed her how to end the lesson. A similar experiment might be made with a book; and then (the whole lesson having not occupied more than five minutes) the mother should say, Well, I cannot teach you any more now; give me the handkerchief, and the book, and the paper, and run away to play. The next day the same exercise precisely should be 25 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 141. 49


repeated. The child will, if the case is properly managed, ta ke a great pleasure in it.26 Abbott carefully described how parents should manage the day-to-day education of their children, inserting himself into their lives and offering indispensable advice. At the outset of his 1835 book entitled The Little Scholar Learning to Talk Abbott included a Notice to Parents in which he gave specific directions on how the book was to be read and also on the general use of the book. He cautioned parents agains t allowing children to have the book too often or for the wrong reasons. Do not let him have it too often, however, so as to lead him to treat it with contempt; and, above all never let him have it for crying, --nor for stopping crying The regular way in which some children get their wishes is to begin to cry, and then have their parents tell them they cannot have what they want until they are pleasant They cry for the express purpose of getting an opportunity to stop.27 In such instances, not only di d Abbott provide expert advice to parents, he also seamlessly placed his books at the core of this instruction, a clever technique in a market in which parenting advice was highly sought after. Parental experts like Jacob Abbott marketed advice to parents ingeniously by gaining their trust, making them keenly aware of the risks of ignoring such advice, and inserting themselves into the family. They crafted a mark et for their advice as th ey worked to convince parents that they had what pare nts needed. In doing so, they cast parents not only as rearers of the next generation, but also as consum ers of parental a dvisers expertise. 26 Jacob Abbott, The Little Philosopher, for Schools and Families: Designed to Teach Children to Think and to Reason about Common Things; and to Illustrate for Parents and Teachers Methods of Instructing and Interesting Children, rev. ed. (1829; repr., Boston: Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833), 10-11. Emphasis original. 27 Jacob Abbott, The Little Scholar Learning to Talk: A Picture Book for Rollo rev. ed. (1835; repr., Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Company, 1839), 7-8. Emphasis original. 50


The Foundation of a Pure and Happy Country Once they had gained the trust (or sharpened the fear) of pare nts and convinced them of the need for advice, parental experts then turned thei r attention to articulati ng what was expected of mothers and fathers. Here, their work was aided by a shift in household authority that had begun in the previous century. Under English common law, which governed life in much of early America, a father and husband had unquestioned authority over the dependents in his household, including his wife, children, and any servants. Wh ile ideas of an unquestioned male authority in the household did not die out immediately, as the eighteenth century gave way to the nineteenth century signs of change were unmistakable. Slowly, this authority began to wane as middle-class Americans began to favor maternal affection over paternal authority, and mothers began to gain authority and rights within the household, assuming a more central role in parenting. This changea sharing of power rather than a coup dtat can be seen across parental advisers work, as they emphasized what was expected of both mothers and fathers in charge of childrearing. Late eighteenthand early nine teenth-century child custody ca ses illustrate these shifting expectations for parental responsib ility. Like other parent al advisers who arti culated expectations of American parents, jurists, too, expresse d similar expectations. Examining custody cases reveals the ways in which jurists (and, occasiona lly, lawyers) worked to shape how mothers and fathers ought to behave. While publ ished parental advisers wrote aspirational pieces intended to prescribe behavior, the work done on the bench was intended to more tangibl y alter behavior (not only of the parties directly involved, but of others for whom the case would set a legal precedent). The following two cases, Nickols v. Giles and Stanton v. Willson and Smith demonstrate the ways in which jurists near the turn of the century hope d to dictate parental behavior and the expectati ons they had of parents. 51


In 1796, William Nickols filed a writ of habeas corpus with a Connecticut circuit court for the return of his young daughter, whom he claimed was being unjustly detained and withheld from him and unlawfully imprisoned by Thomas Giles.28 When the court investigated, it found that his estranged wife and da ughter were living with Thomas Giles, the childs maternal grandfather, and were both being well provided for.29 Nickolss claim was denied. The court argued that Nickols, having no hous e and very little property and being very irregular in his temper, was not likely to be ab le to provide for his daughter.30 Though the case itself gives very few details as to how the court came to its co nclusion, one can surmise from the wording of the verdict that Nickols was deemed to be a poor pr ovider for his child, and one unfit to fill the role of a father. Not only did the courts decision deny Nickols custody of his daughter, it also indicated some of the ways in which parental ex perts defined what the e xpectations of a father were. A man like Nickols, with little to recomm end him in terms of wealth or character, could not hope to meet the demands of fatherhood. Twelve years after the Nickols decision, in 1808, the Supr eme Court of Errors of Connecticut heard a motion for a new trial involv ing the custody and maintenance of the children of Eunice Stanton and John Bird. The two had ma rried in 1789 and divorced nearly nine years later. Under the terms of the divorce decree, Eunice got so le custody of their youngest children, William and Maria, and Bird was ordered to pay $3,000 for their support (which he did). Eunice did not get custody of their olde st child, John. When she remarried in 1803, to Joshua Stanton, her new husband began paying for her childrens upkeep. Although she had been denied custody of John, they were reunited when John ran away fr om his father for fear of personal violence 28 Nickols v. Giles 2 Root 461 (Conn. 1796). 29 Nickols 2 Root 461. 30 Nickols 2 Root 461. 52


and went to live with his mother.31 Bird never agreed to pay for Johns support and maintenance, a duty that then fell to the Stantons. The case went to trial and the court found in favor of Eunice, on all counts. Birds lawyers requested a new tria l, arguing that he was no longer required to support his children: the same act which has seal ed his existence as a husband, has also closed his existence as a natura l parent and guardian.32 Eunices lawyers, however disagreed with that rationale, arguing that Birds duty to support his childre n transcended divorce. Does the divorce discharge his liability? There can be no pretense of it. He is still the father of his children. The relation between them is not impaired, nor affected.33 Fortunately for Eunice, the court agreed, arguing that while the divorce terminated th e relationship between husband and wife, the relationship between Bird and his children was unaffected. The cour t further ruled that Bird was required to pay for the support of his runaway so n, noting, because the father has abandoned his duty and trust, by putting the child out of his protection, he cannot ther eby exonerate himself from its maintenance, education and support. The father having forced his child abroad to seek a sustenance under such circumstances, sends a cr edit along with him, and shall not be permitted to say, it was furnished without hi s consent, or against his will.34 Both Nickols and Stanton illuminate what was expected of parents in the early decades of the nineteenth century. The cases directly signal what the courts believed to be the role of a father. The Nickols decision was a complete departure from English common law in that it marked the first time that a court denied a father his unquestioned right to his children. The court based its decision on his material wealth (no house and very little property) and on his 31 Stanton v. Willson and Smith 3 Day 37 (Conn. 1808). 32 Stanton, 3 Day 37. 33 Stanton, 3 Day 37. 34 Stanton, 3 Day 37. 53


character (irregular in his temper). The implication here is that fa thers were expected to be able to provide for their children and maintain a st eady disposition. William Nickols, not being able to prove either, lost custody of hi s children. That said, the court under Nickols was not entirely prepared to grant the mother th e sole right to her children, as both child and mother remained under the protective wing of a father, in the figur e of Thomas Giles. It was, arguably, because Giles was able to fill the role of a good provider that the child was taken away from William Nickols in the first place. Had an appropriate surrogate father figure not been available, the decision may have gone the other way. In any case, the courts decision indicates that at the end of the eighteenth century, a mans status as a father or head of a household was no longer enough to guarantee him custody of his children. In his own household, a fathers authority was beginning to be questioned. The Stanton case, too, illustrate s the duty and expectations of a father. Eunice Stanton and John Birds 1797 divorce dissolved the bonds betw een husband and wife, relinquishing them of any duty they owed to one another. Yet the court was quick to point out th at the divorce did not affect or amend Birds duty to his children. Wh atever transpired between husband and wife, Bird remained his childrens father and nothingnot even the presence of a stepfathercould relieve him of his fatherly obliga tions of material support, duty, and trust. As with Nickols the Stanton decision communicates the ways in which parental experts gave shape to what it meant to be a father. Furthermore, the Stanton case also illuminates a change in parental authority: that of mothers gaining authority and rights. While th e case does not focus on Eunice as a mother, it does tell us, first, that women at the turn of the century (at least in Connecticut) were entitled to the custody of their children a nd, second, that women were gaining the right to sue for their 54


claims as mothers. Whether or not Eunice was a good mother, we do not know. What is clear is that she was willing to launch a campaign for what she felt was owed to her as a mother, for the upkeep of her children. And the Connecticut court that heard her argument in 1808 saw her claims as legitimate. The Stanton case reveals th at women as mothers were gaining authority and rights at the turn of the century. Parental advisers and experts ou tside the courtroom were also quick to point out what they expected of mothers and fathers. As was the case in Nickols and Stanton, simply being a biological father was not enough to qualify a man for the title. A good father knew that his station required him to be not only present at home and among his dependents, but also an integral part of home and hear th. What is to be thought of the father, asked teacher and physician William Alcott (1798-1859), who is s ilent and absorbed, or, peradventure, unhappy, when there is nothing to excite his attention but home, and wife and family, but whose eye at once brightens, and whose tongue loosens, when a neighbor comes in; and who is still more cheerful, and happy, and talkative, and instructive, when he gets among his companions and sits in the midst of his wonted club of associatesmen, perhaps, of coarse minds, and still coarser nature?35 Fathers needed to be engaged with their ch ildren and their families, active participants in home life. Those who did not, cautioned Reverend John S. C. Abbott (1805-1877), risked setting a bad example for the next generation to follow. Look at this man, who makes his home but a boarding house, where he may eat and slee p. His wife is merely his house-keeper. His children are necessary evils, to be kept out of the way as much as possible. Today he is at the bowling alley. Tomorrow he is at th e billiard room. And the next day he is, till midnight, at the whist party. See him at homehow petulant a nd irascible! The least annoyance is, to his 35 William A. Alcott, The Young Husband, or Duties of Man in the Marriage Relation rev. ed. (1835; repr., Boston: Waite, Peirce, & Company, 1846), 152-153. 55


mind, like the spark to the powder.36 Such a man, Abbott implied, was hardly fit to call himself a father. A father who would happily escape the co mpany of his children, viewing them as pests rather than delights, was more fit to bear the titl e brute than father. Worse still, the influence of such a man spread like a cancer to the younger generation: His childre n, while they flee from his frown, imbibe his spirit.37 Neither parental advisers in the courts no r those publishing didactic tracts were willing to let fathers escape the demands of childrearingaccording to parental advisers, it took both mother a nd father to successfully raise children. Perhaps to counter the effects of a petulant and irascible father, parental advisers expected mothers to reign over home and hearth with a calm, nurturing, and steady hand. In his preface to the American editi on of a popular British advice ma nual, printer James Buffum took the opportunity to endow mothers with authority in the household. It was a mothers especial duty and privilege to preside habitually over that home which is all the world to a child, he observed. Let then mothers reflect that their re sponsibility is commensurate with the peculiar opportunities which they enjoy of influencing the minds of their children. All that is sound and useful in the science and art of early e ducation, deserves their peculiar attention.38 It was up to mothers to embrace their responsibility with regard to wielding their influence in the household. If they would fully realize this obligation and ex ert their benevolent influe nce, they would uplift the entire country. The anonymous author of A Present for a Husband or Wife asked, who would not be a mother, and preside in her circ le! Others may enjoy a sceptre, but here are 36 John S. C. Abbott, The Path of Peace: or, A Practical Guide to Duty and Happiness (Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1836), 108. Rev. John Abbott was the younger brother of childrens author Jacob Abbotts. 37 John S. C. Abbott, The Path of Peace 108. 38 James Buffum, preface to Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline by Louisa Hoare (Salem, MA: James Buffum, 1826), 4-5. Hoare, a British author, published Hints in London in 1819 and it was quickly reprinted in the United States. When Buffum reprin ted the book in Salem in 18 26, he added his own preface to American mothers. Emphasis original. 56


subjects controlled by an eye, whose hearts like sweet toned instruments vi brate responses to the master tones of the great harp. In stead of the sound of arms, here is the voice of peace. And here is laid the foundation of a pure and happy country!39 Author William Cardell agreed: There are mothers, he observed, and their number is in creasing, who not only love their children, but manifest high intelligence in the exercise of maternal affection.40 Lest his point go unnoticed, he underscored it with a hint of nationalism: The character of the United States, as a nation, will be high or low, in proportion to the number of such mothers.41 Yet while parental advisers raced to enthrone mothers as queens of their domain, they also cautioned them against letting children take up t oo much of their time. The anonymous author of The Young Ladys Own Book, for example, observed that mothers ought to identify with their children in order to become th eir friends, but cautioned against overdoing it. Some mothers err a little in this respect. One would scarcely find fault with a parent for giving up too much time to her children; yet children are not the only objects of a mothers regard, and by her making them so, she may in some measure defeat her own wishes.42 The careful mother, then, needed to strike a delicate balance. Too little devotion would make her a neglectful mother. Too much devotion would render children selfish. For as th e skilful gardener knows when it is better that nature should do her own work; so does the judicious parent feel that ch ildren should sometimes be left to try their own strength, and s hould neither expect nor need assistance.43 Mary Palmer 39 A Present for a Husband or a Wife (Springfield, MA: G. and C. Merriam, 1832), 90-91. 40 William S. Cardell, The Happy Family: or, Scenes of American Life rev. ed. (1828; repr., Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt, 1853), 9. 41 Cardell, The Happy Family, 10. See also Kerber, Women of the Republic 42 The Young Ladys Own Book: A Manual of Intellectual Improvement and Moral Deportment rev. ed. (1832; repr., Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt, 1845), 70. 43 The Young Ladys Own Book 70. 57


Tyler agreed, noting that mothers ought not to indulge children in their every whim and desire, for this would render them injudicious and unprincipled.44 Instead, she argued, mothers ought to begin governing their children earl y, even before an infant reached its sixth month. Let it then be amongst the earliest impressions received by the infant mind that you know what is best for them, and are determined to consult their good w ithout attending to their whims, or weakly yielding to their impetuous tempers, and you w ill quickly reverse the picture entirely, and harmony, peace and happiness shine resplendent round your dwellings.45 Just as being a biological father did not mean that such a man was a good father, so too did it take special qualifications to make a good mother. Dr. William Potts Dewees observed that it took a certain character, and an attention to de tail, to be a judicious mother. To constitute a mother, in the best sense of the term, much mo re is required than giving birth to progenyit requires qualities both rare and estimable; it exacts a patient e ndurance of fatigue, and anxious solicitude, as well as a submission to privations which nothing will render supportable but that love of offspring which a kind Providence has so generally and so deeply implanted in the female heart.46 By noting that the qualities required to be a mother were rare and estimable, Dewees indicated that merely becoming a mother did not qualify a woman to be worthy of bearing that title. In making this claim, he antic ipated arguments that pa rental advisers would make in the waning decades of the nineteenth century: that not everyone could (or should) parent. Furthermore, he refuted claims by Lydi a Howard Sigourney and Mary Palmer Tyler, who argued, in part, from the experience of motherhood to make their claims to expertise. Dewees would have found fault with such an argument because, while any woman could become a 44 Tyler, Maternal Physician 165. 45 Tyler, Maternal Physician 167. 46 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children xi. 58


mother, it took the theoretical know ledge of a male physician to really become an expert on motherhood. As notions of patriarchal authority began to give way to a sharing of household power, parental experts began to detail what they e xpected of mothers and fathers. By valorizing women, parental advisers such as William Cardell and James Buffum endowed mothers with authority in the nursery and in the household. This belief, however, was tempered by Mary Palmer Tyler and William Potts Dewees, who illustrated how difficult it was to navigate motherhood. There was a fine line between bei ng a proper mother and being a negligent one. While mothers needed to assert themselves at th e hearth, for the good of the country, fathers also needed to demonstrate their wort hiness for the role. As Thomas Nickols failed custody battle demonstrated, a good father was one who provided for his family all the comforts they deserved and did so while maintaining a steady and even-tempered demeanor. A good father also embraced (rather than shirked) his duty to his children, and preferred above all to spend his time in the presence of his little ones. In the early decades of their work, as they were establishing themselves, parental advisers began to articulate gendered expectations of mothers and fathers. This was just a start, though; in later decades, they would more fully flesh out this gendered parenting. And increasingly, as parental experts concerned themselves with what those little ones needed, they worked to further define what they expected of parents. Parental Tutelage Just as changes in household authority at the turn of the century he lped to shape what parental experts expected of mo thers and fathers, changes in notions of childhood also helped to establish what parenthood meant. While children were considered to be household laborers into the early years of the nineteenth century in some areas, these attitudes we re giving way to ideas more common to modern culture among the urban middle class. Childhood was beginning to be 59


seen as a distinct stage in a persons development, and children began to be seen not as adults in miniature but as special cr eatures with unique needs.47 Children were thought to need nurturing, playtime, and toys and books created specifically for them. Increasingly, parental experts focused greater attention on what was best for the child. As they defined what childhood was and as they focused on what children needed, they indirectly signaled what parents needed to do to provide children with these things. In essence, they defined parenthood via childhood, and gave shape to this new thing called a p arent. Along the way, they advanced a purpose to parenthood heretofore unseen. Parenthood, in the hands of parental advisers, was an enterprise to be undertaken not to increase on es labor pool or for economic reasons, but to raise children sensibly and in a particular way. In the decades to come, they would make it clear that not everyone could meet the demands of this purposeful parenthood. Custody cases, again, are useful in that the jurists deciding th em clearly articulated what they expected of mothers and fathers. The cases People v. Landt and Commonwealth v. Addicks are particularly effective in this regard. They demonstrate the ways in which the bench worked to shape parental expectations by way of these ne w conceptions of childhood and incorporated new ideas of what children need ed from their parents. In 1807 the Supreme Court of Judicature of New York rendered its decision in the case People v. Landt. Around the turn of the century, Maria Br ower gave birth to a child out of wedlock. The man she named as her daughter Cornet ies father was a Mr. Harder. After the birth, Corneties grandfathers determined that they would split maintenance of their granddaughter until the age of seven. In 1800, at Marias request, her father allowed the child to live with Maria and her new husband (a Mr. Landt). The case went to trial when Corneties putative father, 47 Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions, 21. 60


Harder, claimed that his illegitimate daughter su ffered cruelly at the hands of Mr. Landt. His lawyers provided several affidavits, to show th at the child had been ill treated, and severely abused by the defendant.48 The justices, however, felt that the child was still best left in the hands of her mother. In the cas e of illegitimate children, they wrote, and especially as to females, the mother appears to us to be the best entitled to the custody of them.49 They did, however, admonish Landt, that he be careful to restrain his passi ons in the future, and warned that if the child appe ared to be abused again, they w ould remove her from his custody.50 Even though there was some lingering concern about the fitness of the childs new father, the court nonetheless felt that Corneties mother would se rve her better than her biological father. They further indicated their concern fo r her best interests by noting that they would remove the child from the custody of her stepfather if he appeared to abuse her again. Just as William Nickols and John Bird were reminded that fathers were expe cted to act in a cert ain way, so too was Mr. Landt. Although he was a stepfather and not a biol ogical father, he nonethel ess filled the role of Corneties father and needed to alter his behavior accordingly. Cornetie deserved not only her mothers love, but proper treatment at the hands of her stepfather. The best interests of the child doctrine was beginning to take shape. The 1796 Nickols case demonstrated that justices were willing to take a child away from a father of questionable charactera father who di d not fulfill the requirements of that station. But what if the fathers character was relatively bl emish-free and if, instead, the mothers character was called into question? Such was the situation in Commonwealth v. Addicks In the early nineteenth century, a Pennsylva nia woman named Barbara Lee, finding herself quite unhappily 48 People v. Landt 2 Johns. 375 (NY 1807). 49 Landt 2 Johns. 375. 50 Landt 2 Johns. 375. 61


married, engaged in an adulterous affair with John Addicks and gave birth to his child. Her husband, Joseph Lee, divorced her in 1813 and we nt to court to obtain custody of their two daughters. In the trial proceedings, Joseph Lees la wyer attempted to gain custody for his client based on the common-law notion that a childs nat ural custodian was its father. He contended that the father, as the natural guardian of the children, had a right to their custody, and that the nature of the intercourse between their mother and Addicks, rendered it highly improper to permit them to remain under her care.51 A decade or so earlier, the justices would have likely agreed with this reasoning a nd awarded Joseph custody of his young daughters. After all, unlike William Nickols, he was not the parent whose character was called into question. Despite the fact that his wife was at fault for the divorce, however, the justices declined to give Joseph custody. Though they scolded Barbara for her conduct as a wife, noting, we cannot avoid expressing our disapprobation of the mothers conduct, they ultimately granted her custody based on her conduct as a mother: so far as rega rds her treatment of the children, she is in no fault It is to them that our anxiety is principally directed; and it appear s to us, that considering their tender age, they stand in n eed of that kind of assistance, which can be afforded by none so well as a mother.52 In short, the young girls needed the attentio n of a loving and dutiful mother. Despite Barbaras transgressions, the justices act ed in the best interest of her children by acknowledging that their young ages demanded a mothers devotion. Three years after the initial Addicks ruling, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed their decision and awarded Joseph Lee custody of his daughters, once agai n acting in the best interest of the children. In 1816, the justices argued that the ages of the girls, now thirteen and 51 Commonwealth v. Addicks 5 Binn. 520 (Pa. 1813). 52 Addicks 5 Binn. 520. Emphasis original. 62


nine, meant that the situation ha d changed from that of 1813. While they noted that they did not view Barbara as a vulgar pros titute, they nonetheless censured her previous adultery and argued that her actions within the marriage contract would have an ill effect on her daughters.53 They asked, If they are permitted to remain with their mother, will they not conclude that her conduct is approved?54 While the girls young ages in 1813 dict ated that they n eeded the shelter of a mothers loving arms, as the girls got older their needs changed. In 1816, as they approached puberty, the girls now needed to be removed from their mother, lest they follow in her footsteps. The court upheld the essence of the 1813 decision, then, by deciding the case based on the interests of the children involved. As they articulated ideas about what was best for children, pa rental experts and advisers simultaneously signaled what was expected of pare nts. Their insights into the new conception of childhood that emerged at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginn ing of the nineteenth century shed light on how they defined appropr iate parenthood. If something was best for children, after all, parents had to provide it. He re, again, there was a fine line to negotiate. In order to provide children with the best start in life, parents needed to execute their duties in a particular way so as not to ruin the child for li fe. Parents, according to author Samuel Goodrich (1793-1860), needed to ensure they parented just right. Let them not, under an idea of government, over-govern; let them not, under the noti on of educating, over-e ducate; let them not, under the idea of training them to labor, overtask their child. Let it be understood that the child has a right to be happy so long as he remains unde r parental tutelage; and let it be remembered that if the parent inte rfere with this right, be yond what is demanded by a due regard to the childs 53 Commonwealth v. Addicks 2 Serg. & Rawle 174 (Pa. 1816). 54 Addicks 2 Serg. & Rawle 174. 63


future prosperity, he uses the power of a despot, with the spirit of a tyrant.55 Rather than ruling with an iron fist, parents needed to befriend their children and govern them accordingly. A parent, observed Theodo re Dwight, should be the adviser of the child, and is designed to be so by Providence; and it is generally ow ing to some neglect of duty if he be not competent to direct him in his youth, and to advise him in manhood.56 The new tenets of childhood demanded that parents execute their duties in pa rticular ways, providing children with that which the little ones needed: government, but not tyranny; friendship, but not to the extent that it threatened government; devotion, but not at the expense of other obligations. At the same time that parents were obligated to respond to what thei r children needed, they simultaneously needed to instill in children the idea that what was best for them was, often, obedience to parents. According to author and social reformer Lydia Maria Child (1802-1876) implicit obedience is the first law of childhood. The simple belief that their parents know what is best, is all the light childr en have to follow, at first.57 In order to maintain a well-ordered household, parents needed to be able to rely on well-ordered children. This meant establishing their authority early and without exception. According to Rev. Daniel Smith, parental government does not consist in so many whippings, or corrections of this or the other kind, but in fixing the mind of the child this impression, 'I must and ought to obey.' Make no compromise on this point.58 Without obedience, there would be chaos again, a narrow margin divided parental success from parental failure. It was critical fo r parents to extract obedi ence from their children, 55 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Fireside Education (New York: Samuel Colman, 1838), 80. 56 Dwight, The Fathers Book 190-191. Emphasis original. 57 Child, The Mothers Book 50. 58 Daniel Smith, The Parents Friend: or, Letters on the Government and Education of Children and Youth (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1838), 14. Emphasis original. 64


because an orderly (or disorderly) household had far-reaching ramifications. Rev. Smith argued, obedience to a mild but firm parental authority ea sily transfers itself to civil laws and divine government. On the other hand, a rebellious child easil y becomes a rebellious citizen, and a rebel against divine government.59 Parents, in other words, owed it to the state and to God to raise good, obedient children. Here, Smith articulated the beginnings of an argument that other parental advisers would raise in the decades to follow: parenting and its results (good or bad) had ramifications beyond the hearth, reaching not only in to the rest of societ y, but also into the hereafter. To safeguard both, parents needed to secure the obedien ce of their children. In order to succeed in this regard, parents n eeded to provide a model for their children to followto demonstrate themselves what they wanted to see in their little ones. Let the parent be what he would have the child be and do as he would have the child do Do you desire your child to be courteous? be courte ous yourself: --intelligent? be so yourself: --affectionate? be so yourself: --speak kind words in kind tones? speak thus yourself: --maintain a strict regard for truth and honesty? do so yourself.60 This was one of the strict est tenets of the purposeful parenthood parental advisers advocated: good parents produced good children. Unfaithful parents, as Cyrus Comstock had argued, would lead to disobedience, obstinacy and unfaithfulness in their little ones. Neither parents, society, nor God could expect good things from children if parents themselves did not act appropriately. Parental ad visers firmly believed that like begets like, an argument that th ey would insist upon th roughout their various transmutations across the nineteenth century. In the 1860s and 1870s, as th ey grappled with the question of heritability, parental advisers would insist that hea lthy parents would produce healthy 59 Smith, The Parents Friend 15. Emphasis original. 60 Smith, The Parents Friend 10. Emphasis original. 65


children. Here, in the 1820s and 1830s as they started to define what it meant to be a parent, they began with the idea that good parents would create good children. Finally, despite the fact that pa rental advisers articulated sp ecific tenets for mothers and fathers to observe, they also expected good parent s to act in concert and for both parents to be involved in childrearing. How c ould true obedience and discipline be achieved, after all, if one parent thwarted what the other attempted? In regard to government, it should be a princi ple with both parents no t to interfere with each other in the act of correction, or contradict the rules or regulations and prohibitions of each other. What government can there be if one comma nds and the other forbids, if one prohibits and the other allows, if one threatens and the other prot ects, if one corrects and the other chides for so doing? If parents differ on any gi ven point, or one supposes the ot her to act wrong, let this be settled elsewhere than in the presence of the child.61 In order to succeed at parenthood, parents needed to secure the obedience of their children, behave appropriately as they expected their chil dren to behave, and work in unison. The stability of the household and of the state depended on their success. Future generations of parental advisers would build on this idea, arguing that th e consequences of their failure would influence not only the present, but the hereafter as well. Summary Catherine Sedgwick, Cyrus Comstock, and many others provided families with important childrearing advice and directives at a time when the family seemed to be on unsteady ground. The country was undergoing growing pains, political and economic shifts that would change it irrevocably. Similarly, the family itself had just experienced an incredib le change; slow though it 61 Smith, The Parents Friend 26-27. 66


had been, the shift from old to new was nonethele ss dramatic. Under the previous conceptions of family, parenthood, and childhood, a persons exp ectations were known, were set from the beginning. Questions as elemental as where a pe rson would live, how they would worship, and whom they would marry, were known. Under th is new conception of family and parenthood, though, the ground seemed to be shifting underf oot, and expectations were suddenly unknown. Like Theodore Dwight, other Americans were unsu re what the future would hold. The family, a basic social unit, was searching for order and cohesion amidst vast social and economic change.62 Just as the family was turning inward and becoming more private, parenthood itself began to take on a public dimension. As ties to co mmunity and extended kin networks weakened, the conjugal family took on greater importance, and pa rental advisers rushed to fill the gap with childrearing advice. Authors and observers across the country began to argue that parents were not raising their children succe ssfullythe moral darkness covering the earth was proof enough of that. In order to raise children corr ectly, they needed the wisdom and advice of parental advisers. Self-styled e xperts, these advisers relied on reason and experience to prove their trustworthiness. If that was not enough, they we re prepared to strike fe ar into the hearts of parents to convince them of their need for advice. Peddling th eir advice, they created a consumer market for it and transformed parents from child rearers to consumers of expertise. As they crafted what they expected of mothers and fath ers, they were aided by a change in household authority that demanded fathers share household powe r with mothers. In order to properly wield this authority, though, mothers and fathers needed to conform to certain expectations to be worthy of their titles. Parental advisers were further aided by changing ideas of childhood that 62 Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions, 45. 67


68 insisted childhood was a unique st age in a persons developmen t, one that demanded certain needs be filled. By defining what those needs were and what was best for children, parental advisors also indicated what was expected of parents. In doing s o, they gave shape and structure to this new thing called a parent. Thr oughout the 1820s and 1830s, they articulated the beginnings of arguments their successors would expound upon in later decades. Nineteenthcentury parental advisers took up the busine ss of pinning down parenthood. The parenthood they created had a sense of purpose that meant rais ing children with intention and according to specific guidelines. It was a structural response, a way of creating order out of chaos, and making some sense of the turbulent world in which they lived. In the decades immediately following this period parental advisers would capitalize on the foundation of expertise they had established. They began by outlining the high expectations they had for parents: the incredible responsibility that parents had to their ch ildren and to society, as well as the behavior they demanded of good parent s if they were to execute such an awesome responsibility. They also came to contrast this with the reprehensible behavior they expected from bad parents. As they articulated these high expectations, they emphasized their emerging belief that parents were made, not born.


CHAPTER 3 HIGH EXPECTATIONS The duty of training children is an important duty, and I meet with none more so. O, the importance of giving direction to an immortal mind! Who can comprehend it? It is a sublime worka grand, a glorious an awful work. I tremble as I write, when I think of my responsibility. Will my children, or any one of them, be lost through some fault, some mismanagemen t of mine, or some wrong impression made by me? J. Knight, Letter to the Editor1 On January 3, 1843, a Mr. J. Knight wr ote a letter to the editor of The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend about what an important, yet perilo us duty it was to raise children. He said, I often feel, in the presence of my little fa mily of four, as though I we re in the presence of no less than little angels, watching my every step, and every movement, and whom I may, by some wrong bias, or fatal impression, throw from the track of virtue, safety, and religion, to become a total wreck. There is no duty for which I feel so inadequate.2 Certainly Knight was not alone in his feelings of inadequacy. Nor was he the only one who recognized the important duty that lay before parents and questioned pare ntal preparedness in the face of such a task. Across their writings, parental a dvisers attempted to address th e concerns of Mr. Knight and other parents, as they lamented what they pe rceived as parents ignorance when it came to raising children properly. They argued that pare nts simply were not prepared to raise children. Merely becoming a parent, they contended, did not qualify a person for success in this area; parenting was a learned art, not an innate skill. Mr. Knight, and presumably other parents who consumed this advice literature, agreed in whole or in part with the need for outside assistance. 1 J. Knight, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 1 (1843): 33. Emphasis original. 2 J. Knight, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 1 (1843): 33. 69


To remedy this perceived ignorance, parents had to be educated in the field of parenthood, molded and shaped into good parents. Scores of mothers and fathers needed to be transformed from hapless, bumbling parents, into wise and be nevolent parents, torchbearers for their families, their communities, and their countr y. In order to do this, though, they first had to be made to understand the awesome responsibility that pare nting embodied, and the incredible influence they wielded over their children. Then, and perhaps more importan tly, they had to be taught how to parent. Their instructors c ould not be found in a school hous e, however; rather, legions of parental advisers took it upon th emselves to produce countless parenting manuals and magazines chock full of parenting advice a nd instruction. Who bette r to provide this education, after all, than those who recognized the problem at hand and saw the remedy? The purpose of this chapter is to illuminate parental advisers attempts to clarify the high expectations that middle-class parenting demande d. They continued their work of shaping and clarifying what, exactly, a middleclass parent was, thereby givi ng greater structure to emerging class ideals. At the same time, they began to gi ve shape to an idea that subsequent parental advisers would explore more fully in the later decades of the nineteenth century. Their claims here, in the 1830s and 1840s, that parents were made and not born would become the seeds for their successors overarc hing idea that not just anyone could parent. Untaught and Neglected In The Fathers Book Theodore Dwight lamented the fact that those who have to practise [sic] the duties of parents, receive little instruction from those who might give it. Every generation, and every parent, is left too much alone to learn this most important science.3 Certainly, Dwight was not the only one who deemed parenthood to be a science, something that 3 Dwight, The Fathers Book 14. 70


needed to be taught. If parenting was a subject, legions of parents were in desperate need of an education. Rev. Edward Kirk wondered, Who can guide and govern a steam-car, unless he be acquainted with the handles to the several part s of the machine? and who can guide a child, unless he know the various handles of the mind?4 The idea that parents came to parenthood untutored and in need of pare nting education was one that many other authors repeated. They believed parents to be utterly blind when it came to raising children, damned to make mistakes at every turn. While children received instructi on from a very early age, parents remained untaught and neglected.5 They needed education in order to properly execute their duties. Raising children, parental advisers argued, was not a natural ability, but rather an art or a science that had to be learned. Authors such as Dwight, Kirk and others believed parents were left too much in the dark when it came to undertaking th is most important task. Their argument in this regard was not purely selfless. Parental advisers stood to gain from convinc ing parents that they needed to be educated, and fr om providing that education. As they laid the groundwork, casting themselves as professional experts with advice for sale, they also began to shape parenthood into a skill, a trade, a profession. This language would become more prevalent in later decades, as we will see, but the seeds of it were planted here. This focus on parenting education led parent al advisers to wonde r why there existed a dearth of such instruction, when parenting was so important a duty, and especially when training abounded for other skills. In all other aspects of life, people re lied on instruction to guide the way, yet not so when it came to raising children. It was ludicrous to expect that parents could parent well without bein g properly trained, as other occupatio ns demanded. In a chapter entitled 4 Edward Kirk, Use the Best Motives, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 6, no. 1 (1845): 1. Emphasis original. 5 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 29. 71


Parental Qualifications, from his book Christian Nurture, pastor Horace Bushnell (1802-1876) observed: There is almost no duty or work, in this world, that does not require some outfit of qualifications, in order to the doing of it well. We all understand that some kind of preparation is necessary to fill the place of a magistrate teach a school, drill a troop of soldiers, or do any such thing, in a right manner. Nay, we admit the necessity of serving some kind of apprenticeship, in order to become duly qualified for the calling, only of a milliner, or a tailor. And ye t, as a matter of fact, we go into what we call the Christian trai ning of our children, without any preparation for it whatever, and apparently without any such conviction of negligence or absurdity, as at all disturbs our assurance in what we do.6 Authors such as Bushnell, Dwight and many others put parenting on the same level as any other job. Parenting was an occupation, and occupations demanded training and education. It was not a task to be entered into lightly, or without careful prep aration. According to educational reformer Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), the formation of in fant character is a work too great to be entrusted to hands unwise and unskilled.7 One could not simply become a parent and expect to do well, because it was not a skill that cam e naturally. Reverend Artemas Bowers Muzzey (1802-1892), too, marveled at the lack of instruct ion for parents. Children, he argued, are taught to learn. Teachers are taught how to teach. B ut who, meantime, counsels the parent?... I have sometimes thought it is the parent, rather than th e teacher or the child, who needs this array of aids and instructions. I say that the times call for a prophe t-tongued eloquence to teach the parents the duties, the responsib ilities, the toils, th at rest inevitabl ydirectly, personally, inevitablyupon them.8 Parents like Mr. Knight were helple ss without an education, that much was clear to parental advisers. They bega n to narrow their idea of good parenthood, to 6 Horace Bushnell, Christian Nurture rev. ed. (1847; repr., New York: Charles Scribner, 1861), 253-254. 7 Amos Bronson Alcott, Observations on the Principles and Methods of Infant Instruction (Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1830), 26. 8 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 30. 72


encompass only those who had been trained for the task. The training, however, did not yet existit would be up to parent al advisers to produce it. Lydia Howard Sigourney noted that it was beca use of the dearth of parental instruction available and the pressing need for it that she launched The Mothers Magazine in 1833. If to the welfare of every science, it is necessary that the results of past experience and recent discovery be embodied and circulated; if pe riodical publications have been deemed indispensable to the progress of philosophy, pol itics, philanthropy, and religion, why should not the same privilege be extended to her who impa rts to the philosopher hi s alphabet; and instructs the politician to govern by first requiring him to obey; and plants the earliest germ of sympathy in the bosom of the philanthropist; and teaches hi m who is to make othe rs wise unto salvation, his first lisping prayer to God?9 Driven by a firm belief that parents needed instruction just as much as people engaged in other undertakings Sigourney helped to establish a periodical devoted solely to parental education. The fact that no such public ation existed was, for Sigourney and others, a travesty. It was also a golden opportunity for pare ntal advisers to make their mark. Yet respected authors and religious leaders we re not the only ones echoing this sentiment; laypeople, too, recognized the flaw th at lay in the lack of instructi on for parents, especially when the task charged to them was so great, and the pi tfalls so numerous. In an anonymous letter to the editor of The Mothers Magazine one reader remarked on the absurdity of the fact that many women come to the task of raising children woefully unprepared and uneducated. Were she going to set up for a milliner, for that she must have served a due apprenticeship. But the mere training of her offspring, on which hangs the issues of two worlds, that any body can do, and do 9 Lydia Howard Sigourney, Prospectus, The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 1 (1833): 3. Emphasis original. 73


without the trouble of preparation.10 In another letter to the editor, this one to Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend reader James Porter marveled at the lack of preparation mothers had with regard to childrearing. Many mothers, he said, face the duties of raising children without a single qualificati on for them, other than that of love. They never learnt the trade, never had the care of child ren, nor have they been in a s ituation to see them well governed. Nay, far worse than this, many have served an apprenticeship, where nearly everything they learned was wrong. And now they have more di fficulty in unlearning it, than learning the right.11 Naturally, anyone could have a child and beco me a de facto parent. What is noteworthy here is the idea that merely becoming a parent did not qualify a person for parenthood. In order to be a good parentin orde r to conform to the standards of middle-class parenthood that parental advisers were creati nga person had to be properly tr ained. In the minds of Sigourney, Muzzey, and countless others, pa renthood was a position that re quired training and intense preparation, perhaps even an apprenticeship. Th eir work reflected a fundamental belief that parents did not know how to parent properly. Parents, they argued, were not born knowing how to raise children. According to th e anonymous writer of the letter to the editor, parenting is an art not inherited, not innate, atta inable only by diligent research.12 Parents were seen as being unprepared for their station by virtue of their lack of education in the fi eld of parenthood. This left them vulnerable to making innumerable pa renting errors. According to Muzzey, it is ignorance alone that can explai n the fearful prevalence of e rrors in domestic education.13 In the 10 H. P. O., Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 1 (1833): 15. Emphasis original. 11 James Porter, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14 (1849): 103. 12 H. P. O., Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 1 (1833): 15. 13 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 30. 74


hands of a parent unwise and unskilled, an innocent child could be led down the path to ruination, even (perhaps especiall y, as we shall see) by a doting a nd loving parent. Authors such as Bushnell and Muzzey knew that parents loved their childrenthe ream s full of the flowery language they employed to describe maternal affection and paternal devotion attest to that. But mere affection, they argued, was not enough. While parents were born, as it were, with a natural and unfailing love for their children, they had to be educated in order to raise these children properly. Good parents, in short, were made and not born. How, though, to go about making good parents? A Station so Full of Responsibility Parental advisers themselves took up th e task of educating parents for parenthood, first by making parents understand the immense power and re sponsibility that they held. Parents had to know that it was not simply that they were ch arged with the day-to-d ay business of raising children. Rather, they were rear ing the next generation, molding future citizens, and shaping destiniesnot only their children s, but their own. (After all, as many authors pointed out, who but children would care for elderl y parents?) Crafting the character of a child would either result in great success for family and nation, or utter ruin for all. Thus, it was imperative that parents understood the magnitude of the task at hand. Authors went to great lengths to impress upon parents the incredible responsibility they faced, and the tremendous influence they held. Parents, according to Samuel Goodrich, are the lawgivers of their children. They lay down the chart by which those whom God gives them, are to regulate the voyage of life. Whether this voyage, therefore, be di sastrous or successful, mainly depends on parents.14 It was up to parents, then, to steer their children down the right path on 14 Goodrich, Fireside Education vii. 75


the voyage of life. The stamp is in your hand, with which to place upon their characters, that impress which never can be effaced. It is th erefore almost impossibl e to exaggerate the importance of domestic influence.15 In the realm of home and h earth, parents reigned supreme. Parental advisers tapped into th e discourse of middle-class dome sticity, which elevated the home above almost all else, to make their point. Here in the middle-class home, they could make an indelible mark on their childrens characters. Pare ntal advisers insisted that parents had the potential, by their words and act ions, to lay the foundation for the future. The fireside, Goodrich wrote, is a seminary of infinite importance. It is important because it is universal, and because of the education it bestows, be ing woven in with the woof of childhood, gives form and color to the whole texture of life. There are fe w who can receive the honors of a college, but all are graduate s of the hearth. The learning of the university may fade from the recollection; its classic lore may moulder in the halls of memory. But the simple lessons of home, enamelled [sic] upon the heart of childhood, defy the rust of years, and outlive the more mature but less vivid pictures of after days.16 In what other aspect of life could pa rents lay claim to such dominance? So powerful was their influence that all that they desired for th eir children could be realized. Yet it was equally true, as Rev. John S. C. Abbott was quick to point out, that one misstep by parents could lead to ruin. This, home of their chil dhood must be either the nursery of heaven, or the broad gate of destruction. These infant prattlers ar e acquiring feelings and habits, which are to control them through life and to guide their destinies forever. How necessary then, that purifying influences should surround them in their early home! How important the duties, devolving upon those, who have control of the family!17 Many parental advisers spoke 15 John S. C. Abbott, The Path of Peace 82. 16 Goodrich, Fireside Education 71-72. 17 John S. C. Abbott, The Path of Peace 79-80. 76


in this manner about the influence parents had over their children. In the words of Samue Goodrich, it should be remembered that this influence is for good or ill; that it must result in promoting the happiness or misery of those who are subjected to its action. l 18 The influence of parents was mighty, and parental advisers cautioned those who w ould wield it to do so carefully and with an eye to the future. This was especially important because parental responsibility in this regard did not impact their family alone. According to Cyrus Comstock, the effects of this duty reached much further. Infinite wisdom has invested pa rents naturally with a power or authority over children, and has laid them under obligation to exercise it for th e good of society, as well as for the purposes of religion.19 Cast as unquestioned and unlimited, this pow erful influence needed to be wielded carefully, to train up children properlyfor the good of the fam ily as well as of society. Parents held an awesome respons ibility not only to their ch ildren and themselves, but to the broader society. No higher duty, except in some few particular cases, can devolve upon a parent than the training (physical moral, and intellectual) of th e immortal beings committed to his care. To present to his count ry, the church, and the world, a we ll-trained family-is not this the highest honour, this the noblest field of usefulness?20 Through their work, parental advisers were beginning to elevate parenthood to so mething beyond the biological imperative to procreate. In their hands, parent hood was entered into with purpose, intention, and a sense of a higher duty. Parental advisers would make this point stronger in subsequent decades, but they began to outline it here: parents we re raising children not merely for themselves, but for society. 18 Goodrich, Fireside Education 75. 19 Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children 30. 20 Smith, The Parents Friend 42. 77


According to parental advisers, however, few parents understood the incredible influence they possessed. Author Ann Porter wrote, few mothers realize that they are influencing minds for eternity, that the impressions which their ch ildren receive before they can scarcely lisp a parents name, are more durable than if graven upon a rock w ith a pen of iron. Let the young mother remember that the babe in her bosom and the prattling young boy at her knee, are now completely under her influence. As she would twin e the tender vine, so can she give bias and direction to those pliant spirits.21 Even their audience recognized the influence parents held, and remarked on how few parents realized their own power. The author of a letter to the editor of The Mothers Journal and Family Visitant, for example, wrote, how few the number of those who realize, fully, the importance of the station they occupy, and th e fearful responsibility resting upon them as parents.22 Parents wielded power greater th an they could imagine, yet few understood that fact. Parental advisers took it upon themselves to rectify that. Through their work, they attempted to impre ss upon parents that the influence they held over their children was absolute, and even perm anent. According to Artemas Bowers Muzzey, We are making a mark on the characters of our children which time will never efface. Let it be done with a full sense of its consequences.23 In no other relationship was this power dynamic so skewed. In the words of Lydia Sigourney: You have gained an increase of power. The influence which is most truly valuable, is that of mind over mind. How entire and perfect is this dominion, over the unformed character of your infant. Write what you will, upon that printless tablet, with your wand of love. Hitherto, your influence over your dearest friend, your most submissive servant, has known bounds and obstructions. Now, you have over a new-born immortal, almost that degree of power which the mind exercises over 21 Ann E. Porter, Permanency of Early Impressions, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 9 no. 3 (1846): 26-27. 22 G. C. R., Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Journal and Family Visitant (New York) 10, no. 5 (1845): 70. 23 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 40. 78


the body, and which Aristotle compares to the sway of a prince over a bondman.24 With such absolute authority and influence over thei r children, parents had to be certain that they exercised it with care, wielding it for the betterment not only of their fa mily, but (as parental advisers often cautioned) for the good of soci ety. For parents, th e stakes were high. In the minds of Goodrich, Comstock, and others parents needed to be made aware of the awesome responsibility they took on and the influence they held when they became parents. Once they understood that, they could begin to learn how to be good parents. Here again, parental advisers took the reins as teachers of parents, prescribing behavior that would enable parents to succeed. Future generations of parental advisers would come to believe the task of parenting was one only parents themselves could complete. If parents hoped to succeed at their craft, parental advisers agreed, they needed to begin early. The early years of a childs life were the most crucial to sh aping its character and influencing its future. The influence and importance of EARLY TRAININGEARLY IMPRESSIONS can scarcely be exaggerated. Child ren are imitative beings, and their minds and hearts catch up, imbibe, and reflect the morals, th e manners, the tastes and habits of the society in which they live and move. The vices will th us be imitated and perpetuated as well as the virtues.25 Parents could not hope to succeed in raisi ng their children properly if they waited too long to begin their task. There was no time a llotted for a learning curveparents had to be prepared to exert their power and influence im mediately. According to Rev. John S.C. Abbott, the influence which is exerted upon the mind during the first eight or ten years of existence, in a 24 Sigourney, Letters to Mothers 10. 25 Robert Morris, Courtship and Matrimony: with Other Sketches from Scenes and Experiences in Social Life Particularly Adapted for Every-Day Reading rev. ed. (1858; repr., Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson and Brothers, 1879), 88. Emphasis original. 79


great degree guides the destinies of that mind for time and eternity.26 Horace Bushnell agreed, noting that the work done by parents during a ch ilds early years was critically important, as what took place during this period was concentrat ed character-building. He said, more, as a general fact, is done, or lost, by neglect of doing, on a childs immortality, in the first three years of his life, than in all his years of discipline afterwards.27 The work that parents did in these early years would affect not only a ch ilds future in life, but in the afterlife as well. Lest parents think this early work to be inadequate, or somehow shrugged off, Lydia Sigourney argued that parents were doing critical work in laying the foundation of a childs future. The habits whic h [a mother] early impresses, though to her eye they seem but as the flimsy line of the spider, trembling at every breeze, may prove links of tempered steel, binding a deathless being to eternal felicity or woe.28 Abbott, Bushnell, and Sigourney were not alone in their references to the afterlife. Ma ny authors used such references to impress upon parents the lasti ng effects of their work. Cyrus Comstock, for example, noted we are now forming characters for eternity. Ma tters of everlasting c onsequence are depending upon our conduct in time.29 The idea was a pervasive one, that parents were doing work that affected not only life on earth, but in heaven as well. Hints to Parents Perhaps, if allusions to aut hority, responsibility, and influence could not convince parents of the awesome duty before them, then promises of afterlife rewards (o r threats of afterlife consequences) would be more persuasive. Parental advisers peppere d their tracts with 26 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother At Home; or, Principles of Maternal Duty Familiarly Illustrated (New York: American Tract So ciety, 1833), 10. 27 Bushnell, Christian Nurture 211. 28 Sigourney, Letters to Mothers 17. 29 Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children 13. 80


descriptions of good parents and ba d parents in order to persuade their audience of the rewards of proper parenting and the consequences of negligen ce. In doing so, they emphasized the idea that parental influence could have an everlasting effect for good or for ill. By establishing what constituted appropriate or ina ppropriate parenting, pa rental advisers further defined their conception of an ideal parent. Parental advisers lauded moth ers and fathers who took their responsibilities seriously and who devoted themselves to proper parenting. A ch ild whose character and will were molded and shaped early on would be a joy to his mother and a source of pride of his father. How many parents have found life cheered by the virtues of their children; have had all lifes blessings multiplied, and every individual blessing magnified, by the affection of those, whom they have nurtured to virtue.30 Parents who understood the trem endous responsibility that was childrearing and who devoted themselv es to the task served as a m odel for others to follow. They understood that the work involved wa s great, but that the rewards we re even greater. If parents are faithful, the career of their children will, mo st ordinarily, be that of usefulness, success and honor. Every department of society will be blessed by them.31 The rewards of raising good children coul d not only be found on earth, though. Parents who executed their task properly would be rewarded in the hereafter as well. Ann Porter, for example, spoke of the rewards due to mothers w ho raised their children well. Blessed, thrice blessed is that mother who fulfils her high and ho ly duty with an humble, patient, trusting heart, remembering that her work will be tested in heaven, and her reward rendered there.32 If taken 30 John S. C. Abbot, The Path of Peace 81. 31 Editorial, Parental Responsibility, The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend, and Family Manual (Boston) 19 (July 1851-January 1852): 63. 32 Porter, Permanency of Early Impressions, 26. 81


seriously, this responsibility could have great and everlasting consequences. Dutiful children, having been raised properly and advisedly and with an eye to the magnitude of the task, would be an asset to aging parents as well as their country, and would meet their loving family in the hereafter. Parental advisers provide d specific examples of how parents should achieve good parentinghow they might receive their earthly and heavenly reward s. Such parental instruction often provided concrete examples for parent readers to follow. Jacob Abbott, for example, inserted such instruction into Learning about Right and Wrong a book for children. In a short story about the importance of learning to be diligent, a young boy na med Theodore has been instructed by his mother to do yard work for ha lf an hour. After the allotted time, during which the young boy shirked this chore, his mother comes outside and sees that he is not yet finished. She tells him that she intends to go for a ride in the wagon, and that while she hoped to bring Theodore along, his inability to complete his chor e leaves her with no choice but to go alone. You knew that I wished you to be diligent, and do the work as soon as possible, and so you ought to have done it.33 All attempts by Theodore to cajole her into changing her mind are unsuccessful. At this, Abbott notes, Theodores mother was right in this answer. It is only very silly mothers that put off the government of their children to the next time.34 Here, Abbott presented his instruction for mothers in two ke y ways. Through his praise for Theodores mother, he instructed mothers in taking th e appropriate measures in deali ng with their children. This was reinforced with his criticism of mother s who did not manage their children well.35 33 Jacob Abbott, Learning about Right and Wrong; or, Entertaining and Instructive Lessons for Children, in Respect to their Duty (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857), 65. 34 Abbott, Learning about Right and Wrong 65. 35 Abbott continued to instruct mothers throughout Learning about Right and Wrong In another story, he stressed the importance of punishment and argued that if a mother punished her child every time the child disobeyed her, the 82


Yet even parents who dedicated themselves to raising their children properly could run into pitfalls. According to parental a dvisers, parents needed to be cons tantly vigilant in government, discipline, and attention to detail if they wanted their children to grow into fine young men and women. They needed to make sure they governed with a consistent hand. This was especially important, Philadelphia physician Dr. David C ondie (1796-1875) noted, when a child was very young. Too often, he observed, well-intentioned pa rents send their child mixed messages by acting a certain way one moment and exactly the opposite the next. At on e time he is dandled and coaxed, in order to quiet him; at another he is scolded and beaten for the same purpose. 36 According to Condie, the result is utter c onfusion for the child. Furthermore, good parents needed to ensure that they relied on discipline. But the balance between discipline and over discipline was delicate. When disciplining their children, parents needed to avoid speaking to their children harshly, or acting out of anger, as their words and actions had indelible effects on their childrens later lives. Str ong tones and actions could excite anxiety or hatred in the child, Dr. Stephen Tracy (1810-1873) claimed, after which t he pitiable object of parental severity or neglect may receive a bias in early childhood which shall lead him to become a desperado in wickedness, or a miserable son of discontent, inefficiency, and timidity, ending in poverty and disgrace, or an early death.37 Parental advisers also urged pare nts to be extraordinarily diligent in raising their children. Dr. William Potts Dewees, for example, counseled parents to govern the child would quickly learn to obey. However, he noted, some mothers do not punish their children when they disobey, but only say that they will punish them the next time. What do you think of such a mother as that? Here, it is interesting to wonder whether Abbott really intended that question for his young readers or if, in fact, he was speaking to mothers directly. Learning about Right and Wrong 88. 36 David Francis Condie, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children rev. ed. (1844; repr., Philadelphia: Henry C. Lea, 1868), 57. 37 Stephen Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring rev. ed. (1853; repr., New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860), 258259. 83


number of hours their children coul d sleep, to be careful not to edu cate them too early in life, and to monitor the types of games their children played. At the same time that they argued such solicitousness was the mark of good parents, parental advisers warned that too much of a good thing could actually harm a child. Parents, Dr. John Eberle (1787-1838) argued, should not fr et over their children. Children who are continually warned against trifling accidents, seldom fail to become unduly timid, helpless and irresolute in their actions.38 Even for well-meaning, dutiful parent s, the guidelines that parental advisers prescribed represente d an impossible balance. With so much riding on their actions the very shape of their childrens characters, as both youths and adults parents needed to navigate the waters of parenthood carefully. Any de viation, according to pa rental advisers, could lead to ruin. Parental advisers relied heavily on direct instruction to their parent readers. Yet instruction intended for parents can also be found in comparisons of a parent from one family with a parent from another. Among parental advisers, this was a technique that childr ens literature authors employed much more so than other parental advisers. Typically, they would contrast an admirable parent with a parent who has an obvious flaw, such as overindulgence or a lack of discipline. It was an ingenious technique because it illustrated mo re clearly than anything else the differences between a good and a bad parent. Parents who recognized themselves in these fictional depictions could either congratulate themselves, or could alter their behavior. In the story Discontented Dora, Lydia Maria Child constructed one such comparison between parents. Dora Manning, a young girl from a wealthy fam ily, wanted every thing she 38 John Eberle, Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, rev. ed. (1833; repr., Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1857), 50. 84


saw, and was never willing to make any thing for her self.39 Despite the fact that Dora got whatever she desired, she was perpetually unha ppy. Her cousin Jane Loring, on the other hand, comes from a poorer family. She makes her to ys herself and, argued Child, as a result was happy, for busy people are always happy.40 Dora asks her mother to buy her a big French doll, which she soon tires of, then requ ests a more magnificent doll, wh ich bores her after just a few weeks, then finally asks for an expensive music box. At this, her mother refuses, saying that the music box is too costly. She observes that Dora is never as happy with her playthings as her cousin is with her own, and sends her daughter to Janes house. Here, Jane is pasting pictures onto a small white box, which Dora admires and re marks that she will ask her mother to buy her one. Jane says that she would be happier if she made it herself. Having overheard their exchange, Janes mother interjects, telling Dora: You are not happy because you are not bus y. You buy every thing already made, and then you have nothing to do but to l ook at it. This soon gets tiresome; and it gives you no chance to improve yourself. Put some of your own taste, and your own industry into your things, and depe nd upon it you will like them a great deal better. If I were you, I would ask my mother not to buy me any more playthings. I will teach you to make many little things for yourself and others; and when you are busy, you will be happy.41 Here, Mrs. Loring intervenes, both in the c onversation andmore importantlyin Doras upbringing. Doras own mother had failed her da ughter by being overindulgent, and Mrs. Loring would correct that. For her part, Lydia Maria Ch ild also intervened, by presenting a middle-class message: thrift and industry were good, while gree d and idleness (traits, she indicated, of the wealthy) were to be avoided. 39 Lydia Maria Child, Flowers for Children II rev. ed. (1844; repr,, New York: C. S. Francis & Co., 1855), 148. 40 Child, Flowers for Children II 149. 41 Child, Flowers for Children II 152. 85


Catharine Sedgwicks Means and Ends published in 1842, provides another example of the use of contrasting parenti ng styles to make a point about parental training. In the book, dedicated to young country-women, Sedgwick act ed as a teacher and tour guide, providing starkly different depictions of families and househol ds in order to instruct children and parents. In one chapter, entitled Contrasts, Sedgwick invited her readers to journey with her to two neighboring houses. The first house, occupied by Mrs. Doolittle and her family, provides little to recommend it. Sedgwick not ed, I have declined a seat, and taken my stand in the doorway, where, beside [sic] indul ging my prejudice in favor of pure air, I can survey both rooms.42 Between gasping at the kitchen cupboardt he door of which is missing, having been converted by the Doolittle boys into a playthingand the mantle -piece covered with garbage, she notes that the children are not at home learning their lessons. And how could they, the implication is, in this filth? Mrs. Doolittle, she argued, was suffering the consequences of her bringing up under a mother, the prototype of he rself; and Miss Anny Ma tildy [her daughter] bids fair to repeat the same scene to the next generation.43 Each generation, then, was doomed to repeat the sins of their forebears. Sedgwick provided the tidy house next door, oc cupied by the James family, as a stark contrast to the havoc found at th e Doolittles. She observed that th e yard is full of flowers, the house is tidy and clean, and even the Bible is we ll cared for. The kitchen cupboard is complete with its door, for Mrs. Jamess boys though as f ond of play as the Doolittles, would as soon have burned up the house as taken o ff one of mothers cupboard doors.44 Mrs. James has three daughters and two sons, and takes great care to raise them properly. Of the James boys, the 42 Catharine Sedgwick, Means and Ends (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1842), 88. 43 Sedgwick, Means and Ends 92. 44 Sedgwick, Means and Ends 97. 86


author notes, they will probabl y, at no very distant day, emigrate to the West. They may become magistrates, possibly members of Congress; but, whatever their station may be, they will look back with a grateful pride to their early home. The memory of their mother will be held sacred by them, and they will every day bless her for th e virtues she cultivated, and the good habits she formed.45 Though Sedgwick provided few descriptions of day-to-day family life and little interaction between family members, the message could not be clearer: good mothers raise good children and bad mothers raise bad children. In the hands of Sedgwick, Mrs. James emerges as a shining example of motherhood, while Mrs. Doo little appears ill-equi pped to raise children properly. Through such dramatic contrasts between parent characters, in which it is clear that one is good and the other bad, parental advisers such as Child and Sedgwick instructed parent readers as to the appropriate way in which to raise their children. This technique was also used, in more serious stories, as a caution to parents. Through the child characters they depicted, these parental advisers issued warnings to pa rents that sketched for them what would happen if they failed. Often, their stories demonstrated that bad pa renting does not go unpunished ; rather, it leads to some accident befalling the children or, worse, to bad children. In The Story of the Orphans, Samuel Goodric h wrote of two very different fathers with two very different sons. One father was very rich and indulged his son Edwin, while the other father was very poor and taught his son Edward to be industrious. By virtue of his fathers indulgence, Edwin grew up to be spoiled and mean, while Edward grew up to be amiable, hardworking, and kind. Goodrich noted, you see, my little friends, that indulgence is bad for 45 Sedgwick, Means and Ends 100. 87


children, and being made to give up their wishes is good for them.46 Through the contrasting characters of Edward and Edwin, Goodrich not only instructed children in the virtues of denying themselves constant pleasure, he also took care to instruct parents on the vices of over indulging their children. Furthermore, like Lydia Maria Child, Goodrich imparted a middle-class message about hard work. While Edwin did not suffer from a tragic accident, the result of his fathers indulgence was Edwins mean character. Goodrich s Story of the Orphans is but one of many examples in which the author used contrasting images of parents and pa renting to issue such warnings. Lydia Maria Child used a similar tactic in her story, Making Something. Here, she set up the characters of James Merchant and John Carp enter as very different little boys. Like Goodrichs character Edwin, James was overindulged and got anyt hing he wanted. His mother routinely gave him new toys, while John in turn figured out how to make his own toys, with the encouragement of his parents. As they grew up, James became a merchant and made a great deal of money, yet no matter how much money he made, he became more and more discontented. John, who earned a modest living as a carpenter and mechanic, was quite happy. As to how it came to be that two such young men, having grow n up together, attended the same schools, and played together became so different later in life, Child pointed to their early education, imparted to them by their mothers. She noted, early educa tion was one great reason of this dissimilarity. One of the first things James could remember, wa s hearing his mother remark that her little Jimmys cap cost more than a ny other cap in the village.47 Jamess mother regularly bragged about her son and indulged him in anything he wanted. Because of this, the implication is, James 46 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Peter Parleys Short Stories for Long Nights rev. ed. (1834; repr., Boston: William D. Ticknor & Co., 1844), 79. 47 Lydia Maria Child, Flowers for Children III (New York: C. S. Francis & Co., 1847), 11. 88


never found true happiness. Johns mother, on the other hand, encouraged him to learn and work with his hands. She did not spoil her son and he grew up to be happy and content. Though her message is perhaps not as carefully spelled out as that of Goodrich, the essence is the same. As much as parental advisers may have wished to focus on good parents, they were convinced that parents did not know what they were doing and, as a re sult, made a lot of mistakes. As we have already seen, parental advisers insisted that such mistakes could lead to ruin. Parents, therefore, needed to be made awar e of the consequences of their many ineptitudes. Parental advisers accomplished this by vividly il lustrating the ramifications of bad parenting. Perhaps the greatest mistake that parents could make lay in a lack of parental authority, or a weak commitment to parental governance. Children who grew up without a clear respect for authority would make slaves of their parent s through their demands and would doubtless grow up to be insolent and miserable men and women. When childrens author Jacob Abbott cautioned parents against letting their child ren have his book in order to stop a tantrum, for example, he spoke to the importance of parental authority.48 Children who were rewarded for crying, he implied, would learn how to manipulate their parents. In alerting parents to this, he hoped to alter their behavior and reaffirm their commitmen t to stern governance. Like Abbott, Samuel Goodrich also spoke of the necessity for parental authority and resolve. Children who tested their parents authority and won, he warned, could soon find themselves in jeopardy. Goodrich spoke to this danger in his story of Young Solomon, found in Parleys Present for all Seasons. Solomon, a young boy full of self-c onfidence and self-conceit, cons tantly tries to get his way and attempts one day to pressure hi s mother to let him go to the swamp.49 After much pestering, 48 Jacob Abbott, The Little Scholar Learning to Talk 7-8. 49 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Parleys Present for all Seasons rev. ed. (1854; repr., New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1860), 98. 89


she finally consents to let him go. Solomon quickly gets lost and falls in to a ditch, necessitating his older brother to come to his aid. The le sson, Goodrich noted, that Solomon took from the ordeal was mother does know best .50 Clearly this was meant as a warning to children, but it also serves as a cloaked warning to parents to not let their childre n override their better judgment. While a writer such as Jacob Abbott w ould have most likely spelled out the ways in which Solomons mother went astray in her pa renting, Goodrichs style tended to let the text speak for itself. Through this story, Goodrich us ed Solomons mother as a caution to other parents and an example of poor parenting. Pare nts needed to be fully committed to upholding their authority, lest their children throw themselves into harms way. Perhaps no story was as explicit about the rami fications of weak parental governance as Jacob Abbotts Rodolphus It furnished readers with a formidable example of bad parents and the resulting bad child. Abbott opened his story by no ting that Rodolphuss story clearly illustrates the manner in which indulgence an d caprice on the part of the pare nt, lead to the demoralization and ruin of the child.51 Rodolphus learned as a very young boy the many ways in which he could manipulate his ineffectual parents to hi s own ends. His father, Mr. Linn, was a workman and was away almost all day. When he returned, sometimes he played with Rodolphus, and sometimes he quarreled with him; but he never really governed him.52 Occasionally, Mr. or Mrs. Linn would attempt to discipline him, but inevitably one parent w ould encourage the other to let the boy have his way. When Rodolphus reso rts to skipping school a nd stealing from others, the Linn family decides to bind him out to a master to learn a trade. No longer able to have his 50 Goodrich, Parleys Present for all Seasons 105. Emphasis original. 51 Jacob Abbott, Rodolphus (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1850), 11. 52 Jacob Abbott, Rodolphus 15. Emphasis original. 90


character altered or his will bent to another, ho wever, Rodolphus robs his new master and is sent to prison. Far from leaving the details of Rodolphuss life of crime to the imagination of his readers, or from failing to note how the young boy got to be that way, Abbott de voted an entire book to this warning story. There can be no doubt as to th e impetus for this seed gone bad, as all fingers point to the parents. Because Mr. and Mrs. Linn were not disciplined enough themselves to govern their young child, Rodolphus grew up to be not only headstrong, but a delinquent. With regard to such poor parenting, Abbott argued, it is not surprising that [Rodolphus] came, in the end, to be a very bad boy.53 Yet weak parental authority was hardly the only error to which ba d parents were prone. Parental advisers saw perhaps a greater threat in parents who loved their children too much. Jacob Abbotts brother, John, was explicit in illustrating how ove rindulgence born of love could go awry. Here is a lost son dying in the forecastle of a ship, far away upon the ocean. Why is he there, far from his own pleasant fire side and the love of home? Because his mother never established any control over he r boy. In his infancy she indulged him, under the influence of an overweening maternal fondness Here is a mutilated corpse upon some blood-stained field of battle The form is that of a graceful youth, whose fair cheek is hardly browned by the southern sun. Why has this young man been plunged into these awful scenes of human butchery, and come to this untimely and disgraceful death? It is because his mother did not control him when he was a child.54 Such parents, parental advisers argued, did more damage in the name of love than did parents who were outright abusive to their children. For pa rents who claimed to love their children too much to discipline or punish them, parental advi sers had stern words. There is nothing more 53 Jacob Abbott, Rodolphus 31. 54 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, 28. 91


than mere animal instinct in a ll this. Conduct like this is not in the least above th at of brutesit is indeed below theirs. Brutes seek the welfare of their offspring, and often sacrifice themselves for them, in the only or best ways within their ability. Human parents ofte n act blindly, without taking pains to inform themselves, and oftener act counter to their ac knowledged convictions of what the real good of their children demands.55 Rev. Orange Clark ( 1797-1869) agreed, noting that for parents who claimed to love their children too much to keep them in check, a life of wretchedness on earth is well secured, or an earl y and tragical, if not infamous death, shall blast the hopes of a too fond and doting and misjudging parent, and bring his gray hairs down with sorrow to the grave. All ye who hear me, be admonished.56 Parents who, out of an overabundance of love, refused to discipline their children did not understand the meaning of parental love. A good pa rent, they claimed, one who truly loved their child, knew that discipline and even punishment was in a childs best interests. Loving and doting parents, who would never lif t a finger to harm their children, could inflict just as much damage as neglectful or abusiv e parents. The consequences of overindulgence, parental advisers warned, would come back to haunt parents w ho perpetrated it. If you are unfaithful to your child when he is young, he will be unfaithful to you when he is old. If you indulge him in all his foolish and unreasonable wishes when he is a child, when he becomes a man he will indulge himself; he will gratify every desire of his heart; and your suffe rings will be rendered the more poignant by the reflection that it was your own unfaithfulness which has caused your ruin.57 Furthermore, poor parenting of this nature had consequences that reached beyond the family. Because bad parents unleashed their chil dren on society, and because what happened at 55 Editorial, The Mothers Journal and Family Visitant (New York) 10 no. 1 (January 1845): 3. 56 Orange Clark, Discourse on Family Discipline (San Francisco: Royal P. Locke, 1860), 8. 57 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, 23. 92


hearth and home did not remain there, the eff ects of unsatisfactory pare nting were far reaching indeed. If parents neglected to use the means for restraining the evil inclinations of their children, and for moulding them in to virtuous and useful members of society, the probability is, they will grow up only to be pests in the earth; an d for the parents will be the reflection that they were made such by their own parental delinquency.58 Children born of bad parenting, these pests in the earth, brought shame to their pa rents and a corrupting influence to society. They represented a daily reminder of the ramifications for poor parenting. In particular, evidence of such parenting could be found am ong societys criminal elemen t. Rev. J. W. Guernsey (18201894?) wrote, we doubt not, an examination would show that all those whom society has been obliged to cast out of her bosom, because she could not endure their presencethe inmates of our prisons, penitentiaries, hous es of correction, and the victim s of the gallowswere prepared for their career of crime, and end of infamy, by the neglect of proper restraints in their early years.59 Parental advisers insisted that there was a direct correlation be tween bad parents and criminals. They firmly believed that bad pare nting would result in bad children, and the worst children of all wound up in pris on. Parents, they argued, were responsible for the vices and crimes of which their children, as they pr ogress in life, are guilty. How many practical exemplifications of this truth ar e set before us in the confessions of different criminals, who, at the close of life, have traced their career of crime to the days of childhood, and discovered its source in the defective family discipline of their parents.60 In observing the perceived 58 Editorial, Parental Responsibility, 63. 59 J. W. Guernsey, Parental Duties, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1853 Part II): 9. 60 H. Clark, The Ruined Son, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3 no. 4 (October 1845): 74. 93


connection between jail inmates a nd parental negligence, parental advisers articulated an argument that later generations of experts w ould revisit in the late nineteenth century. Parents who neglected their du ties released a scourge upon the world, in the form of their defective and, often, depraved children. These pa rents could not hide the results of their negligence; they were visible in the worlds ills. Proper childrear ing, then, was critical, and the work done by parents needed to be taken seriousl y. The effects of poor parenting could be seen across prisons and in moral decay. Posterity would judge whether or not parents had been successful. Yet there was an even greater measure of parenting success. Just as good parents would reap their everlasting rewards in heaven, bad pa rents would also face the consequences of their actions in the afterlife. With regard to a childs soul, whose life is nou rished by our own, Lydia Sigourney remarked, every trace that we grave upon it, will stand forth at the judgment, when the books are opened. Every waste-place, whic h we leave through neglect, will frown upon us, as an abyss, when the mountains fall, and the skies shri vel like a scroll.61 Just as good parents could look forward to reaping the rewards of their hard work in the afterlife, so too could bad parents expect to suffer the consequences. If pa rents neglected their dutie s and disregarded their parental responsibility, these consequencesbot h in life and deathwere dire indeed. Jacob Abbott argued that by a fathers neglect and un faithfulness, he might make his children thorns in his side while they remain at home, a bitter ness and a curse to his declining years, and a source of unmixed and never ending sorrow in eternity.62 The fate of the child, in life and in death, hinged on parents perfor ming their duties faithfully. 61 Sigourney, Letters to Mothers viii. 62 Jacob Abbott, Fire-side Piety; or, The Duties an d Enjoyments of Family Religion rev. ed. (1834; repr., London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1835), 11. 94


A Rational Discharge of Parental Duty The reality of these stories was born out in the courts, where parental advisers on the bench reinforced the advice their colleagues pe ddled. Unfit parents, who did not conform to middle-class standards of good parenthood, did not gain custody of thei r children. Four custody cases from this period State v. Smith (1830), People v. Chegaray (1836) People v. Nickerson (1837) and State v. Hand (1848)illustrate that, lik e didactic stories, courtroom judgments also revealed who was and was not a good parent. In 1830, the Supreme Court of Maine heard ar guments in a very strange custody battle, one in which the custody of the children involved should never have been up for debate. Before he married, Jonathan Hall drew up a prenuptial cu stody agreement stating th at if his wife ever found herself unhappily married to him by virtue of his mistreatment, she was free to leave and take any children by their marriage with her. By virtue of her husbands infidelity, Mrs. Hall did indeed find herself unhappily married and chose to separate from him, taking their three children with her. Jonathan Hall then brought her to cour t to fight for the custody of his children. In his decision, Justice Parris declared that a fathers right to the custody of his children comes with obligations to maintain, protect and educate them, duties which are thrown upon him by the law of nature, as well as of society, which he is not permitted to disregard.63 Citing the decision in Addicks (1813) as part of the basis for the cour ts decision to award custody to Mrs. Hall, Parris contended that Jonathan Ha ll could not claim his children as a matter of right, and that having waived his parental ri ghts, [Hall] ought not to be permitted to now reclaim them.64 Furthermore, Parris noted that he was reluctant to turn the children over to their father when they 63 State v. Smith 6 Me. 462 (Me. 1830). 64 Smith 6 Me 462. 95


seemed quite happy under the care of their mother, es pecially given that the parental feelings of the mother toward her children are naturally as strong, and generally stronger than those of the father, and when taken into consideration that it was Jonathan Halls imprudent conduct that led to the familys breakup in the first place.65 Jonathan Hall demonstrated that he was unf it for parenthood in a number of ways. First, by virtue of his infidelityhis imprudent conducthe broke the bonds of family. Perhaps the court felt that if he were truly a good father, he would not have strayed in the first place. Second, by virtue of his prenuptial agr eement, he cast off his children to their mother, disregarding any obligation he had to them. Once he had done that, the damage was done. The court was unwilling to let him have them back. By attempting to de ny his obligations to his children and by straying from his wife and family, Hall irrevocably damaged a tenet of the middle cl ass: the exaltation of the family. Furthermore, the language used in the decision reveals that pare ntal advisers in the courtroom, too, considered parenting to affect the world beyond the home. The duties of a parent, after all, were thrown upon him by soci ety. Like other parental advisers, justices were beginning to articulate the idea that paren ting affected society as well and that society, therefore, had a vested interest in how parents raised their children. The courts exercised their ability to u phold middle-class standards of parenthood and protect the best interest of society by ensuring that custody remained with parents who could be trusted to raise their children properly. Like Jonathan Hall, Elizabeth Ordronaux and a Mrs. Nickerson found out that they did not meet thes e standards. Elizabeth Ordronaux, separated but not divorced from her husband, requested custody of their three child ren in 1836. Her husband, John Ordronaux, had placed the children into boarding schools. Justice Bronson refused her 65 Smith 6 Me. 462. 96


petition, noting that John (unlik e herself) was a fit custodian. Bronson argued that the children are in good healththey are in sc hools of the best repute, where their morals and comfort, as well as their education, receive a ll proper attention. Their mother is permitted to visit them at pleasure, and they occasionally visit her. The father is a ma n of good character, and it is abundantly proved that he is a fit and proper person to have custody of the children. On the evidence before me I am unable to make th e same remark in relation to the mother.66 Although the record does not reveal the ways in whic h Elizabeth Ordronaux pr oved herself unworthy of custody, it is clear that Justice Bronson found her abilities as a pa rent lacking in comparison to her estranged husband. Like Elizabeth Ordronaux, a Mrs. Nickers on also did not qualify for custody. Unhappy in her marriage, Mrs. Nickerson left her husband in 1837 and moved away with their daughter, claiming afterwards that his unkindn ess prompted her to leave. In deciding which parent should get custody of the child, the court argued that Mrs. Nickerson was unfit to keep her. She could not be considered worthy of maintaining custod y when she had willfully and without pretense of excuse, abandoned her family and the protection of her husband.67 Like Jonathan Hall before her, it was Mrs. Nickersons behavior toward her family that helped to make her unfit for custody. Mrs. Nickerson has grea tly mistaken the obligations and duties which devolved upon her by the marriage vow and is now living in a state unauthorized by the law of the land.68 By stark contrast, her estranged husband appeared pe rfectly fit for parenthood: nothing appears that can justify the conclusion that the father is not a fit and proper person to have the care and 66 People v. Chegaray 18 Wend. 637 (N.Y. 1836). 67 People v. Nickerson 19 Wend. 16 (N.Y. 1837). 68 Nickerson 19 Wend. 16. 97


education of his child.69 As Nickerson demonstrates, courts were willing to deny parents custody of their children simply because of thei r behavior outside of parenting itself. Mrs. Nickerson may have been a lovi ng and dutiful motherat the ve ry least, she was unwilling to abandon her childbut because of her actions toward her husband, she did not qualify for custody. Nineteenth-century courts also demonstrated that they were willi ng to place children in the custody of people who were not their parents if they felt th ey had no viable alternative. Stephen Ball of Ohio, a widower, found this out in 1848. After the death of his wife, Ball took up residence at his parents house, where his mother took care of his two daughters. When he and his father left to join the Millerites (eventua lly known as the Seventh Day Adventists), his mother was no longer able to care for the childr en. The girls then came into the care of their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Hand. Upon his retur n, Stephen Ball became a Shaker and wished to take his daughters with him to live in the Shak er village, and so filed for custody. The court noted that a father has a right to the custody of his own childre n, to protect, feed, clothe, and educate them in his own way.70 But they also observed that, in cases of immorality, intemperance, imbecility, insanity, or other di squalification, custody would be denied. While they confirmed that Ball was neither immoral nor intemperate, they questioned the sanity of a man who would abandon his children in favor of religious frenzy. Furthermore, they hesitated to grant him cust ody since he himself would not raise the girls. Among Shakers, they noted, the relation of parent and child exists not, and the love of the father and the fondness of the mother give pl ace to the vigilance of the care-takers.71 While 69 Nickerson 19 Wend. 16. 70 State v. Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361 (1848). 71 Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361. 98


they did not doubt that the girls would be well cared for, they t ook exception to the fact that Ball would have no hand in it. Indeed, his financial circumstances prevented him from doing so. He has no bread for them to eat, but the bread of the community. He ha s no clothes for them to wear, but the clothes of the community; and over thei r education the female care-takers, and not Stephen Ball, would preside.72 Finally, the court revealed th at Stephen Balls reasons for wanting custody were inconsistent with their idea of proper parenting. He does not seek these children that he ma y rekindle the fire on his desolate hearth, and relink them around it in the family circle. He does not seek them that he may rebuild his family altar and unite with th em in consecrating it with prayers and songs of family devotion. He seeks them that he may sever them from the bosom of their grandmother, and from his own bosom and plant them in the cold ascetic bosoms of the female care-takers and transfer all his right title and interest in the children which God has given him, to total strangers. All this might be done by an honest man, and a pure man. But can it be done by a sane man? Does it not argue, at least, a morbid state of the amative and philoprogenetive faculties, bordering on insanity, and totally inconsistent with a rational discharge of parental duty?73 For the time being, the court opted to leave the children in the car e of their maternal grandmother, till I am satisfied that the father has again put on the bonds of natural affection, and recognizes in his own right the correlative obligati ons and rights of a father, and the natural relations of parent and child.74 Stephen Ball fell so far outside the boundaries of acceptable middle-class parenting that the c ourt could not imagine that he wa s even sane. In abandoning his children in the heat of religious fervor, and in hi s desire to have his girl s reared by female caretakers, Stephen Ball had disavowed parental advisers notions of appropriate parenthood. Only when he could prove that he had regained his sanity and conformed to proper middle-class ideals of parenthood would the court consid er Ball worthy of custody once more. 72 Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361. 73 Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361. 74 Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361. 99

PAGE 100

It is worth emphasizing Balls membership among the Shaker community. Certainly, middle-class standards of parenthood were not th e only way in which people raised children during the nineteenth century. Much of the Unite d States was still rural, and rural communities embraced a different standard of childrearingone that mirrored the pre-industrial family and its communal childrearing practices Utopian groups, such as the Shakers and the Oneida Community, also engaged in communal childr earing. But, as Stephe n Ball discovered, communal childrearing was not acceptable to middle-class parental advisers for whom parenthood had evolved beyond such pre-industrial practices. The parenting methods that the Shakers and the Oneidans practiced simply did not conform to mi ddle-class standards. In their decisions regarding custody, ninete enth-century courts helped to define the boundaries of appropriate and in appropriate parenthood. They refused custody to parents who did not conform to developing middle-class standard s. In doing so, they executed the code that published parental advisers had written. Their wo rk helped to further illuminate parental advisers image of ideal parenthood, and sharpened the dividing line between good and bad parents. Summary Parental advisers went to gr eat lengths to shape what they saw as uneducated and hapless parents, wielding their authority blindly, into tr ustworthy and enlightened parents. Their work reflected the belief that parent s were not born, but were made. Ignorant parents could not be expected to raise children properly, and the ch ildren that resulted from such ill-informed parenting could wreak havoc not only on their families, but on society as well. Someone had to take up the charge to train these mothers and father s: to illustrate the res ponsibility and influence they held, and to demonstrate how to parent pr operly. And parental advisers, from Rev. John S. C. Abbott to Lydia Maria Child, di d that with gusto. They worked to inform and educate parents 100

PAGE 101

101 on the most important job they would undertake: raising children. Their message here was clear: the effects of parenting, good or bad, could be se en in the children themselves. Proper parenting resulted in dutiful, amiable children, while unfaithful parenting resulted in unhappy, bad children. Children did not turn bad by accident; rather, it was inadequate discipline, overindulgence, or inattention to parenting that led them to be s o. In providing such instruction to parents, their work aimed to help mothers and fathers navigate their roles as parents. In the coming years, parental advisers would further refine what they expected of parents in general, and of mothers and fathers in particular, as gend er began to inform their discourse about ideal parenthood.

PAGE 102

CHAPTER 4 THE GENDER OF PARENTING The father may instruct, but the mother in stils [sic]; the father may command our reason, but the mother compels our instinc t; the father may finish, but the mother must begin. The empire of the father is ove r the head; of the mother, over the heart. Rev. Artemas Bowers Muzzey, The Christian Parent1 When Rev. Artemas Bowers Muzzey articulate d the essential differences between male and female parents, he spoke a language familiar to all Americans. The idea seemed logical that mothers and fathers parented differently, served contrasting yet complementary roles in their childrens lives, and that both filled functions critical to raising well-rounded children. That mothers and fathers were fundamentally different wa s particularly clear to parental advisers of the 1840s and 1850s, for whom gender informed their discourse of parenthood. This chapter illustrates the ways in which parental advisers th ought of male and female parents differently. As parental advisers fleshed out these distinct role s, they further defined what was expected of parents, giving even greater shape to the middle-class parent by tapping into emerging middleclass gender roles. Furthermore, they cemented the importance of a two-parent middle-class household by insisting that both parents were necessary in order to parent properly. This marriage of gender and parenting is clear ly visible across thei r work in three key ways. First, the emergence of what Rev. Muzzey (and others, such as author Henry C. Wright) called the empire of the mother.2 In countless sources, parental advisers cast mothers as the more natural parent. Mothers were considered to be more nurturing than fathers, and more innately caring. Many parental a dvisers, in fact, assumed and wr ote for a female parent and 1 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 9. 2 See, for example, Henry C. Wright, The Empire of the Mother over the Character and Destiny of the Race (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1863). 102

PAGE 103

presupposed that a woman would do the bulk of child rearing. This is not to say, however, that parental advisers never addressed a fathers role in a childs lif e; they did. In fact, parental advisers devoted substantial effort to convincing fathers of their im portance in this regard. (Their efforts here were considerable and they faced an uphill battle. First, becaus e they believed fathers to be naturally disinterested in parenting and s econd, because they wondered if their attention to mothers had caused this disinterest.) They demanded that fathers take an active role in childrearing because they believed mothers and fath ers imparted different things. They insisted that in order to be raised prope rly, children required the particular expertise of both a mother and a father. While mothers were cast as naturally nurturing, fa thers were seen as more authoritative. A careful balance of both elements ensured that children would receive sensible, acceptable parenting. (For parental advise rs who assumed a female parent, these ideas coexisted in an uneasy partnership.) For cases in which the family unit dissolved, whether by death or by divorce, justices articulated and relied on a doctr ine that claimed that a childs gender and age determined which parent he or she needed most at that time. Custody, too, understood the gender of parenting. Finally, parental a dvisers articulated a hierarchical gender of parenting as fathers were assumed to be parents not only of their ch ildren but also, in some ways, parents of their wives. For all the valorization of women as mothers and despite the prominence of the empire of the mother, the gender of parenting di d not fundamentally chal lenge developing gender norms. Fathers remained the heads of households, with all the rights and pr ivileges attached to that post. As articulated by ninete enth-century authors, the gender of parenting shaped a role for fathers that seemed to cast them as parents of mothers: educating them and correcting them when they were in the wrong. The ge nder of parenting may seem an achronistic compared to our 103

PAGE 104

modern notions of egalitarian parenting. To nineteenth-century Americans, though, it simply made good sense. A Natural Fountain of Unfailing Love Many historians have argued th at the early decades of th e nineteenth century saw a dramatic change in the discourse about parenthood.3 At this time, according to historian Stephen Frank, a new and insistently maternal note ente red the social conversation about parenting. Domestic advice writers were clamoring to en throne wives and mothers as the natural and primary parents of children, especially young children.4 It is important to remember that this does not necessarily translate in to action; that is, what wa s going on on the ground in the nineteenth-century United States may well have been quite different. But in important ways the discourse about parenting assumed that women were more natural caregivers. In James Buffums American preface to a popul ar British childrearing manual, he paid homage to mothers. This edition, he began, is sent abroad under the deep conviction that families are the first schools in the great discipline of life, that lessons are to be learnt there which can be learnt no where else, and that parents, and especially mothers, are incomparably the best and most effective instructers [sic].5 As to what made mothers in particular the ideal educators of children, Buffum noted that they are naturally the objects of a peculiar preference and love which give to their counsels a nd example a most persuasive influence.6 Buffum was 3 See Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class ; Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: Womans Sphere in New England, 1780-1835 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977); Stephen Frank, Life with Father: Parenthood and Masculinity in the Nineteenth-Century American North (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); and John Tosh, A Mans Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999) 4 Frank, Life with Father 23. 5 Buffum, preface to Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline 4. 6 Buffum, preface to Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline 4. 104

PAGE 105

not alone in articulating the idea that mothers ha d a deeper, perhaps more natural, love for and influence over their children than fathers. Nor were parental advisers alone in this belief, as it found its way into popular impressions held by laypeople. In a letter to the editor of The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend one reader remarked on the incredible power mothersnot fathersheld over their children. Though not permitted to speak in our halls of legislation and courts of justice, they control both. The destiny of the nation is in their hands. They make the first impressions, shape the charac ter, and give such permanence to the mind and heart as seldom yields to after instructions.7 Many parental advisers declared this to be one of the great differences between mothers and fathers, and supported the idea that the love, care, and influence of a mother was irreplaceable. Rev. Ralph W. Allen, for exampl e, observed that a mothers influence was paramount. Who can properly estimate the extent of a mothers influence over her offspring? It will be felt when other influences are measur ably lost; felt powerfu lly for good or ill on the destiny of millions.8 Rev. Muzzey agreed and spoke extensiv ely about this critical difference between fathers and mothers. While he acknowledge d that both parents were influential in a childs life, he argued that mothers were mo re so. The impression made by a mother, he observed, is always deepest and most perman ent. however dear may be the father, or however important his services, the love of the mo ther is usually stronger, and her assiduities the more unwearied.9 No matter how much fathers loved thei r children, it seemed, the nature of a mothers love and tende rness was exclusive. 7 J. Porter, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1 no. 1 (1841): 12-13. 8 Ralph W. Allen, A Mothers Influence, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 8 no. 5 (November, 1848): 97. 9 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 8. 105

PAGE 106

Furthermore, both men argued that the love and nurture of a mother was irreplaceable. Rev. Allen asserted, the mother holds a sacred and dear relation to her children, and such as none other can hold. Consequently, she has an influence over them which no others can exert.10 Muzzey agreed with his colleague and extended that argument by drawing a distinction between biological mothers and stepmothers. The latter, he argued, had no such natural fountain of unfailing love as biological mothers possessed.11 Muzzey explained, the tie that binds her to the child in her care was created by man. She does not possessand it is unreasonable to demand of herthat deep, inexhaustible affec tion which is spontaneous in the childs own mother.12 While these substitute mothers may care fo r their newfound charges, and love them inasmuch as they could, there was simply no replacement for the love of a childs own mother. It is understandable that authors such as Muzzey would assume a nonbiological parent (such as a stepmother) could never have the deep affection fo r a child that a biological parent could. Yet it reveals much more about the discourse surrounding parenting at this time that even a biological father could not match the care and tenderness of a biological mother. This was one of the key differences parental advi sers perceived between male and female parents. Many authors took a similar approach to Muzzeys, noting that mothers were more connected to their children, that they possessed a deeper love for their children and a more natural devotion. In her book Woman in Her Various Relations Mrs. L.G. Abell pointed to these reasons when she argued that a woman should spend as much time as possible with their 10 Allen, A Mothers Influence, 97. 11 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 41. 12 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 41. 106

PAGE 107

children.13 Abell reasoned that no one, not even the be st of nurses, can feel that responsibility, that personal interest, and deep affection, which lies so naturally with in a mothers heart.14 Abell was not alone in describing a mothe rs love and affection as natural. Other parental advisers used the same or similar language when discussing mothers, suggesting that they assumed that parents were born, not made. A mother did not need to learn how to love and care for her child; this knowledge came from her fountain of unfailing love, as Muzzey argued. Yet this was a point of contradi ction within the discourse about parenting, as many of these same authors (Muzzey included) insi sted that parenting ha d to be taught. This demonstrates the messy, often discrepant na ture of the discours e surrounding parenthood. Teaching parents how to parent, af ter all, was a large part of what parental advisers did. They provided instruction and education on one of the most basic part s of human existence: raising children. Through their work, they articulated a gender of pa renting that recognized the differences between mothers and fathers. Mothers had a deeper affection for their children, one that came naturally to them, and that could not be replaced by either a father or a stepmother. Yet while their language suggested that mothers were born with this na tural love and tenderness, the very existence of their work suggests otherwise. Not only did parental advisers work to persua de their audience that women were the more natural parent, many also indicated that they be lieved women to be the primary parent. Although some prescriptive parenting texts addressed fa thers specifically, such as Theodore Dwights The Fathers Book many didactic authors assumed that the primary parent was a woman. In some 13 Abell was also the author of A Mothers Book of Traditional Household Skills published in 1853. Recently reprinted, the new edition boasts that the book contains wisdom and know-how from a turn-of-the-century super mom and that the book will continue to please gene rations of mothers to come. Mrs. L. G. Abell, A Mothers Book of Traditional Household Skills, rev. ed. (1853; repr., New York: Lyons Press, 2001), back cover. 14 Mrs. L. G. Abell, Woman in Her Various Relations: Containing Practical Rules for American Females rev. ed. (1851; repr., New York: J.M. Fairchild & Co., 1855), 238. 107

PAGE 108

ways this is not surprising; as work increasingly took men outside th e household, the assumption seemed to be that men were at work and women were keeping house. But it is noteworthy in many other ways, not the least of which was that this tack virtually wrote fathers out of the parenting picture despite, as we shall see, parental advisers insistence of their critical importance in childrens lives. Their work seemed to set this notion aside, as they wrote parenting advice about and to women, reflecting their belief that a woman was the primary parent. Furthermore, assuming th at women were their primary audience, parent al advisers insistence on their importance reflected their interest in their growing market. One way in which they demonstrated their assumption that women would be the primary caretakers of children was that they wrote coun tless books specifically for women. In the preface to The Mother at Home Rev. John S. C. Abbott explained that his book was written simply with the view of affording to mothers in the co mmon walks of life, plain and simple instruction in respect to the right discha rge of their maternal duties.15 He went on to note that mothers might benefit their children by reading the book and its companion volume, The Child at Home aloud to them. If a parent reads and explains The Mother at Home to her children, they will derive great benefit from the exercise, as they w ill thus be taught to realize something of the nature and the weight of the responsibilities, the duties, and the cares which such a trust as that which is committed to a mother necessarily brings. On the other hand, The Child at Home is intended quite as much to afford mothers a practical exemplification of the spirit a nd manner by which thei r instructions to their children should be characterized.16 In Abbotts mind, women were not the only benefici aries of his advice for mothers. Children too, themselves future parents, would benefit as well. Clearly Abbott saw his wisdom shaping current 15 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, v. 16 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, v-vi. 108

PAGE 109

and future generations of parents. Note, also, that Abbott used the female pronoun with the word parent. Other parental advisers also addressed women as their primar y audience. In the preface to The Mothers Medical Guide Dr. William Alcott asserted th at his purpose in writing the book was to show the mother how far, in the management of infantile disease, she can safely go, and when she ought to call for medical aid or advice, and that he sought to distinguish the line between the mother and the medi cal and surgical practitioner.17 At the outset of his book, Alcott was careful to articulate clearly for whom his book was written. Medical men such as Alcott assumed that women, not men, woul d preside over the sickroom. Even in books not addressed specifically to women, parental advisers indicated their assumption that mothers would be the primary pare nt in a childs life. Physician John Eberle, for example, presumed that women would assume the predominant role regarding a childs health and well-being. He argued that none but a mother could attend to a sick child, watching over it constantly until its health returns. The mother alone, he insisted, can experience those instinctive and anxious promptings, to administer to the wants and comforts of her offspring, which are necessary to secure the faithf ul performance of this important duty.18 Physician Stephen Tracy, too, seemed to think that mothers were the primary parent in the sickroom, noting that mothers who observe symptoms of illness should waste no time in summoning a doctor. He argued that a mother could do much to prevent dis ease, and detailed the ways in which she might accomplish this. He then noted, all these measures must be strictly regarded and followed out by the parent. Especially must the condition of the digestive or gans be the mothers special 17 William A. Alcott, The Mothers Medical Guide in Childrens Diseases (Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1845), 4. 18 Eberle, A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, 32. 109

PAGE 110

care.19 In this instance, Tracy referred to the parent nearly in the same breath as the mother, indicating that in his mind, the childs primary parent and the mother were one and the same. Although the book was essentially written to aid other physicians, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children by Philadelphia physician John Forsyt h Meigs (1818-1882), also indicates the assumption of a mother being the primary pa rent of children. In it, Meigs instructed young physicians to pay careful attention to mother s accounts of their child rens symptoms, urging them to consult such mothers when trying to reac h a diagnosis. While he wa rned that doctors had to always bear in mind the character of the person being interviewed (some mothers being intolerably foolish and prone to exaggeration, he noted), he maintained that there was value in such an exchange. A mother, he argued, when guide d by maternal instinct, wi ll detect variations from the healthful condition of a child, which may entirely escape the search of the most acute and rigorous medical observer.20 Meigs also described numerou s instances in which strict instructions should be left with mothers regarding their sick children. Here again, we see the assumption that a mother and not a father would be present in the nurse ry, caring for an ailing child. Assuming that mothers would reign over the si ckroom, however, was not the only way in which physicians demonstrated their assumption that women would be th eir childrens primary parent. In his discussion about crying infants, Dr. St ephen Tracy noted that the parent should learn to distinguish between the various types of criesof hunger, of pain, and more. He argued, it is important a young mothers attention should be directed to this subject.21 Observe that 19 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 422. 20 John Forsyth Meigs, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children rev. ed. (1848; repr., Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1858), 20. 21 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 199. 110

PAGE 111

in the space of two sentences, Tracy shifts from a gender-neutral reference to the parent to a specific reference to exactly w ho this parent is: a mother. Perhaps the greatest assumpti on of mothers as the primary parent, though, came from childrens book authors. Wh en authors of childrens literature created pa rent characters, they were overwhelmingly female; fathers were relegate d to supporting roles. In this regard, they upheld and strengthened the prevailing argum ent that men and women occupied separate spheres: women reigned over all things domestic a nd private, while men asserted themselves in the public sphere of politics, work, and the like.22 Childrens book authors created mothers who were active in their childrens lives, presidi ng over their education, teaching them how to behave, and imparting morals. Many authors indicated the importance of childrens educatio n through parent characters who were very much engaged and interested in their childrens lessons and in teaching their children. Jacob Abbotts ch aracter of Mrs. Morelle is one goo d example of this. Mrs. Morelle homeschools her children, Florence and John. She provides them with a good room in which to study, ample supplies, and patiently answers their questions, should they n eed help. Furthermore, she keeps them to a fixed schedule during which they are to study. If they get up from their lessons, they must make up for it with an extra half hour. The work that Mrs. Morelle pours into educating her children does not go unrewarde d, as Florence and John are well behaved and well educated.23 22 See, for example, Welter, The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860; Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood ; Ulrich, Good Wives ; Linda Kerber, Separate Spheres, Female Wo rlds, Womans Place: The Rhetoric of Womens History, The Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 9-39. 23 Jacob Abbott, The Florence Stories: Florence and John rev. ed. (1859; repr., New York: Sheldon & Company, 1867). 111

PAGE 112

Like Abbotts Mrs. Morelle character, Sa muel Goodrich provided a similar dutiful mother in his book, Peter Parleys Little Leaves for Little Readers In his story entitled Mammas Lessons, Goodrich describes how a young mother instructs her children, Dick and Lydia. He notes that th e children were very smart for their age, and yet, he notes, they were not taught altogether by books. They had a good mother, who took great pains with their education, and she managed in such a way as to make her lessons very pleasing. She would get her two children round her, a nd then would ask them what creatures lived in the air? what lived in the water? what lived on the earth &c. The children would give such answers as they pleased; if they were right, they were told so; if wrong, th ey were corrected.24 The character of Mrs. Morelle, then, serves as her childrens primary teacher and he r home served as their schoolhouse. Dick and Lydias mother, in cont rast, provides supplementary knowledge to her children, beyond that which they might have lear ned in school. In both instances, the mother demonstrates a great interest in educating her children. In Abbotts No Encouragements, found in Dialogues for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons a Mrs. Warner also follows the pattern of authors advocating for mothers to fill the role of teachers. Mrs. Warner helps her daughter Anna in her lessons after school. Anna Warner, all of eight years old, has begun to learn how to spell and as part of her lesson is attempting to practice spelling complicat ed words such as locomotive. Because she is only just beginning to learn how to spell and write letters, she needs to be able to ask for assistance. Polite Anna, however, does not want to interrupt her mothers reading. Mrs. Warner explains that it will not interrupt her, if you manage right. When you want to speak to me, just stand up as usual, and I shall see you; and then wh en I get to the end of my sentence, I will speak 24 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Peter Parleys Little Leaves for Little Readers (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1844), 26-27. 112

PAGE 113

to you.25 Like Mrs. Morelle of Florence and John Mrs. Warner is patient and provides her daughter with the structure and encouragement need ed for learning. She asks to see Annas slate, and Anna has already written two words. She prai ses Anna, and corrects a couple of letters that Anna did not quite get right. Mr s. Warner then tells her daug hter, when I see you trying so patiently and succeeding so well, in learning to wr ite, it is a pleasure to me to help you. I think what a good time I shall have by-and-by in reading th e pretty little notes and letters that you will write me.26 The image of the kind and patient mother as sisting her children with their lessons is a pervasive one in nineteenthcentury childrens literature. Mothers, as conceived by childrens authors, were also charged with teaching their children how to behave. In Flowers for Children II Lydia Maria Child included many stories that fell under this pattern. The mother depicted in The Unlucky Day, for example, endeavors to teach her daughter to be obedi ent. The daughter, Lucia, tells he r mother one day that one of her friends gets to do whatever she wants, a nd Lucia wants to know why her mother will not allow her to do the same. As a way of teaching her daughter to be obedient and to follow what she tells her to do, Lucias mother tells her th at she can be her own mistress for one week. Needless to say, nothing seems to go well for Lucia. On the first day, she finds two chicks in her hens basket, and brings them inside the house to play. After a while she tires of them, puts the basket on the table and goes outsi de. Upon her return, she finds that the cat has eaten the chicks. She cries to her mother, who tells her, you shou ld not have brought them into the house. The old hen knew what was good for her lit tle ones, much better than you do.27 After several more 25 Jacob Abbott, Dialogues for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers: 1856), 122. 26 Jacob Abbott, Dialogues for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons 125. 27 Child, Flowers for Children II 102. 113

PAGE 114

mishaps, Lucia declares that she no longer wants to be in charge of herself. She has come to the conclusion that, like the hen who knew what was best for her chicks, mothers know what is best for their own children. Through this simple lesson, Ch ild implied, Lucias mother is able to teach her daughter the cornerstone of good behavior: obedience to pa rents. Furthermore, through Lucias observation that mothers know what is best for their lit tle girls, Child reiterated the mantra that mothers ought to serve as their childrens primary parent.28 Part of knowing how to behave, according to nineteenth-century childrens book authors, is conforming to appropriate gender norms: that is, knowing how to be a lady and how to be a gentleman. This was not something that auth ors overlooked in their books for children. In Facts and Fancies for School-Day Reading Catharine Sedgwick was sure to include a lesson in being ladylike, in her story Gentle Voices. Here, Elle n Brewster asks her mother if her friend Mary could stay with the family duri ng the holidays, which her mother forbids. When Ellen asks her mother for a reason, Mrs. Brewster explains that Marys voice a nnoys and irritates Mr. Brewster. She goes on to note that although she has attempted to speak to the girl about her flaw, the habit is either inveterate and cannot be cu red, or she takes no pains to cure it.29 Mrs. Brewster then takes this opportunity to turn the conversation into a lesson, tell ing her daughter, pray remember yourself, my dear child, that a low voice, discreetly used, is a grace in all womankind.30 In the case of young boys, authors did not so much construct mothers as teaching young boys how to be men, but rather as treating them as such so as to help them become men. Jacob Abbotts character Mrs. Morelle provides a good example here. When her son John decides that 28 Child, Flowers for Children II 105. 29 Catharine Sedgwick, Facts and Fancies for School-Day Reading, a Sequel to Morals of Manners (New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1848), 23-24. 30 Sedgwick, Facts and Fancies, 24. 114

PAGE 115

he wants to sail a boat to West Point, she agrees to his plan. She tells herself that being in charge of such a journey will help him beco me a man. Boys, like John, she observes, who are in good health and are gradua lly growing up to manhood feel a great desire to exercise their powers. There is a constant surplus of force which must be expended. This leads them into all sorts of enterprises, and we must do one of three things. We must keep them quiet and still at home, and so let them grow up great babiesor we must let them run loose by themselves, and so get into bad company and fall into evil waysor lastly, we must join them in their schemes, and take part in them ourselves, and even incur some risk and some hardship occasionally, if it is necessary, in allowing them opportunities to exercise and develop their powers.31 Here, while Mrs. Morelle does not give her son instructions on how to become a man or on how to act in a manly way, she provides him with the space and encouragement that he needs to become a man himself. Rather th an actively teaching, she simply acts as his guide. Such was the case with many mother-son interactions written in to this body of childrens literature. While mother characters often provided in struction to their daughters in being ladylike, they were more likely to simply treat their sons as men and thereby assist them in finding their way to manhood.32 Finally, in the minds and words of childrens authors, mothersnot fatherswere the ones trusted to instill in thei r children appropriate morals. Samuel Goodrich wrote of the importance of obedience, for example, in What to Do and How to Do It a collection of short stories for children. In one story, appropriately t itled Obedience, two s ons see a rose bush in their mothers garden. The roses are very prett y, and they each pick one for their mother. She thanks them, but tells them each not to pick a ny more. They obey for two days or so, but then Ben (the eldest) simply cannot help himself; he picks a rose for his mother and his brother Tim 31 Jacob Abbott, The Florence Stories 182. 32 Many scholars have tackled the obvious opportunities fo r gender analysis in childrens literature. See, for example, Beverly Lyon Clark, Regendering the School Story: Sassy Sissies and Tattling Tomboys (New York: Garland Pub, 1996.) 115

PAGE 116

follows suit. The next day Ben tells his mother th at Tim broke his promise not to pick any more roses. Tim denies it, but then accuses Ben of doing the same. I see how it is, their mother says. It is too often so, my dear Ben; it is too often so. You remember very well what I tell Tim, but you forget what I tell you. But what is worse than all, your love of telling tales induced you to tell of Tim, when you were more to blame your self. This is very wron g; for as you are the elder you ought rather to shield your little brother from bl ame than to bring it upon him.33 Here, the mother gives a dual lesson, first a lesson in behavior on the importa nce of obedience, and second a moral lesson in the vice of ly ing and in the treatment of siblings. Published in 1838, Catharine Sedgwicks A Love Token for Children provides perhaps the best example of an author demonstrating thr ough a character that mothers should teach their children morals. In her story Overcome Evil with Good, Sedgwick introduced Widow Ellis and her son Willie. One day, when Willies four beloved ducks got into the neighbors garden, the neighbor killed them. Willie tells his mother and she advises him to pray for the neighbor, Captain Stout. But because he wishes so much evil on the captain, Willie tells her that he does not know if he can. His mother encourages him, however, telling him to overcome evil with good. When a fire breaks out in Captain Stouts stable, Willie comes to the rescue and raises the alarm. Stout thanks the boy and offers for Willie to come live with him, to learn how to be a farmer. Mrs. Ellis agrees to Captain Stouts offe r to teach her son farming, but she insists that Willie live at home. Sedgwick praised Mrs. Elli s and observed that she was not one of those who expect their children will be taught morals and manners away from home; this she knew was home work.34 Though she provided Captain Stout as the pseudo-father who will teach 33 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, What to Do and How to Do It; or, Morals and Manners Taught by Examples (New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1844), 112. 34 Catharine Sedgwick, A Love Token for Children rev. ed. (1838; repr., New York: Harper & Brothers, 1844), 32. 116

PAGE 117

Willie a trade, Sedgwick did not go so far as to entrust him with the boys moral education; this task she preferred to bestow upon his mother. Sedgwick kept to the theme of mothers providing their children s moral education in The Bantem, another story from A Love Token for Children. In The Bantem, Willies mother (not the same as above) read the Bible to her son befo re he could read and explained whatever he did not understand. One of the first maxims he learne d was to do unto others what you would have others do to you.35 Willie thinks this rule was an easy one to follow, but soon learns otherwise. His neighbor, Mrs. Bemis, gives him two small ch ickens: one for himself and one for his cousin George. She puts them in a basket with a cover on it and instructs him not to lift the cover. On his way home, Willie cannot resist taking out one of the chicks to show a friend of his, and he places it in his apron for the remainder of th e journey. Unfortunately for Willie (but more unfortunately for the chick), he falls before he gets home. The chick in the basket survives, but the chick in his apron does not. No matter to Willie; he simply says that George can have the dead chick. His mother asks if Mrs. Bemis want ed George to have that particular chick. No, mother, says Willie, but she said it was no matter which.36 Willies mother points out that now it is a great deal of matter which, and asks her son, if the roles were reversed and George had killed one of the chickens, what should he do? At that, Willie know s the proper course of action and has learned full well that he should do unto others as he would have them do unto him. While there was a father present in this situation, Sedgwick deliberately placed the mother in charge of her sons moral education, there by reinforcing the notion that this was womens duty. 35 Sedgwick, A Love Token for Children 137. 36 Sedgwick, A Love Token for Children 141. 117

PAGE 118

Both didactic and childrens authors tappe d into the empire of the mother in their prescriptive literature by assuming a female parent, detailing her various duties, and by suggesting that her role was irrepl aceable. In this task, however, th ey were not alone. Mothers, as conceived by didactic authors and physicians, play ed a natural role in th eir childrens lives. While fathers were an important component of parenting, they did not have a clear place in the empire of the mother. Harmonious and Efficient Government At the same time, the empire of the mother was not infallible, nor did mothers have a monopoly on parenting. While it is true, as hist orian Stephen Frank says, that a new and insistently maternal note entered the parenting conversation in th e nineteenth century, this is only part of the story. What is perhaps more interesting is that parental advisers believed that mothers and fathers imparted different things to th eir children, had different duties with regard to their children, and that children needed both in order to be raised properly. In making this claim, parental advisers firs t had to impress upon pare nts that fathers could not exempt themselves from their duties. This may have been an uphill battle, considering the amount of real estate they devot ed to the importance of mothers. Many of them emphasized that fathers had much to contribute to a childs upb ringing, and lamented that men were not inclined to be so involved. William Potts Dewees, for ex ample, noted that it was unfortunate that at present, everything connected with the nursery and education, is voted a bore, by the modern fine gentleman; and the physical treatment of his children is a duty he would feel almost disgraced to perform.37 Like Dewees, other parental advi sers insisted on the importance of fathers active involvement in parenting, though they noted that some fathers perhaps wished it 37 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children xi. 118

PAGE 119

not to be true. Judging from their indifference, it would not be an inappropriate question for them to ask, Is there anything for me to do? we cannot look about us anywhere, without meeting the painful conviction, that practically, this question is constantly put by fathers.38 Parental advisers were dismayed at the rampant disregard fathers seemed to have for their obligations. The responsibility of correctly rearin g up a family equally devolves upon both father and mother. And yet it is to be apprehended that many fathers leave nearly the whole burden with the mother. There is a sentiment, perhaps unexpressed in words, yet constantly acted upon, that it is the duty of the father to provide the needful support for the family, while it is the duty of the mother to guide and govern the children. This sentiment has been the ruin of many families, and has brought down the gray hairs of many a father with sorrow to the grave. It is very rare that a family can be well regulated, unless there be cooper ation of both parents in watching over and go verning the children.39 Parental advisers, then, had stern words (and predicted a grim future) for men who were so disinclined to be involved in their childrens upbringing. Perhap s sensing that logic would get him only so far, physician George Ackerley wa s prepared to shame men into being involved fathers. Sympathy was due, he argued, to a woman married to such an unfeeling man. She needs no appeal, for the strongest feeling implanted in the human breast is the love of the mother for her offspring. Observe how she watches her sick in fant, night after night, day after day, without a complaint. See how untiring her efforts, how a ssiduous her cares, to relieve every source of uneasiness; and when dark clouds encompass her, and danger threatens her child, who would say she needs no partner in her cares, no husband to share her responsibilities?40 38 William C. Brown, CoOperation of Fathers, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (July 1852 to January 1853): 122. 39 John S. C. Abbott, Paternal Neglect, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 2 no. 1 (1842): 1 40 George Ackerley, On the Management of Children in Sickness and in Health (New York: Bancroft & Holley, 1836), 39. 119

PAGE 120

Yet for as much as they chided men for thei r lack of involvement, others recognized that parental advisers themselves may have had a hand in this negligence. That is, by their insistence on a mothers influence within the home, they may have inadvertently signaled that fathers were of little consequence. Mary G. Halpine, an editor of The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend illustrated the dilemma parental advisers faced. We cannot over rate the importance of a mothers influence, and a mothers example; yet, in seeking to impress these, we are sometimes in danger of underrating the responsibility a nd obligations which rest upo n the father, as head of the family.41 Certainly parental advise rs had gone to great length s to emphasize the importance of a mothers influence and in doing so, perhaps they had unwittingly indicated that fathers were less critical in parenting. Yet at least one of their numbers ha d, at one point, advocated that fathers be excused from parental duties. In The Young Mother published in 1836, Dr. William Alcott observed that fathers ought not be expected to play an integral role in childrearing. Let it be left to fathers to study the improvement of hounds and horses and cattle, and at the same time to think themselves above the concerns of the nu rsery. All, or nearly all, must devolve on the mother. The father has no time to attend to his children!42 Several years later, however, he recanted these views, emphasizing instead the im portance of a fathers involvement. Addressing other parental advisers, he wrote, let me admonish you, I would say, not to urge less the responsibility of mothers, but more the responsibility of fathers. Do not leave them to despise the nursery, or the little beings there, whom God has given to their charge to rear for himself.43 41 Mary G. Halpine, A Word to Fathers, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) Part I (1854): 18. Emphasis original. 42 William A. Alcott, The Young Mother, or, Management of Children in Regard to Health rev. ed. (1836; repr. Boston: George W. Light, 1838), 265-266. 43 William A. Alcott, Woman But a Helper: Designed for Fathers, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1 no. 10 (1841): 224. Emphasis original. 120

PAGE 121

Whatever his past opinions, Alcott sought to unde rscore the idea that fa thers owed it to their childrenas well as to their wivesto be active participants in childrearing. Not only did fathers have a moral obligation to be involved in thei r childrens lives, but they also had a duty to ensure the health of th eir offspring. With regard to a childs physical well-being, author A. E. Porter observed that if it was true, as the majority of medical writers affirm, that a child is more likely to inherit th e diseases of the father than the mother, fathers should certainly understand enough of physiology to en able them to regard and practice the laws of health, and by self-disciplin e and proper regimen, make themselves worthy to be fathers.44 Porter further admonished fathers to take spec ial care in selecting housing for their families. The father selects the abode of his famil y, and should know the influence of impure air, stagnant water, ill-ventilated rooms, and sha dy spots where the healt hy sunlight cannot be sufficiently felt.45 Ignorance on the part of fathers with regard to their childrens well-being was not an acceptable excuse. Fathers, just as much as mothers, needed to be engaged parents. They needed to embrace this obligati on and, if they did, they might find that they enjoyed being attentive fathers. Those who shrink almost instinc tively from an infant, and even tell us gravely that they know not how to take care of it, might, in a little time, find themselves not merely reconciled to the employment, but for the sake of relieving a dear and valued companion, delighted to do it.46 Parental advisers thus insisted on the necessity of both mother s and fathers to be involved in parenting. They demonstrated the need for this basic necess ity by asserting that mothers and 44 A. E. Porter, Hints to Mothers: Physical Education, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1854 Part II): 118. 45 Porter, Hints to Mothers, 118. 46 Alcott, Woman but a Helper, 226. 121

PAGE 122

fathers had fundamentally different natures, that they imparted diffe rent things to their children, and that children needed both pa rents in order to be raised successfully. Mothers, as they thoroughly established, were more nurturing, more innately cari ng, and exerted an incredible influence over their children. Fathers, for their part, brought structure to a childs life, in the form of authority and strict government. With these ba sic natures, individually a mother or father might fail in parenting. Mothers, naturally tende r and mild, might raise their children to be selfish. Fathers, on the other hand, might be overl y dominant and raise co wardly children. Taken together, however, each balanced out the others fundamental character. Providence has wisely designed that the prevailing and almost opposite mental characteristics of the two sexes should, by reacting on each other, produce that harmonious and efficient government so necessary for the happiness and wellbeing of their offspring. The mothers gentleness modifying the somewhat stern and rugged disposition of the father, a nd his strong will and resolute temper correcting her too yielding tenderness, wh ich shrinks from inflicting pain on a beloved child, even when most required. And, thus united they arrive at that perfection of discipline wh ich neither could attain alone .47 Together, a mother and father provided the prop er balance of disciplin e and tenderness that parenting required. Therefore, it was imperative that both parents be active participants in childrearing. Not to do so, parent al advisers insisted, would be detrimental. I would likewise most earnestly caution you against a very pernicious error into which I have known some parents fall. The error to which I allude is that of one parents resigning the government of the children to the other Let both parents pursue the same course : they would, provided they knew that by the death of one the whole charge would soon devolve upon the other.48 47 Halpine, A Word to Fathers, 18. Emphasis original. 48 Smith, The Parents Friend 27. Emphasis original. 122

PAGE 123

What arose out of these fundame ntal claims was a belief in sex-segregated parenting: the idea that mothers and fathers filled specific and different roles in their childrens lives. This notion is reflected clearly in cust ody cases and didactic literature. In rendering their decisions on child custody, justices reinforced the belief in the value of sex-segregated parenting. Women were pres umed to be more nurturing than men, and young children (particularly infants and toddlers) were pr esumed to need the care and attention of their mothers more than their fathers. Over the course of the century justices crafted a tender years doctrine that reflected these assumptions, awarding mothers of young childrenespecially girlscustody. Children not of tender years, and especially boys, tended to be awarded to their fathers. Cases involving filius nullius or bastardy, represented yet another permutation in child custody law. In these cases, justices tended to award custody to the moth er rather than the putative father.49 In 1846 the Supreme Court of Il linois rendered its decision in Cowls v. Cowls, an appeal brought by Thomas Cowls over a lower courts d ecision regarding the custody and maintenance of his two young children, Thomas (Jr.) and Mary Jane. A year earlier, the circuit court had granted custody to their mother, Ann Cowls, and had charged Thomas Cowls with their maintenance. The decision was based on the fact that the children were very young, that Mr. Cowls was vulgar, neglectful, and frequently drunk, and furthermore that he had lived with his lover before marrying her. The lover was descri bed as a woman of notoriously bad character, and not in any way qualified for the care and education of the children.50 The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the lower courts ruling. The just ices censured Thomas Cowls behavior and 49 For more on the tender years doctrine, see Michael Grossberg, Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1985). 50 Cowls v. Cowls 3 Gilm. 435 (Ill. 1846). 123

PAGE 124

argued that the lower court had th e right to remove children from such a father. Here we have grouped together into one disgusti ng and revolting picture, those features of a fathers character who has become unworthy of the charge of his own offspring, and any one of which will authorize the court in its discretion, to interfere and remove the child without the influence of such a polluted atmosphere.51 In reaching the decision, the Illinois Supreme Court made a judgment as to Cowls fitness as a father, which they determined was abysmal. Furthermore, the court took into consideration whether or not the childrens new stepmother (whom they referred to as a prostitute) could be entrusted with their upkeep. Finally, the justices considered the ages of the children, both under ten. In the end, the court decided that neither Cowls nor his paramour were fit to be pare nts of such young and impressionabl e children. Rather than denying the father custody based solely on his behavior, the court firs t took into consideration the parental fitness of the stepmoth er. In part, the case hinged not only on the biological mother to whom the children could be sent, but also on th eir nonbiological stepmoth er in whose care the children already were. Finding both the father and the stepmother unfit to be parents, the court awarded the mother custody. The court made it clear th at it is not the rights of the mother that we are to enforce, but rather those of the children.52 In doing so, they rein forced the notion that young children required the care and a ttention of their mothers. Fa thers simply did not measure up. Perhaps, though, the justices in the Cowls case were swayed by Thomas Cowls detestable behavior: drinking, swearing, living in sin, all in the presen ce of his children. How would the court decide a custody case if the fath ers character was above reproach? Three years 51 Cowls 3 Gilm. 435. 52 Cowls 3 Gilm. 435. 124

PAGE 125

after the Cowls decision, the Illinois Supreme Court rendered its decision in the custody case Miner v. Miner The justices remarked on the serious natu re of their task, not only to interfere with the interests of suitors, but to sound the deepest feelings of the human heartthe love of parents for their children.53 Despite the fact that both parents seemed to love their daughter equally, the court granted sole cu stody to the mother. The justices cited the tender years doctrine, noting that it must be considered even when the father is without blame, merely because of his inability to bestow upon it that tender care which nature require s, and which it is the peculiar province of a mother to supply.54 While they acknowledged that Ma rtin Miners behavior as a father had been exemplary, they nonetheless felt he would be an unsuitable parent to his young daughter, due to the perceived differences be tween mothers and fathers. They noted, it can not be expected that he would bestow that pe rsonal care and attention upon a girl seven or eight years ol d, which may be expected from a mother. If left with the father, the child must, to a great extent be entrusted to th e superintendence of others; her nature will lead her to as sociate with her own sex, by whom her manners will be formed, her thoughts and tastes directed, and, in truth, her character mainly moulded. His occupati ons will doubtless preven t that constant watchfulness over her, so essential to her proper cultivation, and which could be better contributed by a vigilant and tender mother.55 In order to be raised properl y, then, the young girl needed the a ttention of a mother. Barring that, if left in the custody of her father, the child w ould require a woman who could take the place of a mother. Though her father may have loved her as dearly as a parent c ould love a child, his gender prevented him from being able to raise her properly. Justices deciding custody cases did not always have the option of deciding between a male and female parent; oftentimes othe r relations were invo lved. In the 1842 case Foster v. 53 Miner v. Miner 11 Ill. 43 (1849). 54 Miner, 11 Ill. 43. 55 Miner, 11 Ill. 43. 125

PAGE 126

Alston, the Supreme Court of Mississippi had to d ecide whether to leave a deceased fathers children with his brother, as he had desired, or with his widow. As A. S.J. Alston lay dying in Tennessee in 1834, he instructed his brother James to take cu stody of his children. You have been a father to me, and you will be a father to them, he said.56 According to his dying wishes, his wife was to remain with the children at James Alstons house and should she remarry, leave the children with him. After se veral years, the widow remarried and, after a turn of events, decided to take her children w ith her to her new home in Mi ssissippi. James Alston took his former sister-in-law to court, claiming guardia nship of his brothers children. The Mississippi trial court agreed, and granted him custody. On the mothers appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the tria l courts decision, arguing that the children ought to remain with their mother, the proper place for all female children.57 In rendering their decision, the court suggested that James Alstons clai m of guardianship, as an uncle, was preposterous. But what are we called on to do with these children, by the petiti oner, the testamentary guardian? To tear these tender female children, aged nine and te n years, from the care and custody of a fond, devoted and capable mother, and place them unde r the care of a bachelor uncle, residing some seventy-five miles from their mother. To state th e proposition would seem to decide it. Let every mother, let every father, answer this question.58 Even if he were granted custody, they argued, he would need to seek the assistance of a female relation or friend to fill the role of a mother. As in the case of Martin Miner, James Alstons gender was a barrier to hi m being an acceptable guardian of young girls. 56 Foster and Wife v. Alston 6 Howard 406 (Miss. 1842). 57 Foster 6 Howard 406. 58 Foster 6 Howard 406. 126

PAGE 127

While women were presumed to be more na tural caretakers for young children and girls, older boys seemed not to fall within their expert ise. Justices preferred to award the custody of these boys to fathers rather than mothers, refl ecting another distinct gender bias. As the case Paine v. Paine demonstrates, even fathers who were accused of ill treatment still were awarded custody of boys. In 1843, the Supreme Court of Tenne ssee lamented that they were charged with divvying up young children between the divorced Paines In his majority opinion, Justice Turney wrote, among the multiplied duties of a court, there are none the discharge of which is attended with more pain and regret than those which inte rfere with the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child. These relations are of so sacred a character, and involve to so great an extent the peace and happiness of mankind in genera l, that it cannot be otherwise than a source of deep mortification to a well-regulated and humane mind to be compelled publicly to investigate and determine conf licting rights arisin g out of feuds existing between them.59 Having lived with a verbally abusive and neglectfu l husband for a number of years, Eliza Paine made the decision to leave her husbands house and take their three childre n with her. In the initial trial, she argued that the childrens tend er years necessitated her care. The circuit court agreed and awarded Eliza Paine custody of all th ree children. On appeal the Supreme Court of Tennessee was not as convinced. The eldest child, Henry, was now nearly eight years old. Not only was he a boy, but his age meant that he was growing into a young man, requiring the attention of a father. Henry, the court decided, c an be better raised by the father than the mother, while the others are of too tender an ag e to be removed at present from the fostering care of the mother.60 Just as men like Martin Miner and James Alston were prevented by 59 The State on the Relation of Paine v. Paine 4 Hum. 523 (Tenn. 1843). 60 Paine 4 Hum. 523. 127

PAGE 128

their gender from raising girls properly, women like Eliza Paine were seen as unacceptable single parents for boys entering young manhood. Justices were not alone in thinking that moth ers and fathers served different roles in their childrens lives. Didactic authors, too, articulated th is gendered difference in their books for parents and children. Perhaps the most impressi ve example comes from Catharine Sedgwicks childrens novel Home In Home Sedgwick appears to break the trend of absent fathers in her creation of the character William Barclay, a man who appears ve ry interested in raising his children. Mr. Barclay is a printer with a wife and seven children. His wifes sister lives with them, as well as his mother. Despite the fact that his income is stretched given his large family, Mr. Barclay is determined that his childrens education will not suffer. One evening, a visitor drops by for dinner and remarks that it seems that the Barclays are very inconsistent; they dress plainly and have plain furniture, but they pay to send their children to lectures and to lessons. Here, Mr. Barclay embarks on a soliloquy on the importance of his childrens education: I am a prosperous man in my business, but my income is limited, and I must select those objects of expenditure that appear to me wisest. Now I had rather Alice should learn to draw, than she should wear the prettiest ear-rings in New York, or any hard-ware of that description. I would rather my boys should learn from Professor Griscom something of the nature and riches of the world they live in, than to have a mirror the whole length of my mantel-piece. I can spare money elsewhere, but, till I am compelled, I ll not spare it in the education of my children.61 It is obvious that Sedgwicks character of W illiam Barclay exhibited a keen interest in his childrens lives and upbringing, wh ich might seem to cast him as an outlier, as someone who does not fit the trend of women as the primary parent. However, Sedgwick was quick to point 61 Catharine Sedgwick, Home rev. ed. (1835; repr., Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1837), 37. Emphasis original. 128

PAGE 129

out that it was his mother who instilled in hi m this belief. When li ttle William was growing up, Sedgwick noted, his mother directed all her ener gies to one object, the sine qua non of a New-England mother, a good education for her son.62 Thus, Sedgwick implied, the character of Barclay must be seen as the product of his mothers attention to him, and his ideas attributed to her. Mr. Barclays character also serves to elucidate a key difference in the way mothers and fathers interacted with their childrens education. Mothers, as conceived by childrens authors, demonstrate their devotion to their childrens education by being active agents, for example by teaching them directly or by assisting in thei r lessons. Fathers, on the other hand, are more indirectly involved. In the case of Mr. Barclay, he opted to spend his money on educating his children (by paying someone else to do it) rather than spending his time. Not only did this tactic help to reinforce the overriding di scourse of women as natural educators, it also helped to promote the notion that men were the natural breadwinners of a family. The True Head of the House For all the valorization of mothers and for all the talk about their natural abilities, parental advisers made it clear mothers were not infallible. Their natural affection for their children, if left unchecked, could lead their ch ildren to ruin. Because a fathers authority provided the antidote to unrestrai ned indulgence, parental advisers accorded fathers dominance over mothers with regard to childrearing. Fathers were thus granted latitu de to supervise their spouses childrearing decisions. (R evealingly, parental advisers di d not seem concerned that a fathers authority would cause a ny harm if left similarly unchecked. Mothers, then, were not granted the veto that fathers had.) This trope, while present, does not ap pear frequently in the 62 Sedgwick, Home 2-3. 129

PAGE 130

literature. Perhaps because they worked so ha rd to emphasize the empire of the mother, parental advisers spent less time on mothers wea knesses. Nonetheless, across parental advisers work, fathers were cast as the ultimate heads of households, having control not only over their children but also over their wives. Wives and moth ers, in these instances, were depicted as wellintentioned but simple-minded, and very much in need of the kind of assistance that could only be provided by men. Here, fathers appear to exte nd their parenting to in clude wives as well as children. In Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers Mrs. H. W. Beecher (1812-1897), wife of Henry Ward Beecher, acknowledged that a mother was capable of understanding her children better than a father because of the sheer amount of time she dedi cated to them. While a father could devote only a few moments at a time to his children, the mother must watch over them hourly, providing for all their constantly recurring wants.63 Far from being an impediment to a fathers parenting, Beecher believed that this gave him an advantage (or, perhaps, that the great amount of time a mother spent with her children left her at a disadvantage). During the time he is at home with his wife and children, Beecher expl ained, he can quickly see the weaknesses in his wifes parenting skills. He may see plainly how, at times, she weakly yields to their caprices, allowing herself to become a slave to them.64 While parental advisers were, on the one hand, quick to acknowledge the benefits of a mothers solicitude and devotion, th ey were equally quick to demonstrate the ways in which these strengths could become a detriment. Her devotion to her children might make her overlook their faults, while her solicitude might turn them into tyrants. 63 Mrs. H. W. Beecher [Eunice Beecher], Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers: Embracing Eighty-Seven Brief Articles on Topics of Home Interest, and about Five Hundred Choice Receipts for Cooking, Etc. (New York: J. B. Ford and Company, 1873), 245. 64 Beecher, Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers 246. 130

PAGE 131

Rev. John S. C. Abbott agreed that this was a danger, noting that, the mother cannot generally see the defects of the children so clearly as can the father. 65 Furthermore, this chink in a mothers ar mor could lead her to sabotage her husbands attempts to raise his children properly. Her devoti on to them could turn into an inability to govern them properly and disciplin e them. A man married to such a woman might try to correct her course, but to no avail. Sometimes, when a father is anxious to do his duty, the mother is a weak and foolish woman, who thinks that every punish ment and deprivation of indulgence is cruelty to her children. And when any one of them is punished, she will, by her caresses, do away the effect of the discip line and convey to the mind of the child the impression that his father is crue l and unjust. A man who has formed so unhappy a connection is indeed in a deplorable condition. And if his wife is incapable of being convinced of the rui nous consequences of such a course, he must take upon himself the whole duty of government.66 A father in such a positionmarried to a woman who was so blinded by her love for her children that she could not raise them properlywas left without a helpmate in his most important task. Just as they pitied women whose husbands excu sed themselves from all childrearing tasks, parental advisers empathized with men whose wives were incapable mothers. However, while women saddled with negligent husbands had little recourse, men married to ineffectual wives could take action. In cases such as this, fathers needed to a ssert themselves as heads of households and demonstrate to their wives the error of their ways Mrs. H. W. Beecher, for example, argued that once a husband became aware of his wifes deficiencies in parenting, he ought to point them out to her once he could speak to her privately. Th is was a time, Beecher argued, in which the husband could prove which is the stronger, whic h better fitted to be the true head of the 65 John S. C. Abbott, Paternal Neglect, 1. Emphasis original. 66 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, 75. 131

PAGE 132

house.67 Furthermore, should his wife be unreceptiv e to his helpful parenting suggestions, the husband should be prepared to remove his children from her care immediately, and place them in some school where health and morals may be carefully watched over.68 Like nineteenthcentury courts, Beechers solution to an incapable mother was simply to take her children away from her. This way, she implied, the dama ge to the children would be minimized. Parental advisers were convinced of a mothe rs devotion to her children, and they were aware of her powerful influence over them. Yet th ey recognized that both, if unchecked, could go horribly wrong. At the point at which a moth ers affection threatened to undermine her childrens best interests, it was up to the father to assert his authority and teach his wife proper parenting methods. In The Young Husband, William Alcott spoke to the impor tance of men educating their wives for parenthood. He related a story in which an acquaintance of his bemoaned the fact that his wife was incapable of educating their children. Her mind, the friend said, is uncultivated, and though she attends to the bodily wants of my children, in a very becoming manner, she is wholly unprepared to educate them So utterly unfit is she for th e task, that my eldest daughter, now old enough to go into company, is quite unprepared for it.69 Yet Alcott, rather than siding with his friend, found sympathy for the wife and noted his friends failure as head of the household. If he was sensible of her deficiencies, why did not the husband seek for a remedy by enlightening her? Why spend all his leisure hours in reading or writing by himself, as he was accustomed to do, and leave his wife uninforme d, and then complain of it to others?70 Alcott, 67 Beecher, Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers 246. 68 Beecher, Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers 246-247. 69 Alcott, The Young Husband 339-340. 70 Alcott, The Young Husband 341. 132

PAGE 133

like Beecher and others, believed it to be a fathers duty to compensate for his wifes failings by educating her properly. Just as it was a mothers obligation to educate her children properly, so too was it a fathers obligation to do the same for his wife. Other parental advisers cast mothers in a similarly child-like way, needing the unwavering help of fathers when parenting be came too difficult. Jacob Abbotts Rollo series, for example, depicted a rational and firm, yet caring father contrasted agains t a loving and affectionate, yet foolish mother. Whenever Rollos mother acted incorrectly as a parent to her young son, Rollos father was always there to fix her errors. Abbotts book Rollos Travels provides a good example of this. At the outset of Rollos Travels, Rollo is preparing to go on a journey with his father and packing his belongings for the trip. He decides that he wants to take his kite, but his mother tries to dissuade him. She begins by telling him that he will not have any one to raise it with him, and therefore it is not worth taking. Rollo in turn, counters with the fa ct that he intends to raise it with Horatio, a boy whom he expects to see on hi s journey. Mother tries again, this time saying that the kite might get lost or broken. At this, Abbott takes his opportunity to interject: Rollos mother made a mistake. She was assigning false reasons. The real reason why Rollo ought not to take his kite was, that it would be an inconvenient and troublesome thing to carry; but instead of assigning this reason, or, what would have been better still, giving no reason at all, but simply telling him that he could not be allowed to carry it, she attempted to persuade him to give it up, by urging arguments which were really not of much weight; and so Rollo was not satisfied with them, but was only the more eager to have the kite go.71 Here, Abbott injected his opinion on the proper co urse of action for Rollo s mother to have taken. She comes across as being not as rational as Rollos father, w ho tells him that it is not best for Rollo to take his kite, and furthermore makes Rollo feel badly for having asked to take it in the first place. According to Abbott, Rollos sens ible father needed to be there to correct the 71 Jacob Abbott, Rollos Travels rev. ed. (1839; repr., Philadelphia: B. F. Jackson, 1853), 17-18. Emphasis original. 133

PAGE 134

failings of Rollos mother. However, the character of Rollos father is not the only way Abbott makes up for the mothers deficiencies; by inject ing his own voice into the story, Abbott himself acted to correct her error. Fathers needed to be aware of the different circumstances in which they might need to intervene. Certainly, a mothers ineptitude with regard to childrearing would require him to take the lead. But his unfaltering hand, his assured confidence might also be necessary if she were to succumb to her emotional weaknesses as well. In On the Management of Children for example, physician George Ackerley argued that it wa s imperative for a father to be involved in childrearing, as such knowledge could help prevent the death of his child. A sick child, he opined, needed the care of its loving mother, w ho by her tenderness was evidently ordained to perform this important duty.72 In this regard, he agreed w ith other parental advisers who articulated similar beliefs about a womans natur al abilities. However, Ackerley argued, if a sickness should take a turn for the worse, leaving the mother distraught, it was important for a father to be able to step in. It is during those hours of doubt a nd difficulty, while the female is, perhaps, almost overcome with anxiety and watchi ng, that the sustaining influence of the father is frequently required, not only to see carried into effect those measures which, perhaps, alone can save his child, but, by his own knowledge, prev ent fuel being added to the flame, by glaring mismanagement.73 While most parental advisers did not stray from valorizing a woma ns influence over her children and took it for granted that mothers were superior parents to fathers, otherslike Beecher, Alcott, and the Abbottstook a different approach. According to them, while a mother 72 Ackerley, On the Management of Children 38. 73 Ackerley, On the Management of Children 39. 134

PAGE 135

may spend more time with her children, that did not necessarily mean that she was a better parent than her husband. Rather, it may have made her a worse parent, prone to overindulgence on account of constantly being worn down by her ch ildrens demands. In such a case, as their comments demonstrate, it was left to the father to step in and educate the mother about proper parenting. Summary During the 1840s and 1850s, parental advisers further refined what they expected of parents. Their work reflected the belief in gendered parenting: mothers and fathers were fundamentally different. They firmly believed in what Rev. Artemas Bowers Muzzey referred to as the empire of the mother. Women were mo re naturally tender and nurturing and, according to many parental advisers, were c onsidered the primary parent. Yet this did not mean that fathers were exempt from childrearing obligations (d espite how many men, according to parental advisers, wished that to be the case). Rather than permitting men to skirt their duties, parental advisers insisted on fathers importance in paren ting. Fathers created a sort of partnership with mothers that ensured their children would get wh at they needed: the st ern governance of their fathers and the tender devotion of their mothers. This reflected parental advisers belief that fathers and mothers contributi ons to parenthood were fundamenta lly different, and that children needed both parents in order to grow up successf ully. In theory, this meant that each parent provided a check on the other, ensuring harmony in the parenting partnership. The mothers tenderness would counter the fath ers authority, and vice versa. Neither would be allowed free reign. In practice, however, parent al advisers really only upheld a fathers authority within his household. Here, if his wife clear ly needed intervention in her childrearing abilities, he would step in to correct her failings. Having thus more clearly defined what it was to be a parent and 135

PAGE 136

136 what was expected of mothers and fathers, parental advisers would turn thei r attention in the next decades to shaping them into hi ghly trained professional parents.

PAGE 137

CHAPTER 5 PROFESSIONALIZING PARENTHOOD The government of the family is more like that of the Almighty than any other, and the prerogatives of the parent are only less than divine. Rev. William Barnes, The Home 1 By mid-century, Rev. William Barnes a nd countless other likeminded men and women began to tap into the growing discourse of professionalization to cast parenthood as a professionsomething which required education and training, and something for which not all were qualified. As Americans began to place grea ter trust into trained, ed ucated, and experienced professionals, parental advisers us ed that to their benefit, both fo r themselves and their audience. While the parental advisers of previous decades navigated the waters of their own expertise as they were beginning to sort out what it mean t to be a parent, by the 1850s and 1860s the successors of these self-styled experts had become convinced that parents needed to be trained by professional advisers in order to fill their roles as professional mothers and fathers. In the hands of the ignorant and unsk illed, parenthood could wreak havoc on the hearth and the world beyond. Only the best could steer their families in the right direction. In the hands of parental advisers, through their ever-narrowing definitions of what was appropriate and what was not, parenthood was beginning to rese mble an exclusive club. In order to professionalize pare nthood, parental advisers first needed to supply their pupils with good informationexpert trainingthat wo uld prepare mothers and fathers for the treacherous road of parenthood. As they had alre ady established, the stakes were high indeed. And as they were beginning to realize, danger lurked around every corner, in the form of moral 1 William Barnes, The Home, The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend and Family Manual (Boston) (July 1851-January 1852): 2. 137

PAGE 138

temptation for children, the bad influence of se rvants, and deplorable advice or unenlightened folklore espoused by nurses and others. Parental advisers drew a distinction between their expertise and the untrained, uninformed and, sometimes, incidental guidance of others. Second, their work in this regardthis parental traini ngwas crucial because, as they argued, parents were the only ones who could fulfill their particul ar duties. As with any other profession, parents had a distinct niche to fill. Parents had a respons ibility that they could not transfer to others. Parental advisers were firm about this because, in their eyes, the family was sacrosanct, and not to be tampered with. At the same time, though, they made an exception for themselvestheir very work was an intrusion, illustrated most effectively by physicians and justices. Finally, parental advisers had to contend with what common schools meant for parenting. This was especially important because, at this time, common schools were becoming more prevalent, throwing into question what role institutions outside the family played in raising children. Parental advisers saw public school s as bastions of moral evil, cap able only of teaching children how to swear andperhaps more worrisomereleasi ng parents from their natural obligations to home and country. Parental advisers of this period faced trem endous challenges as they worked to further definefor themselves as much as for others what it meant to be a good parent. In doing so, they continued to restrict their definition of appropriate middle-class parenthood. They were convinced that parenting was a professional occ upation, one that required dedication to strict standards. They knew that not everyone could meet these standards. Earlier parental advisers thought they could teach these st andards and create good parents. No w, their successors began to believe that not everyone could parent. Only the bestthose who had been properly trained could take on such a task. Now they faced the monumental task of convincing their audience. 138

PAGE 139

Good Advisers, Good Books, and Much Encouragement In the preface to The Mother at Home, Rev. John S. C. Abbott observed, there are many mothers, in every village of our land, who ar e looking eagerly for information respecting the government of their children.2 As women began to consciously limit their pregnancies, and families became smaller, the opportunities for young adults to learn how to raise children dwindled. Furthermore, as couples moved further away from their families, it became harder to pass on childrearing knowledge from generation to generation. In this context, Abbotts statement is easy to believe. Parents n eeded good advisers, good books, and much encouragement. But how few of them have either!3 Facing a knowledge vacuum when it came to their most important task, parent s appeared desperate for advice. If parental advisers can be believed, this desperation was born in part out of a struggle simply to keep children alive in such a perilous world. It is not an ove rstatement to say that nineteenth-century American parents had reason to worry that their children might die; infant mortality rates were high, after all. Rev. Muzzey perhaps overstating his claim, asserted there was a 50 percent mortality rate amon g children under the age of five.4 While such records are difficult to recover, historian Richard Meckel ar gues that an informed estimate would be that somewhere between fifteen and twenty percent of a ll American infants born in the second half of the nineteenth century died before they could celebrate their first birthdays.5 Nancy Schrom Dye and Daniel Blake Smith, too, poi nt out the high rate of infant mortality at this time: During the nineteenth century as much as 40 percent of the total death rate was comprised of the deaths 2 John S. C. Abbott, The Mother at Home, 5. 3 James Porter, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14 no. 5 (1849): 103. 4 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 32. 5 Richard Meckel, Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality, 18501929 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 1. 139

PAGE 140

of children under the age of five.6 Because parents were not born with an innate knowledge of how to raise children, they might well lead them down a path of ruin while thinking they were doing the right thing. The father loves his son; he would not will ingly neglect to train him aright; but he does not know, he does not know the best means and methods of making him what his heart desires to s ee him. The mother would not for worlds do any harm to this daughter. No; she is full of affecti on and full of devotedness to her; but alas! her love is blind. She does not perceive, that, instead of educating her well, preparing her for mental excellence, self-d ependence, self-sacrifice, real piety, and an unblemished worth, she is leading her every day in the opposite direction. She is doing what for her right hand she would not do, could she foresee the result of her course.7 Without good information to follow, such a mother is left blind with regard to the management of her children. She raises her children in ignor ance, spoiling her chance to raise them properly, and dooming them to repeat her mistakes. Had sh e been favored with a copy of The Mothers Assistant, or some similar work these evils would have been evaded. But this was thought unnecessary, or too expensive. They could not a fford to take everything, so they take The Ploughman, to learn the art of training pigs and chickens, and left the ch ildren to grow up under the discipline of ignorance and inexperience.8 Parental advisers saw little excuse for such ignorance and inexperience. As their predecessors had established in earlier decades, parents were made and not born. They required training and instruction in order to parent properly and, parental advisers made sure, such training a nd instruction was availa ble to them. Like the bricklayer who needs the proper tools to do his job, it was up to parents to secure the proper training. Without it, parents might lead their children to ruin or even death. 6 Nancy Schrom Dye and Daniel Blake Smith, Mother Love and Infant Death, 1750-1920, Journal of American History 73, no. 2 (September 1986): 330. 7 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 5. Emphasis original. 8 James Porter, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14 no. 5 (1849): 103104. 140

PAGE 141

Parental advisers anxi ously fretted over the dangers faci ng children that might bring them to such harm. To justify their fears in this regar d, they pointed to the fact that the world in which children were growing up (and, perhaps more importantly, in which parents were raising children) was perilous. Danger lu rked around every corner, in the form of vice and mischief. Children were exposed to innumerable potentia lly dangerous influences, from friends and schoolmates to nurses and servants. Outsiders to the family, these groups represented the uncontrolled and dangerous environment that exis ted beyond the walls of the home. Whereas in previous decades, parental advisers primarily concerned themselves with what parents were doing incorrectly in raising their children (internal threats, as it were), they now realized there existed a host of external thr eats to raising children properly. Parents needed good information in order to raise their children in an environm ent so treacherous to their childrens moral upbringing. The influence of childhood friends could not be avoided, to be sure. With regard to these youthful friendships, Lydia Maria Child noted th at a childs friends would have prodigious influence thereon, necessitating extrem e caution on the part of parents.9 But parental advisers were convinced that the harm these little influencers wrought could be minimized, with just the right amount of parental meddling. The safest method, Child advised, is not to put children in the way of those whom you dare not trust. Do not expressly forbid an acquaintance, (unless great faults of character demand such restrictions,) bu t endeavor by every possible means to withdraw your child from society you deem improper.10 Others argued that parents needed to adopt a more intrusive role in the selection of chil dhood friends. Dr. William Potts Dewees warned that 9 Child, The Mothers Book 150. 10 Child, The Mothers Book 150. 141

PAGE 142

children should be kept from associating with vulgar characters, as such friendships and acquaintances would prove injurio us to a childs morals. On th is account, Dewees argued, a child is seldom safe, either morally or physical ly, who is permitted to choose its companions, the nature of its game or amusement, from under the parents inspection and control.11 The safest route, then, was for parents to hand-pick their childrens friends. Rev. Artemas Bowers Muzzey agreed, noting, at the risk of o ffending the nearest relative, or most valued friend on earth, and however painful to himself or his child, he should never permit him to associate intimately with one who he sees and knows is, both by example and persuasion, infusing a daily poison into his mortal lifeblood.12 Jacob Abbott put it more simply. When choosing playmates and friends, or making other decisions that w ould not be safe for children to make themselves, he was quite clear on what parents should do: Decide for them.13 In order to be certain that childrens morals remained unscathed, parents had to carefully control the environment around their sons and daughters. This would prove more difficult when it came to domestic help and, later, common schools. Parental advisers warned th at friends and acquaintances could damage a childs moral upbringing, but so too could domestic servants. Here, the dangers were many: children might pick up bad habits from servants, servants might treat children meanly, and because we change domestics so frequently in this country it was difficult to know their principles and nature.14 While in the past, servants would have been in timately known to the family, perhaps considered family members themselves, servants to the urba n middle-class at this ti me were tantamount to 11 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 209. 12 Artemas Bowers Muzzey, The Fireside: An Aid to Parents (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1854), 171. 13 Jacob Abbott, Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young 232. 14 Child, The Mothers Book 117. 142

PAGE 143

strangers. Furthermore, such domestics were even more removed from the families they served because they were of a different social class and often a different ethnicity, if not a different race. Faye Dudden, for example, notes that nine teenth-century servan ts were composed overwhelmingly of immigrants, predominatel y Irish, as well as African Americans.15 For all of these reasons, they were a threat to parenting. One most fertile source of injury to children is found in servants who, according to Theodore Dwi ght, transfer to children the habits and sentiments of some of the most degraded, and too often vicious states of society.16 Jacob Abbott warned that domestics might terrorize children with threats of hobgoblins or the black man, and so infect their mi nds with irrational fear.17 And Lydia Maria Child argued that while she would not forbid children to speak to servants, lest they inte rpret that as a sign of their superiority, she nonetheless woul d withdraw them from the in fluence of domestics merely because there is a chance that such influence will be impure.18 The influence of friends, acquaintances, and domestics was something of which parents had to be constantly mindful. Such people could have an adverse effect on a childs moral upbringing. But an even greater threat to parents trying to raise their children properly was the threat of bodily injury, and even death. Not only could friends, domestics, and others negatively influence a childs moral upbringing, but they could also teach him destructive habits that could lead to injury and worse. Certainly at the top of this list wa s self-pollution, or masturbation. In Solitary Vice written 15 Faye E. Dudden, Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 19 83). See also Thomas Dublin, Transforming Womens Work: New England Lives in the Industrial Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994); Margaret Lynch-Brennan, The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009). 16 Dwight, The Fathers Book 192-193. 17 Jacob Abbott, Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young 18-20, 129. 18 Child, The Mothers Book 118 143

PAGE 144

with the express intent of helping parents talk to their children about self-pollution, health reformer and author Mary Gove Nichols (18101884) cautioned parents that children often learned this solitary vice from acquaintances, friends, and even schoolmates. She described meeting two young women, ladies of the first resp ectability, who confesse d that they learned the practice from acquaintances at their boarding school. Gener ally speaking, Gove Nichols asserted, schools are nurseries of vice.19 Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) minister and dietary reformer, agreed and observed that childhood fr iendsmore often than other influenceswere the perpetrators behind teaching one another the di rty habit. Servants, and other laboring people of loose morals, often become the secret precepto rs of children in this dreadful vice. It is, however, more frequently communicated from one boy to another; and sometimes a single boy will corrupt many others.20 Not only could self-po llution turn children into weak, sickly beings, ill-fit for life in the New Republic, but conti nued practice could ultimately kill them. Unless parents could monitor ev ery interaction their children had in the environment outside home and hearth, the dangers their children would encounter were treach erous. Parental advisers insisted that parents had to be aware of these dangers and do what they could to manage that which seemed to be out of their control. While servants and childhood friends bore so me of the blame for leading children to injury, more bile was reserved for nurses. Unlike threats outside the household, this was something parents could theoretical ly control. The threat that th e mismanagement of the nurse may inflict a disease which will be the curse of a child during its earthly existence, and even 19 Mary Gove Nichols, Solitary Vice: An Address to Parents and Those Who Have the Care of Children (Portland, ME: Journal Office, 1839), 16. 20 Sylvester Graham, A Lecture to Young Men (Providence, RI: Weeden and Cory, 1834), 42. 144

PAGE 145

terminate that existence prematurely weighed heavily.21 In a letter to the editor of The Mothers Assistant for example, one woman wrote in to decry the grave mismanagement of children at the hands of nurses. She had recently paid a visi t to a house with a four-month-old baby whose nurse, thinking that his mothers milk was not enough for him, now that he had become so old, carried him to the table at meal time, and gave him coffee and tea of the same strength as the family drank, and then, for fear he might suffer by hunger fed him with high-seasoned meat ; and the mother supposing the nurse must know, allowed it to be done!22 Even well-intentioned nurses, then, could do irreparable damage to unsusp ecting infants. Similarly, A. E. Porter wrote, not a mile from my own door, a poor infant was made blind by the ignorance of its nurse, and recounted the case of a child born with a health y organization, but whose brain was diseased for life by the ignorant officiousness of a neighbor present at its birth. She used a large quantity of rum, a cup full if I remember correctly, upon the head of the child in dressing it for the first time.23 Across the country, nurses hands were stained with the blood of innumerable children, to the dismay and grief of countless families. According to Dr. William Potts Dewees, parents reliance on nurses had resulted in the deaths of innumerable childrenso many, he claimed, that doctors should be suspected of indul ging in hyperbole if they revealed it.24 William Alcott, too, peppered his Mothers Medical Guide with examples of similar blunders by nurses. One common error of nurses, Alcott argued, was to admi nister some filthy substa nce or other to the 21 James Porter, Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14 no. 5 (1849): 102. 22 Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1, no. 3 (March 1841): 55. Emphasis original. 23 Porter, Hints to Mothers: Physical Education, 119. 24 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 139. 145

PAGE 146

child unnecessarily.25 Time and again, parental advisers reit erated the dangers of trusting nurses, whose untutored guidance (they claimed) could only serve to bring heartbreak to families. The tremendous criticism they leveled at nurses mirrored a similar attack against midwives. Though midwives education was far differe nt than that of trained physicians (it being based in experience rather than formal training), midwives represented a threat to physicians in terms of the clientele both groups sought. Physic ians had a vested interest in cornering the market and hindering their competition. In order to do so, they cast midwives as outdated and illinformed, a dangerous combin ation for a mother-to-be.26 Perhaps the harshest claim against midw ives came from Dr. Hugh Hodge (1796-1873), forceps inventor and professor of obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Speaking at a ceremony in honor of the late Dr. William Potts Dewees in 1842, Hodge turned his eulogy, in part, into a justification for w hy midwives were not appropriate attendants in childbirth. As he spoke, Hodge reminded his audience of a dark period, when the science of Obstetrics was hardly known in America and a midwife was th e only option for a woman seeking a childbirth attendant.27 Calling the midwife an aged and imbecile nurse, Hodge went on to describe how dangerous it was for women to give birth in her care.28 Experience lamentably demonstrated that the attentions of the nurse, however experi enced, were unavailing; ye a, that the officious interference of ignorant pr actitioners in a process so wonderf ul and so abstruse as that of parturition, was too often productive of the most fatal consequences to the child and its mother, 25 Alcott, The Mothers Medical Guide in Childrens Diseases 35. 26 See Mohr, Abortion in America. 27 Hugh Hodge, Eulogium on William P. Dewees, M.D. (Philadelphia: Merrihew & Thompson, 1842), 12. 28 Hodge, Eulogium on William P. Dewees, M.D. 12. 146

PAGE 147

thus destroying the comfort and happiness of families.29 The savior of these poor families, Hodge argued, came in the form of Dr. Dewees who removed childbirth from the hands of ignorant midwives and brought it instead into the medical school Here, educated and learned men could methodically train budding physicians in the art and scie nce of obstetrics. According to Hodge, this development in obstetrics was une quivocally positive, a fact that quickly became known to all. As fewer and fewer women, according to Hodge, were allowed to practice, pregnant women no longer had to rely on th is meddlesome midwifery, continually doing mischief through their ignorance and rashness.30 Instead, mothers-to-be could turn to trained men, educated in the latest obstetr ic techniques, and trust that they had made the right choice for themselves and their families. While Hodges eul ogy provided the most virulent attack on female attendants, his colleagues echoed his sentiments in their writings. Naturally, it is possible that male physicians were simply pr ejudiced and did not think that women should be allowed to practice midwif ery. There is, however, a more intriguing possibility. As James Mohr and others have argu ed, by denigrating midwives and casting them as inept, outdated, and possibly dangerous, physicians who were parental ad visers hoped to draw business away from their competition, allowing th em to profit economically. Furthermore, by focusing on their training and expertise in obstetr ics and medical arts, physicians contributed to the professionalizati on of their ranks.31 Even if parents could keep their children safe from intrusive hands that might cause more harm than good, however, there was s till the risk that ev en the information they received from such sources would be tainted. The kindest of parents, the wisest of guardians, are sometimes 29 Hodge, Eulogium on William P. Dewees, M.D. 13. 30 Hodge, Eulogium on William P. Dewees, M.D. 32. 31 See Mohr, Abortion in America. 147

PAGE 148

sadly perplexed.32 And how could they not be perplexed, pa rental advisers seemed to ask? They contended that parents were expos ed daily to a wealth of bad information, which could lead to misinformed parenting, which could lead to infant death. In order to quell the flow of this bad information, parental advisers ta rgeted knowledge that was passed from one mother to another, or within families, for generations: folklore. Childrearing wisdom, passed from parent to parent and generation to generation, could be dangerous to children. Such folklore led nurses to shake infants after they were born, to ply them with alcohol, coffee, and tea, and led meddlesome neighbors and friends to suggest questionable remedies for use in just such a case as this. This knowledge did not mesh well with the type of pr ofessional parenting that parental advisers advocated. Furthermore, because it had withstood the test of time, it was difficult to convince parents to abandon their reliance on folklore. There are certain fee lings of self-sufficiency, and a confidence in the old maxims which have b een handed down from mother to daughter, through successive generations, as heir-looms, that are difficult to eradicate.33 In the minds of parental advisers, professional parents needed to abandon their reliance on such sketchy knowledge. They launched an attack on folklore. Here, physicians t ook the lead, attacking folk lore especially as it pertained to the child in utero. One thing that greatly con cerned physicians was a womans state of mind during her pregnancy, and how that might affect the fetus. Th ey were particularly concerned with the effect of the mothers imagination on her unborn child. P opular folklore still held that if a pregnant woman were to become frightened by a snake, fo r example, that scare would leave an imprint on the child. At the same time that (most) phys icians worked to disp rove that notion and 32 Morris, Courtship and Matrimony 436. 33 Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1, no. 3 (1841): 55. 148

PAGE 149

marginalize those who perpetuated the idea, they also tried to impress upon women the importance of maintaining a tr anquil state of mi nd throughout pregnancy. Women who became too excitable, they warned, risked uninten tionally harming their unborn children. While they were much more vague about what sort of harm this was, it is clear that they wanted to differentiate their ideas about a pregnant womans state of mind from folkloric beliefs about the power of a pregnant womans imagination. Through their medical treatises, it is clear that physicians stru ggled to decide what sort of advice to administer with regard to a pregnant womans mind. Ev en as they launched an attack on folklore, they seemed unsure themselves. The folkloric idea that a womans imagination could physically affect her child was difficult to counter and widely prevalent. Doctors themselves cited historical examples of this phenomenon. John Eberle, for example, recounted the frequently cited case of a French child born w ith an iris that looked exactly like the face of a watch for the simple reason that its mother wa nted a watch during her pregnancy. John Stockton Hough (1845-1900), sarcastically or not noted, we not unfrequently [sic] read of cases in which the female produces offspring resembling a male of whom she may have been enamored but who was not the father of the product.34 Physicians like Eberle and Hough worked to discount such tales, chalking them up to nothing more than el aborate fabrications propagated by nurses, and gossiping old women.35 Yet while some physicians seemed determin ed not to believe the folklore (and to castigate those who perpetuated it), others were not as convinced. Dr. Caleb Ticknor, for example, took a modified approach. While he was careful to say that he did not necessarily 34 John Stockton Hough, Laws of Transmission of Resemb lance from Parents to Children (n.p.: New York, 1873), 12. 35 Eberle, A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, 13. 149

PAGE 150

believe in a womans power to mark her child in utero, he nonethele ss urged women to avoid agitating their imaginations. Wome n who believed their imaginations to be capable of marking their children must sedulously avoid all causes lik ely to affect their imagination; and if they happen to have been surprised by an unexpected sight, not to allow thei r minds to dwell upon it, but strive to eradicate the impression made, a nd substitute another in its place; for the power ought to act both ways; so that if it can mark it ought also to unmark .36 Ticknor opted for a compromise. Instead of flatly denying the possibility of a womans power to mark, he simply suggested the idea that if they did possess that power, they also had the power to reverse it. Stephen Tracy, too, had conflicti ng ideas about the power of the pregnant mind. While he dismissed the notion that a womans imagination had the ability to mark her child, he also argued that a woman could mentally impair her chil d. Anger, jealousy, and ot her powerful emotions descend to the infant permanently altering the childs disposition and mental abilities.37 Not willing to take a clear stand on the power of a womans imagination with regard to her unborn child, physicians like Caleb Ticknor and Ste phen Tracy found their own ways to work around longstanding folklore. Still further along the spectrum of belief, other doctors firmly accepted the idea that a womans imagination was powerful enough to mark the fetus. In an ar ticle entitled On the Influence of the Maternal Mind, physician William Hammond began by arguing that if an emotion like fear could cause a childs heart to race, or that if em barrassment could cause a 36 Ticknor, A Guide for Mothers and Nurses in the Management of Young Children 28. Emphasis original. This focus on the relationship between a womans mind and body was not limited to this period; it lingered into the late nineteenth century and carried on into the early twentieth century. See Su e Zschoche, Dr. Clarke Revisited: Science, True Womanhood, and Female Collegiate Education, History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 4 (Winter 1989): 545-569; Louise Newman, White Womens Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States (New York: Oxford Univ ersity Press, 1999). 37 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 50. Emphasis original. 150

PAGE 151

maiden to blush, it naturally followed that em otions could cause any number of physical and mental alterations. He pointed out that even though nobody had yet explai ned exactly why these things took place, it was clear that they did happen. And of the countless examples of newborn infants bearing marks resembling something that had affected their mothers during pregnancy, Hammond argued that they needed to be treated as fact; they were simply too numerous to disregard. 38 Hammond distanced himself from some of his colleagues, then, by opting to believe anecdotes about a womans power to mark her unborn child. Clearly, physicians were divided on the issu e of whether or not to accept longstanding folk beliefs about the power of a womans im agination. Although they differed on this, they agreed that keeping a woman in a tranquil state of mind during pregnancy was paramount. Here, physicians crafted their own version of folklore, al beit one with a professional stamp of approval. This type of wisdom, they agreed, was appropr iate for professional parents to observe. Any mental excitement or anguish, th ey argued, could adversely affect not only the mother, but also the fetus. William Potts Dewees warned that pregnant women should scrupulously avoid all such as shall take her mind by surprise39 Caleb Ticknor urged that all shows, theatrical representations, and excitements on religious subjects should be avoided,40 and physician Richard Kissam (1806/08-1861) implored women to avoid not only disagreeable subjects and any duty which requires much effort of the min d, but also persons and things that produce disagreeable sensations, not that they will mark your offspring, but that they tend to disturb the 38 William A. Hammond, On the Influe nce of the Maternal Mind over th e Offspring during Pregnancy and Lactation, Quarterly Journal of Psychological Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence (New York) 2 no. 1 (1868): 9. 39 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 26. 40 Ticknor, A Guide for Mothers and Nurses in the Management of Young Children 28. Emphasis original. 151

PAGE 152

mind.41 A woman with a disturbed mind, or whose emotions were out of control, could expect the worst. Not more than ten months ago, not ed John Eberle, I witnessed the occurrence of hysteric convulsions followed, in the course of a few hours by abortion, in consequence of a fit of vehement rage from jealousy.42 On the subject of the pregnant mind, physic ians executed an intricate dance: some believing certain folk wisdom, others disavowing it, and all contributing to the creation of doctor-approved folklore. It is cl ear that physicians agreed that maintaining a tranquil state of mind was paramount, and that the effects of not doi ng so could be fatal. Wh at is not clear is how these men reconciled their belief on this subject with their disbelief (in some cases) on the ability of a woman, through her mind, to ad versely affect her unborn child. Throughout medical advice tracts, the message to pregnant women was clear: physicians considered pregnancy to be fraught with danger. Women who became pregna nt put themselves at risk for mental distress and its accompanying da ngers and (perhaps worst of all) unreliable sources of information. Any of these, physicians repeatedly warned, could lead to the worst outcome: miscarriage of the chil d or death of the mother. As a group, parental advisers took it upon themselves to put in the hands of mothers and fathers good, reliable informati on. Without it, they worried, w e may hurt where we wish to helpwe may kill where we wish to cure. At every step we need better counsel than any instinctive fondness, or childish caprice, or worldly fashion.43 Parents, they felt, needed good information in order to parent, a nd to counter all of th e bad information (often folklore) that was 41 Richard Kissam, The Nurses Manual and Young Mothers Guide (Hartford, CT: Cooke & Co., 1834), 143. Emphasis original. 42 Eberle, A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, 12. 43 Samuel Osgood, The Hearth-Stone: Thoughts Upon Home-Life in Our Cities (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1854), 82. 152

PAGE 153

available to them otherwise. Only certain in structioncertain trainingwas acceptable, as parental advisers worked to professionalize parenthood. Like ot her professions, only parents who had received proper training could succee dnot everyone could parent. Parenthood was increasingly being cast as a profession: one which not only required the training and good information provided by parental advisers, but also one which nobody but parents could undertake. Committed by Divine Providence Parental advisers went to great lengths to impress upon thei r readers that parents alone were responsible for parenting. This was their great task, appointed to them by God, and not transferable to anybody else. This idea was a direct extens ion of the high expectations they began to articulate for parents in the 1830s and 1840s. At that time, they had emphasized that parents needed to understand the power they held, to feel the weight of the task at hand. By the 1850s, they also had to instill in pare nts that in this great task, they were alone. Parental advisers provided parents with reams of a dvice, stressing the importance of what parents were doing and preparing them for their task, but ultimately it wa s up to parents. Although parents needed help from professional advisers, nobody could complete this duty for them. In 1851, an editorial appeared in The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend and Family Manual about parental responsibility. The author observed that while others may have a general concern for the welfare of the young immo rtal, none but the parents shouldered the particular interest in such welfare, reason, revelation and civil enactment.44 Lest readers fail to fully comprehend whose responsibility this was, the author clarified th at this responsibility lay at 44 Editorial, The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend and Family Manual (Boston) (July 1851-January 1852): 62. 153

PAGE 154

the feet of every parentnot only of every mother, but of every father and mother .45 Parental advisers insisted that just as a chimneysweep pe rformed certain specific du ties in his job, and just as a seamstress executed the tasks particular to he r occupation, so too were parents (and parents alone) required to fulfill the obl igations of their profession. Mrs. E. B. Marcy elaborated: In the child is the germ of the man, comparatively tender, beautiful and fair; and in his heart are the soil and seed for a futu re harvest. In a few years the tree will spread abroad its branches, the fruit will a ppear, and the effects of the culture will be seen. Who will prune, guard, and keep the valuable plant? Who will nip the buds of error by wholesome restrictions? Who will water, with the gentle dews of love and sympathy, the feeble shoots of goodness? This is the province of the parent.46 Though the number of people involv ed in a childs life were nu merous, and though the parental home was but one stop on a childs journey to adulthood, parental a dvisers insisted that parents and families provided for children something which could not be found anywhere else. James Buffum, as noted previously, obser ved that families ar e the first schools in the great discipline of life, that lessons are to be learnt there which can be learnt no where else.47 Rev. Muzzey contended that even institutions whose structure was set up to, in part, mimic that of the family, could not replace true parents. We have Reform Schools and Farm Schools in this country, and how many other institutions to take the place of parental care a nd education! These are blessed institutions; they pick up th e vagrant boy, and save many a sinking soul. But they cannot, by the utmost vigilance and faithfulness of their ove rseers and teachers, no, never can they supply 45 Editorial, The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend and Family Manual (Boston) (July 1851-January 1852): 62. Emphasis original. 46 Mrs. E. B. Marcy, Parental Qualifications, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) XIXth half-year, no. 2 (1850): 25. 47 Buffum, preface to Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline 4. 154

PAGE 155

perfectly the place of a pure and devoted mother and a temperate, judicious, and exemplary father.48 Theirs was a station, in short, that no others could fill. While parental advisers recognized that a child had other influences in its lifefrom teachers to siblings to pastorsthey insisted that a mother and a father, together, held the grea test control over their childs voyage of life. Parents could not shrink in the face of this task, nor could parents transfer this responsibility to anothernot even, as noted earlier, to stepparent s. No one could relieve parents of this burden. According to Artemas Bowers Muzzey, The labor to be performed is personal; no foreign hand can perform it. We can hire no substitute, we can employ no agent. Here we stand, and here we must work. The influence of the parent is the mightiest on earth, at it must be used, used every day while his child is beneat h his roof, used early and la te, with prayer and with trust. We have other talents which we may misemploy, and recover, in part at least, our loss; but this, if we waste it or le t it be idle, involve s an irreparable loss.49 No foreign hand could stand in for parents, and neither could pa rents cast their responsibilities elsewhere. If parents attempted to pass their duti es on to others, the result would be disastrous. Rev. William Thayer wrote of a mother who carefully tended to her treasured rose bush, but neglected her responsibilities to her children, opting instead to let her irrespons ible servants perform her duties while she was gadding abroad, or killing time at her toilet.50 This mother put her own selfish needs before those of her daughters, casting them instead to the hands of others. Imprudent mother! Thou wilt rue the da y that a rose-bush was tended with a closer watch than the development of a daughters moral nature!51 Raising children was a task only 48 Muzzey, The Fireside 36. 49 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 40. 50 William Thayer, A Thought for Mothers, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1853 Part I): 120. 51 Thayer, A Thought for Mothers, 120. 155

PAGE 156

parents could undertake successfully. Again, while ot her people in a childs life may have been interested in the childs welfare, they were not endowed w ith the proper equipment that would enable them to parent successfully. Free from the real responsibility of parenting, how could servants or others be trusted to do it well? None but parents could parent properly. When parents give this duty, or privilege perhaps I should say, up to thei r pastor or teacher, they afford them an opportunity to secure th eir childrens best affections. But what reason have they to think that another will be faithful with them, if they are not? God has imposed responsibilities upon parents which they cannot transfer to another, if they would; and it would not be for their interest to do so, if they could.52 Mrs. Howes observation that God imposed ch ild-rearing responsibilities on parents was not unique. Rather, the idea that God gave pa rents, and nobody else, th is responsibility was prevalent among parental advisers. At the outset of The Parents Friend Rev. Daniel Smith noted that his reason for writing the book was that while performing his pastoral visits, he often felt the need of something to put into th e hands of parents, which would remind them of their responsibilities and duties in relation to those immortal souls committed by divine Providence to their care.53 Parental responsibilities were the holiest responsibilities, bestowed specifically upon parents by God.54 Even the home was sanctified by parental advisers, who saw it not as a voluntary compact but an express and specific ordinance and power of God.55 The 52 Mrs. I. A. G. Howe, Formation of Character, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (May 1850): 103. 53 Smith, The Parents Friend 5. 54 Bushnell, Christian Nurture 255. 55 Barnes, The Home, 1. Emphasis original. 156

PAGE 157

notion that parenting was ordained by God served to further emphasize the idea that parents were to be the only entity involved in parenting. Parental advisers who were physicians also ag reed that parenting was a divinely ordained duty. In particular, they used this language to emphasize that it was a duty incumbent upon every mother to nourish her own infant.56 This was a task that no fo reign breast could perform. According to William Potts Dewees, this duty was ordained by God, who has given her double means to furnish nourishment for her helpless young and he has so arranged their powers as to yield the wanted supply, as soon as that supply may be necessary.57 John Eberle also considered breastfeeding to be a religious mandate, saying that a womans sacred office is an irremissible duty, which can never be neglected or put off, without contravening the wise and benevolent arrangements of Providence.58 Rather than focusing on the medical benefits of nursing, physicians instead cast opinions of a moral natu re. Perhaps because they saw it as a moral duty, grounded in religion, physicians were exceedingl y sharp-tongued towards those women who voluntarily shirked their sacred duty of breastfeeding their own children. According to Dr. William Alcott, for example, women who shirked their duty to nurse their own children were unnatural, unchristian, and even savage.59 He argued, there are some mothers who seem to have a perfect hatred of children; and if they can find any plausible apology for neglecting to 56 Condie, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children 34. 57 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 52. 58 Eberle, A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, 30. 59 Alcott, The Young Mother 117-118. 157

PAGE 158

nurse them, they will.60 According to these men, a woman who delegated the nursing of her child to another was nothing short of a monster.61 Only if a woman was utterly unable to breastf eed a very rare occurrence, according to Dr. David Condieshould a suit able wet nurse be summoned.62 Like parenting itself, the nourishment of infants was a task that nobody else could fill. While physicians held nursing women to high standards (and chastised them when they fell short), the standards they reserved for wet nurses were even more stringent. An acc eptable wet nurse had to meet exacting physical standards: because she would be nursing the child and providing its sole nourishment, her health was of utmost importance. In Condies opinion, an ideal nurse should be in the prime of life; between twenty and thirty years Her breasts should be full, firm, and well formed, the nipples sufficiently salient, and yielding th e milk upon the slightest pressure.63 Dr. James Stewart agreed, noting that the best nurses are those who possess all the evidences of good health. The tongue clean, teeth and gums s ound, indicating healthy digestion. The breath free from any unpleasant odor. The surface of her body free from eruptions, and the insensible perspiration inoffensive. Her breasts smooth, firm, and promin ent; the nipples well developed, rosy colored, 60 Alcott, The Young Mother 117. 61 Breastfeeding and wet nursing have gone in and out of fa shion over time. Paula Treckel argues that in eighteenthcentury England and America, breastfeedi ng immediately after birth was presumed to be dangerous for both mother and child. Women who could afford it were more likely to utilize the services of a wet nurse. Not until the late 1700s was the custom of maternal nursing adopted. Paula Treckel, Breastfeeding and Maternal Sexuality in Colonial America, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 20, no. 1 (Summer, 1989): 27. Yet Janet Golden notes that Cotton Mather, in 1710, castigated women who did not breastfeed their children. She highlights, though, the breach between cultural prescription and biological need in Mathe rs life: at least one of Ma thers children was nourished by a wet nurse. Janet Golden, A Social History of Wet Nursing in America: From Breast to Bottle (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2001), 11. Valeri e Fildes corroborates this argument, noting that while mothers were urged to breastfeed their own children, by the eighteenth century, breas t milk was the most common commodity advertized [sic] in colonial newspapers. Valerie Fildes, Wet Nursing: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Oxford: Basil Blackwater Ltd., 1988), 130. 62 Condie, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children 29. 63 Condie, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children 34. 158

PAGE 159

and easily swelling when excited.64 A healthy appearance was vita l. Nurses who fell short could harm nursing infants. According to Eberle, a nurse who has but one go od breast should never be selected. A child suckled by one brea st only, is apt to contract the habit of squinting, from having its eyes constantly directed to one side; and there is also some risk of its head and shoulders acquiring an oblique or crooked form.65 Exactly who was to perform the examinations to test these various physical requirements, doctors did not say. They were certain, however, that if a family had no recourse but to find a wet nurse, th at woman had to possess very specific physical characteristics. In addition to these physical requirements, physicians insisted that wet nurses needed to be mentally and morally fit. While it would be hazardous to choose a wet nurse with only one good breast, it was equally dangerous to choos e one who was ill-tempered or immoral. Physicians agreed that cantankerous and debauched women even those who had reformed themselveswere to be avoided at all costs. Th e great danger, according to physicians, was that a wet nurses mental and moral condition affect ed the quality of her milk. Anxiety, mental distress, or a bad disposition c ould contaminate a wet nurses m ilk and harm the nursing child. Yet the greatest danger associated with usi ng a wet nurse, doctors warned, was the likelihood that she would abandon her new char ge in favor of nourishing her own child. Physicians were so convinced of this probability that they urged parents not to send their children out to suckle, and instead require the wet nurse to work from thei r own home. That way, they could keep a close eye on her. Even removing the danger that thei r own child would be neglected, though, posed a problem. Dewees pointed out that if a wet nurse paid utmost attention to her new charge, her own 64 James Stewart, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children rev. ed. (1841; repr., New York: Harper & Brothers, 1845), 189-190. 65 Eberle, A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children, 34. 159

PAGE 160

child would then suffer. The avowed object in employing a wet-nurse is to benefit the child for whom she is employed. To do this she must ge nerally abandon her own child, either to a mercenary as selfish as herself, or allow it to be brought up by ill-conducted or worse adapted means; for the mother who abandons her own child to suckle that of another must do it from the expectation of gain.66 Thus, while it might be possible (how ever unlikely) to find a wet nurse who met all the qualifications outlined by phys icians, wet nursing itself presented an insurmountable problem: either the wet nurse had to neglect her own child, or she had to neglect her new charge.67 According to physicians, both were unpardonable. In this regard, they reiterated and upheld parent al advisers arguments against relying on nurses. Just as parental advisers impressed upon pare nts the idea that thei r task was a sacred responsibility, to be undertaken by parents alone (and if not, only under the most dire circumstances), they also advocated the idea that parenting and the family itself were not to be tampered with. Into the family, John S. C. Abbott argued, the arm of the state cannot be thrust.68 At least, the arm of the state could not penetrate the family without doing some damage. Man may revolutionize governments and public opinion, and even the social state, but, argued Rev. William Barnes, he cannot touch the household without harm.69 Neither could man nor government attempt to take on parenting responsibilities to which they had no right. Again, such responsibilities had been ordained by God to pare nts specifically. Heman Humphrey (clergyman, 1779-1861) noted, it woul d be impossible for any government in the 66 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 159. 67 Dewees articulated only one instan ce in which wet nursing could be acceptable: if a wet nurse were to be unmarried (so that she need not neglect her husband) and were to lose her child. He went on, though, to point out that this might lead to women purposefully neglecting their children to the point of death, and ultimately reinforced his idea that wet nurses were bad and women should nurse their own children. 68 John S. C. Abbott, The Path of Peace 100. 69 Barnes, The Home, 9. 160

PAGE 161

world, to take upon itself parental authority and discharge parental duties; and if it were possible, such an innovation would soon dera nge and destroy the whole system.70 Some parental advisers, however, warned that the country was already seeing the results of this subversion of parental authority and respons ibility. Rev. J. C. Webster, for example, argued that God made the family before the community. He constituted domestic before he did public society. Such was the order of nature as well of time. The family was at once the germ and the pattern of what general society ought to be.71 Yet, he lamented, times had changed. The family is not the isolated institution, the sacred enclosure it was designed to be, and which it has been in some former times.72 Society had invaded and perverted family government, resulting in an unnatural state of society.73 In this unnatural state, he observed, the child is torn away and placed beyond the control of the parent in the flood of popular opinion. Where as, in the order of nature, and according to divine teaching, society has no right to the chil d, till, after his natu ral detention and parental training, he is voluntarily yielded up, like the little rivulet, to go trickling down the hill-side to keep the large streams of popular influen ce at their proper level and within their banks, so as to fertilize and not deluge the land.74 Time and again, parental advisers maintained that parents held a di stinct responsibility, one that no other person or entity could fill. Pare nts, they insisted, were the only entities capable of parenting. Here, they aimed at professi onalizing parenting. Othe r occupations required training and adherence to strict standards. Likewise, only certain people, with particular training, could attempt the great task of childrearing. In this regard, these two professionsparents and 70 Heman Humphrey, Domestic Education (Amherst: J.S. & C. Adams, 1840), 17. 71 J. C. Webster, The Family and the Public, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1854 Part II): 75. 72 Webster, The Family and the Public, 75. 73 Webster, The Family and the Public, 77. 74 Webster, The Family and the Public, 77. Emphasis original. 161

PAGE 162

parental adviserswere mutually supported. They grew up together. Parent al advisers derived their expertise and their status from th e parents they trained, and vice versa. Proper Attendants Yet for all their talk of pare nting being sacred and inviolab le, they reserved a special stipulation for themselves. They, parental advi sers, were allowed to permeate and penetrate parenting and family. Their guidance was an intrusion. Perhaps the most illustrative examples of this come from physicians, who believed children would die without thei r expert interference, and jurists, whose decisions in custody battles de termined which parents (i f any) were worthy to raise their own children. Because of the risks associat ed with parentingwhich they took to mean pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearingphysicians insisted that families seek professional advice. Not from ignorant nurses and meddles ome midwifery, though, but from trained physicians. Doctors established themselves as prof essionals whose advice could be trusted. Through the advice they gave, and the manner in which they presented them selves, they asserted power over issues of life and death, and led parents to believe that careful nurturing could ensure the well-being of their children.75 In order for parents to become parents in th e first place, they needed to have on hand a judicious and properly educated (male) attendant; female pract itioners were unacceptable. Echoing their attack on midwives, physicians in sisted that theirs was the only acceptable interference. William Potts Dewees reassured hi s readers that death, or even an untoward accident, is of extremely rare occurrence, when the case is under the direction of a judicious 75 Dye and Smith, Mother Love and Infant Death, 1750-1920, 345. 162

PAGE 163

practitioner.76 Likewise, Stephen Tracy urged women to understand the importance of securing proper attendants ,77 and went on to compare the duties of such a skillful accoucheur78 to that of a ship pilot. Both the accoucheur and the pilot needed a skilled and decisive hand in order to guide their charges safely through any dange rs. During childbirth, he noted, at almost an period during the progress of labor, events may occur calling for immediate interference, and such interference as none but a well-educated and qualified medical attendant can afford. A delay of five minutes, or even of one minute, in some cases, may prove fatal. y 79 As with their advice administered to women rega rding pregnancy, physicians were ca reful to warn that the risk of not securing an appropriately trained physician could well be d eadly to mother, child, or both. Not only did the proper attendant need to be educated and skil lful, but the proper attendant also needed to be a man. After repeated ly referring to the qualified medical attendant with masculine pronouns, Stephen Tracy acknow ledged that a woman could serve in this capacity, but then narrowed that field significan tly by arguing that such a woman would need to possess (appropriately vague) phys ical and mental characteristics and would likewise need to be properly educated .80 Dr. Tullio Verdi (1829-1902) took a different approach when making the case against female attendants, arguing that the fact that they were unnecessary was really due to the whims of American women. American women, he claimed, prefer a male accoucheur to a female. They feel safer in his hands: th ey rely not only upon his superior knowledge, but upon his courage. They feel he would not flin ch before duty, and would assume the greatest 76 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 42. 77 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 62. Emphasis original. 78 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 64. 79 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 66. Emphasis original. 80 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 67. Emphasis original. 163

PAGE 164

responsibility to save life. I know of many cases where the female accoucheur, getting frightened, deserted her patient at the moment she was most needed.81 Regardless of whether or not Verdis claims were accurate, it is clear thro ugh their writings that physicians assumed and preferred male attendants in childbirth. Furtherm ore, by advocating that midwifery be wrenched from the hands of female midwives (whose tr aining lay in experience, not schooling), they helped to professionalize their own occupation.82 Physicians agreed that parents were the only entity capable of parenting (which they took to mean pregnancy onward) with one large caveat: in order to be successful, parents needed the aid of trained (male) attendants. This caveat, through, was not limited to medical ranks. After all, success in parenting was determined by parental advisers themselves. Nowhere was this clearer than in courtrooms, where justices determined who was capable and who was not. Three custody cases from this period Wand v. Wand (1860), Adams v. Adams (1864), and Cole v. Cole (1867)illustrate a key way in which justices determined custody: based on the interest of society. Here, parental advisers on the bench claimed that in addi tion to parents, society had a vested interest in a childs future. Claiming extreme cruelty on his part, a Mr s. Wand filed for divorce from her husband, which the Sixth District Court of California granted, though they gave custody of her daughter to her estranged husband. In her appeal to the Cali fornia Supreme Court, her lawyer argued that after a divorce in which a marri age is dissolved for [a husband s] wrongful act, the wife is entitled to the society, care, and custody of their children.83 His lawyer, in turn, argued that a 81 Tullio Verdi, Maternity: A Popular Treatise for Young Wives and Mothers (New York: J.B. Ford & Co., 1870), 131. 82 See Mohr, Abortion in America; Borst, Catching Babies. 83 Wand v. Wand 14 Cal. 512 (1860). 164

PAGE 165

father is always entitled to the custody of hi s children, regardless of any wrongdoing, and even in cases in which both parents are eq ually worthy, or equally unworthy.84 The court disagreed. In rendering their decision, the jus tices turned to legal scholar Joel Prentiss Bishop, from whose Commentaries on the Law of Marriage and Divorce they quoted liberally. Bishop argued that children are not born for the bene fit of the pare nts alone, but for the country ; and, therefore, that the interests of the public in their morals and education should be protected.85 In this instance, the court argued that the mother was more qualified to care for the child, given that the father would not have enough time to do so himself.86 What is more noteworthy, in terms of the construction of parenthood, is that the justices grounded their reas oning in the interests of the public and the country. Parents, they claimed, were not the only ones with a stake in childrearing. Their argument here was not unique to this case. Unhappy in her marriage to John Adams, Mary A nn Adams took her son with her to live at her fathers house and filed for divorce and cust ody in 1855. Her husband abducted the child, but the court ordered the boy returned to his mother pending a trial. Eight years after she filed, the court granted Mrs. Adams both divorce and cust ody, which Mr. Adams subsequently appealed. In rendering his opinion, Justic e Robertson observed that courts determining custody needed to ensure that custody be granted to the parent most trustworthy and capable and noted that if neither parent was found suitable, the interest of the child and of the public may authorize a transfer of the custody to a stranger.87 In this case, Robertson determined Mary Ann Adams 84 Wand 14 Cal. 512. 85 Wand 14 Cal. 512. Emphasis added. 86 As with the decision in State v. Hand the court was uncomfortable with th e fact that Mr. Wand would not be raising his child himself. Because hi s occupation would keep him from doing so, he would need to confide her person to some female to care for and keep her. Wand 14 Cal. 512. 87 Adams v. Adams 1 Duv. 167 (1864). Emphasis added. 165

PAGE 166

well qualified for the trust confid ed to her, while John Adams was not as qualified, or, in the more essential elements, qualified at all.88 Adams demonstrates the extent to which parental advisers penetrated the sacred realm of parenthooddetermini ng who was capable and who was not. More importantly, as in Wand, the court articulated that the public had an interest in what happened to children. The following case reveals that, as they had developed a best interests of the child doctrine, the courts articulated a doctrine protecting the best interests of society. Martha Cole, unhappily married to a man she claimed was guilty of inhuman treatment, filed for divorce and custody of their 13-y ear-old son, both of which were granted.89 Mr. Cole subsequently appealed. In rendering his decision, Justice Wright noted that the command of our law demanded that his decision wi th regard to custody satisfy the best interests of society by considering the welfare of the child.90 Wright admitted that hi s decision was not reached easilythe son, at thirteen, is of the age to de mand the care, discipline and instruction of the father.91 Yet, as the court pointed out, the father had proven that he was incapable of being a good parent: he was addicted to the use of into xicating drinks, profane, vulgar, with a violent and ungovernable temper.92 Perhaps worst of all, Mr. Cole at one time, at least, took this boy to a saloon and asked him to drink.93 While the boys age demanded the presence of a father, and although Martha Cole was (because of a debilitating illness) an invalid, Justice Wright granted custody to the mother. The best interests of societ y demanded it. 88 Adams 1 Duv. 167. 89 Cole v. Cole 23 Iowa 433 (1867). 90 Cole 23 Iowa 433. Emphasis added. 91 Cole 23 Iowa 433. 92 Cole 23 Iowa 433. 93 Cole 23 Iowa 433. 166

PAGE 167

In determining parental capability, parental advisers on the bench articulated a tenet that made them a key part of parenting: society and the country ha d an interest in childrearing. Therefore, their intrusion into parenting was necessary. This ar gument would be expanded in the following decades, as greater numbers of parental advisers began to agree that the effects of parenting reached far beyond the home, givi ng the country a stake in its outcome. Across the board, parental advisers inserted th emselves into the family and into parenting. Although they cast parenting as s acrosanct, to be undertaken by parents alone, they exempted themselves. Through their work, they attempted to push past the garden gate and penetrate hearth and home. They cast themselves as indispensable aids to parenting. For mo st parental advisers, this was their collective reason for writing: to make a living. Capitalizing on new middle-class standards of parenting, which they helped to cons truct, they established themselves as integral parts of that parenting. Yet in this regard, they found competition in the form of public schools. If parents were to be the only ones involved in raising children, what did that mean for the fledgling public school system? Hot-Beds of Moral Evil According to scholar B. Edward McClella n, the social upheaval caused by westward expansion, the decline of the family economy, an d the weakening of familial authority pushed Americans to take the training of children more seriously.94 While community-controlled schools certainly dotted the American landscape in the early nineteenth century, a centralized system of mandatory schooling had not yet be en realized. In these early decades, though, reformers like Horace Mann (1796-1859), Willia m Seward (1801-1872) and others began to agitate for longer school days and lengthier schoo l terms, graded schools, professionally trained 94 B. Edward McClellan, Moral Education in America: Schools and the Shaping of Character from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999), 18-19. 167

PAGE 168

teachers, and more. These men believed that children could benefit from the more standardiz common schools that arose in mid-ce ed ntury.95 Not all, however, were convinced that schools could provide an acceptable alternative to educating children at home. In an article entitled Home Educa tion, Abby B. Hyde wrote that the sorrowful fact that masses of children thrown together, inevitably exert a corrupting influence upon each other so that our schools are, to some extent, hot-beds of moral evil, has rendered the question one of very grave import to parents, whether there be any method of securing their advantages without incurring their dangers.96 Many parental advisers agreed with Hyde, noting that the influences found in schools were not good for children. In the school-room, observed Rev. Orin Ho ward, the prevailing influen ces are ambition, ridicule and terror.97 Rev. Daniel Smith argued that in most public schools there is a danger of improper associations; and moral and social training is very imperfect. The proper school is home; the proper teacher, the parent; the proper company, the family circle.98 And Bishop Elliot, of Georgia, decried the fact that schools paid too much attention to the acquisition of knowledge without considering the poison that our childr en may be drinking inthe poison of immorality, of licentiousness, of infidelity.99 Still others wondered whet her school was teaching children what they needed to learn. In the article Sc hool Learning, for example, Mrs. Helen Knight 95 See Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983). 96 Abby B. Hyde, Home Education, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 9 (September 1846): 33. 97 Orin R. Howard, The Mother, an Educator, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (November 1849): 98. 98 Smith, The Parents Friend 42. 99 Bishop Elliot, What Education Should Be, The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 11, no. 9 (September 1843): 213. 168

PAGE 169

wondered what would become of girls who learne d French and Geometry rather than how to bake and sew. She asked, does it not seem as if school education was assuming an undue importance? Are not the girls of the family drawn too long and too much away from home influence, and domestic duties? Are not the wishes and the re quirements of the parent made almost entirely subservient to the demands of the teacher? Th is, we cannot but regard as a serious and increasing evil.100 Rather than viewing schools as a virtue, these and other parental advisers saw schools as, at best, an impediment to children (who would not learn the skills they really needed in life) and, at worst, a grave danger in the poison they spewed. Furthermore, schools could also impart physical or mental harm on children. Dr. Stephen Tracy urged parents that the greatest care should be taken that they [children] do not have too much exercise of the mind by study or by reading, not onl y till after the age of twelve, but until the physical system has attained its growth.101 Dr. S. B. Woodward, too, warned that children in school should not be required to focus too intens ely on one subject at a time, as that leads directly to disease of the brain.102 Schools, he argued, pay too much attention to mental and moral improvement without considering the effe cts on childrens health. Dr. James Jackson agreed, noting that the manner in which childr en are often confined to schoolsindoors and sitting uprightcan have a deleterious effect on their health. Young child ren, he argued, much like young colts, calves, and lambs, are disposed to short, active gambols, and then to lie down, or otherwise to take short rests, as they cannot maintain a purpose a long time, nor an effort a 100 Helen C. Knight, School Learning, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 1 (January 1849): 10. 101 Tracy, The Mother and Her Offspring 276. 102 S. B. Woodward, Treatment of Children at School, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 7, no. 4 (October 1845): 78. 169

PAGE 170

long time, without fatigue.103 In order to avoid the evils produced by too long confinement, Jackson recommended that chil dren in school should be taug ht short lessons for an hour, followed by a fifteen minute recess, anot her hour of short lessons, and so on. With so little to recommend them, and indeed with so much danger therein, parental advisers wondered that parents ev er bothered to send their childre n to public schools in the first place. It seemed a much better idea to educate children at home, where (ideally) the influences were pure and the dangers none. Dr. William Alcott, for example, extolled the virtues of what he called the family school. Alcott remarked that schools are physically uncomfortable to children, are barely furnished, and are boring to children. The family school, he argued, is well furnished, inviting, and seldom boring. Furthermore, he pointed out, in the family school there is a more even ratio of students to teachers. Some of our schools are crowded almost to suffocation with pupils, while they are but poorly supplied with teachers. Sixty, eighty, or a hundred of the former to one of the latter, and on ly a single room, of moderate size, are quite common. With the family school of course, it is otherwise. The number of pupils is never large; and there are, from the nature of the case, usua lly two teachers. Truly, he insisted, there is no school like the Family School .104 Charles Holden agreed that the home was much more preferable to the schoolhouse fo r learning, both in terms of phys ical comfort and in terms of instruction. Where is the school to be found(with only its long benches, and its pupils placed upright upon them, except when they are taken out to puzzle over their letters, or be punished for some childish freak)like the school-house at home, with the tender mother as the mistress, 103 James Jackson, Confinement of Children in School, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 7, no. 1 (July 1845): 7. 104 William A. Alcott, There is No School Like the Family School, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 1 (January 1846): 1. Emphasis original. 170

PAGE 171

whom the little scholars may question and confide in?105 At every turn, how could schools compete with the family school? In particular, parental advisers hamm ered home, the school could not rival the home when it came to teachers. As Rev. Artemas Bowers Muzzey noted, multiply as we may other instructors, they canno t, either or all of them, supply the place of those natural teachers, the father and the moth er. The attempt to substitute any teacher, guardian, or friend for the parent, to put public in the place of private and domestic education, ever has been, and ever will be, disastrous to the young.106 Nor was Muzzey alone in thinking that public sc hooling would be terrible for children. In an article entitled The Home School, Rev. George Stearns pr oved just how disastrous public education could be. Stearns, it seemed, had pe rsonal experience with the American common school system and its flaws. Observing that hi s daughters were not lear ning anything in school, Stearns pulled them out and endeavored to teach them himself. For the first couple days of this experiment, however, his daughters were listless and uninterested. They had contracted habits of carelessness, which seemed almost impossible to shake off. They appeared only desirous of passing away the time, and felt no anxiety to learn.107 Stearns was determined to penetrate this crust of disinterest, formed by the failings of the common school. After several days of teaching them himself, Stearns was pleased to find th at his daughters desire to learn had been reawakened. As to why public schools were so de ficient in the first place, Stearns pointed to three reasons. Two were obvious reasons: unsatisfactory teachers (too old, too young, or in it for the wrong reason) employing poor methods of teachi ng that did not force children to think for 105 Charles Holden, The Family School, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 2 (November 1843): 248. 106 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 28. 107 George Stearns, The Home School, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 10, no. 5 (May 1847): 113. 171

PAGE 172

themselves. The third, however, was more covert: the parent, who acts as though his responsibility had ceased after seeing that a sc hool is opened and his child is placed there.108 Stearns argued that such a pare nt does not send his children to sc hool in order for them to learn, but rather to get them out of the way .109 Stearns, then, found fau lt not only with the schools themselves, but more importantly with those wh o availed themselves of public schools. Far better, according to him, for parents to direct their childrens education themselves, thereby ensuring that parents would not sh irk their duties and that they w ould have greater control over how and what their ch ildren were taught. In this regard, Stearns pointed to what pare ntal advisers saw as the greatest danger of public schools: the opportunity for parents to shirk their duties. It had already happened, argued Rev. Albert Barnes (1798-1870), in the case of Sunday schools. Beli eving that it absolved them of any obligation, Barnes noted, parents had ex ploited the Sunday-school system, leaving the system misunderstood, abused, and perverted.110 So too, he claimed, would they exploit the common-school system. Barnes argued that if comm on schools did not exist, a parent would feel obligated to educate his children on his own. But the public has provided a teacher better qualified than himself, and he feels that the work can be better done than he could perform it. He dismisses his child, therefore, from his door, with th e not unnatural feeling th at his wishes in this respect are gratified, and that hi s responsibility is discharged.111 Here was parental advisers biggest fear: that parents, if given the chance, might jump at the opportunity to allow their 108 Stearns, The Home School, 115. 109 Stearns, The Home School, 116. Emphasis original. 110 Albert Barnes, Christianity as Applied to the Mind of a Child: Annual Sermon in Behalf of the American SundaySchool Union (Philadelphia: American Sunday School-Union, 1850), 29. 111 Barnes, Christianity as Applied to the Mind of a Child 30. 172

PAGE 173

children to be raised, in part, by someone else. They would shirk their duties if another entity the schoolwould raise their children for them, for at least pa rt of the day. In the minds of such parents, when children are sent to school their inst ruction is considered the business of the teacher; and it seems hardly to ente r the minds of the parents that th ey have any thing to do in the matter. The polishing of the priceless gem is co mmitted to hands comparatively uninterested in the result of the labor bestowed; while those to wh om the treasure appertains, content themselves with the care of its perishable casket.112 To the horror of Barnes and others, such parents willingly and willfully cast aside their God-given responsibilities, preferri ng instead to lay them at the feet of someone else. They eagerly wait for any opportunity to relieve their burden of childrearing. The common school, these parental advisers argued, pr ovided just such an opportunity. Many, it is feared, think that when the school is once put in operation their work is done. They are anxious to reside near th e school-room, they exert themselves to procure a teacher, and perhaps take a warm interest in the election of the school committee; but when the school begins, a nd they send their children supplied with books, all their solicitude suddenly depart s. They remind one of the good deacon, who said that when his own minister was preaching he fell asleep, for he knew then that everything would go on well.113 It seemed that the case against common schools was great. Not only were they themselves corrupting and unwelcoming to children but, more im portantly, they were vehicles for parental neglect. What was the response, though, of those committed to the cause of public education? In the face of such criticism, educational re formers such as Horace Mann and Amos Bronson Alcott, for example, saw much good in co mmon schools. Mann argued that common schools were a public good, even a necessity, rather than a danger or a threat. To those who would ask, 112 Abby B. Hyde, Parental Education, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 10, no. 2 (February 1847): 33. 113 Muzzey, The Christian Parent 50. 173

PAGE 174

What interest have I in the education of the multitude? Ho race Mann responded, you have at least this interest, that, unless their minds are enlightened by know ledge and controlled by virtuous principle, there is not, between their appetites and all you hold dear on earth, so much as the defence [sic] of a spiders web.114 For the survival of the republic, as well as of self interests, then, universal education through common schools was not only desirous but imperative. Like Mann, Alcott saw the positiv e good of common schools, and indeed felt that parents ought to do more to improve thei r childrens desire for education. Children, he argued, are disinclined to like sc hool, and parents do little at ho me to stimulate their minds. Children are sent to school, de praved by parental neglect, an d require corrective management. Their intellectual being is morbid and inert. It needs resuscitati on. Degrading habits are superinduced; and an internal change is necessary to break through the outward incrustations, and send the renovating influence through the mental principle."115 Instead of viewing parents as a positive force, Alcott argued that parents hindere d the education of their children. They took no interest in it and, it seemed, merely sent them to school to get them out of the way. In this regard, Alcott and his critics at least agreed on one thing: parents, if given the chance, would cast their duties off to someone else. Alcott continued to lament parental invol vement in common school education in his reports as superintendent of schools in Concor d, Massachusetts (a posit ion he held from 18591865). In his report ending the sc hool year of 1860, Alcott bemoaned the fact that so few parents took the time to visit their childrens school. Such parents, he argued, forfeited the ability to complain about the school or the management of their children therein. He continued to deplore 114 Horace Mann, Lectures on Education (Boston: Wm. B. Fowle and N. Capen, 1845), 171-172. 115 Amos Bronson Alcott, On the Nature and Means of Early Intellectual Education, as Deduced from Experience, in The Introductory Discourse and the Lectures Delivered befo re the American Institution of Instruction, in Boston, August 1832 (Boston: Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833), 133-134. 174

PAGE 175

parents involvement in his report the followi ng year, noting The school stands nearest the family of all our institutions, is indeed an exte nsion and image of it, and claims its fostering interest and sympathy. It should enli st the parents affection, and ge t some of their freshest hours. Its teachers deserve to be taken in to their hearts as friends, the fr iends of their children, and their assistants in the work of training them in the ways of learning and virtue.116 Yet parental negligence, he argued, prevented this from happening.117 Summary Over the course of the nineteenth century, pa rental advisers increas ingly saw parenthood as a profession. Because parents were raising children in a fraught and perilous world they required good information in order to combat detrimenta l influences and bad advice (however wellintentioned). And because parenthood was beco ming professionalized, only certain (trained, qualified) people could undertak e it successfully. Not all who s ought to be good parents would meet the requirements. Furthermore, if other people or entities (such as schools) tried to parent, disaster for family and society was inevitable. That said, parental advisers considered themselves instrumental actors in the paren ting profession, enabling them to r eap a profit as long as they kept parents convinced of their need for advice. At the same time as th ey were building their empire of advice, though, public schools were on the rise. While opponents of common schools found them to be bastions of moral evil, and ot hers worried that pare nts would use the common school system to shirk their own duties, propone nts of universal education like Amos Bronson 116 Amos Bronson Alcott, Superintendents Report of the Concord Schools to the School Committee, for the year 1860-61, reprinted in Walter Harding, Essays on Education, 1830-1862, by Amos Bronson Alcott (Gainesville: Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, 1960), 184. 117 Even Alcotts school committee observed and lamented parental neglect. In 186 2, a rule had to be instated that said that any pupil found to be frequenting a saloon or bowling alley would be expelled. They noted, a greater watchfulness on the part of parents will make this rule almost useless, but the nece ssity for it is obvious. In Reports of the School Committee, and Superintendent of the Schools, of the Town of Concord, Mass., reprinted in Harding, Essays on Education, 1830-1862, by Amos Bronson Alcott 234. 175

PAGE 176

176 Alcott and Horace Mann insisted that common schools were necessary and good. With a wary eye, parental advisers looked to the future of the parenting profession, and to shaping future generations. In the coming decades, they began to believe in an even more restrictive parenthood than previously, arguing ultimately that only cert ain people should be allowed to become parents in the first place.

PAGE 177

CHAPTER 6 SHAPING FUTURE GENERATIONS This Community, in which special love was reckoned a sin and breadth of sexual experiment the desideratum, offered opportuni ty for an experiment in eugenics on a scale never before attempted in the hi story of the world. John Humphrey Noyes seized that opportunity. Pierrepont Noyes, My Fathers House1 Pierrepont Noyes (1870-1959) was born at the Oneida community in 1870 to a woman who was not his fathers wife. Not that this was unusual at Oneida; rather it was acceptable and even encouraged. Harriet Worden (1840-1891) was raised at the Oneida community as a girl, and was later selected by John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886) to join with him in his stirpiculture experiment in which only certain people were allowed to procreate. The resulting child was Pierrepont Noyes. Worden, then, knew life at Oneida as a chil d, an adult, and a mother. She experienced first-hand the complex familial inner workings of Oneida communal life. When she became a mother, her contact with her son was stri ctly limited, as it was for all Oneida mothers, to ensure that they did not show favoritism over other children. Everything at Oneida was held communally, including its sons and daughters. The messages about communal parenting came ear ly and often for those in the community. Wordens experience as a child signaled important principl es about parenting in this ideologically-shaped family. She wrote in her me moirs of a time when the community purchased for the Oneida girls a large number of dolls t o be shared by all of usCommunity dolls,as we used to call them.2 The girls each became quite attached to their dolls, and the Oneida elders recognized their favoritism. The elders condemn ed the dolls, as the means of cultivating 1 Pierrepont Noyes, My Fathers House: An Oneida Boyhood (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1937), 9. 2 Harriet Worden, Old Mansion House Memories: By One Brought up in It (Kenwood, Oneida, NY, 1950), 80. 177

PAGE 178

idolatry and creature-worship.3 Their solution was to rid the co mmunity of the dolls, by having each girl cast her doll into a fire. Worden remembered, we all formed a circle round the large stove, each girl carrying on her ar m her long-cherished favorite, and marched in time to a song; as we came opposite the stove-door, we threw our dolls into the angry-looking flames, and saw them perish before our eyes. We were all hearty and enthusiastic in making the sacrifice, and yet it was some time before we could think of this wholesale slaughter without a slight emotion.4 When Harriets real child was born, years afte r shed cast her beloved doll into the fire, community leaders similarly admonished her not to become too attached to him. Since the early nineteenth century, social observers and comment atorsparental advisers, as I have described themhad debated and shaped what parenthood was or should be. Their ideal of parenthood, crafted over the course of th e century, emphasized devotion, duty, love, control, and the importance of the unique connection between parents and children. The Oneida vision of parenthooddetached, aloof, and communalcontradicted the t ype of parenthood parental advisers advocated and that had emerged, by the 1870s, as the model for the middle-class family. Yet one aspect of Oneida pare nthoodstirpiculturewould resonate with parental advisers by the time of Pierreponts birth in 1870. As mid-century gave way to the postbellum peri od, and as some parent al advisers became increasingly alarmed by what they saw as the decline of society, thei r ideas about parenthood became even more codified and restrictive. Wh at alarmed them was the preponderance of what they believed were heritable diseases such as sc rofula and heritable tendencies such as insanity 3 Worden, Old Mansion House Memories 80. Other scholars have noted this intriguing doll burning story. See Raymond Lee Muncy, Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973) and Louis Kern, Ideology and Reality: Sexuality and Womens Status in the Oneida Community, Radical History Review 20 (1979): 180-204. 4 Worden, Old Mansion House Memories 80. 178

PAGE 179

and crime, both of which they saw as a scour ge upon society. They found both the problem and the solution in parenthood. Where earlier advisers once argued th at parenting needed to be taught, by the 1860s many advisers placed greater emphasis on an even more restrictive parenthood: perfect parents creati ng ideal children. They believed that society could be spared from such debilitating ailments if parenthood we re so limited. Ultimately they argued that only the best should be allowed to breed. On this point Noyes and parental advi sers were of the same mind. In the hands of parental advisers, parenthood became conceived as a privilege limited to the few, not a right extended to all. In their minds the fate of the future was at stake, as they advocated a purposeful parent hood that held the solution. At first glance, this chapter finds parental advisers in a place far from where their predecessors began. Where early pa rental advisers had focused on providing advice to mothers and fathers, parental advisers of the late nineteenth century sought to restrict parenting to none but the best. Such a black and white comparis on, however, fails to capture the nuanced and complicated path parental advisers as a group took during the nineteenth century to pin down appropriate parenthood. In fact, the arc of their views over the course of the century represents an increasingly tighter definition of what approp riate parenthood looked li ke, beginning with howto advice and culminating in calls for restri cting parenthood. Viewed in this way, the opinions they expressed in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s re present a natural culmination of parental advisers work over the course of the century: increasingly narrowing the definition of a good parentof who could parent. In this regard, their ideas near the end of the century mirrored much of what John Humphrey Noyes was atte mpting at Oneida: controlled human breeding. 179

PAGE 180

A Stream of Human Depravity In Crime and the Family published in 1876, jurist Sime on Nash (1804-1879) noted the widespread tendency for criminality in American society and wondered how it came to be. In his capacity as a judge in Ohio, Nash had senten ced a number of waywar d boys, leading him to speculate on the genesis of criminality. Crim inals, he observed, were once innocent babes, drawing their life from a mothers breast. They were once in the family, and have come forth from it, not to adorn and bless, but to prey upon society. By whos e fault and neglect does this take place? And how can it be prev ented, if prevented it can be?5 Nash was certainly not alone in believing there was a preponderance of criminal s in the late nineteenth century, nor was he alone in searching for the cause. He, and others like him, represented the later generation of nineteenth-century parental advi sers: those who took a more radical approach to parental advice than their predecessors. In earlier iterations, th eir focus had been establishing themselves as people whose advice about parenthood could be trusted. They aimed to teach parents how to parent. Their painstaking work reflected the assu mption not only that there was a right way and a wrong way to parent, but al so that the right way could be learned. In their hands, good parenthood could, in theory, be exte nded to all. Now, nearing the end of the centu ry, their voices changed and their tone reached a fever pitch. The parental advisers of the 1870s and 1880s primarily, though not entirely, men of medici nefocused not on teaching proper parenting skills, but on restricting parenthood to the few, the healthy, the worthy. Only those whose family trees were not rotten, they claimed, ought to be allowed to parent. Parental advisers found the blight attacking family trees in heritable diseases and tendencies, both of which they saw all around them. 5 Simeon Nash, Crime and the Family (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1876), 4. 180

PAGE 181

At the time at which Nash was writing, a numbe r of physiological ailments were thought to be hereditary: scrofula, St. Vitus Dance6, syphilis, rickets, and consum ption, to name just a few. Other non-physiological afflictions were also considered heritable, such as insanity, hysteria, degeneracy, moral weakness, criminality, and nervousness. Taken together, such seemingly heritable diseases and heritable tendencies represented a great con cern for parental advisers of the late nineteenth century. What concerned them was what evils parents were passing on to their childrenwhat afflictions and appetites would be perpetuated in the next generation. Their understanding of heritability, however, was rudimentary; Gre gor Mendels work had not yet been rediscovered, and would not be until 1900.7 Therefore, people like Simeon Nash did not know about genes and how they worked. Instead, they generally accepted the idea that like begets like: it seemed only natura l that a criminal father would have a criminal son, just as a consumptive mother would give birth to consum ptive children. Here, they were aided by the work of Jean-Baptise Lamarck, a nineteenth-centu ry French biologist. In the early nineteenth century, Lamarck argued that humans and animals acquired traits over their lifetime and then passed these traits on to their offspring.8 While modern science recognizes a division between acquired and biological traits, no such separation existed dur ing the nineteenth century.9 Instead, the heritability of acquired traits was widely believed to be true. Armed with biological explanations, however flawed, parental advise rs began to focus on th e threat of acquired 6 Sydenham chorea, a symptom of rheumatic fever. 7 See, for example, Robin Marantz Henig, The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000). 8 See, for example, Carl Degler, In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought (New York: Oxford Univ ersity Press, 1991). 9 Here, though, the emerging field of epigenetics may be rewriting these rules. Research ers in epigenetics examine the ways in which a persons acquired traits can impact th eir (and their succeeding generations) biological traits. 181

PAGE 182

characteristics and diseases that could be inherited by children and th at threatened to echo through the generations. Parental advisers observed that the sheer num bers of Americans exhibiting such tendencies made this threat even greater. Accord ing to phrenologist Hester Pendleton,10 the last Census reports [1860] of the United Stat es exhibit respectively in round numbers, twenty-four thousand insane, eighteen thousand idiotic, fourteen thous and deaf and dumb, and eleven thousand blind among usa fearful army for a nation of less than thirty millions, claiming to be, all things considered, the most enlightened people on the earth.11 She noted that these numbers were made all the more distressing when one consid ered that in all pr obability many thousand imbeciles, barely separated by a scarcely appreciable development from idiots, escaped numeration.12 Both criminals and the diseased filled ja ils and hospitals, as well as villages and cities, at rates parental advi sers found alarming. Phrenologist Lorenzo Niles Fowler (1811-1896) argued that, in some circles, and thos e not very limited in extent, every third woman is an invalid, and likewise every sixth male. They are laboring under dyspepsia, particular weaknesse and many other diseases of the kindall produced by a violation of physical laws. s, ky of our o 13 Kentuc physician Tandy Dix (1829-1902?) agr eed, noting that across society, we find in many fellow-beings evidences of mental and physical incapacity. We find many in stances of those wh perish from diseases, transmitted from generation to generation; and of those diseases we have 10 According to Charles Rosenberg, Pendleton was the author of the first widely read book on hereditary improvement. Rosenberg, No Other Gods 218 n. 44. Maren Lorenz notes that not much is known about Pendleton, though she was president of the short-lived New York Free Medical School for Women. Maren Lorenz, ProtoEugenic Thought and Breeding Utopias in the United States before 1870, GHI Bulletin 43 (Fall 2008): 77. 11 Hester Pendleton, Husband and Wife; or, The Science of Huma n Development through Inherited Tendencies (New York: Carleton, 1863), 16. 12 Pendleton, Husband and Wife 16. 13 Lorenzo Niles Fowler, The Principles of Phrenology and Physiology Applied to Mans Social Relations (New York: Fowler and Wells, 1842), 83. 182

PAGE 183

sad reminders in our midst, in the shape of As ylums, Almshouses, Institutes for Feeble-Minded and Charity hospitals. ers astou in ler and g, breathing scourge moving across th e landscape in the form of the diseased and the cr re 14 The diseased and lawless seemed to be everywhere parental advis looked, crowding out everyone else. Their numbers it seemed to parental advisers, were nding. Furthermore, the language parental advisers employed to describe such individuals indicates the revulsion they felt, as if criminals and the ill were spreading pestilence through an otherwise civil society. The s tream of human life, Dr. Tandy Dix noted, becomes more and more defiled by individual folly and crime; and its corrupted and poisonous qualities are seen shortened human lives, in which more sin and misery are crowded than was found in the far longer earthly pilgrimages of the patriarchs.15 Prominent phrenologist Orson Squire Fow (1809-1887) agreed, referring in his writings to that corrupt and bitter stream of human depravity and wo [sic] now beari ng on its dark waters most of th e imperfections, sinfulness, sufferings of mankind.16 While modern eyes may see this as somehow melodramatic or overplayed, parental advisers used such language to reflect what they saw as the dire situation surrounding them. When they looked around, parental advisers like Dix an d others saw nothing short of a livin iminal. But who was to blame for this wretched state? And what was to be done about it? Parental advisers pointed to parents themselves as both the cause and the solution. Parents we 14 Tandy Dix, The Healthy Infant, A Treatise on the Healthy Procreation of the Human Race, Embracing the Obligations To Offspring; the Management of the Pr egnant Female; the Management of the Newly Born; the Management of the Infant; and the Infant in Sickness (Cincinnati: Peter G. Thompson, 1880), 5. 15 Dix, The Healthy Infant 6. 16 Orson Squire Fowler, Love and Parentage, Applied to the Improvement of Offspring (New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1855), xii. 183

PAGE 184

to blame, they argued, for not understandingor perhaps not heedingthe serious nature of heritable diseases and tendencies. Caleb Ticknor wondered if such people could be forced the error of their ways. To preach reason a nd common sense to those who believe in the invincibility and uncontrollable power of that passion too often miscalled love would indeed b chimerical. to see e on vity, civ ilized society protects itself rd to ary ental 17 Love blinded them to their diseases, Ticknor claimed, and they forged ahead with marriage. Unschooled or apathetic, they marri ed and bred without taking care to verify the robustness of their beloveds family history (o r their own). Notwithst anding the number who suffer from debility, and the lives sacrificed by hereditary disease, mankind seems not to be satisfied; but each successive generation magnifies the evils it inherited by adding its proporti of those which arise from human depravity. Against this depra by the criminal law, prison houses, and the gallows.18 As they bred, they did an unconscionable wrong to society, unleashing the vast army Pendleton and others described. Cr owding asylums and prisons, this army could trace its debility not to poor parenting techniques (w hich parental advisers had long been attempting to influence) but to poor parenting stock. Ps ychiatrist Isaac Ray (1807-1881) contended, a complete history of the inmates of our jails and prisons, embracing all their antecedents, woul d show, in rega a large potion of them, that the active element was not immo ral training, nor extraordin temptations, but defective cer ebral endowment They ente r upon life with a cerebral organization deficient in those qualities necessary for the manifestation of the higher m functions.19 Parents, then, whose family trees we re rotten due to disease and criminal 17 Ticknor, The Philosophy of Living 309. Emphasis original. 18 Dix, The Healthy Infant 5. 19 Isaac Ray, Mental Hygiene (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863), 21. 184

PAGE 185

tende ed uld tions ey could observe and wh at they inferredwas that traits such as crimi ncies, were to blame for soci etal ills. In this regard, parent al advisers argument represent a marked departure from that of their predecessors. For so long, parental advisers as a group ha d focused on what parents could do (or were doing incorrectly) in raising their children: th ings they could alter, if only they were willing. They could be more or less strict, more or less at tentive, more or less sympathetic. Parents co be taught, in short, how to calibra te their parenting to achieve the appropriate settings. The result would be enlightened parents raising cheerful so ns and dutiful daughters. Years of advice to parents had been grounded on this idea and the tangible results that such a tack was supposed to achieve. Now, however, the thr eat to parenthood and future ge nerations was more elusive: heritable ills seemed ambiguous, difficult to unde rstand, and not easy to fix. Perhaps, too, they had begun to suspect that their pres criptive approach had failed. If, after half a century of sterling parenting advice, parents showed no improvement, then perhaps the real problem lay with the makeup of parents themselves. Yet parental advise rs were unable to provide simple sugges to solve heritable ills that they did not fu lly understand. Was there even a solution, as Simeon Nash wondered, to be found for such a problem? Was there a way for parental advisers to prevent pestilence in the next ge neration when they knew so little about the problem? What th did knowbased on what they nality and disease were passed on from ge neration to generation: the sins of the parents were visited on the children.20 Although their grasp of heritabi lity was flawed in many ways, parental advisers such as Hester Pendleton and Tandy Dix nonetheless repres ented a critical piece of the dialogue that, 20 In this regard, nineteenth-century science in herita bility may not have been so far off. Researchers in the emerging field of epigenetics are stud ying the impact of ones environment on DNA and proteins and how such changes can have far-reaching implications for generations. See, for example, Ethan Watters, DNA is Not Destiny: The New Science of Epigenetics Rewrites the Rules of Disease, Heredity, and Identity, Discover 27, no. 11 (2006). 185

PAGE 186

over the course of the nineteenth century, sought to establish what a parent should be. Their id constitute the culmination of an extended conve rsationone that began by addressing what was expected of parents, transitioned into training parents how to parent properly, and ultimately culminated in the idea that parenthood ought to be restricted. As they looked around at the army of pestilence upsetting society, they found the root cause in parents themse lves. If parents we to blame, then surely parents could also be the cu re. With regard to the heritability of traits and diseases, parental advisers looke d to what parents could do to en sure that future generations would neither be a burden nor a threat to civil soci ety. Their eas re solution was two-fold. First, men and womenpotential pare nts heir marriage partners. Secon on ged wn had to be selective with re gard to t d, only certain people should be allowed to procreate. Free from Constitutional Taint In order to prevent the destruction of societ y at the hands of the diseased and criminal, parental advisers issued advice to couples who had not yet concei vedideally, in fact, to those who had not yet married. Here, they echoed what was taking place in courtrooms with regard to restrictions on who could marry.21 They hoped to advise women on selecting healthy husbands and husbands, healthy wives. In some instances, much earlier parental advisers had insisted this point. The anonymous author of The Young Mans Own Book (1832), for example, ur men to choose carefully their wives, saying, let he r also be alike free from deformity and hereditary diseases; the one being always, a nd the other often, entailed on the breed, and witnessing the fathers indiscreti on from generation to generation.22 Lorenzo Niles Fowler, in 1842, agreed: Getting married is the most responsible act we can do, as connected with our o 21 See Grossberg, Governing the Hearth on matrimonial limitations. 22 The Young Mans Own Book: A Manual of Politeness, Intellectual Improvement, and Moral Deportment (Philadelphia: Key, Meilke and Biddle, 1832), 98. 186

PAGE 187

happiness in this life, and through us to those wh o shall inherit after our death. No indi the proper subjec vidual is t to become an agent for the tran smission of the soul and body to posterity, unles ibility with re gard to health first, by paying a ttention to their own as well as that o hildren they h to ives long la id in the dust-if there be any pleasure in daily watching its lively movements a nd growth, and secretly devoting ourselves live, and live a life of happiness, our lives must be lives of temperance, and our ties of ome s he or she is free from all hereditary diseases; his or her organization sound and complete.23 In order to be considered good parents, prospe ctive parents needed to ensure that they fulfilled their respons f their potential partner. It was the first thing would-be parents could do for the c oped to raise. Where is the parent that can delibera tely doom his progeny to idiocy? Imagine such, if one is to be found, contemplating his own driveling [sic] idiotic child, with the consciousness that he himself is th e causewhat can be more horrible? If, therefore, we wish to have the blessing of a healthy child; if there be any delight us in contemplating the child of our own lo ins, in associating its resemblances to ourselves, or to those fond relat incessantly to toil for its future welfarein short, do we desire to see this child habits the habits of the good.24 Earlier generations of parental advisers, t oo, focused on what men and women could do to become good parents. Later generations ec hoed these aspirations by focusing on physiology. Health reformer and author Thomas Low Nichols (1815-1901) observed, the responsibili parents are very serious. Every chil d has a right to health, nurture, education, a training in s useful avocation, and a fair start in life; a nd no man has the right to beget a child without reasonable prospect of performing these parent al duties. No woman has the right to marry without a reasonable prospect of provision for a family.25 While their predecessors may have 23 L. N. Fowler, The Principles of Phrenology and Physiology 86. Emphasis original. 24 Ackerley, On the Management of Children 43-44. 25 Thomas Low Nichols, How to Behave: A Manual of Manners and Morals (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1873), 126-127. The Nicholss fled to London in 1861, and continued to publish from there. 187

PAGE 188

focus n in as he health (physical and otherwise) of future generations Nothing short of the fate of mank ct generations of increasingly feebler offspring, ed on a childs right to an education or proper nurture, parental advi sers of the 1860s and 1870s felt it more imperative to focus on health and its impact on shaping future generations To that end, parental advisers used their trac ts as a means of educating potential parents o the elusive subject of inheritance, and guiding them towards healthy partners. Orson Squire Fowler, for example, claimed that he wrote Hereditary Descent to aid prospective parents making choice of such partners as shall secu re a healthy, talente d, and virtuous progeny, by expounding, in the light of classi fied facts, those LAWS whic h govern this department of nature.26 It was imperative that prospective parents carefully consider th eir own pedigree well as that of their potential mate, rather than blindly rushing to marry and procreate; their decisions would affect the next generation irreversibly. Thoughtle ss mortal!, thundered Fowler, I conjure you, before you allow the first goings forth of love, to learn what parental conditions in you will confer so great a boon on the prospective bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh!27 Again, although the prose overstates, it signals the importance men like Fowler placed on t ind, they argued, hung in the balance. Disast er awaited a parent who did not heed these warnings. For unhealthy couples who nonetheless insist ed on reproducing, the inevitable result was disease, degeneracy, and ruin. Dr. Caleb Ticknor equated the marriage and reproduction of an unhealthy couple with marriage between members of the same family. Families whose members persist in intermarrying, he argued, can expe 26 Orson Squire Fowler, Hereditary Descent: Its Laws and Facts Applied to Human Improvement (New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1852), 5. 27 O. S. Fowler, Love and Parentage xii. 188

PAGE 189

result rry there can be no y disease, fall desperately in love, and there can be no objection to their union in respect to justifiable or expedient? or, in other wo rds, will they be excusable for knowingly excusable for perpetuating a race of madmen? Shall a couple suffer in their ost pouse. e Hester Pendleton agreed, noting that a womans greatest duty was healthy procreation and that ing in eventual extinction. Similarly, he argued, when two diseased people ma avoiding the perpetuation of disease. Suppose a couple, both the branches of a stock affected with an hereditar the moral worth of either: is a marriage, with their predisposition to disease, entailing disease on posterityand will posterity excuse them for it? Are they feelings, or shall perhaps a num erous progeny suffer disease of body?28 Incapable of reasoning, blinded by love, su ch couples who insisted on marrying would ruin countless generations with their selfishness. According to Ticknor, though, all was not l for an unhealthy person who desired children; all they needed to do was to find a healthy s If a different course were pursu ed,-if those who inherit predis position to disease, were to contract matrimonial alliances with the healt hy and robust,-the thir d generation instead of becoming extinct, would have recovered the or iginal health and vi gour of their family.29 Ticknor went on to encourage parents to take a ve sted interest in the h ealth of their blood lines by urging their children to select partners on the basis of health, as well as wealth and social standing. Dr. William Earl went even further than Ticknor, and argued that parents owed it not just to their own families, but also to the nation to create healthy children. Earl urged those who wanted children to well consider all that pertai ns to their own health, if they expect healthy issue. There is on this subject no t only a moral, but a religious and patriotic point at issue, if w expect our children to take our place in this gr eat and glorious country when we are no more.30 28 Ticknor, The Philosophy of Living 311. 29 Ticknor, A Guide for Mothers and Nurses in the Management of Young Children 239-240. 30 William Earl, The Parents Companion on the Diseases of Infants and Children (New York: William Earl, 1878), 21. 189

PAGE 190

mothers in particular had an obligation to be stow upon society only the best children. Every female, from the moment she is liable to become a mother, is solemnly responsible to her Maker, to her od ks ir ilar obliga ot more pronounced when it came to finding a potential wife. Females more frequently transmit future offspring, and society, for the mi nd she will impart, and the moral and physical qualities she will transmit.31 Parental advisers such as Ti cknor, Earl, and Pendleton assume d an urgent tone when they exhorted readers to choose their spouses wisely; according to them the very fate of the nation hinged on a good choice. Men and wo men who hoped to become pare nts owed it to posterity to be selective with re gard to health before marrying and breed ing. Their injunctions in this regard echoed arguments their cohort had made decades earlier regarding the im portance of parentho and the idea that parents had a debt to society to raise thei r children properly. Cyrus Comstoc observation in 1810 that matters of everlast ing consequence were dependent upon parents would have resonated with late nineteenth cen tury parental advisers, who worried about the effects of heritable diseases and tendencies on children as well as society at large.32 Just as Comstock and other early parental advisers argued that parents had a duty to society to raise the children properly, so too did pare ntal advisers of the late ni neteenth century see a sim tion. The later generations in sistence that potential parents find healthy partners was, in many ways, a reincarnation of earlier arguments by Comstock and so many others. Finding a healthy partner to marry, however, was fraught with complications. It was n simply a matter of looking at a potential spouse and attempting to ascertain whether or not the person looked diseased. As Dr. John Stockton Hough explained, this complication was even 31 Hester Pendleton, The Parents Guide for the Transmission of De sired Qualities to Offspring, and Childbirth Made Easy (New York: S.R. Wells & Co., 1876), 120. 32 Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children 13. 190

PAGE 191

hereditary diseases and defects than males, though they less frequently exhibit them. Males less frequently transmit, and more frequently exhibit, inherited diseases and defects.33 Accordin Hough, even if a woman appeared to be healt hy, appearances can be deceiving; she may be harboring a heritable disease th at she does not exhibit. T g to he admonishment to find healthy spous tion, d, is er and althy es, then, was harder than it seemed at face value. Although Ticknor, Hough, and others attempted to administer advice before concep such advance warning was not always possible; therefore parental advisers also included warnings for childless couples, as well as inform ation for diseased couples with babies. Dr. William Potts Dewees argued that while feeble parents may produce a healthy-looking chil diseases often do not alter a pe rsons outward appearance. W e have many times seen the children of robust appearance from parents of fe eble health; but we do not recollect a single instance where such children attained an age much beyond manhoodold age was out of the question. Like fruit that attains its maturity prematurely, it looks fair to the eye; but cancer lurking at the core.34 Similar to John Stockton Hough, Dew ees believed that the naked eye could not necessarily see what lay beneath. Even if both prospective parents were free of disease, however, the risk of contamination was still possible. As William Earl argued, if the moth father are both pure at the time conception takes place, and the mother should contact the affection [sic] prior to the eighth m onth, the child may be born diseased.35 This complicates Hester Pendletons castigation of parents who m agnify the evil, for how were even he individuals to wholly preven t disease from entering thei r bodies and polluting the next 33 Hough, Laws of Transmission of Resemb lance from Parents to Children 16. Emphasis original. 34 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 21. 35 Earl, The Parents Companion on the Diseases of Infants and Children, 32. 191

PAGE 192

gener rs hen only healthy coupl and How Newc to be born. Now, with this healthy starting, what will make him sickly? He will undoubtedly suffer from the usual contagious diseases-as the measles, n mother, so that no law of Hygiene is broken, he is as sure to be healthy a nd strong as the calf or lamb is. uch couples we re indeed rare, he argued that Americans did no n, ricans were articulating similar ideas. Galton used as his foundation the work of his cousin, Charles ation? Becoming a parent, wh ether one was diseased or not, was clearly a risky proposition that was rife with obstacles. Despite these seemingly insurmountable challeng es, parental advisers like Earl and othe insisted that it was possible a nd desirable for purely healthy people to marry and mate. They advocated that parenthood be restri cted so that only those worthy of the office would attain it. Dr. Dan Newcomb (1829-1908), for example, looke d forward to the day w es would procreate, leaving the dis eased to eventually die out. In his book When omb depicted his idea of an id eal couple, a husband and wife, who are undoubtedly healthy and strong, and whos e ancestry far back have been the same; who have had pure air, good f ood, and warm clothing; who have kept clean, and have slept enough and not too much ; who have not been idlers, either mentally or physically, but have labored every day with due diligence. Let such a woman become pregnant by such a man, and still keep her steady, even way of living; and in due time a son is born unto them Such a child is as sure to be a well child as it is chicken pox, and scarlatina; but if he is nursed and cared for by his ow Parents Should Understand these Things, or Stop Having Children.36 While Newcomb acknowledged that s t deserve to have children if they were no t willing to recognize the utmost importance of good health and disease-free living. Newcomb, though, was not alone in his belief that only the best s hould breed. In Britai Francis Galton was developing theories of euge nics (even coining the term) while Ame 36 Dan Newcomb, When and How; or, A Collection of the more recent facts and ideas upon raising healthy children (Chicago: Arthur W. Penny & Co., 1872), 20-21. 192

PAGE 193

Darwin. While Darwin recognized the potential in applying his theo ries to humans, he cautiously left the subject alone.37 Believing in the potential of Darwins theories to improve society, though, Galton forged ahead, creating the science of eugenics. Eugenicists like Galton and others believed that a persons hereditary en dowment is a major factor in his success and development, and they hoped to breed better people through encouragin g propagation by those with d nd ely t and esirable traits and thr ough restricting propagation by t hose with undesirable traits.38 Inspired by Galtons work, Americans like Newc omb used comparisons to the natural a the man-made worlds to illustrate the benefits of manipulating and controlling the biological imperative to parent. Orson Squire Fowler, for example, observed, as we can enjoy a house we have planned and built, the fruit of a tree we sele cted, planted, trimmed, a horse we reared, after prearranging his hereditary qualities far the better than if we ha d not; so how much more lov and precious our darlings are rendered to us by our having flexed them into these and those forms, augmented these virtues and lessened those faults, than if they had been thrust upon us without any fashioning influences from us?39 Like Fowler, Tandy Dix relied on comparisons with horticulture and animal husbandry to make hi s point. He noted, surely it is not expected to obtain good fruit from bad trees; or a plentiful harvest from impove rished or uncultivated lands. Those who raise cattle and horses pa y strict attention to the stock, that it may be of the bes most productive kind. In doing so, they act upon a recognized principle that to have good progeny, the progenitors must likewise be good.40 Dr. Tullio Verdi agreed, noting that if parents were to simulate husbandmen in this regard, so ciety would not be overflo wing with the diseased 37 Mark Haller, Eugenics (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1963), 9. 38 Haller, Eugenics 3. 39 Orson Squire Fowler, Creative and Sexual Science (Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1875), 37. 40 Dix, The Healthy Infant 9-10. 193

PAGE 194

and the criminal element. A field covered with th e green blades of wheat is of no impor husbandman, if the pod be diseased or empty: th erefore, in the selec tion of the seed, the husbandman takes care that the h ealthy, well-grown grain be chosen. Would that it were so in the human family! The rickety specimens of humanity that infest our streets and crowd our hospital would not exist; the scrofula, the consumption, th at fill our early graves, would disappear; and man and woman, in the fulfilment [sic] of the most sublime conception of the Creator, would beautiful. t to the s be ers had always maint ts in om it. We ts about ce at 41 As with the natural world, so too with parenting. Parental ad vis ained that good parents beget good children, and here was their proof. Yet the belief that certain peopl e should be prohibited from having children certainly did not spring up for the first time in the 1860s and 1870s; parental advisers had made argumen favor of something very like e ugenics since the early part of the century. As early as 1825, William Potts Dewees argued, we may stop, in a gr eat measure, the hereditary transmission of predisposition, by selecting such subjects as shall be free from constitutional ta int; or, at least, we may diminish by this plan the risk of such occurrence, if we cannot insure exemption fr may also do much good by preventing altogether the union of such as may have these tendencies.42 What is noteworthy here is that Dewees articulated an argument in favor of biological selection before the wo rd eugenics was even coined.43 At the time at which he was active, however, this assertion wa s just one in a crowd of other, more insistent argumen parents and parenthood. His call for restricting parenthood was drowned out by voices advocating, for example, that parenting could be taught. Therefore, alt hough the thread of the eugenic discussion was present quite early on in the century, other arguments took preceden 41 Verdi, Maternity 21-22. 42 Dewees, Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 22. Emphasis added. 43 The Oxford English Dictionary attributes the first use of the term to Francis Galton in 1883. 194

PAGE 195

the time. Towards the end of the century, as Dan Newcomb and others sought a solution to societys ills, the case for selec tive breeding or restrictive parentingarticulated much earlier in the ce h a ck for a job well done: America would be a country of en. he rio had farreach n why sexual intercourse should be restrained by law, than why eating and drinking should be nturybecame increasingly prevalent. By discussing heritable diseases and tendencies at such length, parental advisers attempted to influence Americans selecti on of marriage partners and emphasi zed the ramifications of suc selections on future generations. They echoed earlier arguments that parenthood was critically important and had consequences beyond home a nd hearth. Furthermore, they underscored their case by insisting that only the best should be allowed to breed, and thereby helped give shape to the ideal parent. Such a person had a robust family tree, free from disease and criminality. They chose as their spouse someone of similar st ock and good breeding. Under these conditions, the children they would bring into the world would be heritably perfect. Finall y, armed with nearly centurys worth of guidance from parental advise rs, they would raise th eir children properly. If they succeeded, parental advisers could at last pat themselves on the ba perf ect parents creating ideal childr Scientific Human Propagation This utopian ideal was, of course, part of John Humphrey Noyess vision. At Oneida, strove to realize this visi on through a revolutionary sexual agenda comprised of complex marriage, male continence and, ultimately, stir piculture. Taken together, the t ing implications for the way in wh ich the Oneida community parented. In 1838, before he launched the Oneida community, John Humphrey Noyess views on complex marriage became public. He had written, pr ivately, to a friend on the subject in letters which were subsequently published. In these le tters, Noyes argued that marriage and monogamy between one man and one woman was unnatural. In a pure community, there is no more reaso 195

PAGE 196

and there is as little occasion for sh ame in the one case as in the other.44 Men and women, according to Noyes, should not partner off in di screte couples, but should engage in relations freely, not by pairs, as in the world, but en masse.45 With a small group of followers, Noyes had begun to practice this complex marriage at Putney, Vermont. He bristled at the accusation that he promoted free love, however.46 According to his son, Noyes always insisted that in the sex relations of the Oneida Community ther e was less of that licen tiousness suggested by t term free love than in worldly ma rriagesalso more of responsibility. he 47 In Noyess mind, complex marriage was less sinful than either free love or traditional marri age. Regardless of his true intention, aspects of Noyess ideas were far too radical for most Americans. He was charged with adultery and fled Vermont for New York, wh ere he would establish his community anew at a farm belonging to one of his followers.48 Located in Oneida, New York, the farm was further from prying eyes than Noyess community at Putney had been. At Oneida, complex marriage was only pa rt of his program; male continence and stirpiculture rounded out the tri o. Male continencesexual interc ourse without ejaculationwas the method by which community members avoide d unwanted pregnancies. Community members used an internal third party to arrange sexual encounter s, which were then recorded in a ledger.49 44 John Humphrey Noyes, quoted in Hubbard Eastman, Noyesism Unveiled: A Histor y of the Sect Self-Styled Perfectionists (Battleboro, VT: Hubbard Eastman, 1849), 91. 45 John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialisms (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1870), 626. 46 According to John DEmilio and Estelle Freedman, free love referred not to promiscuityor sex with multiple partnersbut to the belief that love, rather than marriage, should be the precondition for sexual relations. John DEmilio and Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America 2nd ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), 113. 47 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 9. 48 Robert S. Fogarty, Desire and Duty at Oneida: Tirzah Millers Intimate Memoir (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 7. 49 Muncy, Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities 174. 196

PAGE 197

Older womenthose beyond menopausewere paired with younger men in order to teach them male continence.50 By judiciously practicing male contin ence, community members were able to satisfy their physical desires when they did not intend to procreat e. A man, according to Noyes, should refrain from ejaculation except when he intends procreation.51 Although Noyess early ideas about marriage and sex were denounced, they ultimately led to ideas he would develop in New York about scientific propagationideas th at were not so different from what many parental advisers were beginning to believe.52 This focus on intentional procreation illumi nates Noyess views on what he termed stirpiculture, or human husbandry. Noyes and the Oneida community eschewed random procreation and favored deliberat e, scientific procreation. His id eas in this regard placed him very much in line with contemporary parental ad visers, who also advocated intentional parenting by certain exceptional people. Noyes argued, we believe the time will come when involuntary and random propagation will cease, and when scie ntific combination will be applied to human generation as freely and successfully as it is to that of other animals.53 To support his ideas, Noyes pointed to animal and plant breeders, who selectively bred their best combinations to create a more perfect offspring. So much time a nd energy had been devoted to this, he noted, yet why had these techniques not been applied to humans? Here, too, he paralleled that which Galton, Fowler and others claimed and he did so concurrently with them. Every melting pear, 50 Lawrence Foster, Women, Family, and Utopia: Communal Experiments of the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Mormons (Syracuse: Syracuse Univ ersity Press, 1991), 83. 51 John Humphrey Noyes, Male Continence (Oneida, NY: Office of Oneida Circular, 1872), 8. 52 In researching American parenthood I wanted to examine fringe parentingparenting that was not mainstream. The utopian communities of the nineteenth century provided a useful starting point in that they had truly different takes on parenting. The Oneida commun ity is unique even among utopian communities because of the dual ideas of complex marriage and stirpiculture. It is an ideal opportu nity to examine parenting as it existed nowhere else. 53 Noyes, Male Continence 15. 197

PAGE 198

every red-cheeked apple, every mealy potato that m odern skill presents us, bids us go to work on the final task of producing the be st possible varieties of human beings. Every race-horse, every straight-backed bull, every premium pig tells us what we can do and what we must do for man. What are all our gay cattle fairs, but eloquent reminders of the l ong-neglected duty of scientific human propagation?54 Noyess ideas with regard to inten tional breeding, then, were not so very different than those of Galton, Newcomb, and others His theory of stirpiculture meshed neatly with their visions of selective breeding. While he was considered an outcast and a deviant for his plan of complex marriage, stir piculture placed him squarely in the norm with regard to contemporary eugenic debates. When viewed through this lens, Noyes was a natural part of this extended conversation about what it means to be a parent, and who should get to parent. Noyes instituted stirpiculture at Oneida in 1869. His plan was two-fold: breeding from the best, and breeding in-and-in (w hat we today term inbreeding) For the former, a committee, headed by Noyes, took charge of the matter, and selected the holiest members who were free from physical defects. One essential consideration was quite noteworthy. This was the mutual attraction which must exist to at leas t a slight degree between persons mated.55 Each member of the community was allowed to have one child. But those at the top of the hierarchy, the stirps, were allowed to have more (their potential offspring being deemed the most perfect). John Humphrey Noyes, himself situated at the top of the Oneida hier archy and presumably having the best blood, fathered several child ren by different women. Pierrepont Noyes, himself the result of such a stirpicultural un ion, referenced this in his autobi ography. He remembered that boys outside the community referred to him and other Oneida children as bastards. When he asked 54 John Humphrey Noyes, Essay on Scientific Propagation (New York: Oneida Community, 1872), 2. 55 Anita Newcomb McGee, An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture, American Anthropologist 4, no. 4 (October 1891): 321-322. 198

PAGE 199

his mother about this, she responded we consid er you children more legitimate than any children in the world.56 Complex marriage at Oneida was comp licated, and often involved blood family members coupling with one another. Noyes was known to have had sexual relations with his niece, Tirzah Miller (who was deemed perhaps th e highest woman in the Oneida hierarchy), and probably had similar relations with his sister and one of his daughters.57 His rationale in this regard pointed to the second part of his st irpiculture plan: in-andin breeding. Along with breeding from the best, Noyes relied on in-andin breeding to produce more perfect children. According to Noyes, there can be no doubt that by segregating superior families, and by breeding them in and in, superior varieties of human beings might be produced which would be comparable to the thoroughbreds in all the domestic races.58 Just as breeders selected certain animals or plants in order to pe rpetuate specific traits, Noyes firmly believed that employing the same selective techniques would lead to the perfection of humankind. In this regard, he differentiated himself from accepted conventions. The deleterious effects of inbreeding in both humans and animals had long been observed. An 1862 article in Popular Science Review for example, noted that inbreeding is for all species a cause of degeneration and decay.59 And in 1875, George Darwin published an article on the pr eponderance of idiocy and lunacy resulting from first-cousin marriages in England.60 Certainly by the time Noye s was formulating his ideas about the benefits in-and-in bree ding, there was plenty of scientific proof demonstrating the 56 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 149. 57 Fogarty, Desire and Duty at Oneida, 20-21. 58 Noyes, Essay on Scientific Propagation 15. 59 In-and-in Breeding of Domestic Animals, Popular Science Review (London) 2 (October 1862): 133. 60 George H. Darwin, Marriag es Between First Cousins in England and Their Effects, Journal of the Statistical Society of London 38, no. 2 (June 1875): 153-184. 199

PAGE 200

dangers thereof. Despite evidence to the contrar y, Noyes believed that there was some benefit to be gained from breeding within the best families. While complex marriage earned him the skepticism and outrage of some of his contemporaries, and despite the fact that his theories about inbreedi ng went against accepted scientific doctrine, in many ways John Humphrey Noyes reflected much of the concern that parental advisers voiced a bout parenthoodthe idea that pare nthood was a privilege and not a right, that only certain people should be allowe d to breed, and that ther e was a benefit to be gained by breeding humans based on certain aspects of their parents. In this, he was squarely part of the burgeoning eugenic movement. Like Galton and others, Noyes emphasized deliberate, scientific procreation. His stirpiculture experiment was eugenics, albeit on a small scale. Furthermore, certain outsiders argued that his ex periment had indeed produced prized children. Anita Newcomb McGee (1864-1940), then a me dical student at what would become George Washington University, studied the On eida community in the 1880s. When she published her findings in 1891, she noted that the community should be justly proud of its stirpiculture results, as the children born from this experiment appeared to be superior on all counts. Among the children serious sickness wa s unknown and the mortal ity at birth and to nine years was less than one-third that of the United States at la rge as given in the census of 1870.61 Of the older children, she noted, the boys are tallse veral over six feetbroadshouldered, and finely proportioned; the girls are robust and well built.62 She also observed that, once adults, their occupa tions were noteworthy. Of the oldest sixteen boys, ten are in busin ess, chiefly employed as clerks, foremen, etc., in the manufactories of the joint-stock company. The eleventh is a musician of 61 Anita Newcomb McGee, An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture, American Anthropologist (Washington, D. C.) 4, no. 4 (October 1891): 322. 62 Newcomb McGee, An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture, 324. 200

PAGE 201

repute; another a medical student; one has passed through college and is studying law; one is a college senior, and one is entering college after winning state and local scholarships. Finally, the sixteenth boy is a mechanic, the only one engaged in manual labor. Of the six girls between ei ghteen and twenty-two years, three are especially intellectual. One is at a female college, another is entering college with Greek as a specialty, and the last is a student of the kindergarten system.63 At least according to McGee, it seemed that inte ntional breeding between select partners would indeed result in a more perfect child. The childre n born of the stirpiculture experiment were, as Dan Newcomb predicted in such cases, as healthy and strong as the calf or lamb is. Despite these seeming successes, the experiment was shortlived; stirpiculture at On eida lasted only until Noyes formally ended complex marriage in 187 9. In August of that year, outside pressures combined with internal struggles forced hi m to flee under cover of darkness to Canada.64 The Interests of Posterity At the same time that stirpiculture may have drawn him closer to what many parental advisers espoused, Noyess views on communa l childrearing would have highlighted his difference with respect to what they believed p roper parenting to be. Oneida children were not raised by their biological parents and intentionally had very little contact with them. When the Oneida community elders asked it s daughters to destroy the dolls to which they had become so intimately attached, they had their reasons; ever ything in their society was held communally and favoritismidolatrywas not tolerated. Yet for young girls and their dolls, the line between a real person and a fake doll can be blurry.65 Harriet Worden herself admitted that though the girls 63 Newcomb McGee, An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture, 325. 64 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 159. Pierrepont Noyes notes that the younger Oneida generation began to question his aging fathers authority. This, combined with the fear that a raid by local authorities was imminent, convinced John Humphrey Noyes to disappear. It was from Canada that he urged his remaining followers to abandon complex marriage and enter into conventional marriages. 65 Psychologist Jean Piaget was the first to publish re search regarding children and animismthe idea that inanimate objects like dolls are alive. Jean Piaget, The Childs Conception of the World (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1929). Piagets theories continue to be revisited by developmental psychologists. See, for example, Merry Bullock, Animism in Childhood Thinking: A New Look at an Old Question, Developmental Psychology 201

PAGE 202

did what was asked of them, and did it without complaint, it was some time before they could remember the incident without a slight emoti on. The ramifications of the doll-burning episode become even clearer when paired with an in cident, years later, be tween Worden and her young son Pierrepont. During one of the occasional visits between mother and son, Pierrepont remembered overhearing an Oneida man say to his mother, Harriet, that is idolatry.66 He wrote that he knew they were speaking of him, but he did not quite understand what idolatry meant. Yet he heard the criticism inherent in the ut terance. What has persisted in my memoryand this rather astonishes meis the fact that I connected his words with my mothers less affectionate attitude toward me dur ing the remainder of that visit.67 By asking the girls to cast their dollspseudo-childreninto the fire, the co mmunity hoped to train these future Oneida mothers not to become too attached to their litt le ones. The emphasis at Oneida, after all, was on community rather than individuals. This emphasis on community extended to childrearing. Just as the community selected only the best members to breed, they also selected according to ability with regard to chores, all for the benefit of the community. To the care of children, they dedicated those persons who had shown themselves best fitted for the work.68 An Oneida mother would nurse her infant for nearly the first year of its life. Afterwards, the child would be transferred to the Childrens House with other Oneida youths and would be raised by community members in charge of that 21, no. 2 (1985): 217-225. See also Jacqueline D. Woolley, Thinking about Fantasy: Are Children Fundamentally Different Thinkers and Believers from Adults? Child Development 68, no. 6 (December 1997): 9 91-1011. 66 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 72. 67 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 73. 68 Newcomb McGee, An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture, 322. 202

PAGE 203

department.69 Parents were allowed to see their ch ildren for a few hours each week, but otherwise the children remained in their department.70 This bureaucratic approach to childrearing en sured that parents could not have too much access to their children. Like the dolls being cast into the fire, the idea was to prevent close attachments between individuals, as such attachments threatened the stability of the community. In his autobiography, Pierrepont Noyes recollected the difficulty with which mothers and children bore the arrangement. He remembered cryi ng bitterly when the time came to return to the Childrens House after a visit with his mother, coupled with her fear that someone would hear his sobs and separate them even more.71 Once, as a punishment for something he had done, Pierrepont was forbidden by William Kelly (the h ead of the childrens department) to see his mother for a week. Upon hearing this, the boy th rew a tantrum. Whereupon Papa Kelly seized me and shook me and commanded in a voice char ged with indignation and authorityjust such a voice as I imagined Jesus Christ used when cas ting out devils, Be still, Pip, be still! Then, firmly, You have evidently got sticky to your mother. You may stay away from her another week.72 Just as parental advisers held certain ideas about proper parenting, so too did the Oneida community. Where others sought to reinfor ce a childs natural bond with its parents, and vice versa, the Oneidans sought to minimize and ev en eliminate that sti cky bond. Like material possessions, children were m eant to be held communally, loved equally by all. 69 Initially, the Childrens House was a separate structure. After the Oneida Mansion House was built in the 1860s, the Childrens House became part of it. Though no longer a separate house, the name stuck. P. Noyes, My Fathers House 24-25. 70 Muncy, Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities 190. 71 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 66. 72 P. Noyes, My Fathers House 66-67. 203

PAGE 204

The communitys practice of bureaucratic childrearing (to say nothing of complex marriage) epitomized the antithesis of nearly a centurys worth of work by parental advisers devoted to shaping the ideal parent. As Shaker Stephen Ball disc overed, parental advisers did not deem communal childrearing an ap propriate style of parenting.73 Far from having limited contact with their children, proper parents formed an unbreakable bond with their children. The bond between parent and child, parental advisers beli eved, could not be replicated or manufactured elsewhere. It was unique, irreplaceable, and sacr ed. Furthermore, proper parents played an integral part in raising their children. Parental advisers focus on mothers and fathers as the ideal childrearersnot extended kin nor spinster aunts nor elder siblingshelped change the discourse about the family and gave shape to wh at a parent was or should be. The Oneidans, in effect, represented a shift backward, to the preindustrial mode of childrearing in which it was acceptable and desirable for extended family me mbers (in their case, ideological family members) to raise children. But by the late nine teenth century, that mode of childrearing was no longer in vogue among the urban middle class audience for much of the parental advice literature, as the dominion of parentsshephe rded by parental advisershad taken hold. Through this lens, the Oneida method of childrearing seemed anomalous, even inhumane. Dr. Ely Van de Warker (1841-1910), for example, wrote that at Oneida, a womans instinctive longings of maternity became extinguished.74 Oneida, he claimed, was a machine that kept its levers in operation to wring out of the heart of woman the emotions that make her all she is to man, love and its tender counterpart, the gentle instinct of maternity.75 To observers of the 73 See chapter 3. 74 Ely Van de Warker, A Gynecological Study of the Oneida Community, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children (New York) 17 (1884): 808. 75 Van de Warker, A Gynecological Study of the Oneida Community, 808-809. 204

PAGE 205

Oneida community, it seemed cruel (as opposed to merely outdated) that the communitys children would be raised by comm ittee. For parental advisers, it was inconsistent with their notion of proper parenthood. Furthermore, parental advisers had worked tirelessly to promote and emphasize the critical work parents performed. This, they felt, was crucial. They advocated a purposeful parenthood that the Oneidans seemed to lack. What pa rents didnot department members or community relations, but biological mother s and fatherswas important. It affected not only home and hearth, but also the rest of society and futu re generations. Parental advisers argued that individuals did not operate in a vacuum and th at their actions had far-reaching ramifications. Parents, in particular, could use this power for good or for ill. Fo r the former, parental advisers hoped that prospective parents would rise to the occasion and do their duty to mankindthe interests of posterity depended on it.76 According to physician Samuel Howe (1801-1876), it is by the lever of enlightened parental love, more than by any other power, that mankind is to be raised to the highest attainab le point of bodily perfection.77 The power parents wielded was incredible and the fate of th e nation and humankind lay at their feet. One misstep, and parents risked condemning society to ruin. Parental ad visers had already seen the effects of such missteps: a fearful army of the idiotic and in firm, as Hester Pendleton described them. These mistakes were made all the more frightening by the belief that, once committed, they were irreparable. Tandy Dix, for example, compared the functioning of mankind to the workings of a watch: both delicate in nature, and both susceptible to a small fault disabling the entire apparatus. The watch, however, had the advantage of being fixable. Deficiencies in the watch may be 76 Dix, The Healthy Infant 3. 77 Samuel G. Howe, On the Causes of Idiocy, Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology (London) 11 (1858): 367. 205

PAGE 206

supplied, and imperfectly arranged pa rts may be re-adjusted; but in man it is sadly the reverse, as his deficiencies and derangements are not onl y irreparable, but transmissible through many generations.78 Here, at the end of the cent ury, their arguments about the importance of parenthood came to mean even more, as they advocated that only certain people ought to be allowed to become parents in the first place. Their arguments in favor of a purposeful parenthood, which they had espoused for nearly a century in various ways, culm inated in this final restrictive definition of proper parents. Ironically, at its core, the Onei da communitys approach represents another attempt at perfecting parenting and familial relati onships. In this regard, the men and women of the Oneida community were not so very different than other parental advisers; they simply adopted a different method. Summary In the late nineteenth century, parental advi sers took a careful look at society around them. What they saw horrified them: an explosion of heritable diseases and tendencies, manifested in an army of the diseased and the degenerate. The numbers of these misfits seemed to be multiplying, making the threat they represen ted all the more tangible. To explain the preponderance of individuals exhi biting heritable diseases and te ndencies, parental advisers looked to parents, who insisted on procreating re gardless of their fitn ess or that of their ancestors. Parents, they argued, bred without being certain that they were not transmitting injurious predispositions. Alarmed, parental advisers took action a nd advocated that parenting be restricted. If it was true that like begets like, the only solution to societys woes was to curb them at their source. The culmination of near ly a centurys worth of debates about parenthood 78 Dix, The Healthy Infant 12. 206

PAGE 207

207 was an increasing emphasis on perfect parents creating ideal children and, even further, a conviction that only the best should be allowed to breed. Parent hood, then, had been reconceived as a privilege limited to the few, not a right ex tended to all. In this regard, they aligned themselves with one of the cen turys most radical utopian experimenters: John Humphrey Noyes. At Oneida, Noyes institute d a sexual agenda that culminated in stirpiculture, or human husbandry. He believed that mankind could be perf ected if only certain people bred. While his ideas in this regard resonated with late ninet eenth century parental advisers, the bureaucratic childrearing practices that charact erized Oneida parenting flew in the face of what parental advisors strove to realize. Pa rental advisors vision of ideal parenthood, crafted over the course of the century, advocated that parentsmothers and fatherestab lish an unbreakable bond with their children, serve as the sole childrearers, and execute the impor tant duties unique to parents. This vision, one of purposeful parenthood, re flected their goal of perfecting parenthood.

PAGE 208

CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION To the unfaithfulness of parents must be attributed most of the calamities, which man is bringing upon man, in this sinf ul, distracted world. The natural consequences of unfaithfulness in parents, are disobedience, obstinacy and unfaithfulness in children. Cyrus Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children1 Yesterday I received a bunch of emails from people who had seen my latest Redbook column on the MSN homepage. I didnt know it was there, so I visited the site, where I made the mistake of read ing the comments. And I learned that apparently I am the reason civilization is going down the toilet, and my child will grow up to be a serial killer. Ah. Alice Bradley, In the Locker Room2 In many ways, the ending date for this studyis arbitrary and artificial. The debates that I have traced through this dissertationwhat constitutes a parent, who gets to be a parent (and who gets to be i nvolved in parenting), what make s a good or a bad parent certainly did not end in the nineteenth centu ry; rather, they carry on today. Contemporary debates about parenting range from whether single parents can raise children properly to whether white parents should be allowed to adopt black children, and beyond. Such debates, furthermore, continue to be very charged. Perhaps the most heated debate surrounding parenting today centers around gay men and lesbians as parents. While some scholars, like Gillian Dunne, argue that lesbian women and gay men are opting into parenthood in increasing numbers,3 thereby changing what the family looks lik e, others are quick to point out societys resistance to such 1 Comstock, Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children 37. 2 Alice Bradley, In the Lock er Room, Alice Bradley, (accessed March 16, 2010). 3 Gillian Dunne, Opting into Motherhood: Lesbians Blur ring the Boundaries and Transforming the Meaning of Parenthood and Kinship, Gender and Society 14, no. 1 (2000): 12. 208

PAGE 209

change. Stephen Hicks, Charlott e Patterson, and others have argue d that gay men and lesbians are often cast as unnatural parents.4 Frequently, such opinions emanate from people in positions of authority, such as judges who consistently deny homosexual parents custody of their children, or social workers who prevent gay men and le sbians from adopting. Recently, for example, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee defended an Arkansas law that prohibits gay couples from becoming adoptive parents. Children are not puppies, he argued. This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?5 Rather than view ing this example as an anomaly, I would argue that it represents a continuation of a trend, another manifestation of the desire to limit parenthood to certain groups. Furthermore, the work of parental advisers c ontinues to grow, demonstrating that what was begun in the early decades of the nineteenth century has remained a contested subject as it continues to elicit anxiety and self-proclaimed experts. Americans continue to turn to parenting experts for advice. Stroll down the aisles of almost any bookstore and youre likely to come across titles such as The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Parenting with Fire Parenting from the Inside Out, andof courseParenting for Dummies while the magazine rack displays anything from American Baby to Hip Mama .6 Though nineteenth-centu ry Americans certainly 4 Stephen Hicks, Maternal MenPerverts and Deviants? Making Sense of Gay Men as Foster Carers and Adopters, Journal of GLBT Family Studies 2, no. 1 (2006); Charlotte Patterson, Family Relationships of Lesbians and Gay Men, Journal of Marriage and the Family 62, no. 4 (Nov. 2000); Mary Ann Mason, From Fathers Property to Childrens Rights: The History of Child Custody in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). 5 M. C. Tracey, Huckabee Rips Steele, Romney, LGBT Activists, The Perspective April 9, 2010, huckabee-rips-steele-romney-lgbt-activists-4/ (accessed May 4, 2010). 6 Laurence Steinberg, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004); Shmuel Boteach, Parenting with Fire: Lighting up the Family with Passion and Inspiration (New York: New American Library, 2006); Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell, Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper SelfUnderstanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive (New York: J. P. Tarcher, 2003); Sandra Hardin Gookin and Dan Gookin, Parenting for Dummies (Foster City, California: IDG Books Worldwide, 1995). 209

PAGE 210

were not turning the pages of Parenting with Fire, they undoubtedly were consulting its predecessors. The early nineteenth century saw changes on an unprecedented scalequite literally, everything Americans had known was in flux. In dustrialization and urba nization was beginning to alter much of their world and gave rise to im portant social changes, such as the emergence of a self-conscious middle class as well as transforma tions in familial patterns. Parental advisers took advantage of the transition between th e pre-industrial family and its successor by advocating a purposeful parent hoodparenting that looked and acted a certain wayand by establishing themselves as integral to achievi ng this new conception of parenthood. They began their work in and around the 1820s, arguing that parents were in di re need of advice. Parents, they claimed, were slothful and remiss, and in no way capable of raising future generations. In order to do so successfully, they needed expert a dvice. Parental advisers were only too willing to provide such advice. They identified a problemparents unprepared to execute their duties properlyand they provided the so lution. In doing so, they created a market for their expertise: parents as consumers of advice. This market was aided by their efforts in establishing themselves as people whose advice about pare nting could be trusted. Their exp ert credentials ranged from experience in mothering, as was the case with Lydia Howard Sigourney, to more theoretical knowledge, in the manner of Dr. Caleb Ticknor. Even as these experts negotiated their own claims to expertise, they challe nged that of others. Not only, then, did they attempt to adjudicate parenthood, they also jostled amongst themselves to make the case for who could best advise parents. In these early years, they began their work by defining what it meant to be a parent and shaping what this newly-conceive d role ought to be. These early efforts laid the foundation for 210

PAGE 211

their work in the 1830s and 1840s, during which they began to assert thei r belief that parents were made, not born. Parenting, they firmly belie ved, was a learned art ra ther than an innate skill. In order to parent properly, parents needed to be educated in their craft. Naturally, this played well into their self-appoint ed status as experts in parenti ng, as they were able to wield their expertise to educate parents. They provided that which parents needed in order to parent properly. Part of this educati on was to convince parents of th eir awesome responsibility. Not only did parents have a responsibilit y to their children, but they we re also responsible to society to raise good children. Furthermore, their actions as parentsbe they good or badwould have ramifications in the hereafter. Beyond that, parent al advisers education of parents lay in their careful didactic prescription. They provided exhaustive descriptions a nd examples of good and bad parents and emphasized the blessings that re sulted from proper parenting as well as the consequences of negligent parenting. Yet thei r contrast of good and bad cannot be reduced to loving versus hateful parents, or dutiful versus abusive parents; it was more complicated than that. Even parents who might have thought that they were good parents, who were wellintentioned in their act ions, often proved to be bad parents because the demands of good parenting were so strict, and th e line between good and bad so na rrow. Solicitous parents, for example, who were overly attentive risked harm ing their children. So, too, did dutiful parents who were overly cautious. The expectations that parental advisers outlined for parents were incredibly high, and devilishly hard to meet. Not only did parental advisers have high expectations of parents, but they also had gendered expectations of mothers and fathers. Mothers and fathers, they believed, were fundamentally different. They cast mothers as more innately nurturing than fathers. Mothers were blessed with a fountain of unfailing love fo r their children, and the care with which they 211

PAGE 212

parented demonstrated their devo tion. Some parental advisers were so convinced of this empire of the mother that they wrote for a female a udience, assuming that mothers would be the ones primarily engaged in childrearing. At the same time, parental advisers believed that because mothers and fathers were different, they imparted different things to their children, and children needed both elements in order to be raised properly. Fathers were equally important to the task of raising children. Parental advisers worked hard to convince apathetic fathers of this fact (and recognized that perhaps their own emphasis on mothers may have caused this apathy). Where mothers were innately caring, fathers were more naturally authorit ative. Each complemented the other. Fathers assertiveness and authority was balanced by mothers sympathy and tenderness, and vice versa. While parental advisers firmly believed that both parents were necessary to raising children properly, they also recognized a hierarchy in parenting. Though they lauded her devotion, parental advisers were keenly aware that a mothers compassion could escape her and that she might do her children harm by bei ng too lenient. (Though, interestingly, parental advisers seemed unconcerned about a fathers aut hority getting out of hand.) In these and other cases, it became clear that for parental advisers the father was the ultim ate arbiter: though both parents were critical to raising children properl y, the will of the father trumped that of the mother. As they refined the concept of an ideal parent parental advisers came to think of parenting as a joba job that required trai ning from experts on the subject, and also a job that nobody but parents could perform. This was increasingly impor tant, according to parental advisers, given the dangerous world in which parents were attempting to raise their children. Childhood acquaintances, servants, and nurses all represented threats to prope r parenting. Parental advisers cautioned parents about the influences these non-family members might have on childrens 212

PAGE 213

morals. Furthermore, they might cause childre n physical harm or even death. This was a particular danger with servants and nurses who, if given the task of childrearing, might not raise the child according to exacting standards. They mi ght neglect or even abuse the child. Even other parenting advice was cast as dange rous. Parental advisers particularly physicians, sought to end parents reliance on the wisdom (often folklore) of untrained othersignorant nurses, helpful neighbors, midwives, even relatives. The informa tion gleaned from these sources, however wellintentioned or based in extensiv e experience, could be harmful to children. Professional parents, therefore, had to be aware of the dangers that threatened their children, both morally and physically. They could not attempt to raise thei r children without expert advicethe dangers were simply too numerous. Schools, too, could be considered a th reat to children. In the hands of teachers who did not have a connection to their students, who could say whether these children were receiving good guidance? Teachers, after al l, were paid to carethey did not possess a fountain of unfailing love for the children in th eir classroom. Yet the greatest threat that schools posed was that they manifested replacement parents. Parents, seeing their children taken off their hands for several hours at a time, might jump at the opportunity to shirk their duties. Faced with innumerable threats to parenting, parental advisers worked tirelessly to convince their audience that parents alone were the only entities capable of raising children properly. In order to do so, they needed the trained advi ce of parental experts. Failing to rely on this expertise would lead parents and children to ruin. As the century wore on, parental advisers became increasingly wary about the trustworthiness of parents. Though generations of parental advisers had been hard at work for decades, it seemed that their work had not yielde d a positive result. Pare ntal advisers of the 1860s and 1870s looked at society with disdain and shock. Around them, they saw an army of 213

PAGE 214

misfits harboring heritable diseases like scro fula and exhibiting heritable tendencies like criminality. This army of pestilence filled jails and almshouses, acting as both a burden and a scourge on society. Parental advise rs did not need to look far for the cause or the solution; they found both in parents. Parents, they argued, marri ed and procreated with out considering their own health or the health of thei r spouse. Diseased and deranged family trees, rather than being pruned, were allowed to grow and thrive. In order to prevent soci etys certain ruin, drastic action had to be taken. Parental advisers argued that parenthood was a privilege not a right. For the good of children and of society, prospective pare nts needed to choose their marriage partners carefully. Ultimately, they argued th at only the best should be allo wed to breed. If society were to be spared and allowed to thrive once more, only those who met incredibly strict standards ought to be allowed to procreate. For parental ad visers of the late nineteenth century, the ideal they envisioned was one in which perfect parents created ideal children. In this regard, they advocated a practice similar to what John Humphrey Noyes unde rtook at his Oneida community. Stirpiculture at Oneida involved scientific human propagation, or pairing the best members of the community in order to create perfect children. In the hands of parental advisers at the end of the century, parenthood had transf ormed into an exclusive club into which not all were welcomed as members. The broad change over time that this dissert ation charts is that the idea of parenthood becomes much more restrictive over the course of the century. Parental advisers constructed an idea of purposeful parenthood that demanded that parents act a certain way. But over the course of the century, they also sought to limit who could participate. While this dissertation explores the history of the concept of a parent in the United States, it is far from exhaustive. There ar e a number of areas that ought to be addressed with regard to 214

PAGE 215

this rich topic: the ways in which parental advisers navigated non-biological families and parenthood, how slaveholding families negotiated th eir own conceptions of parenthood, and how nineteenth-century reformers implemented midd le-class notions of pare nthood. For example, as parental advisers laid the id eological groundwork for parental expectations, others did more tangible work that reflected changing ideals of parenthood; the thread of this impetus was not unique to parental advisers. It winds throughout the nineteenth century, not only as parental advisers debated and shaped what it meant to be a good parent, but also as others worked to more tangibly shape parenthood. It can be seen in the work of Charles Loring Brace, whose Childrens Aid Society redistributed over 100,000 childre n to new parents over a 75 year period.7 It can be seen in the ideas of Richard Henry Pratt, whose Carlisle Indian School removed Native American children from their homes and displaced them to a remote school where they would learn to shed their heritage. Pratts idea of kill ing the Indian to save the man and Braces plan to transfer children from the slums to more re spectable homes both relied on the same solution: removing children from parents who could notor would notraise them according to professed (white, middle-class) id eals. Furthermore, th e thread of restrict ing parenthood can be found in forced sterilization of the unfit. Alt hough sterilization laws we re not enacted until the twentieth century, there is eviden ce that doctors performed steri lizations prior to this period.8 According to Mark Haller, during the 1880s seve ral physicians experiment ed with removal of the ovaries as a method of alleviating certain forms of insanity among women.9 As Haller notes, 7 Stephen O Connor, Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001), xvi. 8 John DEmilio and Estelle Freedman note that, between 1907 and 1917, sixteen states passed sterilization laws designed to prevent reproduction of those whom proponents viewed as undesirable. DEmilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters 215. 9 Haller, Eugenics 30. 215

PAGE 216

216 regardless of the original intent, the result was prevention of procre ation by those deemed inferior. In short, these are all fruitful topics in need of further exploration as historians and scholars begin to flesh out Americans complex conception of parenthood. This dissert ation is just the tip of the iceberg.

PAGE 217

APPENDIX NOTE ON METHOD AND SOURCES My interest in the topic of parenthood star ted with my masters research and this dissertation is a natural outgrowth of that work. At the time, I was researching nineteenth-century American childrens literature and it struck me that the didactic stories that comprised my primary sources were intended to instruct parent s as much as their sons and daughters. Reading the secondary literature in the field demonstr ated that scholars had not examined this. Furthermore, the literature in family history spoke extensively about mothers and fathers as discrete groups, but had not a ddressed parents and parenthood. What was expected of parents? What made a good parent or a bad parent? Wh at factors could be influenced in parenting? What happens when parents fail? Who can be trusted to parent pr operly? Is there any agreement on what good parenting looks like? All of these questions represented fertile ground for research. My interest was (and is) influen ced by contemporary debates about parenting and parenthoodfound on blogs, Twitter, online forums, as well as magazines and newspapersand how these questions continue to cr op up today. This is a rich deba te, in short, and one in which we have not reached a consensus. Because it touches on so many areas, though, I had to make tough decisions; I had to limit my scope. I decided to look at published sources, because my intent was to get at societys concept of a parent: what people thought a pare nt should be. I narrowed my sources to include three broad categories: legal, prescriptive, and sc ientific. These fields would allow me to access a wide range of ideas and ideals about parenting. For legal sources, I focused on court cases be cause they would help me to understand how emerging notions of parenthood played out in cust ody battles. Starting with legal databases, I searched for a number of relevant terms (custody, mother, father, parent, divorce, etc.) and came 217

PAGE 218

up with numerous court cases between 1820 and 1880. I sifted through those and discarded the ones that were not a good fit (where, for example, the mother was a prostitute) or for which there simply were not enough details to construct a strong argument. Of the remaining cases, many were very similar to one another. I chose a repr esentative sample, as well as a few unique cases (such as State v. Hand dealing with a Shaker father), th at provided a good indication of how justices interpreted idea l notions of parenthood. For prescriptive sources, I already had a good databa se (as it were) of childrens literature, and I knew I wanted to include that. But I also wa nted more traditional prescriptive literature, as well as religious sources. I bega n that research at the Library of Congress, doing endless subject searches, but also searching for authors I knew of (or authors that other authors had mentioned). I also targeted magazines that explicitly dealt with parentingmagazines for which parenting and parenthood was their primary subject. This led me to publications such as The Mothers Magazine, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend, and Babyhood (which, regrettably, fell outside of my time frame). What I quickly di scovered about these particular sources was that the vagaries of the publishing industry had an impact on magazine numbering. This was an especial problem with citing The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend as careful readers will undoubtedly note. That magazine began with volume numbers that matched neatly with years (volume 1 in 1841, volume 2 in 1842, and so on). For whatever reason, this system quickly devolved to the point that volume 8 was publishe d in 1846 and volume fourteen in 1849, shortly after which the magazine abandoned volume number s entirely. I have, therefore, provided as much information as I could glean in order to cite these magazines prop erly. Understandably, the citations are not nearly as tidy as I would like. 218

PAGE 219

With regard to scientific sources, I began with the idea that I would research the discourse of heritability and the ways in which that disc ourse was marshaled in the parenting debate. What I quickly found was that nineteen th-century science was not easily decoupled from nineteenthcentury medicine and that there was a large body of literature written by trained physicians who had a great deal to say about pare nting. I expanded this part of my research to include medical as well as scientific tracts. Relying on published materials, however, is problematic: it cannot reveal how it was received or what really took place in American homes. Similarly, court cases can only divulge so much. They tell you little about what is really ha ppening in American life. That is, regardless of what the law says, people fi nd ways of subverting it all the time. Certain questionssuch as how effective parental advisers weresimply cannot be answered. The best social historians can manage is an educated guess. For example, one could argue that the fact that some of these parental advisers were able to support themse lves in their careers over a number of years suggests social uptake. But without other corr oborating evidence (diari es and letters, for example), published materials leave us guessing. Despite these drawbacks, published materials ar e incredibly useful. They can reveal much about the values American society held at a gi ven time. In the case of this dissertation, such sources can reveal what was expected of families in general and parents in particular; what traits were revered and what habits di scouraged; and how parental advi sers conceptualized a parents relationship to a child. Sources aside, perhaps the mo st frustrating aspect of res earching parenthood is actually one of its greatest strengths: it is a rich and multifaceted topic that speak s evocatively to a wide variety of themes. What became clear to me as I did my research is that this topic, already 219

PAGE 220

220 narrowed in scope, still touched on a great many concepts: the rise of the middle class, the development of professionalism, the matura tion of notions of manhood and womanhood (and fatherhood and motherhood), the changing ideologies of families (and geographical changes that affected families), the growth of the publishing industry, the push for formal education, and more. In short, it is a vast and complex topic. This presented some difficulties when it came to putting shape on the project. I opte d for a chronological framewor k, one that would demonstrate change over time. That, too, presented challenges, because the voices of parental advisers hardly lend themselves neatly to chronol ogical structure. So me are louder at certain times and quieter (though not always silent) at other times. The disse rtation reflects this messy chronology in that some earlier chapters include later sources, and so me later chapters include earlier sources. The topics richness also meant that ma ny intriguing leads needed to be left on the cutting room floor, for future research (or for other researchers), some of which I have noted in the conclusion. Truly, the number of fascinating directions in which this topic could be taken seems endless.

PAGE 221

LIST OF REFERENCES I. Primary Sources A. Books and Articles Abbott, Jacob. Dialogues for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1856. Fire-side Piety; or, The Duties and Enjoyments of Family Religion 1834. Reprint, London: R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1835. The Florence Stories: Florence and John. 1859. Reprint, New York: Sheldon & Company, 1860. Gentle Measures in the Management and Trai ning of the Young; Or, The Principles on Which a Firm Parental Authority May be Established and Maintained, without Violence or Anger, and the Right Development of the Moral and Mental Capacities be Promoted by Methods in Harmony with the Structure and the Characteristics of the Juvenile Mind New York: Harper & Brothers, 1861. Learning about Right and Wrong; or, Entert aining and Instructive Lessons for Children, in Respect to their Duty New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857. The Little Philosopher, for Schools and Familie s: Designed to Teach Children to Think and to Reason about Common Things; and to Illustrate for Parents and Teachers Methods of Instructing and Interesting Children. 1829. Reprint, Boston: Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833. The Little Scholar Learning to Talk: A Picture Book for Rollo 1835. Reprint, Boston: Phillips, Sampson and Company, 1839. Rodolphus. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1850. Rollo Learning to Read 1835. Reprint, Boston: Week s, Jordan, and Company, 1839. Rollos Travels 1839. Reprint, Philadelphia: B. F. Jackson, 1853. Abbott, John S. C. The Child at Home; or The Principles of Filial Duty Familiarly Illustrated New York: American Tract Society, 1833. The Mother at Home; or The Principles of Maternal Duty Familiarly Illustrated New York: American Tract Society, 1833. Paternal Neglect. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 2 no. 1 (January 1842): 1-3. 221

PAGE 222

. The Path of Peace: or, A Practic al Guide to Duty and Happiness Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1836. Abell, Mrs. L. G. A Mothers Book of Traditional Household Skills. 1853. Reprint, New York: Lyons Press, 2001. Woman in Her Various Relations: Containi ng Practical Rules for American Females 1851. Reprint, New York: J.M. Fairchild & Co., 1855. Ackerley, George. On the Management of Children New York: Bancroft & Holley, 1836. Adams, Joseph. A Treatise on the Supposed Hereditary Properties of Diseases. London: J. Callow, 1814. Alcott, Amos Bronson. Observations on the Principles and Methods of Infant Instruction. Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1830. On the Nature and Means of Early In tellectual Education, as Deduced from Experience, in The Introductory Discourse and the L ectures Delivered before the American Institution of Instruction, in Boston, August 1832 Boston: Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833. Superintendents Report of the Concord Sc hools to the School Committee, for the year 1860-61, reprinted in Walter Harding, Essays on Education, 1830-1862, by Amos Bronson Alcott Gainesville, FL: Scholars Facsimiles & Reprints, 1960. Alcott, William A. The Mothers Medical Guide in Childrens Diseases Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1845. There is No School Like the Family School. The Mothers As sistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 1 (January 1846): 1-3. Woman But a Helper: Designed for Fathers. The Mothers As sistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1 no. 10 (October, 1841): 223-226. The Young Husband; or, Duties of Man in the Marriage Relation 1835. Reprint, Boston: Waite, Peirce, & Company, 1846. The Young Mother; or, Management of Children in Regard to Health. 1836. Reprint, Boston: George W. Light, 1838. Allen, Ralph W. A Mothers Influence. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 8 no. 5 (November, 1848): 97-99. Arthur, T.S. Advice to Young Ladies on their Duties and Conduct in Life. Boston: Norman C. Barton, 1847. 222

PAGE 223

. Advice to Young Men on thei r Duties and Conduct in Life. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co., 1847. The Mothers Rule; or, the Right Way and the Wrong Way Philadelphia: H.C. Pleck & T. Bliss, 1856. Atmore, Charles. Serious Advice from a Father to His Ch ildren Respecting their Conduct in the World: Civil, Moral, and Religious Philadelphia: J.H. Cunningham, 1819. Barnes, Albert. Christianity as Applied to the Mind of a Child: Annual Sermon in Behalf of the American Sunday-School Union Philadelphia: American Sunday School-Union, 1850. Barnes, William. The Home. The Mothers Assistant, Y oung Ladys Friend and Family Manual (Boston) (July 1851-January 1852): 1-15. Beecher, Catharine. Suggestions Respecting Improvements in Education Hartford, CT: Packard & Butler, 1829. Beecher, Catharine E. and Harriet Beecher Stowe. American Womans Home; or, Principles of Domestic Science; Being a Guide to the Formation and Maintenance of Economical, Healthful, Beautiful, and Christian Homes 1869. Reprint, Hartford, CT: The Stowe-Day Foundation, 1991. Beecher, Eunice. Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepe rs: Embracing Eighty-Seven Brief Articles on Topics of Home Interest, and about Five Hundred Choice Receipts for Cooking, Etc. New York: J.B. Ford and Company, 1873. Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England 1865-69. Reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Brown, William C. Co-Operation of Fathers. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (July 1852 to January 1853): 122-123. Buffum, James. Preface. In Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline, by Louisa Hoare. Salem, MA: James Buffum, 1826. Bushnell, Horace. Christian Nurture 1847. Reprint, New York: Charles Scribner, 1861 Butler, Charles. The American Lady. Philadelphia: Hogan & Thompson, 1836. Cardell, William S. The Happy Family: or, Scenes of American Life 1828. Reprint, Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt, 1853. Chavasse, Pye Henry. Advice to a Wife on the Management of Her Own Health and on the Treatment of Children New York: J.W. Lovell Co., 1878. 223

PAGE 224

Child, Lydia Maria. Flowers for Children I New York: C. S. Francis & Co., 1844. Flowers for Children II. 1844. Reprint, New York: C. S. Francis & Co., 1855. Flowers for Children III New York: C. S. Francis & Co., 1847. The Little Girls Own Book 1831. Reprint, Glasgow: John Fraser, 1843. The Mothers Book. 1834. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1972. Clark, H. The Ruined Son. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3 no. 4 (October 1845): 73-77. Clark, Orange. Discourse on Family Discipline San Francisco: Royal P. Locke, 1860. Cobbett, William. Advice to Young Men, and (Incidentally) to Young Women, in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life London: B. Bensley, 1829. Comstock, Cyrus. Essays on the Duty of Parents and Children Hartford, CT: Oliver D. Cooke, 1810. Condie, David Francis. A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children 1844. Reprint, Philadelphia: Henry C. Lea, 1868. Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1871. On the Origin of Species by Means of Na tural Selection. Or the Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle for Life 1859. Reprint, London: J. Murray, 1860. Darwin, George H. Marriages Between First Cousins in England and Their Effects. Journal of the Statistical Society of London 38, no. 2 (June 1875): 153-184. Dewees, William Potts. Treatise on the Physical and Medical Treatment of Children 1825. Reprint, Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1858. Dix, Tandy. The Healthy Infant, A Treatise on the Hea lthy Procreation of the Human Race, Embracing the Obligations To Offspring; th e Management of the Pregnant Female; the Management of the Newly Born; the Manageme nt of the Infant; and the Infant in Sickness. Cincinnati: Peter G. Thompson, 1880. Dwight Jr., Theodore. The Fathers Book; or, Suggestions fo r the Government and Instruction of Young Children on Principles Appropriate to a Christian Country Springfield, MA: G. and C. Merriam, 1835. 224

PAGE 225

Earl, William. The Parents Companion on the Di seases of Infants and Children New York: William Earl, 1878. Eastman, Hubbard. Noyesism Unveiled: A History of th e Sect Self-Styled Perfectionists Battleboro, VT: Hubbard Eastman, 1849. Eberle, John. A Treatise on the Diseases and Physical Education of Children 1833. Reprint, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1857. Edgeworth, Maria. The Birthday Present and the Basket Woman: Stories for Children London: George Routledge and Sons, n.d. Editorial. The Mothers Assistant, Young Ladys Friend and Family Manual (Boston) (July 1851-January 1852): 62-63. Editorial. The Mothers Journal and Family Visitant (New York) 10 no. 1 (J anuary 1845): 3-4. Elliot, Bishop. What Education Should Be. The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 11, no. 9 (September 1843): 213. Ewell, Thomas. Letters to Ladies, Detailing Important In formation, Concerning Themselves and Infants Philadelphia: W. Brown, 1817. Fowler, Lorenzo Niles. The Principles of Phrenology and Ph ysiology Applied to Mans Social Relations New York: Fowler and Wells, 1842. Fowler, Orson Squire. Hereditary Descent: Its Laws and Fact s Applied to Human Improvement. New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1852. Love and Parentage, Applied to th e Improvement of Offspring New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1855. Galton, Sir Francis. English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture. London: Macmillan and Co., 1874. Hereditary Genius: an Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences. London: Macmillan and Co., 1869. Hereditary Improvement. Frasers Magazine January 1873, 116-130. Hereditary Talent and Character. Macmillans Magazine, Part I, June 1865, 157166; Second Paper, August 1865, 318-327. Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development New York: Macmillan and Co., 1883. 225

PAGE 226

. Natural Inheritance London: Macmillan and Co., 1889. G. C. R. Letter to the Editor. The Mothers Journal and Family Visitant (New York) 10, no. 5 (May 1845): 70. Goodrich, Samuel. Fireside Education New York: Samuel Colman, 1838. Parleys Present for all Seasons 1854. Reprint, New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1860. Peter Parleys Juvenile Tales 1830. Reprint, Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1851. Peter Parleys Little Leaves for Little Readers Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1844. Peter Parleys Short Stories for Long Nights 1834. Reprint, Boston: William D. Ticknor & Co., 1844. What to Do and How to Do It; or, Morals and Manners Taught by Examples New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1844. Graham, Sylvester. A Lecture to Young Men Providence, RI: Weeden and Cory, 1834. Griffin, E. D. Rules for Governing Children. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 4 (October, 1849): 82. Guernsey, J. W. Parental Duties. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1853 Part II): 7-13. Halpine, Mary. A Word to Fathers. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1854 Part I): 18-20. Hammond, William A. On the Influence of the Maternal Mind over the Offspring during Pregnancy and Lactation. Quarterly Journal of Psychol ogical Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence (New York) 2 (January 1868): 1-28. Hodge, Hugh. Eulogium on William P. Dewees, M.D. Philadelphia: Merrihew & Thompson, 1842. Holden, Charles. The Family School. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 2 (November 1843): 247-249. Hough, John Stockton. Laws of Transmission of Resembl ance from Parents to Children N.p.: New York, 1873. 226

PAGE 227

Howard, Orin R. The Mother, an Educator. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (November 1849): 97-100. Howe, Mrs. I. A. G. Formation of Character. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (May 1850): 103-107. Howe, Samuel G. On the Causes of Idiocy. Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology (London) 11 (1858): 365-395. H. P. O. Letter to the Editor. The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 1 (1833): 15-16. Hughes, Mary. Aunt Marys Tales for Boys and Girls Philadelphia: Lind say & Blakiston, 1860. Humphrey, Heman. Domestic Education. Amherst, MA: J.S. & C. Adams, 1840. Hyde, Abby B. Home Education. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 9 (September 1846): 33-34. Parental Education. The Mothers Assistan t and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 10, no. 2 (February 1847): 33-34. In-and-in Breeding of Domestic Animals. Popular Science Review (London) 2 (October 1862): 133. Jackson, James. Confinement of Children in School. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 7, no. 1 (July 1845): 7-8. Jennings, Samuel Kennedy. The Married Ladys Companion, or Poor Mans Friend New York: Lorenzo Dow, 1808. Kent, James. Commentaries on American Law New York: O. Halsted, 1826-30. Kirk, Edward. Use the Best Motives. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 6, no. 1 (January, 1845): 1-3. Kissam, Richard. The Nurses Manual and Young Mothers Guide Hartford, CT: Cooke & Co., 1834. Knight, Helen C. School Learning. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 1 (January 1849): 9-12. Knight, J. Letter to the Editor. The Mothers Assistan t and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 3, no. 1 (January 1843): 33. 227

PAGE 228

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de. Philosophie Zoologique (Zoological Philosophy; an exposition w ith regard to the natural history of animals) 1809. Reprint, New York: Hafner Pub. Co., 1963. Lamarcks Open Mind: The Lectures. Gold Beach, OR: High Sierra Books, 2004. Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de, and William Morton Wheeler. The Lamarck Manuscripts at Harvard Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1933. Letter to the Editor. The Mothers Assistan t and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1, no. 3 (March 1841): 55-56. Logan, George. Practical Observations on the Diseases of Children Charleston: Archibald E. Miller, 1825. Mann, Horace. Lectures on Education Boston: Wm. B. Fo wle and N. Capen, 1845. Marcy, E. B. Parental Qualifications. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (February 1850): 25-29. Massachusetts. Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in the Year 1851: Together with the Messages Boston: Dutton & Wentworth, 1851. May, Sophie (Rebecca Sophia Clarke). Dottie Dimple Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1865. Little Prudy Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1864. Sister Susy Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1864. McGee, Anita Newcomb. An Experiment in Human Stirpiculture. American Anthropologist (Washington, D.C.) 4, no. 4 (October 1891): 319-326. Meigs, Charles. Observations on Certain of th e Diseases of Young Children. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1850. Meigs, John Forsyth. A Practical Treatise on th e Diseases of Children 1848. Reprint, Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1858. Morris, Robert [James Sloane Gibbons]. Courtship and Matrimony: with Other Sketches from Scenes and Experiences in Social Life Pa rticularly Adapted for Every-Day Reading 1858. Reprint, Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson and Brothers, 1879. Muzzey, Artemas Bowers. The Christian Parent Boston: Wm. Crosby and H.P. Nichols, 1850. The Fireside: An Aid to Parents 1854. Reprint, Boston: Cr osby, Nichols, & Co., 1856. 228

PAGE 229

Nash, Simeon. Crime and the Family Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1876. Newcomb, Dan. When and How; or, A Collection of the More Recent Facts and Ideas upon Raising Healthy Children Chicago: Arthur W. Penny & Co., 1872. Newcomb, Harvey. How to Be a Man: A Book for Boys. Boston: Gould, Kendall, and Lincoln, 1847. Nichols, Mary Gove. Solitary Vice: An Address to Parents and Those Who Have the Care of Children Portland, ME: Journal Office, 1839. Nichols, Thomas Low. How to Behave: A Manual of Manners and Morals London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1873. Noyes, John Humphrey. Essay on Scientific Propagation New York: Oneida Community, 1872. History of American Socialisms Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1870. Male Continence Oneida, NY: Office of Oneida Circular, 1872. Noyes, Pierrepont. My Fathers House: An Oneida Boyhood New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1937. Osgood, Samuel. The Hearth-Stone: Thoughts Upon Home-Life in Our Cities. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1854. Parents. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 14, no. 2 (February, 1849): 30. Parkes, Frances. Domestic Duties; or, Instruc tions to Young Married Ladies New York: Harper & Brothers, 1846. Papillon, Fernand. The Phenomena of Heredity. The Popular Science Monthly (New York) 4 (1873-74): 55-64. Pearson, Karl. On the Handicapping of the First-Born London: Dulau and Co., 1914. Pendleton, Hester. Husband and Wife; or, The Science of Hu man Development through Inherited Tendencies. New York: Carleton, 1863. The Parents Guide for the Transmission of Desired Qualities to Offspring, and Childbirth Made Easy. New York: S.R. Wells & Co., 1876. Pilkington, Mary. Biography for Boys; or Characteristic Hi stories Calculated to Impress the Youthful Mind with an Admiration of Virtuous Principles, and a Dete station of Vicious Ones. Philadelphia: Johnson & Warner, 1809. 229

PAGE 230

Porter, Ann E. Hints to Mo thers: Physical Education, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1854 Part II): 118-122. Permanency of Early Impressions. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 9 no. 3 (September 1846): 25-31. Porter, J. Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 1 (January, 1841): 12-13. Porter, James. Letter to the Editor, The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (May 1849): 102-104. Pratt, Samuel Wheeler. Summer at Peace Cottage; or, Talks about Home Life New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1880. A Present for a Husband or a Wife Springfield, MA: G. and C. Merriam, 1832. Ray, Isaac. Mental Hygiene. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. Reeve, Tapping. The Law of Baron and Femme, of Parent and Child, Guardian and ward, Master and Servant, and of the Powers of the Co urts of Chancery; with an Essay on the Terms Heir, Heirs, Heirs of the Body 3d ed. Albany: William Gould, 1862. Rogers, William. Lessons on the Subject of Right and Wrong, for Use in Families and Schools Boston: Crosby and Ainsworth, 1864. Sandham, Elizabeth. The School-Fellows: A Moral Tale, for Young Ladies London: J. Souter, 1822. Schouler, James. A Treatise on the Law of Domestic Re lations: Embracing Husband and Wife, Parent and Child, Guardian and Ward, Infancy, and Master and Servant. Boston: Little, Brown, 1870. Searle, Thomas. A Companion for the Seasons of Maternal Solicitude New York: Moore & Payne, 1834. Sedgwick, Catharine. Facts and Fancies for School-Day Re ading, a Sequel to Morals of Manners. New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1848. Home 1835. Reprint, Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1837. A Love Token for Children 1838. Reprint, London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1838. Means and Ends. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1842. Morals of Manners, or, Hints for Our Young People New York: G. P. Putnam, 1846. 230

PAGE 231

. A Plea for Children. The American Ladies Magazine (Boston) 8 (February 1835): 9399. Shew, Joel. Children, their Hydropathic Manage ment in Health and Disease New York: Fowlers and Wells, 1852. Sigourney, Lydia H. Letters to Mothers 1830. Reprint, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1845. Prospectus. The Mothers Magazine (Utica, New York) 1 (January 1833): 3-4. Smith, Daniel. The Parents Friend: or, Letters on th e Government and Education of Children and Youth. New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1838. Stearns, George. The Home School. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 10, no. 5 (May 1847): 113-117. Steinau, Julius. A Pathological and Philosophical Essay on Hereditary Diseases. London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., 1843. Stewart, James. A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Children 1841. Reprint, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1845. Thayer, Wm. A Thought for Mothers. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1853 Part I): 119-120. Ticknor, Caleb Bingham. A Guide for Mothers and Nurses in the Management of Young Children New York: Taylor and Dodd, 1839. The Philosophy of Living: Or, the Way to Enjoy Life and its Comforts. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836. Titcomb, Timothy [Josiah Gilbert Holland]. Titcombs Letters to Young People, Single and Married 1858. Reprint, New York: Charles Scribner, 1864. Tracy, Stephen. The Mother and Her Offspring. 1853. Reprint, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860. Tyler, Mary Palmer. The Maternal Physician: A Treatise on the Nurture and Management of Infants, From the Birth Until Two Years Old New York: Isaac Riley, 1811. Van de Warker, Ely. A Gynecologica l Study of the Oneida Community. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children (New York) 17, no. 8 (1884): 795810. Verdi, Tullio. Maternity: A Popular Treatis e for Young Wives and Mothers. New York: J.B. Ford & Co., 1870. 231

PAGE 232

Walker, Alexander. Intermarriage: or, The Mode in which a nd the Causes Why, Beauty, Health and Intellect, Result from Certain Unions, and Deformity, Disease and Insanity from Others. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1860. Webster, J. C. The Family and the Public. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) (1854 Part II): 75-77. Woodward, S. B. Treatment of Children at School. The Mothers Assistant and Young Ladys Friend (Boston) 7, no. 4 (October 1845): 78-79. Worden, Harriet. Old Mansion House Memories: By One Brought up in It Kenwood, Oneida, NY, 1950. Wright, Henry C. The Empire of the Moth er over the Character and Destiny of the Race Boston: Bela Marsh, 1863. The Young Ladys Own Book: A Manual of Intellectual Improvement and Moral Deportment 1832. Reprint, Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt, 1845. The Young Mans Own Book: A Manual of Politene ss, Intellectual Impro vement, and Moral Deportment. Philadelphia: Key, Meilke and Biddle, 1832. B. Court Cases Adams v. Adams 1 Duv. 167 (Ky. 1864). Cole v. Cole 23 Iowa 433 (Ia. 1867). Commonwealth v. Addicks 5 Binn. 520 (Pa. 1813). Commonwealth v. Addicks 2 Serg. & Rawle 174 (Pa. 1816). Cowls v. Cowls, 3 Gilm. 435 (Ill. 1846). Foster and Wife v. Alston 6 Howard 406 (Miss. 1842). Miner v. Miner 11 Ill. 43 (Ill. 1849). Nickols v. Giles, 2 Root 461 (Conn. 1796). Paine v. Paine 4 Hum. 523 (Tenn. 1843). People v. Chegaray, 18 Wend. 637 (NY 1836). People v. Landt, 2 Johns. 375 (NY 1807). People v. Nickerson 19 Wend. 16 (NY 1837). Stanton v. Willson and Smith, 3 Day 37 (Conn. 1808). State v. Hand 10 Ohio Dec. Reprint 361 (Oh. 1848). State v. Smith, 6 Me. 462 (Me. 1830). Wand v. Wand, 14 Cal. 512 (Cal. 1860). 232

PAGE 233

II. Secondary Sources Abbott, Grace. The Child and the State: Select Documents, with Introductory Notes. 2 vols. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968. Apple, Rima. Constructing Mothers: Scientific Motherhood in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Social History of Medicine 8, no. 2 (August 1995): 161-178. Aries, Phillipe. Centuries of Childhood: A Soc ial History of Family Life New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962. Augst, Thomas. The Clerks Tale: Young Men and Moral L ife in Nineteenth-Century America Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. Avery, Gillian. Behold the Child: American Children and their Books, 1621-1922 Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. Basch, Norma. In the Eyes of the Law: Women, Marriage and Property in Nineteenth-Century New York Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982. Beales, Ross W. In Search of the Historical Child: Miniature A dulthood and Youth in Colonial New England. American Quarterly 27, no. 4 (October 1975): 379-398. Bederman, Gail. Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Berebitsky, Julie. Like Our Very Own: Adoption and th e Changing Culture of Motherhood, 1851-1950. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2000. Bloch, Ruth. American Feminine Ideals in Transition: The Rise of the Moral Mother. Feminist Studies 4, no. 2 (June, 1978): 101-126. Blumin, Stuart. The Emergence of the Middle Class: Soc ial Experience in the American City, 1760-1900. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. The Hypothesis of Middle-Class Formati on in Nineteenth-Century America: A Critique and Some Proposals. The American Historical Review 90, no. 2 (April, 1985): 299 338. Borst, Charlotte. Catching Babies: The Professio nalization of Childbirth, 1870-1920 Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995. Boteach, Shmuel. Parenting with Fire: Lighting up the Family with Passion and Inspiration New York: New American Library, 2006. 233

PAGE 234

Bowler, Peter. The Mendelian Revolution: The Emergence of Hereditarian Concepts in Modern Science and Society Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989. Boynton, Henry Walcott. Annals of American Bookselling, 1638-1850 New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1932. Bradley, Alice. In the Lock er Room, Alice Bradley. 3/16/in-the-locker-room.html (accessed March 16, 2010). Brody, Jane. From Birth, Engage Your Child with Talk. New York Times September 28, 2009, (accessed September 30, 2009). Brooks, Devon and Sheryl Goldberg. Gay and Lesb ian Adoptive and Foster Care Placements: Can They Meet the Needs of Waiting Children? Social Work 46, no. 2 (April 2001): 147-157. Brown, Kathleen. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Bullock, Merry. Animism in Childhood Thinki ng: A New Look at an Old Question. Developmental Psychology 21, no. 2 (1985): 217-225. Calvert, Karin. Children in the House: The Mate rial Culture of Early Childhood Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992. Cantor, Geoffrey and Sally Shuttleworth, eds. Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2004. Carp, E. Wayne. Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosu re in the History of Adoption Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. Cashin, Joan. A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Clark, Beverly Lyon. Regendering the School Story: Sa ssy Sissies and Tattling Tomboys. New York: Garland Pub., 1996. Clark, Beverly Lyon and Margaret Higonnet, eds. Girls, Boys, Books, Toys: Gender in Childrens Literature and Culture Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Coontz, Stephanie. The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families, 16001900. New York: Verso, 1988. 234

PAGE 235

. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap New York: Basic Books, 1992. Cott, Nancy. The Bonds of Womanhood: Womans Sphere in New England, 1780-1835 2d. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. Degler, Carl. At Odds: Women and the Family in Americ an from the Revolution to the Present New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. DEmilio, John and Estelle Freedman. Intimate Matters: A Histor y of Sexuality in America 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997. Demos, John. A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony Rev. ed. 1970; repr., New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Dublin, Thomas. Transforming Womens Work: New England Lives in the Indus trial Revolution. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994. Dudden, Faye E. Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1983. Dunne, Gillian. Opting into Motherhood: Lesbians Blurring the Boundaries and Transforming the Meaning of Parenthood and Kinship. Gender and Society 14, no. 1 (2000): 11-35. Dye, Nancy Schrom and Daniel Blake Smith. Mother Love and Infant Death, 1750-1920. Journal of American History 73, no. 2 (September 1986): 329-353. Ehrenreich, Barbara and Deirdre English. For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts Advice to Women Rev. ed. 1978; repr., Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1979. Fahs, Alice. The Imagined Civil War: Popular Lite rature of the North & South, 1861-1865. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Fildes, Valerie. Wet Nursing: A History from Antiquity to the Present Oxford: Basil Blackwater Ltd., 1988. Fogarty, Robert S. Desire and Duty at Oneida: Ti rzah Millers Intimate Memoir Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. Special Love, Special Sex: An Oneida Community Diary Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1994. 235

PAGE 236

Foster, Lawrence. Women, Family, and Utopia: Communal Experiments of the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Mormons Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1991. Frank, Stephen. Life with Father: Parenthood and Mascul inity in the Nineteenth-Century American North Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Friedman, Lawrence. A History of American Law 1973. Reprint, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985. Gamber, Wendy. The Boardinghouse in Nineteenth-Century America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. Gillis, John R. A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values New York: Basic Books, 1996. Glover, Lorri. All Our Relations: Blood Ties and Emotional Bonds among the Early South Carolina Gentry Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Golden, Janet. A Social History of Wet Nursing in America: From Breast to Bottle Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2001. Gookin, Sandra Hardin and Dan Gookin, Parenting for Dummies Foster City, Ca lifornia: IDG Books Worldwide, 1995. Gordon, Linda. Pitied but not Entitled: Single Moth ers and the History of Welfare, 1890-1935 New York: The Free Press, 1994. Gordon, Michael. The Ideal Husband as Depicted in the Nineteenth Century Marriage Manual. The Family Coordinator 18, no. 3 (July 1969): 226-231. Grant, Julia. Raising Baby by the Book: The Education of American Mothers. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. Greven, Philip. Four Generations: Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover, Massachusetts Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970. The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-Rearing, Re ligious Experience, and the Self in Early America New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. Griswold, Robert. Fatherhood in America: A History New York: Basic Books, 1993. Grossberg, Michael. Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Hall, Kermit L, ed. Law, Society, and Domestic Relations : Major Historical Interpretations New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1987. 236

PAGE 237

Haller, Mark. Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1963. Halttunen, Karen. Confidence Men and Painted Women: A St udy of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830-1870. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982. Hareven, Tamara. The History of the Family and the Complexity of Social Change. American Historical Review 96, no. 1 (1991): 95-124. Hawes, Joseph and N. Ray Hiner, eds. American Childhood: A Research Guide and Historical Handbook New York: Greenwood Press, 1985. Hawes, Joseph and Elizabeth Nybakken, eds. American Families: A Research Guide and Historical Handbook New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Hemphill, C. Dallett. Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America, 1620-1860. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Henig, Robin Marantz. The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Hicks, Stephen. Maternal MenPerverts and Devi ants? Making Sense of Gay Men as Foster Carers and Adopters. Journal of GLBT Family Studies 2, no. 1 (2006): 93-114. Hoffert, Sylvia. Private Matters: American Attitudes towa rd Childbearing and Infant Nurture in the Urban North, 1800-1860. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989. Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought. Rev. ed. 1944; repr., Boston: Beacon Press, 1955. Holt, Marilyn Irvin. The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Tran sformation of America, 1815-1848 New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Hulbert, Ann. Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice about Children New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Isenberg, Nancy. Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Jensen, Joan. Loosening the Bonds: Mid-A tlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850 New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. 237

PAGE 238

Johansen, Shawn. Family Men: Middle-Class Fatherhood in Early Industrializing America New York: Routledge, 2001. Johnson, Paul E. A Shopkeepers Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. Kaestle, Carl F. Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860 New York: Hill and Wang, 1983. Karcher, Carolyn L., ed. A Lydia Maria Child Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. Kelves, Daniel. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. Kerber, Linda. Separate Spheres, Female Worl ds, Womans Place: The Rhetoric of Womens History. The Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 9-39. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980. Kern, Louis. Ideology and Reality: Sexuality and Womens Status in the Oneida Community. Radical History Review 20 (1979): 180-204. Kiefer, Monica. American Children through their Books, 1700-1835 Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1948. Kuhn, Anne. The Mothers Role in Childhood Educ ation: New England Concept, 1830-1860 New Haven: Yale University Press, 1947. Ladd-Taylor, Molly. Mother-Work: Women, Child We lfare, and the State, 1890-1930 Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994. Laslett, Peter, ed. Household and Family in Past Time Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972. Lawrence, Jane. The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women. American Indian Quarterly 24 (2000): 400-419. Leavitt, Judith Walzer. Brought to Bed: Child-Bearing in America, 1750-1950 New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Leavitt, Sarah A. From Catharine Beecher to Martha Stewar t: A Cultural History of Domestic Advice Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002. Lehuu, Isabelle. Carnival on the Page: Popular Pr int Media in Antebellum America Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000. 238

PAGE 239

Lehr, Susan, ed. Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Constr uction of Gender in Childrens Literature Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001. Letherby, Gayle. Mother or Not, Mother or Wh at? Problems of Defin ition and Identity. Womens Studies International Forum 17, no. 5 (1994): 525-532. Lewis, Jan. Mothers Love: The Construction of an Emotion in Nineteenth-Century America. In Social History and Issues in Human Consciousness edited by Andrew Barnes and Peter Stearns, 209-229. New York: New York University Press, 1989. The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jeffersons Virginia Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Lorenz, Maren. Proto-Eugenic Thought and Bree ding Utopias in the United States before 1870. GHI Bulletin 43 (Fall 2008): 67-90. Loughran, Trish. The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 17701870. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. Lynch-Brennan, Margaret. The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009. Lystad, Mary. At Home in America: As Seen through Its Books for Children Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Co., 1984. From Dr. Mather to Dr. Seuss: 200 Years of American Books for Children Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1980. MacLeod, Anne Scott. American Childhood: Essays on Childrens Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1994. A Moral Tale: Childrens Fic tion and American Culture, 1820-1860. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1975. Mason, Mary Ann. From Fathers Property to Childrens Ri ghts: The History of Child Custody in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Mason, Mary Ann and Jane Mauldon. The New Stepfamily Requires a New Public Policy. Journal of Social Issues 52 no. 3 (1996) 1-27. May, Elaine Tyler. Barren in the Promised Land: Child less Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness. New York: Basic Books, 1995. McClellan, B. Edward. Moral Education in America: Schools and the Shaping of Character from Colonial Times to the Present New York: Teachers College Press, 1999. 239

PAGE 240

Meckel, Richard. Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality, 1850-1929. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990. Mink, Gwendolyn. The Wages of Motherhood: Inequalit y in the Welfare State, 1917-1942 Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. Mintz, Steven. A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture New York: New York University Press, 1983. Mintz, Steven and Susan Kellogg. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life New York: The Free Press, 1988. Mohr, James. Abortion in America: The Origin s and Evolution of National Policy New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Morgan, Edmund. The Puritan Family: Religion and Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-Century New England New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Muncy, Raymond Lee. Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973. Murray, Gail Schmunk. American Childrens Literature and the Construction of Childhood New York: Twayne Publishers, 1998. Newman, Louise, ed. Mens Ideas/Womens Realities: Popular Science, 1870-1915 New York: Pergamon Press, 1985. White Womens Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Novak, William J. The Peoples Welfare: Law & Regulati on in Nineteenth-Century America Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996. OConnor, Stephen. Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001. Pasulka, Diana. A Somber Pedagogy: A History of the Child Death Bed Scene in Early American Childrens Religious Literature, 1674-1840. Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 2, no. 2 (2009): 173-197. Patterson, Charlotte. Family Relations hips of Lesbians and Gay Men. Journal of Marriage and the Family 62, no. 4 (November 2000): 1052-1069. Piaget, Jean. The Childs Conception of the World London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1929. 240

PAGE 241

Pickering, Jr., Samuel F. Moral Instruction and Fiction for Children, 1749-1820 Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1993. Plotkin, Henry. Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Reinier, Jacqueline. From Virtue to Character: American Childhood, 1775-1850 New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. Richardson, Angelique. Love and Eugenics in the Late Ni neteenth Century: Rational Reproduction and the New Woman New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Rosenberg, Charles. The Book in the Sickroom. In Every Man his own Doctor: Popular Medicine in Early America (Philadelphia: The Library Co mpany of Philadelphia, 1998). No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961. Rothman, David. The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic Boston: Little, Brow n and Company, 1971. Rotundo, E. Anthony. American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era New York: Basic Books, 1993. Rowbotham, Judith. Good Girls Make Good Wives: Guidance for Girls in Victorian Fiction New York: Blackwell, 1989. Ryan, Mary. Cradle of the Middle Class: The Fam ily in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981. The Empire of the Mother: Americ an Writing About Domesticity, 1830-1860 1982. Reprint, New York: Harrington Park Press, 1985. The Explosion of Family History. Reviews in American History 10, no. 4 (December 1982): 181-195. Salmon, Marylynn. Women and the Law of Property in Early America Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986. Sandage, Scott. Born Losers: A History of Failure in America Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005. Schoen, Johanna. Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, St erilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005. Sesardic, Neven. Making Sense of Heritability Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 241

PAGE 242

Shammas, Carole. A History of Household Government in America Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002. Siegel, Daniel J. and Mary Hartzell, Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper SelfUnderstanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive New York: J. P. Tarcher, 2003. Silver-Isenstadt, Jean L. Shameless: The Visionary L ife of Mary Gove Nichols Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. Spruill, Julia Cherry. Womens Life and Work in the Southern Colonies Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1938. Stansell, Christine. City of Women: Sex and Cl ass in New York, 1789-1860 Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986. Starr, Paul. The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry. New York: Basic Books, 1982. Steinberg, Laurence. The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004. Stocking Jr., George W. Lamarckianism in American Social Science: 1890-1915. Journal of the History of Ideas 23, no. 2 (1962): 239-256. Race, Culture, and Evolution: Essa ys in the History of Anthropology 1968. Reprint, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982. Stone, Lawrence. Family History in the 1980s: Past Achievements and Future Trends. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 12, no. 1 (Summer 1981): 51-87. Teitelbaum, Lee. Family History and Family Law. Wisconsin Law Review (1985): 1135-1181. Tilly, Charles. Family History, Soci al History, and Social Change. Journal of Family History 12 (1987): 319-330. Tilly, Louise. Womens History and Family Hi story: Fruitful Collaboration or Missed Connection? Journal of Family History 12 (1987): 303-315. Tilly, Louise and Miriam Cohen. Does the Family Have a History? A Re view of Theory and Practice in Family History. Social Science History 6, no. 2 (Spring 1982): 131-179. Tomlinson, Stephen. Head Masters: Phrenology, Secular Ed ucation, and Nineteenth-Century Social Thought. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005. 242

PAGE 243

Torpy, Sally. Native American Women and Coerced St erilization: On the Trail of Tears in the 1970s. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 24 (2000): 1-22. Tosh, John. A Mans Place: Masculinity and the Mi ddle-Class Home in Victorian England New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Tracey, M. C. Huckabee Rips St eele, Romney, LGBT Activists, The Perspective April 9, 2010. (accessed May 4, 2010). Treckel, Paula. Breastfeeding and Matern al Sexuality in Colonial America. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 20, no. 1 (Summer, 1989): 25-51. Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. Good Wives: Image and Realit y in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Random House, 1982. A Midwifes Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 New York: Random House, 1990. Vinovskis, Maris. American Families in the Past. In Ordinary People and Everyday Life: Perspectives on the New Social History edited by James B. Gar dner and George Rollie Adams, 115-137. Nashville: American Asso ciation for State and Local History, 1983. From Household Size to the Life Course: Some Observations on Recent Trends in Family History. American Behavioral Scientist 21, no. 2 (1977): 263-287. Wadsworth, Sarah. In the Company of Books: Literature and Its Classes in NineteenthCentury America. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006. Wall, Helena. Fierce Communion: Family and Community in Early America Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990. Watters, Ethan. DNA is Not Destiny: The New Sc ience of Epigenetics Re writes the Rules of Disease, Heredity, and Identity. Discover November 2006, 32-37, 75. Weinstein, Janet. And Never the Twain Shall M eet: The Best Interests of Children and the Adversary System. University of Miami Law Review 52 (1997-1998): 79-176. Welter, Barbara. The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860. American Quarterly 18, no. 2 (Summer 1966): 151-174. Wiebe, Robert. The Search for Order: 1877-1920 New York: Hill and Wang, 1967. Wilson, Lisa. Ye Heart of a Father: Ma le Parenting in Colonial New England. Journal of Family History 24, no. 3 (July 1999): 255-274. 243

PAGE 244

244 Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Li fe of Men in Co lonial New England New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Wishy, Bernard. The Child and the Republic: The Dawn of Modern American Child Nurture Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968. Wolf, Stephanie Grauman. Urban Village: Population, Community, and Family Structure in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1683-1800. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976. Woolley, Jacqueline D. Thinking about Fantas y: Are Children Fundame ntally Different Thinkers and Believe rs from Adults? Child Development 68, no. 6 (December 1997): 991-1011. Yazawa, Melvin. From Colonies to Commonwealth: Familial Ideology and the Beginnings of the American Republic Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985. Zainaldin, Jamil. The Emergence of a Mode rn American Family Law: Child Custody, Adoption, and the Courts, 1796-1851. Northwestern University Law Review 73, no. 6 (1979): 1038-1089. Zboray, Ronald. A Fictive People: Antebellum Econom ic Development and the American Reading Public New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Zboray, Ronald and Mary Saracino Zboray. Literary Dollars and Social Sense: A Peoples History of the Mass Market Book New York: Routledge, 2005. Zschoche, Sue. Dr. Clarke Revisited: Scie nce, True Womanhood, and Female Collegiate Education. History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 4 (Winter 1989): 545-569.

PAGE 245

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Emily Munce was born in Manhattan, Kansas in 1977. She received her B.A. in history and political science at Kansas State University in 2000. After graduation, she worked as a secretary and then an accountant be fore enrolling as a University of Florida graduate student in 2003. Emily specializes in nineteenth -century United States histor y, particularly womens history and family history. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in wome ns studies. She has presented her work at several conferences and her research has been recogni zed by receipt of a number of grants and awards. After completing her PhD, Emily hopes to find a job that will enable her to pursue her love of resear ching and teaching history. Emily married John Casey in 2003. Together, they look to the future with hope, optimism, and the excitement that accompanies new adventures. 245