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Children and Youth in a New Nation$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814757420

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814757420.001.0001

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Schooling and Child Health in Antebellum New England

Schooling and Child Health in Antebellum New England

(p.190) 10 Schooling and Child Health in Antebellum New England
Children and Youth in a New Nation

Rebecca R. Noel

NYU Press

This chapter explores new ways of contributing to the health of children through the public school systems in the new republic. From the 1820s through the 1850s, reformers in New England launched an ambitious program to improve child health, and they chose the expanding system of public and private schools as their mechanism. The common denominator of antebellum school health reform measures was the effort to install expert knowledge as a mediator between children and their bodily self-perception, and at times between parents and children's bodies. The new emphasis on secularized textbooks produced by “experts” with the intent of educating children about the ways their bodies worked foreshadowed the early twentieth-century campaigns of Progressive-era scientists.

Keywords:   child health, public school systems, antebellum school health reform, bodily self-perception, health education

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