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Children in Urban America

A bibliography for post-secondary students and scholars

The following is a sampling of the hundreds of books published on the history of children in urban American, organized around CUAP's main content areas: Work, Play and Leisure, Health and Welfare and Schooling.


Faye Dudden, Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth Century America (1983) Glen H. Elder, Jr., Children of the Great Depression: Social Change in Life Experience (1974)

Ellen Greenberger and Laurence Steinberg, When Teenagers Work: The Psychological and Social Costs of Adolescent Employment (1986)

Elliot A. Medrich, et al, The Serious Business of Growing Up: A Study of Children's Lives Outside School (1982) David Nasaw, Children of the City: At Work and at Play (1985) Susan Strasser, Never Done: A History of American Housework (1982) Walter Trattner, Crusade for the Children: A History of the National Child Labor Committee and Child Labor Reform in America (1970)


Gil Asakawa and Leland Rucker, The Toy Book (1992)

Erik Barnouw, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television (1982)

Patricia C. Click, The Spirit of the Times: Amusements in Nineteenth-Century Baltimore, Norfolk, and Richmond (1989)

Gary Cross, Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood (1997)

Michael Denning, Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America (1987)

Cavallo Dominick, Muscles and Morals: Organized Playgrounds and Urban Reform, 1880-1920 (1981)

Paula Fass, The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (1977)

Miriam Formanek-Brunell, Made to Play House: Dolls and the Commercialization of American Girlhood, 1830-1930 (1993)

Ruth M. Goldstein and Edith Zornos, The Screen Image of Youth: Movies about Children and Adolescents (1980)

Cary Goodman, Choosing Sides: Playground and Street Life on the Lower East Side (1979)

Kathryn Grover, ed., hard at Play: Leisure in American, 1840-1940 (1992)

Althea Huston, et al, Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society (1992)

Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes, Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage (1972)

Marvin Kaye, The Story of Monopoly, Silly Putty, Bingo, Twister, Frisbee, Scrabble, etc., (1977)

R. Gordon Kelly, ed., Children's Periodicals of the United States (1984)

Gerald S. Lessar, Children and Television: Lessons from Sesame Street (1974)

M. G. Lord, Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll (1994)

David I. Macleod, Building Character in the American Boy: The Boys Scouts, YMCA, and Their Forerunners, 1870-1920 (1983)

David Nasaw, Children of the City: At Work and at Play (1985)

Richard O'Brien, The Story of American Toys: From the Puritans to the Present (1990)

Richard Schickel, The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney (1968)

Brian Sutton-Smith, Play and Learning (1979)

________, Toys as Culture (1986)


LeRoy Ashby, Endangered Children: Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse in American History (1997)

Winifred Bell, Aid to Dependent Children (1965)

Mary Frances Berry, The Politics of Parenthood: Child Care, Women's Rights, and the Myth of the Good Mother (1993)

Andrew Billingsley and Jeanne M. Giovanonni, Children of the Storm: Black Children and American Child Welfare (1984)

Charlotte G. Borst, Catching Babies: The Professionalization of Childbirth, 1870-1920 (1995)

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (1997)

Mary Cable, Little Darlings: A History of Child Rearing in America (1975)

Elizabeth J. Clapp, Mothers of All Children: Women Reformers and the Rise of Juvenile Courts in Progressive Era America (1998)

Kenneth Cmiel, A Home of Another Kind: One Chicago Orphanage and the Tangle of Child Welfare (1995)

Matthew A. Crenson, Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the American Welfare System (1998)

Allen F. Davis, Spearheads for Reform: The Social Settlements and the Progressive Movement, 1890-1914 (1967)

David C. Gil, Violence Against Children: Physical Child Abuse in the United States (1970)

James Gilbert, A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950s (1986)

Joan Gittens, Poor Relations: The Children of the State in Illinois, 1818-1990 (1994)

Julia Grant, Raising Baby by the Book: The Education of American Mothers (1998)

Robert L. Griswold, Fatherhood in America: A History (1993)

Jack M. Holl, Juvenile Reform in the Progressive Era: William R. George and the Junior Republic Movement (1971)

Joseph Hawes, Children in Urban Society: Juvenile Delinquency in Nineteenth-Century America (1971)

________, The Children's Rights Movement: A History of Advocacy and Protection (1991)

Peter C. Holoran, Boston's Wayward Children: Social Services for Homeless Children, 1830-1930 (1989)

Marilyn Irvin Holt, The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America (1992)

Nathan Irvin Huggins, Protestants Against Poverty: Boston's Charities, 1870-1900 (1971)

Michael Kimmel, Manhood in America: A Cultural History (1996)

David L. Kirp and Steven Epstein, Learning by Heart: AIDS and Schoolchildren in America's Communities (1989)

Kriste Lindenmeyer, A Right to Childhood : the U.S. Children's Bureau and child welfare, 1912-46 (1977)

Ernest K. Lindley, A New Deal for Youth: The Story of the National Youth Administration (1938)

Richard A. Meckel, Save the babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality, 1850-1929 (1990)

Robert Mennel, Thorns and Thistles: Juvenile Delinquents in the United States (1973)

Steven Mintz, A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture (1983)

Katherine Ott, Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in American Culture Since 1870 (1997)

Elizabeth Pleck (?), Domestic Tyranny: The Making of American Social Policy Against Family Violence from Colonial Times to the Present (1988)

Heather Munro Prescott, A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine (1998)

Ellen Ryerson, The Best Laid Plans: America's Juvenile Court Experiment (1978)

Stephen Schlossman, Love and the American Delinquent: The Theory and Practice of "Progressive" Juvenile Justice, 1825-1920 (1977)

Margaret O. Steinfels, Who's Minding the Children? The History and Politics of Day Care in America (1973)

Susan Tiffin, In Whose Best Interest? Child Welfare Reform in the Progressive Era (1982)

Richard W. and Dorothy C. Wertz, Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America (1989)

Geraldine Youcha, Minding the Children: Child Care in America from Colonial Times to the Present (1995)

Viviana A. Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children (1985)

Nurith Zmora, Orphanages Reconsidered: Childcare Institutions in Progressive-Era Baltimore (1994)


Barbara Beatty, Preschool Education in America: The Culture of Young Children from the Colonial Era to the Present (1995)

Selma Berrol, Immigrants at School (1978)

Anne M. Boylan, Sunday School: The Formation of an American Institution, 1790-1880 (1988)

Stephan Brumberg, Going to America, Going to School (1986)

William Bullough, Cities and Schools in the Gilded Age: The Evolution of an Urban Institution (1974)

James Conant, Slums and Suburbs: A Commentary on Schools in Metropolitan Areas (1961)

Lawrence Cremin, American Education: The National Experience, 1783-1876 (1980)

Michael Katz, The Irony of Early School Reform (1968)

Edward A. King, The Shaping of the American High School, 1880-1920 (1969)

Richard Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education, and Black America's Struggle for Equality (1975)

Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (1994)

David Nasaw, Schooled to Order: A Social History of Public Schooling in the United States (1979)

Diane Ravitch, The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 1945-1980 (1983)

William J. Reese, The Origins of the American High School (1995)

Dale Ross, The Kindergarten Crusade: The Establishment of Preschool Education in the United States (1976)

Willis Rudy, Schools in an Age of Mass Culture (1965)

John L. Rury, Education and Women's Work: Female Schooling and the Division of Labor in Urban America, 1870-1930 (1991)

James W. Sanders, The Education of an Urban Minority: Catholics in Chicago, 1833-1965 (1977)

Michael S. Shapiro, Child's Garden: The Kindergarten Movement from Froebel to Dewey (1983)

David Tyack, The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (1974)

David Tyack, et al, Public Schools in Hard Times: The Great Depression and Recent Years (1984)

Paul C. Violas, The Training of the Urban Working Class: A History of Twentieth Century American Education (1978)

Bewrnard Weiss, ed., American Education and the American Immigrant (1982)

GENERAL Mary Jo Bane, Here to Stay: American Families in the Twentieth Century (1976)

Karen Calvert, Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600-1900 (1992)

Priscilla Ferguson Clement, Growing Pains: Children of The Industrial Age, 1850-1890 (1997)

Robert Coles, The Moral Life of Children (1986)

________, The Political Life of Children (1986)

________, The Spiritual Life of Children (1990)

Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992)

John Demos, Past, Present, and Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History (1986)

Conflict Paths: Growing Up in America (1995)

Oscar Handlin and Mary Handlin, Facing Life: Youth and the Family in American History (1971)

Mary Lynn Stevens Heininger, et al, A Century of Childhood, 1820-1920 (1984)

N. Ray Hiner and Joseph M. Hawes, eds., American Childhood: A Research Guide and Historical Handbook (1985)

________, Growing Up in America: Children in Historical Perspective (1985)

Landon Jones, Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (1980)

Joseph Kett, Rites of Passage: Adolescence in America, 1790 to the Present (1977)

David I. Macleod, The Age of the Child: Children in America, 1890-1920 (1998)

James Marten, The Children's Civil War (1998)

Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (1988)

Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Life (1988)

Jacqueline S. Reinier, From Virtue to Character: American Children, 1775-1865 (1996)

C. John Sommerville, The Rise and Fall of Childhood, rev. ed. (1990)

William M. Tuttle, Jr., "Daddy's Gone to War": The Second World War in the Lives of American Children (1993)

Elliott West, Growing Up in Twentieth-Century America: A History and Reference Guide (1996)

Elliott West and Paula Petrik, eds., Small Worlds: Children and Adolescents in American, 1850-1950 (1992)

Viviana A. Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children (1985)

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