Childhood in America

725 pages

January, 2000

ISBN: 9780814726938


Paula S. Fass is the Margaret Byrne Professor History at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America, Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education, and The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s. She is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society and (with Mary Ann Mason) Childhood in America (available from NYU Press).

All books by Paula S. Fass

Mary Ann Mason is Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley and author of The Custody Wars: Why Children Are Losing the Legal Battle and What We Can Do about It.

All books by Mary Ann Mason

Childhood in America is a unique compendium of sources on American childhood that has many options for classroom adoptions and can be tailored to individual course needs. Because the subject of childhood is both relatively new on campuses and now widely recognized as vital to a range of specialties, the editors have prepared a Teacher's Guide to assist you in making selections appropriate for your courses.

Collecting a vast array of selections from past and present- from colonial ministers to Drs. Benjamin Spock and T. Berry Brazelton, from the poems of Anne Bradstreet to the writings of today's young people- Childhood in America brings to light the central issues surrounding American children. Eleven sections on childbirth through adolescence explore a cornucopia of issues, and each section has been carefully selected and introduced by the editors.


  • "Parents, teachers, students, and scholars alike will welcome this fascinating and richly diverse collection of sources and reflections pertaining to the experiences of children and childhood over the past four centuries. The challenge of reconstructing the history of American childhood will be greatly enhanced and encouraged by this collection."

    —Philip Greven, author of Spare the Child

  • "The many faces of childhood as seen through the eyes of historians, novelists, humorists, psychologists, legal scholars, and the like come alive in this remarkable collection of new and familiar writing. A treasure house of original sources that comes at a time when children finally have our attention, and a very important contribution to understanding and safeguarding our future and theirs. Highly recommended."

    —Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D.i>, author of The Good Marriage: How & Why Love Lasts

  • "Childhood in America undertakes a significant and timely task: it documents how radically concepts of childhood have changed over the course of history. By bringing us the voices of parents, "experts" and the young from the 17th century to the present, this book helps us to confront the problems of our own era free of mistaken assumptions about childhood in past times."

    —Arlene Skolnick, author of Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty

  • "At a time when children increasingly enter our thinking about everything from sexuality and rights of privacy to social welfare and commercialization, we need perspective on childhood in all its guises. This anthology, so wide-ranging and full of surprises, gives us that insight and understanding."

    —Gary Cross, author of Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood