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Childhood Studies Western Europe and Scandinavia
by
Laurence Brockliss

Introduction

Childhood in western Europe is obviously a vast topic, and this entry will approach it historically and largely chronologically. The study of childhood is still relatively new, and historians have sometimes struggled to construct a history of childhood, with very few firsthand accounts and limited archives. So many children left very few traces of their lives, and historians have had to piece together their history, not from diaries or archives but from court reports, visual representations, and childcare manuals. They have had to struggle to recapture the world of childhood in eras prior to 1800, when sources are especially limited. They, like others interested in childhood studies, have had to address the issue of how to define a child and what childhood is. They have had to contemplate the different historical meanings of the word child prior to 1600 and to resist the temptation to believe that childhood has inevitably improved through the centuries. They have also had to become aware of the dangers of historicizing a phenomenon that has few stable parameters and, in some cultures, may not even exist at all. In several languages there is no word for child; even in English, the word has drastically shifted its meaning over the centuries. These shifts need to be historicized in order to see both the continuities and the discontinuities between the past and the present that suggest that childhood has always been a time of suffering; children have always been the victims of perilous disease, parental neglect, government policy, war, etc. Concurrently, children have also always been the hope of the future, the focus of special love and attention. A historical perspective on European childhoods brings this insight into sharp focus.

General Overviews

The modern history of Western childhood begins with Philippe Ariès’s publication of L’enfant et la vie familiale sous l’ancien régime in 1960, which was translated into English as Centuries of Childhood (Ariès 1962). Even though Ariès has been much criticized for claiming that the medieval world had no concept of childhood, his work is still the starting point for historical studies of childhood. Lloyd deMause, who claimed that childhood was a nightmare until the present, has similarly been debunked, but deMause 1974 is still much quoted, especially by policymakers and, more generally, in childhood studies, although the author’s analysis remains unpopular with historians. Both books provide a general, if polemical, overview of the story of the history of childhood across western Europe. More recent overviews, which are more deferential toward our premodern ancestors, are Heywood 2001and Cunningham 2006, which deal only with England, and Stearns 2006, which deals with the whole world from the prehistoric era. Brockliss and Montgomery 2010 also begins in the preclassical age but focuses on violence against, and abuse of, children.

  • Ariès, Philippe. Centuries of Childhood. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1962.

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    Originally published in French in 1960. Seminal work in the field that is still much cited and critiqued. Argues that the concept of childhood was unknown in the Middle Ages and that it was only from around 1500 that children were recognized as different from adults and valued for their own sake. For a detailed critique, see Adrian Wilson, “The Infancy of the History of Childhood: An Appraisal of Philippe Ariès,” History and Theory 19.2 (1980): 132–153.

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  • Brockliss, Laurence, and Heather Montgomery, eds. Childhood and Violence in the Western Tradition. Oxford: Oxbow, 2010.

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    A series of essays linked by an editorial narrative that looks at the role of violence and neglect in different areas of children’s lives. Covers abuse, infanticide, war, and exploitation. Useful to dip into.

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  • Cunningham, Hugh. The Invention of Childhood. London: BBC Books, 2006.

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    Book accompanying a BBC Radio 4 series, this sets out a clear, easy-to-read, chronological account of childhood in England from the Anglo-Saxon past to the present. A website, The Invention of Childhood, goes with it and is coproduced with the Open University.

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  • deMause, Lloyd. The History of Childhood. New York: Psychohistory Press, 1974.

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    Rarely taken seriously by professional historians, this book is nevertheless much cited and discussed. Argues that childhood in the past was a nightmare and that only recently have adults begun to treat children in a more humane and less abusive way. A collection of essays, the introduction sums up the main argument.

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  • Heywood, Colin. A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2001.

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    Accessible text suitable for first-year undergraduates, which starts with childhood in the Middle Ages and continues until the beginning of the 20th century. Uses oral history, diaries, and autobiographies to examine how ideas about childhood, and children’s lives, have changed.

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  • Stearns, Peter N. Childhood in World History. Themes in World History. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    A slim book that explores childhood around the world, from primitive agricultural societies to the present. Major part of the book is devoted to the 20th century and emphasizes the singularity of modern Western childhood. Striking chapter on the death rate of children in 20th-century conflicts. Undergraduate level.

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Textbooks

Some overlap exists between books that could be used as textbooks and those used for reference. This section includes single-authored volumes that aim for a comprehensive overview across the centuries. Three—Heywood 2001, Cunningham 2005, and Stearns 2006—have a broad geographical and chronological range, especially the last, which embraces the world. The others have a specifically English or British focus. Cunningham 2006 is a good overview of childhood in England since Anglo-Saxon times and is suitable for undergraduates, while Fletcher 2008, which covers the period from 1500 to 1900, is more suitable for higher-level undergraduates. For social policy and child welfare in the 19th and 20th centuries, Hendrick 1994 is excellent.

  • Cunningham, Hugh. Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500. 2d ed. Harlow, UK: Pearson Longman, 2005.

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    A central text in the study of childhoods in western Europe since the Renaissance. Thematic overview of childhood across the centuries and of the changes in several different areas of children’s lives.

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  • Cunningham, Hugh. The Invention of Childhood. London: BBC Books, 2006.

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    Accompanying book to a BBC Radio 4 series, this sets out a clear, easy-to-read, chronological account of childhood in England from the Anglo-Saxon past to the present. A website, The Invention of Childhood, goes with it and is coproduced with the Open University.

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  • Fletcher, Anthony. Growing Up in England: The Experience of Childhood, 1600–1914. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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    Treats the four centuries as a whole and argues that there is no significant change in the attitudes toward children and childhood and in the experience of childhood across the whole period. Concentrates on bourgeois and aristocratic children.

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  • Hendrick, Harry. Child Welfare: England 1872–1989. London: Routledge, 1994.

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    Extremely useful overview of the history of social policy and childhood. It covers the concerns about delinquency and child abuse of the child-saving movements of the 19th century through the post–World War II period.

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  • Heywood, Colin. A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2001.

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    Accessible text suitable for first-year undergraduates, which starts with childhood in the Middle Ages and continues until the beginning of the 20th century. Uses oral history, diaries, and autobiographies to examine how ideas about childhood, and children’s lives, have changed.

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  • Stearns, Peter N. Childhood in World History. Themes in World History. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    A slim book that explores childhood around the world, from primitive agricultural societies to the present. Major part of the book is devoted to the 20th century and emphasizes the singularity of modern Western childhood. Striking chapter on the death rate of children in 20th-century conflicts. Undergraduate level.

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Reference Works and Bibliographies

Many general overviews have excellent, comprehensive bibliographies. The following are general encyclopedias, reference works, and edited collections that are best to consult as brief introductions or summaries of the field. Hendrick 1981 offers a useful guide to the literature before the recent interest in children in history. Fass 2004 is the first encyclopedia devoted to the history of childhood. It offers a wide coverage on many subjects and useful follow-up reading, but the emphasis is more on North America than Europe. The first modern attempt to cover the history of childhood in an edited volume is Martin and Nitschke 1986. Many of the essays seem dated today, and it suffers as a single-volume survey of the field. Foyster and Marten 2010 provides a good survey of the more recent literature on childhood and the family from the classical era to the present, organized thematically. Although the contributors to the different volumes tend to be country specific, each volume has a good bibliography. It can be profitably consulted alongside Kertzer and Barbagli 2001–2003, which tends to be more difficult to digest.

  • Fass, Paula, ed. Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society. 3 vols. Indianapolis, IN: Macmillan USA, 2004.

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    The only encyclopedia of childhood in the past. Covers many aspects both of historical and contemporary European childhoods. Useful references and suggestions for further reading. Available online.

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  • Foyster, Elizabeth, and James Marten, eds. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family. 6 vols. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    The most recent synthesis. Each volume consists of ten individually authored chapters with the same titles: “Family Relationships,” “Community,” “Economy,” “Geography and Environment,” “Education,” “Life Cycle,” “The State,” “Faith and Religion,” “Health and Science,” and “World Contexts.” Aims to capture the many constructions of childhood over the centuries and children’s lived experiences. Chapters by leading figures in the field. Uneven quality. Illustrated.

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  • Hendrick, Harry. The History of Childhood and Youth: A Guide to the Literature. Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic, 1981.

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    Now dated, but a useful, critical overview of work done on the history of childhood before the 1980s. Written before the recent upsurge in interest in childhood studies, it helpfully discusses classics such as Ariès >1962 (cited under General Overviews).

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  • Kertzer, David I., and Marzio Barbagli, eds. The History of the European Family. 3 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001–2003.

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    A thematic overview of the family across four centuries. Each volume is divided into four parts: “Economy and Family Organization”; “State, Religion, Law, and the Family”; “Demographic Forces”; and “Family Relations.” The volumes contain nine to ten individually authored chapters. Very useful in placing children’s lives in context.

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  • Martin, Jochen, and August Nitschke, eds. Zur Sozialgeschichte der Kindheit. Munich: Verlag Karl Alber, 1986.

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    Offers a social history of children and childhood, from the Jews of the Old Testament to the present. A little outdated.

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Essay Collections

Much recent writing on the history of children has appeared in the form of specialized collected essays. Bardet, et al. 2003 includes contributions that go from the classical or preclassical age to the present.

  • Bardet, Jean-Pierre, Jean-Noël Luc, Isabelle Robin-Romero, and Catherine Rollet, eds. Lorsque l’enfant grandit: Entre dépendance et autonomie. Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2003.

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    Collection of sixty-one articles chiefly dealing with France from antiquity to the present and arranged in four parts: Démographie et âge de la vie; Autorité, sociabilité, dysfonctionnements; Formation et travail; and La société en charge d’enfants. Concentrates on those children older than five. Articles on most of the topics covered by this bibliography. Best for graduate students.

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Journals

Two journals are dedicated solely to the history of childhood, although neither concentrates only on western Europe. The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth is US based, while Childhood in the Past: An International Journal publishes a great deal of archaeological material as well as historical papers.

England

England is particularly well served with overviews. The starting point is Cunningham 2006, which covers the history of English childhood from Anglo-Saxon times. For the medieval period specifically, the best book is Orme 2001. Several possibilities are available for the post-1500 period. Pinchbeck and Hewitt 1969 is a worthy but old-fashioned history of the period 1500 to 1900. Stone 1977 is still an interesting account of family life between 1500 and 1800, but the author’s claim that an affective revolution occurred in the 18th century is suspect. More reliable is Pollock 1983, which totally rejects this claim and sets out to demonstrate that 16th- and 17th-century parents loved their children. Fletcher 2008 covers much the same ground and evinces the same opinion, but the author concentrates on better-off families. Cunningham 1991 remains the only book to look at the poor across time. For the 20th century, the most useful work is Hendrick 1994, which concentrates on the key theme of child welfare.

  • Cunningham, Hugh. The Children of the Poor: Representations of Childhood since the Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

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    Best introduction to the changing attitudes to poor children in England across time.

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  • Cunningham, Hugh. The Invention of Childhood. London: BBC Books, 2006.

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    Accompanying book to a BBC Radio 4 series, this sets out a clear, easy-to-read, chronological account of childhood in England from the Anglo-Saxon past to the present. It is the only recent overview of childhood in England to cover the whole of English history from the fall of the Roman Empire. A website, The Invention of Childhood, goes with it and is coproduced with the Open University.

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  • Fletcher, Anthony. Growing Up in England: The Experience of Childhood, 1600–1914. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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    Treats the four centuries as a whole and argues that there is no significant change in the attitudes toward children and childhood and in the experience of childhood across the whole period. Ariès is never mentioned.

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  • Hendrick, Harry. Child Welfare: England 1872–1989. London: Routledge, 1994.

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    Extremely useful overview of the history of social policy and childhood. It covers concerns about delinquency and child abuse by the child-saving movements of the 19th century through the post–World War II period.

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  • Orme, Nicholas. Medieval Children. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

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    Beautifully illustrated book that looks at every aspect of medieval childhoods in England, based on literary, historical, and archaeological sources. Authoritative and comprehensive account of childhood during this period—recommended for undergraduates.

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  • Pinchbeck, Ivy, and Margaret Hewitt. Children in English Society. 2 vols. Studies in Social History. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969.

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    An old-style history of childhood that is still serviceable; covers the Tudors and the Stuarts in the first volume and the 18th to 19th centuries in the second. Its main focus is social policy.

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  • Pollock, Linda A. Forgotten Children: Parent–Child Relations from 1500 to 1900. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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    Using diaries, literature, and other sources, Pollock refutes the notion that parents were indifferent to their children or were unconcerned at their deaths. She argues that many children were much loved as individuals. Suitable for third-level undergraduates.

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  • Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1977.

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    Not specifically about children, but a good example of Ariès’s influence among an older generation of historians. Stone believes families made little emotional investment in children before the Puritans developed companionate marriage and the aristocracy took it up in the 18th century.

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Middle Ages and Renaissance

While historians normally distinguish between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, such has been the power of Ariès’s paradigm that the two periods have become joined together in the history of childhood. The best overview of the period is Alexandre-Bidon and Lett 1999, but for a sense of the enthusiasm with which medievalists in the last twenty years have assailed Ariès’s assertion that there was no concept of childhood before 1500, see Shahar 1990 and the collection of essays in Classen 2005. Other overviews devoted to this period, such as Klaus 1980, are more measured. The most up-to-date assessment is Wilkinson 2010, which is on the family as well as on childhood. It too declares that Ariès is passé.

  • Alexandre-Bidon, Danièle, and Didier Lett. Children in the Middle Ages, Fifth to Fifteenth Centuries. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999.

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    Original French edition published in 1997 (Paris: Hachette). Thematic study of the concept and experience of childhood across the Middle Ages, divided into two halves: the child in the Christian world and the child in society. Looks at how Christianity shaped childhood and examines the child in various roles: as a member of the family, as an apprentice, in the streets, and at school. Useful overview.

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  • Classen, Albrecht, ed. Childhood in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: The Results of a Paradigm Shift in the History of Mentality. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2005.

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    Series of nineteen essays, preceded by a long analysis of the limitations of Ariès, by Classen. Argues strongly for a medieval concept of childhood, based mainly on literary texts. Interesting last essay on teaching the history of childhood.

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  • Klaus, Arnold. Kind und Gesellschaft in Mittelalter und Renaissance. Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1980.

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    Getting rather old, but one of the first volumes to reflect on medieval and Renaissance childhood in the light of Ariès.

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  • Shahar, Shulamith. Childhood in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge, 1990.

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    An important corrective to Ariès, it demonstrates that the medieval period provides plenty of examples of treating childhood as a distinct period of life. Perhaps less successful at demonstrating affective parent–child relations.

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  • Wilkinson, Louise J., ed. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Middle Ages. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family 2. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    Most recent synthesis placing children and childhood within the family. Covers the period 800–1400 in ten single-authored thematic essays. Concentrates on Christian families. Sporadic references to Jews are found throughout the book, and the last chapter is devoted to Muslims. Introduction by the editor emphasizes the inadequacy of Ariès while recognizing the difficulty of capturing the experiences of the majority of children, given the sources.

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Early Middle Ages (400–1000)

Although children are discussed in Anglo-Saxon and Viking legal and inheritance systems, or in idealized terms in the lives of saints, much of the work on childhoods in this era comes from archaeology. The best introduction and overview of children in Anglo-Saxon England is Crawford 1999, which builds on the earlier short but measured account in Kuefler 1991. The best account of the problems involved in reconstructing an account of Anglo-Saxon childhoods is found in Crawford 1999. Work in English on early medieval childhood in other parts of western Europe is more limited. But James 2004 uses Gregory of Tours to good effect to recapture certain aspects of Merovingian childhood, while Garver 2005 shows how important monasticism was in shaping views of childhood in the Carolingian age. This is a point also developed in de Jong 1996, which is an important study of the early medieval practice of oblation. There is still very limited work done on Viking childhood, the most important of which is Callow 2007. Other work, such as Mejsholm 2008, is more archaeological in scope, although it yields important clues for the historian.

  • Callow, Chris. “Childhood in the Viking Age North Atlantic.” In Children, Childhood and Society. Edited by Sally Crawford and Gillian Shepherd, 45–55. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2007.

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    One of the very few articles to look at Viking childhoods and the ways in which children were understood. Very useful summary of the limited evidence.

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  • Crawford, Sally. Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 1999.

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    The best and most comprehensive account of all aspects of child life in Anglo-Saxon England. Combines archaeology and history to build a full picture. Academic but very readable, this is suitable for undergraduates.

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  • de Jong, Mayke. In Samuel’s Image: Child Oblation in the Early Medieval West. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1996.

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    Classic account of an important early medieval practice, which details the role of monks as surrogate parents. Looks at punishment, diet, and education.

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  • Garver, Valerie L. “The Influence of Monastic Ideals upon Carolingian Conceptions of Childhood.” In Childhood in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: The Results of a Paradigm Shift in the History of Mentality. Edited by Albrecht Classen, 67–86. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2005.

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    Argues for an understanding of childhood in the Carolingian period that emphasizes children’s silliness and spontaneity; hence, the emphasis in monastic literature on the need to educate children into adult norms of behavior.

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  • James, Edward. “Childhood and Youth in the Early Middle Ages.” In Youth in the Middle Ages. Edited by P. J. P. Goldberg and Felicity Riddy, 11–24. Woodbridge, UK: York Medieval Press, 2004.

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    Despite the general title, the essay concentrates on Merovingian Gaul and particularly investigates the view of childhood to be found in the works of Gregory of Tours. Emphasizes continuity with the late Roman period.

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  • Kuefler, Mathew. “‘A Wryed Existence’: Attitudes toward Children in Anglo-Saxon England.” Journal of Social History 24.4 (1991): 823–835.

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    Argues that Anglo-Saxons recognized childhood as a separate stage of life from adulthood and as a period of transition. However, they did not always treat children well, although they were often wanted and loved. A useful summary.

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  • Mejsholm, Lotta. “Constructions of Early Childhood at the Syncretic Cemetery of Fjälkinge: A Case Study.” In Youth and Age in the Medieval North. Edited by Shannon Lewis-Simpson, 37–46. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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    Uses archaeological evidence from cemeteries to suggest differences in the way that Christian and non-Christian Vikings buried children.

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High and Later Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1000–1500)

It has been argued, in opposition to Ariès, that an important step toward our modern view of childhood occurred in the 12th and 13th centuries, when the church began to place a new emphasis on Christ as a baby in his mother’s arms. Children were now seen as endangered and vulnerable (MacLehose 2006). The effect this new view of childhood had on parenting is attested to in England in the studies of Hanawalt 1993 and Orme 2001, in Italy in the work of Haas 1998, and in Europe more widely in the essays in Bergdolt, et al. 2008. Schulz 1995, however, suggests a need for caution: in the author’s view the High Middle Ages definitely had a concept of childhood, but it was not ours. Orme 2008 also counsels against assuming that only one cultural shift occurred in the concept of childhood across the Middle Ages. Historians, too, should not forget the probable contribution of Europe’s Jewish and Muslim minorities to the emergence of a new Christian view of childhood. According to Baumgarten 2004 and Gil’adi 1992, Jews and Muslims had an affective view of childhood that predated the 12th- and 13th-century revolution, so it is likely that these ideas were circulating in Christian Europe at an earlier date.

  • Baumgarten, Elisheva. Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

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    A study of Jewish families in Germany and northern France during the High Middle Ages. Deliberately uses a comparative approach to understand both the differences and the similarities between Jewish and Christian culture. Covers all aspects of child rearing.

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  • Bergdolt, Klaus von, Berndt Hamm, and Andreas Tonnesmann, eds. Das Kind in der Renaissance. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2008.

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    One of the few books that treats the Renaissance as a period in the history of childhood in its own right. Thirteen essays that explore different aspects of childhood in different parts of western Europe in the Renaissance; themes include child health and mortality, structure and role of the family, rites of passage such as baptism, and legal definitions of childhood. Uses artistic and literary sources.

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  • Gil’adi, Avner. Children of Islam: Concepts of Childhood in Medieval Muslim Society. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1992.

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    Collection of eight interrelated essays dealing most notably with child mortality, parental steadfastness in the face of children’s death, and infanticide. Emphasizes that medieval Muslim society definitely had a concept of childhood as a special and vulnerable age, even if a difference of opinion existed over the virtues of “soft” or “hard” child rearing.

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  • Haas, Louis. The Renaissance Man and His Children: Childbirth and Early Childhood in Florence, 1300–1600. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1998.

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    Deliberately sets out to debunk an earlier post-Ariès reading of the Renaissance Florentine family, which saw it either as uninterested in children except as heirs or as a female and not a male investment. Uses the diaries and commonplace books of Florentine males to paint a much more sensitive picture.

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  • Hanawalt, Barbara A. Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

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    Refutes the notion that childhood was unknown in the Middle Ages. Discusses ideas about punishment, education, and the role of women. Very readable account of medieval childhoods, based on court and coroners’ reports and other arrival records.

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  • MacLehose, William F. A Tender Age: Cultural Anxieties over the Child in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

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    Fullest study in English of the new attitudes toward childhood of the High Middle Ages, expressed chiefly in Latin texts. Emphasis on the vulnerability of childhood, in the face of ever-present mortality, heresy, Jews, and feckless parents. Mothers viewed positively and fathers negatively, apart from God the Father, who loves children especially.

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  • Orme, Nicholas. Medieval Children. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

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    Beautifully illustrated book that looks at every aspect of medieval childhoods in England, based on literary, historical, and archaeological sources. Authoritative and comprehensive account of childhood during this period—recommended for undergraduates.

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  • Orme, Nicholas. “Medieval Childhood: Challenge, Change and Achievement.” Childhood in the Past 1.1 (2008): 106–119.

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    Reflective article that suggests we should look for a second revolution in the concept of childhood in the later Middle Ages. Associated with the growth of lay literacy from the mid-14th century, images of children appear on tombs and brasses and also appear frequently in literature. Available online by subscription.

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  • Schulz, James A. The Knowledge of Childhood in the German Middle Ages, 1100–1350. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1995.

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    Based on the study of a large number of German literary texts, this book takes a middle way between Ariès and his critics, arguing that the High Middle Ages did have a view of childhood, but it was nothing like our own.

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The 16th and 17th Centuries

Renaissance humanists aimed to create a new generation of nobles who would eschew violence and display a new ethic of civility and sobriety. Reformers and counter-reformers looked to change the moral behavior of the population at large in a more Christ-like direction, as well as to ensure confessional orthodoxy. Because a reformation in manners could be effected only if the young were properly reared, children in the 16th and 17th centuries became an object of much greater concern than hitherto. Two institutions were given the task of creating the new adult: the school and the family. The literature on the extension of schooling in this period, and the part it played in indoctrinating the young in the right confessional and moral values, is surveyed in another bibliography, though it is worth noting in passing that Ariès 1962 places particular emphasis on the school, in the author’s study of the emergence of our modern attitude to children. This section includes only the most important studies on children within the family, while a later section, Unwanted, Abused, and Vulnerable Children Pre-1920, includes works on those children—foundlings, orphans, and the destitute—whose families could not provide appropriate care. Another section, Youth, has literature on a group who caused particular concern, namely teenagers.

  • Ariès, Philippe. Centuries of Childhood. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1962.

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    Originally published in French in 1960, a seminal work in the field that is still much cited and critiqued. Argues that the concept of childhood was unknown in the Middle Ages and that it was only beginning around 1500 that children were recognized as different from adults and valued for their own sake. For a detailed critique, see Adrian Wilson, “The Infancy of the History of Childhood: An Appraisal of Philippe Ariès,” History and Theory 19.2 (1980): 132–153.

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Children and the Family

The Protestant and Catholic churches promoted the ideal of a companionate nuclear family, where parents would conscientiously bring up their children to be upright adults. Earlier writers, such as in Stone 1977, relying heavily on childcare literature, took this ideal as a reality. But recent work on children and the family, using a wider array of sources, has questioned this assumption. Families may be considered still to have played a crucial role in introducing the young to the new value system (Ridondo 1996). However, family structure and the role of children within the family, it now seems, differed from region to region and from class to class; see Kertzer and Barbagli 2001, Berry and Foyster 2007, Casey 2007, and Cavallo and Evangelisti 2010. González and Premo 2007 also shows how difficult it was to transport European concepts of the family and child rearing overseas.

  • Berry, Helen, and Elizabeth Foyster, eds. The Family in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511495694Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The collection of essays concerns children only to the extent that they are a part of the family. However, because the essays specifically take issue with Lawrence Stone’s account of the emergence of the companionate nuclear family post-1650, this is an important recent addition to our understanding of the experience of childhood in early modern England.

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  • Casey, James. Family and Community in Early Modern Spain: The Citizens of Granada, 1570–1739. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511496707Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Only tangentially about children, but this is another study that alters our traditional thinking about the early modern family; thus, it affects our understanding of the experience of childhood.

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  • Cavallo, Sandra, and Silvia Evangelisti, eds. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Early Modern Age. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family 3. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    Most recent synthesis that puts children and childhood in the context of the family. Covers the period 1400–1650. Accepts the importance both of the Reformation and the Counter Reformation in promoting the companionate nuclear family as the ideal but argues that economic and demographic realities continually undermined this. Based on recent local studies, challenges the traditional view that household patterns in northern and southern Europe differed. Revisionist.

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  • González, Ondina E., and Bianca Premo, eds. Raising an Empire: Children in Early Modern Iberia and Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.

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    Collection of essays primarily dealing with the Americas, but there is a good opening essay by Isabel dos Guimarães Sá on Portuguese children between 1500 and 1800. Overall, the book emphasizes the difficulty of transferring European patterns of child rearing to the Americas and offers strategies for recovering children’s voices.

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  • Kertzer, David I., and Marzio Barbagli, eds. The History of the European Family. Vol. 1, Family Life in Early Modern Times, 1500–1789. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

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    Thematic overview of literature, by different contributors. Worthy but rather difficult to digest.

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  • Ridondo, Augustin, ed. La Formation de l’enfant en Espagne aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1996.

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    Series of essays concentrating on Spanish childhood to the age of twelve; looks at children’s moral, religious, and intellectual formation and their socialization. Starts from the assumption that attitudes toward children begin to change in the 16th century.

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  • Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1977.

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    Not specifically about children, but a good example of Ariès’s influence among an older generation of historians. Stone believes families made little emotional investment in children before the Puritans developed companionate marriage and the aristocracy took up the practice in the 18th century.

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Child Rearing

While old views about the early modern family have been laid to rest, what continues to command agreement is that the concept of childhood was evolving across the 16th and 17th centuries, with a growing, if certainly not novel, emphasis on children not only as vulnerable, irrational, and incapable, but also as sweet. If Ariès was wrong to claim that the Middle Ages had no concept of childhood; he was right in seeing the early modern era as an important milestone on the road to our modern understanding. Brewer 2005 shows how English and colonial American children lost agency as they were turned by the law into fragile dependents; Defrance, et al. 2007 shows how children in French literature and art were infantilized in the 17th century; Dekker 2000 sees the first signs of childhood being sentimentalized in the Dutch Golden Age; while Scaramella 1997 reveals how this evolving concept of childhood made child sainthood problematic. What is still largely missing in this period is the authentic child’s voice. For this reason, Ozment 1990—an edition of letters written by three generations of German teenagers across the 16th and early 17th centuries—is a peculiarly valuable addition to the secondary literature.

  • Brewer, Holly. By Birth or Consent: Children, Law and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.

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    Covers 1550 to 1850 in England and the American colonies/United States. Argues that the Reformation, the political struggles in 17th-century England, and the Enlightenment led to a profound rethinking of the concepts of reason, authority, and capacity and gradually deprived children of agency.

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  • Defrance, Anne, Denis Lopez, and François-Joseph Ruggi, eds. Regards sur l’enfance au XVIIe siècle. Tübingen, Germany: Biblio, 2007.

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    The collection of essays is divided into four parts: training and education, the different ages of childhood, adult representations of childhood (all media), and famous children (princes, princesses). The aim is to look more closely at adult-child relations in the period that Ariès says that they began to change. Deals Mainly with France.

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  • Dekker, Rudolf. Childhood, Memory and Autobiography in Holland from the Golden Age to Romanticism. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000.

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    Based on a study of Dutch autobiographies and diaries, the book claims that attitudes toward children and child rearing changed quite radically between 1600 and the early 19th century. Children had more freedom and more toys to play with, and they were punished less. Alive to the need to think about broader changes in the way emotions were felt and expressed.

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  • Ozment, Steven. Three Behaim Boys: Growing Up in Early Modern Germany. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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    A collection of letters by boys of three generations of a Nuremberg patrician family in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Useful way into the seldom-heard voices of adolescents and young men in this period. Well-annotated edition.

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  • Scaramella, Pierroroberto. I Santolilli: Culti dell’infanzia e santitá infantile a Napoli alla fine del XVII secoli. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1997.

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    Explores the ambiguity of a novel interest in child saints in Italy at the turn of the 18th century, in an age that viewed children as weak, unformed vessels and thus unlikely vehicles for divine grace.

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The 18th Century

Eighteenth-century writers associated with the Enlightenment promoted a view of the ideal family that stressed successful child rearing that required parental love and bonding as much as careful scrutiny of morals and manners. This new view was popularized in many ways, but especially through child-rearing manuals, novels, and periodicals (Müller 2006 and Müller 2009). At the same time, the 18th century saw a sea change in the cultural visibility of childhood. Children’s books, clothes, and toys were produced in revolutionary profusion, while children appeared in adult novels and were depicted by artists in loving family groups (especially after 1750). Historians have had difficulty in deciding what this signifies. In Plumb 1975 and Stone 1977, this was evidence that the words of wisdom of the philosophes had been internalized in England and that children were now being cosseted for the first time. Dekker 2000 broadly agrees, but the most recent literature suggests we should be more cautious in making sense of this new child-centered culture, as Jordanova 1990 had already suggested. First, if it was a reality, it was class specific: in Britain, children from working families were certainly not spoiled in the last quarter of the 18th century, a period marked by the first stages of industrialization (see the section Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution). Furthermore, it was difficult to transfer this child-centered culture overseas to more egalitarian and less consumer-oriented colonial societies (González and Premo 2007).

  • Dekker, Rudolf. Childhood, Memory and Autobiography in Holland from the Golden Age to Romanticism. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000.

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    Based on a study of Dutch autobiographies and diaries, the book claims that attitudes toward children and child rearing changed quite radically between 1600 and the early 19th century. Children had more freedom and more toys to play with, and they were punished less. Alive to the need to think about broader changes in the way emotions were felt and expressed.

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  • González, Ondina E., and Bianca Premo, eds. Raising an Empire: Children in Early Modern Iberia and Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.

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    Collection of essays primarily dealing with the Americas but includes a good opening essay by Isabel dos Guimarães Sá on Portuguese children of the period between 1500 and 1800. Overall, the book emphasizes the difficulty of transferring European patterns of child rearing to the Americas and offers strategies for recovering children’s voices.

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  • Jordanova, Ludmilla. “New Worlds for Children in the Eighteenth Century: Problems of Historical Interpretation.” History of the Human Sciences 3.1 (1990): 69–83.

    DOI: 10.1177/095269519000300110Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A careful critique of Plumb’s classic article (Plumb 1975), in which the author accuses him of ignoring gender differences between boys and girls, pretending that art represents reality, and assuming that changes in London (if they really occurred) were followed immediately by changes in the provinces. Does not discount change but calls for more careful exploration.

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  • Müller, Anja. Framing Childhood in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals and Prints, 1689–1789. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    Explores the way an affective concept of childhood was developed in English periodicals from the time of the Tatler and the Spectator, which was cleverly promoted to appear normative. As a result, argues that the “Romantic child” proved to be an invention of the first part of the 18th century.

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  • Müller, Anja, ed. Fashioning Childhood in the Eighteenth Century: Age and Identity. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006.

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    Collection of seventeen essays covering different parts of Europe and surveying how children were constructed in different cultural contexts, ranging from medicine and the law to art and literature, all of which stress the responsibility of parents to ensure that children were given the right physical and moral nurture. The only child’s voice is that of Jane Austen.

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  • Plumb, J. H. “The New World of Children in Eighteenth-Century England.” Past and Present 67 (1975): 64–95.

    DOI: 10.1093/past/67.1.64Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic article that claims that the 18th century witnessed the birth of our child-centered conception of childhood, with the manufacture of children’s toys and the publication of children’s books. Seen as part of the preindustrial birth of a consumer society in England.

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  • Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1977.

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    Not specifically about children, but a good example of Ariès’s influence among an older generation of historians. Stone believes families made little emotional investment in children before the Puritans developed companionate marriage and the aristocracy took up the practice in the 18th century.

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Parent–Child Relations

Some historians have cautioned against seeing an increase in child consumerism as a sign of more affective parent–child relations. Retford 2006 argues that portraits of the loving family group reflected a change in aesthetic fashion, not a sudden upsurge of affectionate parenting. Bailey 2007 suggests that the new ideal merely made public effusions of affection for children legitimate and expected, while Foyster and Marten 2010 insists no change at all took place in the emotional bonding of parents and children. As in earlier periods, finding the authentic child’s voice in the midst of so much adult posturing about children and childhood is difficult. But fortunately, at the end of the century we have one boy’s detailed response to parental investment in the new child-oriented culture (see Baggerman and Dekker 2009). The diary of Otto van Eck is the journal of a young Dutch boy from a gentry family, destined never to reach adulthood, who retains a surprising agency given the obsessive closeness with which his parents watch over his development day by day.

  • Baggerman, Arianne, and Rudolf Dekker. Child of the Enlightenment: Revolutionary Europe Reflected in a Boyhood Diary. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004172692.i-556Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of a twelve-year-old boy’s diary written in the 1790s. The Dutch boy was made to write the diary by his parents as a way of reflecting on his daily conduct. The parents read it, but the boy used this fact to manipulate them.

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  • Bailey, Joanna. “Reassessing Parenting in Eighteenth-Century England.” In The Family in Early Modern England. Edited by Helen Berry and Elizabeth Foyster, 209–232. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511495694Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rejects the idea that parents were more affectionate toward their children in the 18th century but argues, through the study of matrimonial litigation, that much greater consideration was given to expressions of parental concern.

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  • Foyster, Elizabeth, and James Marten, eds. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Age of Enlightenment. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family 4. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    Most recent overview of children within the family in the period 1650–1800. Argues that the period witnessed a significant change in the cultural context in which family life was conducted as a result of the Enlightenment, but not a change in emotional bonding. Highlights the gap between the theory and practice of child rearing with respect to the poor and those who were not white.

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  • Retford, Kate. The Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

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    Shows that post-1750, the affective family portrait was born, but is careful not to claim that this reflected a new experience of childhood. Rather, it reflected a new aesthetic norm of presentation that sitters were anxious to show that they had internalized. The early-18th-century fashion for stylized family groups did not mean a lack of affection for children.

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Locke, Rousseau, and Child Rearing

While it remains difficult to demonstrate that parents became more attached to their children across the 18th century, an important change of emphasis took place in the advice they were given in many contemporary child-rearing manuals. The 18th-century philosophes rejected the doctrine of original sin, which had informed theories of child rearing from the 5th century onward. Children were no longer considered programmed to behave badly and in need of close supervision and control until their reason was sufficiently developed to tame their passions. Rather, they were viewed as blank slates when born: whether they turned out good or ill depended on their upbringing. Child rearing remained gendered, but it now became a very responsible business: mothers should breastfeed and parents should look after the physical as well as the moral development of their offspring; great care should be taken when choosing a tutor or school. John Locke, who had coined the idea that the child’s mind was a tabula rasa, still advocated a tough regime in his Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), though he stressed the need to limit corporal punishment when a child stepped out of line. In Émile (1762), on the other hand, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who aimed to create a morally autonomous individual able to withstand the temptations of 18th-century life, developed a revolutionary and idiosyncratic child-rearing program, which emphasized for the first time the need to relate a child’s education to his or her physical and mental capacity. Locke and Rousseau’s educational thought is dealt with more completely in a separate bibliography. This section lists some useful overviews of the new child-rearing agenda. A quite old but good starting point is Snyders 1965, which shows how different the philosophes’ child-rearing advice was from that of the century before. More specific in that the focus is France are Bloch 1995 and Gill 2010, which highlight Rousseau’s originality and his influence, while Matzner 2008 offers an introduction to one consequence of this new emphasis on a child’s early years: the child-fixated autobiography. Stott 2003, in contrast, is a reminder that not every educational reformer was a convert to Enlightenment anthropology. Hannah More was an evangelical who believed in original sin, but she was still interested in education as a tool for improving the poor. In this respect her ideas were little different from those of the philosophes who championed universal elementary education but intended that the poor should learn to know their place (Chisick 1981).

  • Bloch, Jean. Rousseauism and Education in Eighteenth-Century France. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1995.

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    Solid account of Rousseau’s child-rearing doctrines and the effect they had in France before and during the French Revolution. Emphasizes the difference between Rousseau’s views on educating the good and on educating the good patriot.

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  • Chisick, Harvey. The Limits of Reform in the Enlightenment: Attitudes toward the Education of the Lower Classes in Eighteenth-Century France. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981.

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    Excellent study of the philosophes’ unwillingness to promote social mobility through education, while pressing for elementary schooling to be extended to all.

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  • Gill, Natasha. Educational Philosophy in the French Enlightenment: From Nature to Second Nature. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.

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    The first comprehensive analysis of French educational thought before Rousseau. Émile is located in the context of a pedagogical debate that had been under way for a century before its publication,showing how French theorists came to see education as a vehicle through which individual liberation, social harmony, and political unity could be achieved.

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  • Matzner, Sebastian. “Haunted by Paradise Lost: The Theme of Childhood in Eighteenth-Century Melancholy Writing.” Childhood in the Past 1.1 (2008): 120–135.

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    An interesting article that explores how 18th-century authors who did not believe in original sin and accepted that children were a blank slate when born took a novel interest in their childhood as a source of adult woes.

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  • Snyders, Georges. La Pédagogie en France aux XVIIe et XVIII siècles. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1965.

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    Much wider than it appears. This is a good introduction to new views of child rearing in 18th-century France in particular.

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  • Stott, Anne. Hannah More: The First Victorian. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    Best biography of this evangelical reformer, who promoted Sunday schools and the Cheap Repository Tracts aimed at the poor. Rescues her from her traditional reputation as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative.

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The 19th Century

While the depth and meaning of Plumb’s 18th-century revolution in childhood remains contested, undoubtedly the 19th century saw significant changes in the ways in which children were understood and treated. The idea that children were special and needed to be separated from the world of adults came to ever-greater prominence in the age of industrialization and the century of the bourgeoisie. Those members of the elite who did not accept the new Romantic idea that children were innocent and creative individuals who needed special nurturing had no difficulty in subscribing to an alternative utilitarian discourse that economic performance and social stability depended on turning the young into good and diligent citizens. In consequence, the 19th century saw a growing demand that all children be placed in school for a number of years and that action be taken to protect the children of the poor from exploitation and harm, both at work and in the home. The emergence of the doctrine of social Darwinism toward the end of the century served only to further inspire reform among a generation fearful of racial degeneration and armed with the first statistical measurements of normal child development. As a result, the 19th century saw the state for the first time take a serious and active role in child rearing. Thematic overviews of these developments can be found in Kertzer and Barbagli 2002 and Heywood 2010. In the English case, the best starting point is Walvin 1982. More focused studies are Dyhouse 1981, which reminds us how gendered the Victorian view of childhood remained, and Shuttleworth 2010, which looks at the role played by the 19th-century novelist in the creation of the new child psychology. Literature on other western European states is limited. Heywood 2007 provides a good overview of the changing ideas and their meaning in France, though it does not supplant Crubellier 1979, an older and fuller study in French. Weber-Kellerman 1979 is still a serviceable introduction to being a child in 19th-century Germany. This is the first period in which children’s voices can be loudly heard, thanks to surviving diaries and letters and recorded interviews, though the sources need to be used carefully. For children and work in the 19th century, for the campaigns against physical and sexual abuse, and for the particular concern for the degeneration of youth, see Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution, Child Abuse, and Youth as a Social Problem.

  • Crubellier, Maurice. L’enfance et la jeunesse dans la société française, 1800–1950. Paris: A. Colin, 1979.

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    Traces the growing move of the state (seconded by the Catholic Church) to take over more and more of the task of child rearing, principally through extending education, which in France included the creation of state écoles maternelles to look after preschool children. Somewhat of a lament for an older family-centered world. Pays close attention to working-class and peasant children. Uses a vast array of sources.

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  • Dyhouse, Carol. Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian England. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981.

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    Quite old now, but one of the first works to look at childhood in this period from the perspective of gender.

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  • Heywood, Colin. Growing Up in France: From the Ancien Régime to the Third Republic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Very readable account of the experience of childhood in 19th-century France, in a period of economic, social, and cultural change. Deals with children at home, school, and work. By using autobiographies, diaries, and letters, the author attempts to recapture the child’s voice, though he accepts that this is hard to do for the peasantry.

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  • Heywood, Colin, ed. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Age of Empire. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family 5. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    Latest overview. Sees the 19th century as pivotal for the emergence of our modern understanding of childhood. Accepts the good intentions lying behind the promotion of a concept of childhood that was happy, work free, and protected, but stresses the tensions evoked by imposing this bourgeois ideal and its concomitant—compulsory education—on the rest of the population.

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  • Kertzer, David I., and Marzio Barbagli, eds. The History of the European Family. Vol. 2, Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789–1913. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

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    Looks at the fortunes of the family in an era of rapid population growth, industrialization, a transport revolution, and emigration overseas. Stresses that, despite the changes, traditional regional differences in family structure, age of marriage, etc., remained.

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  • Shuttleworth, Sally. The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science, and Medicine, 1840–1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    An interesting though somewhat controversial account of the influence of novelists such as George Eliot, Henry James, and Thomas Hardy on the development of children in Victorian Britain. Much is made of the role of Eliot’s lover and husband as the conduit between literature and science.

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  • Walvin, James. A Child’s World: A Social History of English Childhood 1800–1914. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1982.

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    Still judged the best survey of the English experience, although written without the benefit of the detailed studies that have appeared since the 1980s.

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  • Weber-Kellerman, Ingeborg. Die Kindheit: Kleidung und Wohnen, Arbeit und Spiel: Eine Kulturgeschichte. Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1979.

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    Old and extends only into the mid-20th century, but still worth dipping into for information about the lives of German children in the period.

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Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution

Pre-teenage children before the present day were always expected to help out around the house and the farm. Therefore, studies of child labor do not fit easily into one century. However, with the coming of industrialization to Britain at the turn of the 19th century, young children were routinely corralled into more arduous or complex tasks. The role played by children not even into their teens in stoking the British Industrial Revolution has been an object of historical interest throughout the 20th century. Early works stressed the presence of children in the factories and mines and painted a dismal picture of their lot. Factory children still remain a center of interest (e.g., Bolin-Hort 1989), but, in recent years, the historiography has become more nuanced. Jordanova 1987 points out that worries about child labor predated the invention of the factory system and should not be separated from a new “romantic” vision of children as innocents; Nardinelli 1990 suggests putting children to work was not a necessity but a parental choice, so child labor should not be sentimentalized. In more recent years, Honeyman 2007 and Humphries 2010, while rejecting the revisionism of Nardinelli, have pointed out that child labor in the factory and the mine was only the tip of the iceberg: children were heavily used in traditional manufacturing and agriculture as well and were probably treated more harshly in these environments. It is clear, too, that the most exploited children were paupers and orphans who were hired out for work on extremely long contracts. Humphries’s conclusion is that in important and hitherto neglected respects, children “made” the British Industrial Revolution. Child labor has not attracted the same degree of attention in the historiography of industrialization on the European continent. The study of French child labor laws in Weisbach 1989 is the only notable full-length account by an Anglophone author of the practice in another European country. However, enough is known for it to be clear that children were a central part of the workforce everywhere during the period that marked the first stages of industrialization. As the overviews in Schlemmer 1996 and Rahikainen 2004 show, although industrialization occurred later on the Continent, the mid-19th-century campaign against the practice did not stop the exploitation of children in other European countries. Moreover, in other parts of Europe, opponents of child labor could meet fierce opposition. In the Nordic countries the debate over child labor continued long into the 20th century (de Coninck-Smith, et al. 1997).

  • Bolin-Hort, Per. Work, Family and the State: Child Labour and the Organization of Production in the British Cotton Industry, 1780–1920. Lund, Sweden: Lund University Press, 1989.

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    The most detailed recent study of the classic example of child labor in the British Industrial Revolution. The author explores the role played by young children in the cotton factories, the importance of their labor to the family income, and the growing moves by the state to limit and control the practice.

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  • de Coninck-Smith, Ning, Bengt Sandin, and Ellen Schrumpf, eds. Industrious Children: Work and Childhood in the Nordic Countries 1850–1990. Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, 1997.

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    Shows how closely the attack on child labor in Scandinavia went hand in hand with the introduction of compulsory schooling. Also emphasizes there has always been a debate in Scandinavia over the rights and wrongs of child labor; child labor in the countryside was long tolerated, and in the towns in the first part of the 20th century, attempts were made to provide children with work outside school hours and during the holidays.

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  • Honeyman, Katrina. Child Workers in England, 1780–1820: Parish Apprentices and the Making of the Early Industrial Labour Force. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007.

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    The first detailed study of the use of children in the care of the parish in Britain’s early factories. Questions the conventional wisdom about the readiness of parish authorities to hand their children over to factory masters and argues that conditions in the factories were not as bad as is usually thought.

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  • Humphries, Jane. Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511780455Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive overview of child labor during the Industrial Revolution that moves beyond the factory and the mines to look at all forms of children’s work, including on the farm. Draws on a very large number of autobiographies of members of the working classes to build a detailed picture of the types of work, working conditions, and the role of children in the family income. Postgraduate level.

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  • Jordanova, Ludmilla. “Conceptualizing Childhood in the Eighteenth Century: The Problem of Child Labour.” British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 10.2 (1987): 189–199.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-0208.1987.tb00015.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that a shift in how children were perceived in the 18th century led to questions being raised about child labor for the first time. Writers and reformers who saw children as innocent objected to their commodification, though they seldom objected to child labor as such.

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  • Nardinelli, Clark. Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

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    The classic revisionist work. Argues that children were sent out to work in the Industrial Revolution for their own and the family’s financial betterment. Children’s wages allowed families to survive, children’s labor was not necessarily arduous, and factory overseers were not necessarily cruel.

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  • Rahikainen, Marjatta. Centuries of Child Labour: European Experiences from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    The only overview of child labor across Europe. It concentrates solely on children working outside the home and has a strong moral tone. The statistical data come overwhelmingly from Britain, reflecting the still-limited number of detailed studies of the phenomenon on the European continent.

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  • Schlemmer, Bernard, ed. L’enfant exploité: Oppression, mise au travail, prolétarisation. Paris: Éditions Karthala, 1996.

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    Contains twenty-three articles and covers the world, not just Europe. Virtually all forms of child labor are discussed. Throughout, the phenomenon is roundly condemned: even a “good” master or employer is viewed as an exploiter who always determines the contours of a child’s labor. But there is recognition that labor within the home can be just as degrading.

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  • Weisbach, Lee Shai. Child Labour Reform in Nineteenth-Century France: Assuring the Future Harvest. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

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    Depicts a campaign led by religious traditionalists and paternalistic middle-class Europeans, who, in centralized France, could get results only by lobbying the government rather than educating public opinion. Good account of the origins of child labor legislation in France and the differences with Britain.

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Poor and Working-Class Childhoods

The 19th century saw a much more focused interest on the plight of poor children, and so it is not surprising that their fate has spawned a number of important studies in recent years. For England the starting point is Cunningham 1991 and Hopkins 1994, which provide the best overview. For a detailed study of the reality of a working-class upbringing, see Davin 1996. The situation in France is effectively dealt with in Heywood 1988, while Ipsen 2006 is an insightful account of the attempt by the new Italian state to better the lot of the most marginal children. Wegs 1989 offers a useful introduction to working-class life in Vienna but concentrates on older children and is more a study of the first half of the 20th century.

  • Cunningham, Hugh. The Children of the Poor: Representations of Childhood since the Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

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    Best introduction to the changing attitudes to poor children in England across time.

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  • Davin, Anna. Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street in London, 1870–1914. London: Rivers Oram, 1996.

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    Formidable study of the experience of a poor childhood, based on a wealth of sources including oral interviews. Demonstrates that girls suffered more than boys from the search for respectability by the working classes,highlighting how the sociocultural meaning of actions such as pawning property varied greatly according to context.

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  • Heywood, Colin. Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, Health and Education among the “Classes Populaires.” Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511523359Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chief source in English for understanding the use of child labor in French agriculture and industry in the 19th century. Undergraduate level.

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  • Hopkins, Eric. Childhood Transformed: Working-Class Children in Nineteenth-Century England. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1994.

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    Discusses the changes in working-class childhoods in this century, especially the shift from work to school and the improvements this brought in terms of health and nutrition and in leisure opportunities. Also discusses children in prison, in workhouses, and on the streets.

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  • Ipsen, Carl. Italy in the Age of Pinocchio: Children and Danger in the Liberal Era. New York: Palgrave, 2006.

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    Charts the history of Italy’s forgotten children at the end of the 19th century—foundlings, orphans, mine workers, etc.—and the efforts of the new Italian state to save them.

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  • Wegs, J. Robert. Growing Up Working Class: Continuity and Change among Viennese Youth, 1890–1938. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989.

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    Demonstrates that there was no single working-class experience but shows that strong community ties ensured most youth were protected from the worst elements of growing up in the city. Based on many interviews.

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The 20th Century

The 20th century saw serious efforts to bring about the 19th-century ideal of a happy childhood free from work. Childhoods in the 20th century were played out against a backdrop of state growth, the political success of parties with a statist agenda, and, above all, a huge increase in gross national product that occurred in the second half of the 20th century. Infant mortality was all but eradicated by 1950, secondary schooling was universally introduced, and increasing resources were devoted to child health and child protection. This growing prosperity, however, brought new social problems. Greater individual wealth and freedom, immigration, female emancipation, new forms of contraception, the legalization of abortion, and so on, all contributed to the erosion of the traditional family, while the intervention by the state into family life on an unprecedented scale created a new problem of state dependency. By the end of the 20th century, some commentators were beginning to suggest that the realization of the 19th-century dream had gone too far: childhood was being destroyed by consumerism, and children were overprotected and damaged by their overuse of technology. Others wondered whether contemporary childhoods really were free from work, when so much of a child’s day was spent in the classroom. The two best thematic overviews of the changes across the century are Kertzer and Barbagli 2003 and Hawes and Hiner 2010, though both suffer from being multiauthored volumes. A useful introduction to the widespread internalization of the 19th-century idyll in the early decades of the 20th century is Zelizer 1985, which has an American focus and is polemical. Hendrick 1997 is an important account of developments in England over the first three quarters of the century. Other countries lack a similarly comprehensive English-language overview, but Donzelot 1979 is an interesting, though controversial, account of the growing intrusion of the state into French family life in the modern era, while Downs 2002 explores one particular aspect of that involvement: the children’s summer camps. A number of recent works by social historians and sociologists have examined whether our Western concept of childhood is in the process of being reconfigured. Fass 2006 sees childhood today as a global rather than a national experience, which clearly has implications for interventionist government policies still based on theories of the needs and responsibilities of the nation-state, while Gutman and de Coninck-Smith 2008 paints a similar picture of a children’s material culture that is international but that the authors insist is not reducing children’s agency.

  • Donzelot, Jacques. The Policing of Families. New York: Random House, 1979.

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    Originally published in French in 1977 (Paris: Editions de Minuit) by a colleague of Foucault’s, this book explores the growing intervention of the state in family life from 1700 to the present. It argues that philanthropy, social work, compulsory mass education, and psychiatry have all combined to control family life, though doing so in a way that carefully distinguishes the middle-class from the working-class home.

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  • Downs, Laura Lee. Childhood in the Promised Land: Working-Class Movements and the Colonies des vacances in France, 1880–1960. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

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    An account of summer camps for working-class children in urban France. Looks at the ideological aims of the various religious, political, and municipal organizations involved and downplays the temptation to see the camps as agents of bourgeois control.

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  • Fass, Paula. Children of a New World: Culture, Society and Globalization. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

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    Series of collected essays about childhood in the United States since the 1980s. Its significance for historians of western European childhood lies in the part of the book devoted to globalization, which hints at the beginning of a new “global” era of childhood.

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  • Gutman, Martha, and Ning de Coninck-Smith, eds. Designing Modern Childhoods: History, Space and the Material Culture of Children. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.

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    Fifteen essays looking at the spaces in which children around the world in the modern day learn, play, and are cared for, and the ways in which children use these spaces creatively. Of the minority of essays dealing with western Europe, the most notable is Brebech’s “Inscribing Nordic Childhoods at McDonald’s.”

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  • Hawes, Joseph M., and N. Ray Hiner, eds. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Modern Age. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family 6. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

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    The final volume in the series. It starts from the early-20th-century belief that the new century would be the century of the child and ends by showing how, in many ways, the aspirations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child remain unmet. Global in scope, and the thematic essays tend to concentrate on the experience in one or two countries. Less useful than the other volumes.

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  • Hendrick, Harry. Children, Childhood and English Society 1880–1990. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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    The book begins with the great child welfare reforms of late-19th-century England and examines the huge shift in attitudes toward childhood and toward the relationship among, the child, and the state that has occurred in the 20th century. Authoritative and comprehensive. Useful for second-year undergraduates and above.

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  • Kertzer, David I., and Marzio Barbagli, eds. The History of the European Family. Vol. 3, Family Life in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

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    Covers 1914–2000. Explores the changing nature of the family in the 20th century, in the light of huge changes in population distribution, mortality, fertility, and family structure. Stresses that it is a century of convergence, though some differences between northern Europe and southern and eastern Europe remain. Good tables.

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  • Zelizer, Viviana A. Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children. New York: Basic Books, 1985.

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    Classic study that claims that, by the 1930s, as a result of the revolution in understanding childhood that began in the 19th century, children had become economically worthless; instead, they had become priceless emotional objects. Though essentially about America, the argument can be applied to Britain and western Europe.

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Child Welfare and Child Health

One of the key developments in the history of 20th-century childhood was the growing involvement of the state in child welfare, as children ceased to be seen as units of work and were viewed as distinctive beings with particular rights that the state should secure. Much attention has been given in recent years to tracing the development and application of this new childhood discourse, in particular by historians of Britain. The best starting point is Hendrick 1994, which studies the child welfare movement over a long period of time and identifies a change post-1945 from an emphasis on children’s physical well-being to their mental well-being. Recent literature has often been implicitly critical of the state’s role, however well intentioned. Murdoch 2006 shows how important distinctions between the deserving and undeserving poor remained in the early 20th century, Abrams 1998 reveals the often-scandalous care in Scottish children’s homes, while Cooter 1992, which also contains essays on the United States, appears to conclude that childcare in the first half of the last century was unnecessarily professionalized and turned into a specialist science. Only Gijswijt-Hofstra and Marland 2003, which also contains essays on the Netherlands, offers a more positive verdict on the state’s attempt to give children a childhood. What is clear from Dickinson 1996, the one detailed English-language account of the child welfare movement in another country—Germany—is how complex, competitive, and often contradictory child health discourse was—to such as degree that, under the Nazis, it could be easily appropriated for racist ends.

  • Abrams, Lynn. The Orphan Country: Children of Scotland’s Broken Homes from 1885 to the Present Day. Edinburgh: John Donald, 1998.

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    Horrifying account of children in Scottish orphanages and care homes in the modern era, studying in particular Quarrier’s, Barnardos, and the Aberlour Orphanage. Skips too quickly over the changes that have occurred since the Social Work Scotland Act of 1968.

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  • Cooter, Roger, ed. In the Name of the Child: Child Health and Welfare, 1880–1940. London: Routledge, 1992.

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    Rich collection of essays dealing principally with Britain and the United States, by some of the leading historians of modern childcare. The authors remain morally neutral but emphasize that the growing state involvement in child welfare and the new belief that it was a specialist science should be seen as substitution, not development. Heavily influenced by Foucault and Donzelot.

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  • Dickinson, Edward Ross. The Politics of German Child Welfare from the Empire to the Federal Republic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

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    Traces the rapid expansion and institutionalization of often-conflicting child welfare policies in the period before World War I and shows how these policies were adapted and developed subsequently in very different political regimes. Stresses continuity as much as discontinuity, especially in relation to the Weimar Republic and the modern Federal Republic.

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  • Gijswijt-Hofstra, Marijke, and Hilary Marland, eds. Cultures of Child Health in Britain and the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003.

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    Collection of fourteen essays dedicated to tracing changing attitudes toward child health in two European countries and the growing role of the state. Emphasizes that children in the 20th century were seen as objects of care but that changes in the way children were treated, especially those with special needs, were slow. Overall, a book with a positive thrust.

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  • Hendrick, Harry. Child Welfare: England 1872–1989. London: Routledge, 1994.

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    Extremely useful overview of the history of social policy and childhood. It covers concerns about delinquency and child abuse by the child-saving movements of the 19th century through the post–World War II period.

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  • Murdoch, Lydia. Imagined Orphans: Poor Families, Child Welfare and Contested Citizenship in London. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006.

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    Analyzes the differences between the ways that children were represented in literature and the newspapers and their actual experiences. Focuses in particular on children in institutions. Links this to ideas of contested citizenship and ideas about the poor and undeserving poor. Best for postgraduate students.

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Children at War

Many historians of 20th-century childhood have pointed out the paradox that this was a century during which children were protected as never before, yet the number killed in conflicts waged by adults was horrendous. The story of children in wartime is only now beginning to be studied, and, to date, most has been written about World War II. The best overview is Marten 2002, which provides a series of vignettes from different countries. The most detailed account is Stargardt 2006, which provides a meticulously researched account of children’s experiences in Germany. Ericsson and Simonson 2005 is interesting for tackling what is still somewhat of a taboo subject in some European countries—the children of liaisons with the enemy—while Mayall and Morrow 2011 moves away from the tendency to see children as victims, by studying their contribution to the British war effort.

  • Ericsson, Kjersti, and Eva Simonson, eds. Children of World War II: The Hidden Enemy Legacy. Oxford: Berg, 2005.

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    This book is a history of the children born to native women by foreign soldiers during World War II. Case studies are taken from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Denmark, and Spain.

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  • Marten, James. Children at War: A Historical Anthology. New York: New York University Press, 2002.

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    Collection of interesting articles on children’s experience of war in different countries, including an account of their role in the siege of Leningrad.

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  • Mayall, Berry, and Virginia Morrow. You Can Help Your Country: English Children’s Work during the Second World War. London: Institute of Education, 2011.

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    Looks at children’s labor during World War II and their overlooked contribution to the war effort. Based on oral history and testimonies from children who were not evacuated but continued to work on farms. Unusual take on the role of children in the war.

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  • Stargardt, Nicholas. Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives under the Nazis. London: Pimlico, 2006.

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    The most sensitive account to date of the effect on children in wartime. It pays equal attention to all German children, including the Jews, and goes out of its way to capture their authentic voice, by eschewing autobiography and oral memory in favor of contemporary evidence. Its account of children’s lives in the camps is heart rending but positive.

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Unwanted, Abused, and Vulnerable Children Pre-1920

The problem of what to do with unwanted children, or those who cannot be cared for, recurs across the centuries, and parents have always resorted to desperate and sometimes illegal methods to rid themselves of children they cannot support. Before abortion became legal or safe, child abandonment and infanticide were two common ways of getting rid of children who could not be cared for. The line between the two practices may have been very blurred in reality: exposing a newborn baby is likely to be a death sentence, although there is the possibility the child will be found and raised by others. Similarly, withholding food or being unable to provide food or medical care may be a form of active infanticide or simply the passive neglect of the very poor. Orphaned children may not necessarily have been unwanted or uncared for, but without parents, they were also extremely vulnerable. Before the introduction of state help, they would have been largely dependent on charity or religious help. Even when children stayed with their parents, they may not necessarily have been well cared for, and child abuse has been evident throughout the historical record, even if it has not been openly discussed until the late 20th century.

Child Abuse

Our present-day conception of what is neglect, cruelty, and abuse toward children has been slowly forged over the last two centuries, although it has been fully articulated only since the 1980s. Earlier centuries had boundaries: deMause’s view that adults could do what they liked to children in the past is nonsense. But the fact that those boundaries were different from our own makes it difficult to judge whether child abuse, as we understand it, was a commonplace or a rarity in previous eras. Brockliss and Montgomery 2010 provides the fullest overview to date of cruelty to children through the ages: the authors make clear how much violence, in our terms, the young had to suffer, but they also demonstrate the boundaries in action. Rousseau 2007 offers a less-structured but still-valuable overview of the specific act of child sexual abuse, the most difficult of all forms of cruelty to children to uncover in the historical record, as Ingram 2001, an earlier pioneering account of child rape in early modern England, makes clear. Because our own views of cruelty and abuse began to take shape in the 19th century, it is not surprising that detailed studies primarily concern the modern era. In the case of England, three are of particular importance. Behlmer 1982 concentrates on the various Victorian campaigns that successfully redrew the boundaries of the permissible, Flegel 2009 examines the construction of the new concept of cruelty that prefigures our own, while Jackson 2000 looks at the way the late Victorian judiciary interpreted the new concern about child sexual abuse, in gender and class terms.

  • Behlmer, George. Child Abuse and Moral Reform in England, 1870–1908. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982.

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    Standard account of the 19th-century campaign against child labor and physical cruelty to children in all its forms, from baby farming to beating. Emphasizes that the reformers in the late 19th century differed from their predecessors in believing child cruelty could occur in any class; they also believed that the situation could be remedied only by state intervention.

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  • Brockliss, Laurence, and Heather Montgomery. Childhood and Violence in the Western Tradition. Oxford: Oxbow, 2010.

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    A series of essays linked by an editorial narrative that looks at the role of violence and neglect in different areas of children’s lives across a long period of time, spanning from the Bronze Age to the present. Covers abuse, infanticide, war, and exploitation. Useful to dip into.

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  • Flegel, Monica. Conceptualizing Cruelty to Children in Nineteenth-Century England: Literature, Representation and the NSPCC. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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    Taking the founding of the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) in the 1880s as its starting point, the author looks at changing attitudes toward children in the 19th century. Draws on history, literary theory, sociology, and social policy.

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  • Ingram, Martin. “Child Sexual Abuse in Early Modern England.” In Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society: Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Britain and Ireland. Edited by Michael J. Braddick and John Walker, 63–84. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511660207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the few attempts to write about child sexual abuse in the premodern era, using court records. Shows magistrates took abuse seriously and that the abusers were neighbors and servants.

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  • Jackson, Louise. Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England. London: Routledge, 2000.

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    Statistical study, based on court records, of the growing concern about the sexual abuse of girls under twelve in the second half of the 19th century. Links this to views about childhood innocence, the campaigns of figures such as W. T. Stead, and widespread middle-class fears about the immorality and degeneracy of the working classes.

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  • Rousseau, George, ed. Children and Sexuality: From the Greeks to the Great War. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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    Accepts the existence of the predatory adult through the ages but emphasizes the need to historicize child–adult sexual encounters for them to be properly understood. A number of essays also point out that many encounters have been adult fantasies. Particularly interesting thoughts about Shakespeare’s Juliet as the victim of child abuse.

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Child Abandonment and Foundlings

Child abandonment has been with us since the beginning of recorded history, although its frequency and motivation lay largely hidden before the Renaissance (Boswell 1988). The practice becomes much more visible with the establishment of foundling homes and orphanages, which were set up to look after babies and children who, for whatever reason, were no longer supported by parents and kin. The first foundling hospital was set up in 1198 in Rome, and, by the 14th century, the practice was becoming more formalized (and, arguably, normalized) through the creation of foundling hospitals in parts of southern Europe. A particularly dense network of such institutions grew up in Italy and Spain, where a strong emphasis was placed on saving the souls of foundling babies through baptism. In northern Europe the development took hold more slowly but received a second boost in the 18th century in England and Germany, and the best-documented accounts of foundling institutions come from this century. A good introduction to the history of abandonment in all its aspects is the essays in the volume Enfance abandonnée (École Française de Rome 1991), which has an informative preface by Jean-Pierre Bardet. There are two good studies of the London Foundling Hospital, which was set up in the 18th century, in McClure 1981 and Levene 2007, the first predominantly an administrative history. Those interested in the history of the institution in the Iberian Peninsula can consult Guimarães Sá 2001. The number of abandoned children soared from the mid-18th century onward and remained high for most of the 19th century in the big European cities. Therefore, foundling hospitals continued to flourish, though they came under increasing attack for their high rate of mortality. Kertzer 1993, on abandoned children in Italy, and Fuchs 1984, on abandoned children in France, are the standard authorities.

  • Boswell, John. The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance. New York: Pantheon, 1988.

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    Seminal text on child abandonment in western Europe. The early chapters concentrate on the ancient world, arguing that child abandonment was not always a form of infanticide but may have been done in the hope that a child would be found and taken in by others.

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  • École Française de Rome, ed. Enfance abandonnée et société en Europe XIVe–XXe siècle. Rome: École Française de Rome, 1991.

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    Collection of fifty-four essays dealing with different aspects of abandonment from the Middle Ages to the present. The book emphasizes the time differential between southern and northern Europe in the institutionalization of abandonment, and the great growth in the number of abandoned infants in the 18th century. The writers are undecided whether institutionalization encouraged abandonment or simply met a demand.

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  • Fuchs, Rachel Ginnis. Abandoned Children: Foundlings and Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.

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    Essentially a study of abandoned children in Paris—about 20 percent of live births in the 19th century. Looks at their chances of survival and how they were raised and insists that the state, though becoming more interventionist and welfare oriented toward the end of the century, always aimed to create a docile underclass that would be economically useful.

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  • Guimarães Sá, Isabel dos. “Circulation of Children in Eighteenth-Century Portugal.” In Abandoned Children. Edited by Catherine Panter-Brick and Malcolm Smith, 27–40. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    A limited amount of work is available in English on foundling hospitals in southern Europe, and this is a clearly written overview of the situation in Portugal. Argues that foundling hospitals functioned as a means of circulating children, recycling them from poor homes into the service of the state.

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  • Kertzer, David. Sacrificed for Honor: Italian Infant Abandonment and the Politics of Reproductive Control. Boston: Beacon, 1993.

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    Concentrates specifically on 19th-century Italy, looking at child abandonment, wet nursing, the high mortality rates, and the gradual realization that foundling hospitals were dangerous to children. Written by the foremost authority in this field.

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  • Levene, Alysa. Childcare, Health and Mortality at the London Foundling Hospital, 1741–1800: “Left to the Mercy of the World.” Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007.

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    Excellent account of the most famous English foundling hospital, which examines why, despite its ideals, there was such a high rate of child mortality. Analyzes which babies were given up and why. Complements McClure 1981.

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  • McClure, Ruth K. Coram’s Children: The London Foundling Hospital in the Eighteenth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.

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    Based on detailed work in the archives, this is the fullest account of Coram’s Foundling Hospital as an institution.

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Infanticide

Children, especially very young children, were also visible in the historical record when crimes were committed against them. The 17th and 18th centuries saw particular concerns over infanticide and child murder (although reactions to the perpetrators of such crimes changed noticeably over two centuries). Useful overviews of the subject, concentrating on but not confined to these two centuries, are given in Jackson 1996 and Jackson 2002. The articles in Kilday and Watson 2008 also cover similar ground but take a long historical perspective and look at Scotland and Ireland as well as England. Both Wrightson 1975 and Gowing 1997 analyze the situation in England in the 17th century, while Malcolmson 1977 looks at the changes in the way infanticide was perceived by society and dealt with by the courts. Kelly 1992 looks at the extent and nature of the problem in Ireland during the 18th century. Rose 1986 studies how infanticide finally became a parliamentary concern in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.

  • Gowing, Laura. “Secret Births and Infanticide in Seventeenth-Century England.” Past and Present 156 (1997): 87–115.

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    Discusses infanticide in England in the case of unmarried women and the strategies used by women and their female relatives for concealing and getting rid of these unwanted children, as well as the risks of infanticide and the chances of women being prosecuted for their crimes. Available online by subscription.

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  • Jackson, Mark. New-Born Child Murder: Women, Illegitimacy and the Courts in Eighteenth-Century England. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996.

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    Discusses changing attitudes toward infanticide throughout the 18th century and the increased willingness of the courts to prosecute mothers who could not prove their children had been stillborn. Analyzes how and why this changed and why the law in England was eventually altered. Clearly argued and comprehensive.

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  • Jackson, Mark, ed. Infanticide: Historical Perspectives on Child Murder and Concealment, 1550–2000. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002.

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    Edited collection of essays that focus on the United Kingdom but also provide accounts of infanticide trials in France, Germany, and South Africa. Gives a comparative as well as a long historical perspective.

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  • Kelly, James. “Infanticide in Eighteenth-Century Ireland.” Irish Economic and Social History 19.5 (1992): 5–26.

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    Examines the nature and extent of infanticide in Ireland and the links to illegitimacy. One of the few articles to focus specifically on Ireland in this period, although it is a growing field for historians.

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  • Kilday, Anne-Marie, and Katherine Watson. “Infanticide, Religion and Community in the British Isles, 1720–1920.” Family & Community History 11.2 (2008): 84–99.

    DOI: 10.1179/175138108X355111Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Useful, concise overview of the social norms, prevailing attitudes, and religious beliefs of the different parts of the United Kingdom toward infanticide in these centuries. Part of a special issue on infanticide. Available online by subscription.

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  • Malcolmson, R. W. “Infanticide in the Eighteenth Century.” In Crime in England 1550–1800. Edited by J. S. Cockburn, 187–209. London: Methuen, 1977.

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    Discusses several cases of infanticide found in the court records, which focus again on several key factors such as illegitimacy, the youth and humble origins of the woman, the concealment of pregnancy, and the exposure.

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  • Rose, Lionel. The Massacre of the Innocents: Infanticide in Britain, 1800–1939. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986.

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    Contextual and statistical study of infanticide that devotes much space to the work of the Infant Life Preservation Society and its successors in eventually forcing the state to act to guard the newborn. Argues the incidence of infanticide had fallen dramatically before state action. Relies heavily on secondary sources.

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  • Wrightson, Keith. “Infanticide in Earlier Seventeenth-Century England.” Local Population Studies 15 (1975): 10–22.

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    One of the first articles to look specifically at infanticide, linking it to wet nursing and the high rates of infant mortality prevailing during this period. Analyzes conviction rates and discusses individual cases.

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Orphans

Obviously, a large overlap exists between children abandoned and destitute and those who were orphaned. Many were cared for in the same sort of institutions and suffered many of the same risks and vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, there remained a possibility for children, however remote, who were abandoned or placed in foundling institutions that parents might reclaim them at some point. Orphans could hold out no such hope. A useful account of the first centuries of the foundling hospital-cum-orphanage in northern Italy is given in Terpstra 2005, while McCants 1997 and Safley 2005 offer a detailed assessment of the institution in two important cities north of the Alps. Robbins 1980, on foundling homes and orphanages in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries, is illuminating because of the confessional aspect, while Söderlind 1999 puts the spotlight on Sweden at the turn of the 20th century, when high mortality was no longer an issue but the pros and cons of institutionalizing abandoned, orphaned, and neglected children had become a matter of fierce debate.

  • McCants, Anne E. C. Civic Charity in a Golden Age: Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

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    Examines the management of the Amsterdam municipal orphanage in the 17th and 18th centuries. Seeks to uncover the motives for supporting orphans beyond simple Christian charity and explores why institutionalization was preferred to other forms of relief.

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  • Robbins, Joseph. The Lost Children: Children in Ireland, 1700–1900: A Study of Charity. Dublin, Ireland: Institute of Public Administration, 1980.

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    Fullest account of the institutions set up in Ireland to deal with destitute and abandoned children. The Protestant churches deliberately established foundling homes to take in babies born to Catholics, so that they could be reared as Protestants. Success seems to have been marginal.

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  • Safley, Thomas. Children of the Laboring Poor: Expectation and Experience among the Orphans of Early Modern Augsburg. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2005.

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    Charts the lives of 5,700 youngsters who entered the Augsburg Orphanage between 1572 and 1806, often as the result of deliberate family policy. Although the death rate was high—40 percent—the orphanage provided girls and boys with a good practical education, which allowed them to enter domestic service and take up craft apprenticeships in later life.

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  • Söderlind, Ingrid. Barnhem för flickor: Barn, familj och institutionsliv i Stockholm 1870–1920. Stockholm: University of Linköping Press, 1999.

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    Closely documented study of orphans in Swedish homes for girls. Points out that girls were more likely to be institutionalized than boys, who were usually fostered out. Orphaned girls were trained for domestic service.

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  • Terpstra, Nicholas. Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance: Orphan Care in Florence and Bologna. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

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    A useful comparative study of orphanages in 15th- and 16th-century Bologna and Florence, showing how boys and girls were reared. Highlights the difference between the two cities in the way orphans were institutionalized,showing that Catholic charity was just as bureaucratized as Protestant, pace Weber.

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Youth

Only two significant accounts exist of the history of Western youth in English: Gillis 1974 and Mitterauer 1992. Gillis argues that if there was an age category of adolescence before 1800, there was no concept of youth as it is understood today. He believed this concept emerged only with the growth of secondary and tertiary education in the course of the 19th century, which created a new type of teenager who was not engaged in the world of work and could enjoy an extended childhood. This view was challenged in Mitterauer 1992. The author accepted the neurologists’ claim that the characteristics of modern youth—exuberance, risk taking, emotionality, etc.—are biological, and not socially and culturally constructed. Mitterauer did believe, however, that the way in which these characteristics express themselves is determined by society and culture, and that youth as a concept and an experience changes from age to age. That this is the case is borne out by the numerous collections of essays devoted to different periods that have appeared in recent years, such as Goldberg and Riddy 2004 and Lewis-Simpson 2008 on the Middle Ages. On the other hand, the two volumes of Levi and Schmitt 1997 remind us that there can be continuity as well as change. The vibrant and often-destructive sociability of youth in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance has long since been squashed by a state and church dedicated to modern conceptions of law and order. But there are still echoes of that earlier age in the village patronal festival.

  • Gillis, John R. Youth and History: Tradition and Change in European Age Relations, 1770–Present. London: Academic Press, 1974.

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    Claims to be a general study but deals chiefly with England, with some reference to Germany. Argues adolescence as an age category developed in the second half of the 19th century in the university world. It is then generalized in the period 1900–1950, before losing much of its resonance post-1950 as working adolescents gain the spending power of adults.

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  • Goldberg, P. J. P., and Felicity Riddy, eds. Youth in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge, UK: York Medieval Press, 2004.

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    A collection of eight essays covering the 6th to the 16th centuries, with the emphasis on England. The introduction by P. J. P. Goldberg, Felicity Riddy, and Mike Tyler challenges Ariès’s view that the Middle Ages had no ideology of childhood, and sees youth as a transitional stage when children leave the household.

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  • Levi, Giovanni, and Jean-Claude Schmitt, eds. A History of Young People in the West. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1997.

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    A collection of eighteen essays on various aspects of youth. The first volume covers the Greeks to the 17th century and includes Jewish youth but has nothing on the early Middle Ages. The second volume covers the 19th and 20th centuries and includes chapters on youth at work and in school, youth as revolutionaries, and youth under fascism and Nazism.

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  • Lewis-Simpson, Shannon. Youth and Age in the Medieval North. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004170735.i-310Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An edited collection of papers both from archaeologists and historians, who look at aspects of childhood among the Vikings in medieval Scandinavia and England. There are also some papers on aspects of Anglo-Saxon childhood. Best suited to postgraduate students.

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  • Mitterauer, Michael. A History of Youth. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

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    Originally published in German in 1986 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Organized thematically. While seeing adolescence as a biological moment, the author explores the impact of social change on the experience and definition of adolescence. The book pays particular attention to modern international youth culture, which Mitterauer sees as radically different from previous youth movements.

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Country-Specific Studies

Most country-specific histories of youth concentrate on the period post-1850. England is peculiar in that it is the subject of two good accounts of the early modern era. Ben-Amos 1994 concentrates on identifying the markers of adolescence; Griffiths 1996 is more interested in the reality of adult–youth relations. Histories of the modern period have emphasized how protean the concept of youth, as well as its experience, could be. In late-19th-century France, according to Thiercé 1999, youth was an age category defined by negative characteristics and applied by the bourgeoisie to its ungrateful offspring. In 1950s France, on the other hand, Jobs 2007 shows that youth was a classless and positive concept defined in contradistinction to an adult generation tainted by the war. Pomfret 2004, in contrast, takes issue with attempts to understand the concept or experience of youth from a national perspective and insists on viewing it as a complex transnational category that can be captured only by studying it locally and comparatively. However understood, authors seem reluctant to see modern youth as a time of peculiar stress, pace G. Stanley Hall and his followers. Wegs 1989 insists that community networks protected Viennese youth from excess in the first half of the 20th century, while Springhall 1986 rejects the idea that the emergence of a classless, self-conscious youth culture in 1950s Britain was accompanied by undue angst. All authors are anxious to emphasize the agency of modern youth, no more so than in Redding 2004. The author argues that young Berliners had freed themselves from the ideology of Nazism long before the fall of the city in 1945.

  • Ben-Amos, Ilana Krausman. Adolescence and Youth in Early Modern England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

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    The author argues that adolescence was an identifiable period of life in early modern England and explores its duration and characteristics through studying the lives of middle- and lower-class children. Based on archival and autobiographical evidence.

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  • Griffiths, Paul. Youth and Authority: Formative Experiences in England, 1560–1640. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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    Attempts to get behind adult presentations of youth and to recover teenage agency, both male and female. Shows the clashes with authority that occurred when youth tried to exert too much independence and identifies a subcategory of “masterless youth” that adults found particularly worrying. Information particularly on London and Norwich.

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  • Jobs, Richard Ivan. Riding the New Wave: Youth and the Rejuvenation of France after the Second World War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.

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    Interesting account of the expectations heaped upon French youth after the war. While their parents were associated with failure and collaboration, the youth were lauded as the builders of the new France. The continuation in power of an older generation, however, bred disillusionment and contributed to the insurrection of 1968.

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  • Pomfret, David. Young People and the European City: Age Relations in Nottingham and Saint-Étienne. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    Valuable study that looks at the complex interrelationship between youth as an idea and youth as experienced. One of the few studies to get away from national studies of youth. It adopts a comparative localist approach and explores adult–youth relations in the first half of the 20th century in two similar cities located in different nations. Very careful with terminology.

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  • Redding, Kimberley A. Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow: Remembering Youth in Postwar Berlin. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004.

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    Based on archival and oral sources, the book reveals how surviving the disintegration of the Third Reich gave young Berliners a set of skills that allowed them to shape an autonomous response to the postwar order.

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  • Springhall, John. Coming of Age: Adolescence in Britain 1860–1960. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 1986.

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    A series of thematic essays that deal particularly with schooling, work, and leisure. Downplays adolescence as a period of stress and sees the 1950s as the time when adolescence came of age, finally emerging as a category crossing class and gender. Moderate and sensible.

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  • Thiercé, Agnès. Histoire de l’adolescence: 1850–1914. Paris: Belin, 1999.

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    Despite the title, this is a study of France. The author relates the appearance of the modern idea of adolescence to a critical appraisal of the attitudes of teenage bourgeois males attending French secondary schools in the second half of the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the concept was extended, albeit more positively, to girls and working-class boys.

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  • Wegs, J. Robert. Growing Up Working Class: Continuity and Change among Viennese Youth, 1890–1938. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989.

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    Demonstrates that there was no single working-class experience but shows that strong community ties ensured most youth were protected from the worst elements of growing up in the city. Based on many interviews.

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Apprenticeships, Service, and Manual Labor

All over western Europe in the preindustrial era, it was normal for all but the sons and daughters of the rich and landed to engage in serious work from the beginning of their teens. Boys worked as farm laborers or in a workshop, while girls generally entered domestic service. For many, this required leaving home and entering a new household, which meant that entering the world of work was a particularly important rite of passage. Historians are divided as to how prevalent this was. Historians such as Ann Kussmaul (Kussmaul 1981) and Bert de Munck (de Munck 2007) assume virtually everyone left home, or at the very least worked outside the family. Other studies, such as Vassberg 1983 and David 1995, argue that only the orphaned or those seeking to enter a trade different from their father’s normally spent their teenage years under a stranger’s roof. There is also some dispute as to the emphasis to be placed on formal apprenticeship as the only or natural way of gaining training in a craft. Traditionally, historians have assumed entry by this route was de rigueur until the coming of industrialization (Lane 1996). Crowston 2005, however, demonstrates that there were many other ways to gain crafts skills in countries such as France, where girls and orphans seldom had access to an apprenticeship even in the late Middle Ages (Michaud-Fréjaville 1982). To date, no general history of male and female youth employment in preindustrial Europe has been written: most work remains in article form. But Fauve-Chamoux 2005 brings together much of the latest research on female servants and takes the story through to the present.

  • Crowston, Clare. “L’apprentissage hors des corporations: Les formations professionelles alternatives à Paris sous l’ancien régime.” Annales ESC 60.2 (2005): 409–441.

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    Important article that explores the various ways outside the apprenticeship system in which especially girls could gain a proficiency in certain trades, especially embroidery, in late-17th- and 18th-century Paris. Emphasizes the role played by the Trinity hospital and local parish priests.

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  • David, Nicholas. “Child and Adolescent Labour in the Late Medieval City: A Flemish Model in Regional Perspective.” English Historical Review 110.439 (1995): 1103–1131.

    DOI: 10.1093/ehr/CX.439.1103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looks particularly at Ghent. Suggests it was normal for children in northern Europe to be working from their early teens but that most worked within the family household doing paid domestic work or learning a trade. Only a minority of boys in towns were put out to apprentice. Guilds became more exclusive across the late Middle Ages, so most apprentices were likely to remain journeymen and never become masters. Available online by subscription.

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  • de Munck, Bert. Technologies of Learning: Apprenticeship in Antwerp Guilds from the Fifteenth Century to the End of the Ancien Régime. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007.

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    Detailed account of apprenticeship in one of northern Europe’s leading maritime and industrial cities. Emphasizes that teenagers were apprenticed out of the home even when they were being trained to follow in their father’s footsteps suggesting that this reflected a belief that parents could not instill work discipline. The book relies for much of its statistical data on information about orphan apprenticeships.

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  • Fauve-Chamoux, Antoinette, ed. Domestic Service and the Formation of European Identity: Understanding the Globalization of Domestic Work, 16th–21st Centuries. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2005.

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    Contains a representative selection of essays from the “Servant Project,” a transnational study of domestic female service since the Renaissance, which began in 1997. Besides several essays on England and Scotland, the book has material on modern Belgium, Sweden, and Norway, and an essay on Spain from 1750 to 1836. Overall the book explores domestic service as part of the female life cycle, the role played by servants in the creation of the modern family, and master–servant relations.

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  • Kussmaul, Ann. Servants in Husbandry in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511896002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The fullest account of the role played by youth, both male and female, as rural domestic servants. Argues that the practice made economic sense: smallholders and farm laborers needed to get adolescent children out of the house to save money; substantial tenant farmers needed live-in help around the house and farm, especially if their own children were young.

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  • Lane, Joan. Apprenticeship in England, 1600–1914. London: University College Press, 1996.

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    The most recent study of apprenticeship in England. Looks at all aspects of the phenomenon, including maltreatment and abuse. Good introduction.

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  • Michaud-Fréjaville, Françoise. “Bons et loyaux services: Les contrats d’apprentissage en Orléanais (1380–1480).” In Les entrées dans la vie, initiations et apprentissages: XII Congrès de la Société des Historiens médiévistes de l’enseignement supérieur public. By Françoise Michaud-Fréjaville, 183–208. Nancy, France: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1982.

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    A study of the trades to which youths were apprenticed, their age, their gender, and the terms of their apprenticeship in one part of late medieval France. Based on a study of 821 contracts surviving in the local notarial archives.

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  • Vassberg, David E. “Juveniles in the Rural Work Force of Sixteenth-Century Castile.” Journal of Peasant Studies 11.1 (1983): 62–75.

    DOI: 10.1080/03066158308438221Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looks at the role of youth in maintaining the family farm in Golden Age Castile. Farms employed both unpaid members of the family and paid outsiders. In either case, farm work served as apprenticeship for later life.

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Youth as a Social Problem

There seems little doubt that youth can be excitable, loud, and sometimes violent. Whether such behavior is frowned upon by adults has varied across time. In the classical era and the Middle Ages, youth collectively was not felt to be a social problem. According to Cox and Shore 2002, the fear that youth was a potential threat to good order first reared its head in the middle of the 17th century. British evidence, however, suggests this happened a little earlier. Griffiths 1996 finds the London authorities clamping down on the high spirits of apprentices in the late Tudor period, while Thomas 1976 similarly identifies the late 16th century as the moment when the strikes and lockouts organized in English and Scottish schools ceased to be tolerated. In the first half of the 19th century this ongoing concern mushroomed into panic, as rapid population growth and urbanization greatly increased the number of unemployed or semiemployed youngsters to be found on the streets (Berlanstein 1979, Shore 1999). It was further exacerbated with social Darwinist fears based on the first studies of the height and weight of working-class children that urbanized western Europe was producing a generation of untermenschen, who would lack the moral and physical fiber needed to defend the nation in the struggle for existence (Jordan 1993). In 1904, American psychologist G. Stanley Hall took the panic to new heights by declaring that youth was a dangerous time for all youngsters regardless of their social class, as they mimicked the human race in passing from an instinctual to a rational stage. How disruptive youth really was in the late 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries is disputed, but Humphries 1981 states tthat in Britain it was widespread and reflected the rejection by the working classes of attempts to turn them into paragons of middle-class virtue. After World War II there was the hope in Britain that the coming of the welfare state would put an end to teenage delinquency, which supposedly had been founded on poverty. When this did not happen, youth began to be demonized once again. Since the 1950s the British public has continually been assailed by stories of youth out of control, as is graphically illustrated by the panic surrounding the confrontations between Mods and Rockers in the 1960s (Cohen 2002). The postwar concern, however, has not precluded the development of more imaginative ways of rehabilitating delinquents (Wills 2005).

  • Berlanstein, L. R. “Vagrants, Beggars, and Thieves: Delinquent Boys in Mid-Nineteenth Century Paris.” Journal of Social History 12.4 (1979): 531–552.

    DOI: 10.1353/jsh/12.4.531Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A good example of the history of juvenile delinquency before modern discourse analysis. Identifies the number of boys arrested and detained in the French capital, their crimes, and their backgrounds.

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  • Cohen, Stanley. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. 3d ed. London: Routledge, 2002.

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    Originally published in 1972, this is still the best introduction to the violent clashes between two groups of youths espousing different modes of self-expression in Britain in the late 1960s. The introductions to the second and third editions look at more recent moral panics sparked by youth violence.

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  • Cox, Pamela, and Heather Shore, eds. Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth, 1650–1950. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002.

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    Essays on Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Spain demonstrate that disorderly teenagers have been a subject of governmental concern since at least the mid-17th century. It appears, too, that similar explanations for the problem were given in the past as in the present, and that the measures taken to check it have been continually recycled.

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  • Griffiths, Paul. Youth and Authority: Formative Experiences in England 1560–1640. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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    Depicts the growing hostility of the City of London to rowdy games played by apprentices and other youngsters. The apprentices’ traditional invasion of London brothels on Shrove Tuesday, in search of worthy burghers misbehaving, was also outlawed by the early 17th century.

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  • Humphries, Stephen. Hooligans or Rebels? An Oral History of Working-Class Childhood and Youth, 1889–1939. Oxford: Blackwell, 1981.

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    Portrays a Britain full of disgruntled working-class boys continually kicking against attempts to turn them into good citizens. Very much an impressionistic survey; though full of interesting and moving information, it has been criticized for its lack of perspective.

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  • Jordan, Thomas. The Degeneracy Crisis and Victorian Youth. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

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    Looks at the growing Victorian concerns about youth, in light of the rapid rise in population and urbanization and the fears for the degeneration of the race spawned by social Darwinists.

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  • Shore, Heather. Artful Dodgers: Youth and Crime in Early Nineteenth-Century London. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1999.

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    Aims to uncover the reality of juvenile crime in the London of Charles Dickens. Shows that Fagin’s gang was a myth. Street crime was common, but children worked alone or in pairs.

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  • Thomas, Keith. Rule and Misrule in the Schools of Early Modern England. Reading, UK: University of Reading Press, 1976.

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    A classic essay that explores the peculiarly Anglo-Scottish phenomenon of “barring-out.” In the 16th and first part of the 17th centuries, disgruntled schoolboys would keep their schoolmaster from entering the school, occupying the buildings until both sides could agree on terms. Initially violent affrays, “barring-out” became a ritual.

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  • Wills, Abigail. “Delinquency, Masculinity and Citizenship in England, 1950–1970.” Past and Present 187.1 (2005): 157–185.

    DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gti010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looks at the way the treatment of delinquency changed in England in the decades following World War II. In the 1960s, as government, if not wider society, became more tolerant of different lifestyles, much less emphasis was given to making delinquent children “normal” adults. Available online by subscription.

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Youth Movements

The chief reason for the growing concern about youth from the 16th century was an important change in attitudes toward social and moral policing. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, youth had had an important role in the local community. Both boys and girls had been in charge of the organization of certain festivals, while boys, in particular, had been given the role of maintaining the community’s honor. They organized trials of strength with local parishes and villages and used rituals known as charivaris or rough-music to remind wayward adults of the need to obey community norms (Davis 1971). Even youthful pranks, however upsetting, generally went unpunished (Schindler 1997). As Europe’s states grew stronger and both the Reformation and Counter Reformation churches placed a new emphasis on self-discipline and nonviolence, adult attitudes to youthful exuberance changed. Youth fraternities were frowned upon and gradually eradicated, and youth lost most of its traditional social role (Champeley 2003). All that has survived until the modern era, usually in an attenuated form, is the role played by youth in some rural communities in organizing the patronal festival (Fabre 1997). In Catholic countries in the course of the late 16th and 17th centuries, new youth movements were created or old ones were adapted,serving as instruments of religious acculturation (Eisenbichler 1998). In Protestant Europe, on the other hand, nothing replaced the traditional societies. It was in Protestant Britain, however, that the first youth movements of the industrial era appeared. Fearing that the ever-growing numbers of working-class youngsters with time on their hands in a new age of compulsory schooling posed a threat to order, an attempt was made at the turn of the 20th century to corral them into organizations such as the Boys Scouts, founded in 1907. This has had limited success, because the movements seem to serve the middle classes and the skilled working classes rather than the sons of the unskilled working classes (Springhall 1977). Nonetheless, these new organizations were quickly copied all over Europe. They also served as the basis for the new youth movements promoted by the Soviets and the Nazis, who sought to create a new generation of loyal Communists or German nationalists (Koch 1975).

  • Champeley, Jean-Yves. “Les organisations de la jeunesse à l’époque moderne entre Rhône et Alpes (Lyonnais, Dauphiné et Savoie).” In Lorsque l’enfant grandit: Entre dependence et autonomie. Edited by Jean-Pierre Bardet, Jean-Noël Luc, Isabelle Robin-Romero, and Catherine Rollet, 765–778. Collection du Centre Roland Mousnier 11. Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2003.

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    Shows how organized youth groups in the 16th century were destroyed by the end of the 17th century, thanks to church pressure, but that occasionally youth would still perform its traditional community role informally. Good bibliography of French sources.

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  • Davis, Natalie Zemon. “The Reasons of Misrule: Youth Groups and Charivaris in Sixteenth-Century France.” Past and Present 150.1 (1971): 41–75.

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    The classic account of the role of unmarried youths and young adults in policing community norms in the 15th and 16th centuries. This article has been the starting point for all later studies of early modern adolescence. Reprinted in Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1975).

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  • Eisenbichler, Konrad. The Boys of the Archangel Raphael: A Youth Confraternity in Florence, 1411–1785. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1998.

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    A study of a religious confraternity in Florence specifically set up for boys and youths from ages twelve to thirty, which became increasingly elitist. The emphasis is not on the membership—the author accepts it is difficult to explain why people joined—but on the confraternity’s religious and secular activities, which included musical and theatrical performances.

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  • Fabre, Daniel. “‘Doing Youth’ in the Village.” In A History of Young People in the West. Vol. 2, Stormy Evolution to Modern Time. Edited by Giovanni Levi and Jean-Claude Schmitt, 37–65. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1997.

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    Shows how youth, both male and female, continued to be given a special role in village life in Languedoc as late as the 1960s. It explores youth’s role in organizing the village patronal feast and stresses the license accorded the young during the festivities.

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  • Koch, H. W. The Hitler Youth: Origins and Development, 1922–45. New York: Stein and Day, 1975.

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    Based both on documents and oral interviews, this is still the standard history of the movement. The author reveals that boys were attracted to the Hitler Youth by its emphasis on comradeship and outdoor activities free from adult supervision. The aim of the movement was to eradicate regional and class divisions and to create a new generation of German youth ready to die for the fatherland.

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  • Schindler, Norbert. “Guardians of Disorder: Rituals of Youthful Culture at the Dawn of the Modern Age.” In A History of Young People in the West. Vol. 1, Ancient and Medieval Rites of Passage. Edited by Giovanni Levi and Jean-Claude Schmitt, 240–282. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1997.

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    Youthful antisocial behavior in the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in Switzerland. Takes further the work of Natalie Zemon Davis and places greater emphasis on youthful transgressions, which were particularly prevalent at certain times of the church calendar year. Although these irked adults, they were generally tolerated.

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  • Springhall, John. Youth, Empire and Society: British Youth Movements 1883–1940. London: Croom Helm, 1977.

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    A short book, but the starting point for any study of the development of youth movements in Britain. The author stresses that the Boys’ Brigade, the Church Lads’ Brigade, and the Boy Scouts were all instruments of social control, although he rescues the boy Scouts from charges of militarism.

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LAST MODIFIED: 03/23/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791231-0018

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