Abstract

This paper examines a collection of images of children printed in cancer education and fund-raising materials distributed by voluntary health organizations, released by public relations departments of specialized cancer hospitals, and featured in popular magazines and newspapers beginning in the late 1940s. Children represented only a small fraction of all persons with cancer, yet they became a key component of the media campaign for the disease. What narratives were embedded in the photographs and profiles? Like the March of Dimes' use of young polio patients to promote their programs, "poster children" were strategically used throughout the mid-to-late twentieth century to advance principles of early cancer detection and prompt treatment; to illustrate or, at times, exaggerate promising biomedical advances in the field; and to elicit emotional responses and donations from a wide audience during the escalation of the war against cancer.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 70-93
Launched on MUSE
2007-03-15
Open Access
No
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