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Book Cover for: The Baby Book: Seventy-five Years of Infant Care, William Kessen

The Baby Book: Seventy-five Years of Infant Care

William Kessen

The Baby Book weaves together three elements - a historical sketch of American life and culture in the twentieth century through the news of the New York Times, a history of the Children's Bureau, and the advice given to parents through the publication of the Bureau's pamphlet Infant Care. William Kessen focuses on the period from 1914 to 1989, a time of major shifts in child rearing practices. The book highlights the place of women in society, the diversity and variety of American babies and their families, and who are the important decision makers in an infant's life. Each chapter begins with a reflection on American and world events, relying chiefly on reporting in the New York Times. Then follows the history of the Children's Bureau, established in 1912 by President Taft to focus on the well-being of children and their families. The final section of each chapter, and the heart of the matter, is the evolving narrative of Infant Care and its advice to (primarily) mothers on how to care for their infants; from what to feed them, advice on play and toileting and clothing, schedules and sickness and advice from physicians and psychologists over the years.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Kessen Family
  • Publish Date: Feb 15th, 2024
  • Pages: 198
  • Language: English
  • Edition: undefined - undefined
  • Dimensions: 9.21in - 6.14in - 0.51in - 0.86lb
  • EAN: 9798218263102
  • Categories: Parenting - GeneralSocial HistoryDevelopmental - Child

About the Author

Kessen, William: - William Kessen (1925-1999) was born in Key West, Florida. His mother, Marie Lord Kessen, was a third-generation Key Wester and his father, Herman Kessen, was a ship's engineer. The family moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1935, where Kessen, who went by "Bill," graduated from high school at 16. He attended the University of Florida, the first in his family to go to college.He enlisted in the US Army at 17 and served from 1943 to 1946 as a clerk typist in Litchfield, England. He returned to complete his studies at the University of Florida, majoring in psychology, and graduated in 1948. He received a master's degree in psychology at Brown University, where he met fellow graduate student and researcher Marion Lord, whom he married in 1950. Kessen called Marion his "best and truest friend." They moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 1950, where Bill received a Ph.D. in psychology in 1952 from Yale University. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at Yale, the University hired him as an assistant professor. At Yale, Kessen conducted groundbreaking research into infant behavior and perception. He became an Associate Professor in 1960, Professor in 1965, Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology in 1976, and Professor of Pediatrics in 1978. He chaired the Department of Psychology, served on many University committees, and served short stints as Acting Secretary of the University and Acting Master of Calhoun College (now Hopper College). He was a beloved teacher and mentor and won the Devane Medal for teaching and scholarship in 1970. During his academic career he was a prolific author of articles, book chapters, and significant texts in the field of child development. Kessen was fascinated by comparative child development; he traveled extensively and wrote influential articles and books from historical and cultural perspectives. He was one of the first Western scholars to visit former communist Czechoslovakia in the early 1960s and spent two sabbatical years in the 1970s studying infant development in Italy. In 1973 he led a group of US scholars to China as Chairman of the American Delegation in Early Childhood Development; it was one of the first American delegations to visit the country after diplomatic relations were re-established. Kessen was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He passed on his studiousness, love of music and art, and intense curiosity about the world to his large family, which includes six children and six grandchildren.