Century of the Child, The

The Mental Hygiene Movement and Social Policy in the United States and Canada

By Theresa Richardson

Paperback : 9780791400210, 273 pages, August 1989
Hardcover : 9780791400203, 273 pages, August 1989

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Table of contents




Part I The Body

Chapter One The Childhood Gaze

Chapter Two The Spirit of Johns Hopkins and the Medical Model

Chapter Three The Midas Touch and the Power of Science

Chapter Four The Eye of Mental Hygiene: A Biography of the First National Committee

Chapter Five The Canadian National Committee: The Politics of Privilege

Part II The Mind

Chapter Six The Child of the State and Mental Hygiene

Chapter Seven Medicalizing Maladjustment: The Child Guidance Movement

Chapter Eight The Boundaries of Adjustment from the Clinic to the Classroom

Chapter Nine Infancy to Adolescence: Rockefeller Philanthropy and the Mental Hygiene of Normal Children

Part III The Estate

Chapter Ten Mental Hygiene and the State: Formalizing aPsychiatry of Childhood

Chapter Eleven Private Knowledge Brokers and PublicPolicy: U. S. and Canadian Style

Chapter Twelve The Legacy of the Childhood Gaze: The Institutionalization of Childhood and the Formalization of a Social Problem




In this book, Richardson crosses disciplinary boundaries to examine mental hygiene issues of contemporary concern in both the United States and Canada. The work juxtaposes a social history of the child in the twentieth century to shifts in private and public power as influenced by the mental hygiene movements in both countries.

The author shows how the historical record sheds light on current policy concerned with mentally, emotionally, and educationally handicapped children. As a sociology of mental illness, the book examines the relationship between mental hygiene as a form of knowledge and the social institutions that fostered the use of psychiatric perspectives concerning child and family life. Significant topics covered in this regard include the history of early childhood and parent education, the origins of child psychiatry in treating juvenile delinquency, and the evolution of contemporary concepts of normal development.

Theresa R. Richardson is in the Centre for Policy Studies in Education at the University of British Columbia.


"The level of comprehensive and careful scholarship is highly commendable. The manuscript is exceptionally well set forth from a technical standpoint and gives a fascinating social history of the mental hygiene movement. " — Richard E. Ripple, Cornell University