View the H-Histsex Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Histsex's August 2011 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Histsex's August 2011 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Histsex home page.
Sent: 20 August 2011 14:10 Hera and others who may be interested, I've observed a few differences, but if anyone has exceptions or any thoughts to the contrary I would love to hear them. I haven't yet taken a formal study on this topic. Childhood instruction manuals of the Great Depression emphasize household safety. I would have thought they would talk about the importance of thrift, and they do somewhat; but it seems to me that the clash of older household technologies with new during the interwar period is the primary problem many manuals address. My favorite of these is a well-worn and -used edition of "Rehearsal for Safety" (1939). This book helped children learn about safety by presenting a number of plays with minimal need for set design or props. In nearly every play, infants and children are horrifically maimed by household carelessness - pots of scalding water left on stoves, houses burnt to cinders by parents who remember having candles on Christmas trees as children but not knowing how to use them safely, children breaking limbs by slipping on roller skates left on the stairs, children becoming maimed by running out in front of cars, a kid gets tetanus from a nail, etc. (Yes, this was intended for elementary school-age children.) While "Rehearsal for Safety" has some pretty macabre examples to drive the point home, I think it is symptomatic of increased urbanization and household mechanization and the need for safety instruction. I've seen the same drive for safety instruction for children and adults in magazines of the interwar period, though most are aimed at adults needing to understand the difference between how they were told about safety as children and the new dangers children face in an urbanized world. I would suspect that thriftiness and helping parents would be a concern in the Great Depression, and I'd love to see more examples, particularly of migrant camp literature that may have been aimed at children (if any). I've read some memoirs of migrant camp organizers who aimed any childhood instruction at relieving anxieties about family structure (I don't believe these efforts left behind any brochures or booklets because of cost), but I'd love to see more examples. As for World War II, it doesn't surprise me that sex instruction manuals were more explicit. Donald Duck has some amusing posters about syphilis and condoms out there! If anyone is interested in looking at one angle on child instruction manuals from World War II, the University of Denver has an exhaustive cookbook collection that should yield some results. I've collected some manuals for children that talk about food rationing (mostly aimed at girls) and collecting scrap for patriotic drives (mostly aimed at boys) as a way they can do their part while their fathers are fighting overseas. Patriotism almost becomes a framing device for teaching values of thrift and family togetherness than an impetus for instruction by itself (I emphasize almost). Many of the best sources about food I've found are from flour, sugar, and lard companies releasing instruction for different ages - as Mother is baking a pie, here's how you can help her, here's how to understand why you can't have meat every day, boys should pick up any stray metal they find while playing, that sort of thing. These observations are probably driven by the kinds of items I've been able to find moreso than a lit survey, so I wouldn't take my thoughts as anything definitive or general. I am more confident about teenage sex instruction of the 1950s because there are so many more sources. But these thoughts may provide some sparks for anyone on the list who is interested in this type of research. Jennifer Goodland Metropolitan State College of Denver On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM, Hera Cook <email@example.com> wrote: > Dear Jennifer, > > > I wondered if you had any thoughts about the interwar childhood instruction > manuals in their own time ie the interwar period, compared to the new ones > in the 1950s > Hera >