What Adolescents Ought to Know
Sexual Health Texts in Early Twentieth-Century America
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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This manuscript has had a long genesis. From my first encounters with the seemingly strident convictions of librarians whose concerns with children and vice filled the pages of old issues of Library Journal and Public Libraries, to the days I spent reading in the Kinsey Institute library in an effort to make sense of nineteenth-century physicians’...
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In 1901, Dr. Alfred Fournier committed an act both profoundly simple and strikingly revolutionary: he wrote a treatise on sexual and reproductive health for young men, full of cautions and information based on his clinical work at a leading Paris hospital. The publication, Pour nos fils, reflected Fournier’s understanding of the...
Chapter 1: French Origins of International Sexual Health Communication with Adolescents
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At the age of seventy, French physician Alfred Fournier turned, in the words of one colleague, his “prudent pen” to adolescents’ risk for sexually transmitted infection.1 The preeminent syphilologist of his generation, Fournier had become convinced that the secrecy and shame surrounding syphilis were conditions that allowed it to flourish.2 It...
Chapter 2: Initial Transnational Intersections:French Texts and American Culture
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It did not take long for a broader commitment to sexual health education to emerge from Alfred Fournier’s public activism. Between the French doctor’s prestige and his work’s scientific basis, arguments about the need to prevent venereal disease gained currency and attracted individuals to the cause. While hundreds promptly joined...
Chapter 3: Social Hygiene vs. the Sexual Plagues in Indiana and the World
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Even before the first copy of Damaged Goods was sold, American writers and health advocates had begun to instruct adolescents in the new facts of reproductive health. Adult attitudes toward young people’s information needs varied, but they concurred in the importance of collective action and authorship, joining a small but growing...
Chapter 4: What Young Readers Ought to Know:The Successful Selling of Sex Education
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Neither the difficulties of financing sexual health education nor its progressive mission could forestall reproaches against the growing body of informative treatises. “There is nothing new about the Seven Deadly Sins,” Agnes Repellier wrote in 1916. Her apologia for innocence and decency, “The Repeal of Reticence,” recoiled from the attention...
Chapter 5: Battling Books: Censorship, Conservatism,and Market Competition
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Even as humanitarian and opportunistic impulses shaped the distinctive print culture of Progressive Era hygiene literature, equally forceful voices countered the aspirations of the genre’s progenitors. The best-known hygiene titles for young readers realized significant circulation in the early twentieth century, and the realities of a growing...
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Their difficult inception a recent but fading memory, the initial sexual and reproductive health titles of the twentieth century were soon awash in competition. Where Alfred Fournier had once envisioned himself alone, counseling a father to share Pour nos fils with his adolescent sons, there followed any number of publishers who wished...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 1 , 1 , 1 , 5 b&w photos, 5 b&w photos, 5 b&w photos, 5 b&w photos, 3 b&w illus., 3 b&w illus., 3 b&w illus., 3 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Studies in Print Culture and History of the Book