Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-v

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xi

Years go by while a person labors over a book like this, about six years in this case, a significant chapter in a lifetime. I am extremely grateful to those who supported me along the way, contributed ideas, and made the often solitary journey less lonely. This project has been generously supported by the University of Wisconsin...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-8

Reading cultural pronouncements on mothers from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, we might think that no force on earth was more noble or more powerful than the mother. In 1795, New York Magazine told American mothers that, quite simply, “the reformation of the world is in your power.” Several decades later,...

Part I. Roots of Modern Motherhood

read more

Chapter 1. Inventing a New Role for Mothers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-31

To understand the historical significance of modern motherhood, it helps to take a brief look backward to the essentially premodern world of mothers in the English colonies. Ideas about mothers as unique moral guardians only emerged at the time of the American Revolution. Before that, the nation’s Puritan...

read more

Chapter 2. Contradictions of Moral Motherhood: Slavery, Race, and Reform

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 32-48

By the time the enslaved Harriet Jacobs reached the age of sixteen, she had been trying to ignore her master’s sexual overtures for years. She later became involved with another white man, whom she hoped would purchase her from her master, Dr. Flint. But Flint threatened Jacobs and vowed never...

read more

Chapter 3. Medicalizing the Maternal Body

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 49-73

“I was not surprised,” Peggy Nicholas wrote to her daughter in 1828, “nor would I have been grieved, to hear that you were again in the family way; but I must acknowledge [that] to hear that your confinement [birth] was to take place next Month, dashed me not a litle [sic].” She confessed...

Part II. Modern Mothers

read more

Chapter 4. Science, Expertise, and Advice to Mothers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-102

In 1918, Julia Lathrop, director of the recently formed United States Children’s Bureau, received a letter from a heartbroken mother, a “Mrs. W.D.,” explaining that she and her husband had lost their only child at the tender age of four months. Mrs. W.D. lamented, “My baby was sacrificed thru mere...

read more

Chapter 5. Grand Designs: Uplifting and Controlling the Mothers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 103-128

Between the 1890s and the 1930s, the foundations of the American welfare state began to take shape. The United States created a small governmental safety net, for not only mothers and children but also workers. In that era workers were culturally defined as male, although the female ranks...

read more

Chapter 6. Modern Reproduction: the Fit and Unfit Mother

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-149

As late as 1940, the most popular form of “contraceptive” in the United States was the antiseptic douche, a profoundly unreliable method. With the Comstock laws still in place, douches were covertly advertised, not labeled as contraceptives, and packaged by multiple companies in an unregulated...

read more

Chapter 7. Mothers’ Resilience and Adaptation in Modern America

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 150-169

Remembering her years with her children in the early twentieth century, Mrs. Nishimura, a first-generation Japanese American (issei), told an interviewer, “My happiest time was then, when my children were small. I was poor and busy then, but that might have been the best time. It was good...

Part III. Mothers of Invention

read more

Chapter 8. The Middle-­Class Wife-­and-­Mother Box

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 173-209

Between 1941 and 1945, the United States participated as a combatant in World War II. Mothers were expected to sacrifice on the home front, and Americans sentimentally honored the sacrifice of mothers’ sons to the larger cause. Meanwhile, the nation encouraged less traditional roles for women...

read more

Chapter 9. Mother Power and Mother Angst

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 210-246

As a spirit of rebellion swept the nation in the 1960s and 1970s, many who considered themselves experts on women and motherhood were not sure what was hitting them. Women who were supposed to have “adjusted” to their wife-and- mother roles were launching a widespread feminist...

read more

Chapter 10. Mothers’ Changing Lives and Continuous Caregiving

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 247-279

In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle famously criticized a popular sitcom character for choosing to be a single mother. Murphy Brown, he claimed, was “mocking the importance of fathers.” Quayle’s tirade against a fictional character proved a bit embarrassing. It made headlines and fueled...

read more

Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 280-286

Reflecting the focus of current historical research, this book has necessarily been preoccupied with mothers’ relationships to the experts, political ideologies, social policies, and the labor force. Seen through this lens, the modernization of motherhood has been about control, rationality, science,...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 287-319

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 321-341

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 343

Images

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 345-358