What you’ll find here are works about childhood from 1800 to 1872. I’ve tried to be as far-ranging as possible; if it has to do with children, I’ve listed it here. Included are articles from the time, as well as works written about the time. It’s a work in progress which I update as I find more sources.
I’ve also listed here reminiscences of Americans who were children between 1800 and 1872. This also is a work in progress; if you know of published reminiscences that I haven’t got here, please let me know. The page is especially deficient in memoirs of Native American children who lived east of the Mississippi River, of Latino, and of Asian-American children; the writer should have been born 1790 to 1866, so there are childhood memories between 1800 and 1872.
[r] = reminiscences; I’ve indicated the race of the author, and her or his birth date. I’ve also indicated that these are the reminiscences of a “boy" or a “girl,” which adds a weird tone to the annotations; but on this page we’re only interested in their childhoods.
Repro. = exact reproduction, usually of the first edition
Repr. = reprinting of the work, often with some editing
LAC = Library of American Civilization, with fiche number
[r] Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams. 1906. online at Project Gutenberg, #2044 A chapter appears in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
Massachusetts childhood of a white boy born in 1838.
“Address Before a Sewing Circle.” The Ladies’ Repository (Cincinnati) April 1867: 198-201.
[r] Louisa M. Alcott. “Recollections of My Childhood.” The Youth’s Companion 24 May 1888: 261.
Massachusetts childhood of a white girl born in 1832.
Gloria Seaman Allen. “Needlework Education in Antebellum Alexandria, Virginia.” Antiques, (Feb 2001): 332-341.
Needlework teachers, students, and samplers; richly illustrated.
Lester Alston. “Children as Chattel.” In Small Worlds, ed. Elliott West and Paula Petrik. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1992. pp. 208-231.
Childhoods of African-Americans born into slavery.
America’s Families: A Documentary History, ed. Donald M. Scott and Bernard Wishy. Cambridge, MA: Harper & Row, 1982.
Selections of original documents, arranged chronologically and organized by subject. With notes and bibliographies.
Edward Deming Andrews and Faith Andrews. “The Shaker Children’s Order.” Winterthur Portfolio, 8 (1973): 201-214.
The Children’s Order of the United Society of Believers from 1780 to 1900.
Mary Audrey Apple. “German Toys in Antebellum America.” Antiques (December 2002): 92-101.
The details & tribulations of selling German toys in the U. S. between 1829 and 1833; wonderfully illustrated.
Lori Jo Askeland. “Dependent Children in American Fiction and Culture, 1850-1860.” PhD diss. University of Kansas, 1997.
Lori Askeland. “ ‘The Means of Draining the City of These Children’: Domesticity and Romantic Individualism in Charles Loring Brace’s Emigration Plan, 1853-1861.” ATQ 12 (June 1998): 145-163.
Gillian Avery. Behold the Child: American Children and Their Books, 1621-1922. Baltimore, MD; Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
Linda Baumgarten and Jan K. Gilliam. “Nineteenth-Century Children’s Costumes in Tasha Tudor’s Collection.” Antiques (April 1998): 564-571.
A descriptive article loaded with pictures.
Serena Totman Bechtel. “Changing Perceptions of Children c. 1850-c. 1925 as Reflected in American Silver.” Studies in the Decorative Arts 6 (1999): 64-94.
Tracey Rae Beck. “The Substance of Childhood.” Antiques (Feb 2000): 324-333.
Richly illustrated article on the artifacts of antebellum childhood, especially their toys. The game board for “The Mansion of Happiness” (1818) is reproduced on p. 296.
Michael V. Belock. Forming the American Minds: Early Schoolbooks and Their Compilers, 1783-1837. Agra, India: Satish, 1973.
Robert Franklin Berman. “The Naive Child and the Competent Child: American Literature for Children and American Culture, 1830-1930.” PhD diss. Harvard University, 1978.
Lynn A. Bloom. “ ‘It’s All for Your Own Good’: Parent-Child Relationships in Popular American Child Rearing Literature, 1820-1970.” Journal of Popular Culture 10 (1976): 191-8.
Anne M. Boylan. “Growing Up Female in Young America, 1800-1860.” In American Childhood, ed. Joseph M. Hawes and N. Ray Hiner. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. pp. 153-184
Anne M. Boylan. “Sunday Schools and Changing Evangelical Views of Children in the 1820s.” Church History, 48 (1979): 320-334.
Focuses on the northeastern U.S.
Priscilla J. Brewer. “ ‘The Little Citizen’: Images of Children in Early Nineteenth-Century America.” Journal of American Culture, 7 (1984): 45-62.
Dorothy Burnham. “Children of the Slave Community in the United States.” Freedomways, 19 #2 (1979): 75-81.
Mary Cable. The Little Darlings: A History of Child Rearing in America. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972.
Karin Calvert. “Cradle to Crib: The Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Children’s Furniture.” In A Century of Childhood. Rochester New York: Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, 1984.
A Century of Childhood. Rochester New York: Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, 1984.
Essays on childhood and children, 1820-1920.
Lydia Maria Child. The Girl’s Own Book. NY: Clark Austin & Co., 1833. Repro. Saybrook, CT: Applewood, the Globe Pequod Press, 1992.
Games and activities considered suitable for antebellum girls; plus a few puzzles and stories.
Lydia Maria Child. The Mother’s Book. Boston: Carter & Hendee, 1831. Repro. Cambridge, MA: Applewood Books, 1989. excerpt
Advice on all aspects of child rearing.
Child-Rearing Concepts, 1628-1861, ed. Philip J. Greven, Jr. Itasca, IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc., 1973.
Primary documents of advice on child rearing, arranged chronologically; with notes.
Children and Youth in America: A Documentary History, ed. Robert H. Bremner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Selections of original documents in several volumes, arranged chronologically and organized by subject. With notes and bibliographies.
Howard P. Chudacoff. “The Attempt to Domesticate Childhood and Play, 1800-1850” and “The Stuff of Childhood, 1850-1900” in Children at Play: An American History. NY: New York University Press, 2007.
Concerns Native American, slave, & white children.
Dennis Clark. “Babes in Bondage: Indentured Irish Children in Philadelphia in the Nineteenth Century.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 101 (1977): 475-486.
Concerns children from 1771 to the 1920s.
Linda Clemmons. “ ‘Our children are in danger of becoming little Indians’: Protestant Missionary Children and Dakotas, 1835-1862.” Michigan Historical Review, 25 (Fall 1999): 69-90.
The children of white missionaries, with emphasis on their behavior & relationships with Dakota children.
William Clarke. The Boy’s Own Book. NY: Munroe & Francis, 1829. Repro. Bedford, MA: Applewood Books, 1996.
Games and activities considered suitable for antebellum boys; with information on keeping animals, and fencing.
[r] Samuel Clemens. The Autobiography of Mark Twain.
The chatty, gritty, rambling, and romantic Missouri childhood of a white boy born in 1835.
Priscilla Ferguson Clement. Growing Pains: Children in the Industrial Age, 1850-1890. Twayne’s History of American Childhood Series. NY: Twayne Publishers, 1997.
A very good, detailed survey covering whites and African-Americans; thorough bibliography.
Lorinda B. Cohoon. Serialized Citizenships: Periodicals, Books, and American Boys, 1840-1911. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2006.
Michael C. Coleman. American Indian Children at School, 1850-1930. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1993.
Margaret S. Creighton. “The Captain’s Children: Life in the Adult World of Whaling, 1852-1907.” American Neptune, 38 (1978): 203-216.
[r] Curtis Dahl. “Mark Twain and Ben Ely: Two Missouri Boyhoods.” Missouri Historical Review 66 (July 1972): 549-566.
Selections detailing the Missouri childhood of a white boy born in 1828.
Eric Leif David. “The Era of the Common Child: Egalitarian Death in Antebellum America.” Mid-America, 75 (1993): 135-163.
Concerns children from 1850-1860.
[r] Rebecca Harding Davis. Bits of Gossip. 1904.
Memories of a white girl born in Virginia in 1831; includes her meetings as an adult with Louisa May Alcott, editor of Robert Merry’s Museum. Davis read Moral Tales (collected from The Token) as a child.
Melanie Dawson. “The Miniaturizing of Girlhood: Nineteenth-Century Playtime and Gendered Theories of Development.” In The American Child, ed. Caroline E. Levander & Carol J. Singley. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003. pp. 63-84.
[r] Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. 1845. online at Project Gutenberg, #23.
The riveting and detailed childhood of an African-American boy born into slavery around 1817.
[r] Joanna Draper. “From a Federal Writers’ Project interview.” In American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
Remembered childhood of an African-American girl born into slavery in 1854.
David W. Dumas. “The Naming of Children in New England, 1780-1850.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 132 (July 1978): 196-210.
[r] Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa). Indian Boyhood. 1902. Repro. Lincoln, NB: Bison, University of Nebraska Press, 1991. online A chapter is excerpted in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
The sometimes-romanticized childhood of a Santee Sioux boy born in 1858.
Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana, ed. Jane Katcher, David A. Schorsch, and Ruth Wolfe. Seattle, WA: Marquand Books, 2006.
Decorative folk art, including ephemera, paintings, drawings, and doodads of every kind, lushly illustrated, with essays on the art forms and a descriptive catalog. Many pictures of children and children’s toys; and it comes with a marvelous bookmark!
“Facing History.” Smithsonian Magazine. November 1999: 136-141.
A photographic essay of photographs of antebellum African-Americans, including children. Taken from Hidden Witness: African-American Images from the Dawn of Photography to the Civil War, by Jackie Napolean Wilson (NY: St. Martin Press, 2000).
Lois Fink. “Children as Innocence from Cole to Cassette.” Nineteenth Century Winter 1977: 71-5.
Images of children in 19th-century American paintings.
Barbara Finkelstein. “Casting Networks of Good Influence: The Reconstruction of Childhood in the United States, 1790-1870.” In American Childhood, ed. Joseph M. Hawes and N. Ray Hiner. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. pp. 112-152
Barbara Finkelstein and Kathy Vandell. “The Schooling of American Childhood: The Emergence of Learning Communities.” In A Century of Childhood. Rochester New York: Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, 1984.
[r] Alice C. Fletcher and Francis LaFlesche. “Care and Training of Children.” In The Omaha Tribe. 1905-1906. Repro. Lincoln, NB: Bison, Unversity of Nebraska Press, 1992.
A classic ethnological study, it includes the reminiscences of an Omaha about his boyhood.
[r] Charlotte L. Forten. The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten. Excerpts appear in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
The diary of a freeborn African-American girl born in 1838; entries excerpted in American Childhoods were written in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1854.
Claire Gilbride Fox. “Merits and Morals.” Hornbook Magazine (Feb. 1969): 80-84.
Descriptive survey of rewards of merit.
Stephen M. Frank. Life with Father: Parenthood and Masculinity in the Nineteenth-Century American North. Gender Relations in the American Experience. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles, ed. Barbara A. Hail. Np: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, 2005.
Catalog for a traveling exhibit; lush with historical images and color photos of various kinds of cradles. With essays on their creation and use.
Paul A. Gilje. “Infant Abandonment in Early Nineteenth-Century New York City: Three Cases.” Signs, 8 (1983): 589-90. Repr. in Growing Up in America: Children in Historical Perspective, ed. N. Ray Hiner and Joseph M. Hawes. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985. pp. 109-117.
A discussion of abandonment; the cases occurred in 1818, 1820, and 1822.
Myra C. Glenn. “School Discipline and Punishment in Antebellum America.” Journal of the Early Republic, 1 (1981): 395-408.
Focuses on 1830-1850.
Gail Gaisin Glicksman. “Overstress Among American School Children, 1840-1920.” PhD diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1997.
The Connecticut childhood of a white boy born in 1793.
Harvey J. Graff. Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.
Harvey J. Graff. “Remaking Growing Up: Nineteenth-Century America.” Histoire Sociale—Social History, 24 (May 1991): 35-39.
The development of adolescence in 19th-century America.
[r] U. S. Grant. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. 1885-1886. A chapter appears in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
Midwestern childhood of a white boy born in 1822.
Growing Up in Slavery: Stories of Young Slaves as Told by Themselves, ed. Yuval Taylor. Np: Lawrence Hill Books, 2005.
Selections from the memoirs of African-Americans born into slavery: Olaudah Equiano, Moses Roper, Lewis Clarke, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Thomas H. Jones, Harriet Jacobs, J. D. Green, Elizabeth Keckley, and William H. Robinson.
[r] Edward Everett Hale. A New England Boyhood. Boston: Little, Brown, 1915. LAC 14110
Massachusetts childhood of a white boy born in 1822.
Mary R. Hall. “Moral Culture of the Young.” Western Journal and Civilian. Nov. 1855: 435-7.
Hard at Play: Leisure in America, 1840-1940, ed. Kathryn Grover. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
Well-illustrated collection of essays on recreation for adults and children. Works on children’s recreation include “Children’s Play in American Autobiographies, 1820-1914,” by Bernard Mergen; “Fox and Geese in the School Yard: Play and America’s Country Schools, 1870-1940,” by Andrew Gulliford; and “A Glossary of Outdoor Games,” compiled by James Wilder and Robyn Hansen from contemporary works.
[r] Catherine Elizabeth Havens. Diary of a Little Girl in Old New York, 2nd ed. New York: Henry Collins Brown, 1920 (original 1919). online
Diary of an 11-year-old white girl in 1849 and 1850.
Mary Lynn Stevens Heininger. “Children, Childhood, and Change in America, 1820-1920.” In A Century of Childhood. Rochester New York: Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, 1984.
Rodney Hessinger. Seduced, Abandoned, and Reborn: Visions of Youth in Middle-Class America, 1780-1850. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
[r] Caroline M. Hewins. A Mid-Century Child and Her Books New York: Macmillan Company, 1926. online
The Massachusetts childhood of a white girl born in 1846.
[r] Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Cheerful Yesterdays. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1898. Repro. NY: Arno Press, 1968.
Massachusetts childhood of a white boy born in 1823; he or his family knew every major 19th-century literary figure, from Margaret Fuller to Emily Dickinson. Among the magazines for which he wrote was Our Young Folks.
T. W. Higginson. “Murder of the Innocents.” Atlantic Monthly Sept. 1859: 345-56.
A warning against overworking children at school.
N. Ray Hiner. “Seen But Not Heard: Children in American Photographs.” In Small Worlds, ed. Elliott West and Paula Petrik. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1992. pp. 165-202.
An analysis and gallery with a few mid-century photos.
Sylvia D. Hoffert. “ ‘A Very Peculiar Sorrow’: Attitudes Toward Infant Death in the Urban Northeast, 1800-1860.” American Quarterly 39 (Winter 1987): 601-16.
Charles Holden. “Three Little Boys in Prison.” Mother’s Assistant (Jan 1844): 32-33. online
A description of three boys aged 10-12, imprisoned with adults for stealing.
Randall L. Holton and Charles A. Gilday. “Mrs. Moses B. Russell, Boston Miniaturist.” The Magazine Antiques, 56 (Dec 1999): 816-823.
Discussion of the career of a miniaturist who painted portraits of children before her death in 1854; reproduces several portraits.
[r] Horatio Lovejoy’s New Year’s Eve. 1863-1864. Charles City, IA: Advocate Steam Job Print, 1882. online
On 31 December 1863, 18-year-old Horatio, his sister, and a friend were caught in a blizzard on the Illinois prairie.
[r] Julia Ward Howe. “Birth, Parentage, Childhood.” In Reminiscences, 1819-1899. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1899. pp. 1-20.
Childhood of a white girl born in New York in 1819.
Scott Walcott Howlett. “ ‘My Child, Him Is Mine’: Plantation Slave Children in the Old South.” PhD diss. University of California, Irvine, 1993.
Concerns children from the 1830s to 1860s.
[r] John Dunn Hunter. Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America. 1824. (Repr. ed. Richard Drinnon. NY: Schocken Books, 1973.) 3rd ed. online
Though the title says “captivity,” Hunter was a white boy reared by Kickapoo, Kansas, and Osage families; he was probably born around 1800. Besides Hunter’s autobiography, this readable and detailed book includes a section on “Manners and Customs of Several Indian Tribes Located West of the Mississippi,” with a chapter on “Family Government, Occupation, and Economy” that describes infancy and childhood, probably among the Kansas and Osage.
Anya Jabour. Scarlett’s Sisters: Young Women in the Old South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
[r] Harriet Jacobs. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. 1861. online
The compelling childhood of an African-American girl born into slavery around 1813.
[r] Joseph Jefferson. Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson. 1889. Repr. ed. Alan S. Downer. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1964.
Engaging New England childhood of a white boy born in 1829; his memories of his acting career as an adult are wonderful.
Jennifer Jensen. “American Board and Table Games, 1840-1900.” Antiques, (Dec 2001): 812-819.
A brief history, richly illustrated.
Holly Keller. “Juvenile Antislavery Narrative and Notions of Childhood.” Children’s Literature 24 (1996): 86-100.
Jennifer Fish Kashay. “Problems in Paradise: The Peril of Missionary Parenting in Early Nineteenth-Century Hawaii.” Journal of Presbyterian History, 77 (Summer 1999): 81-94.
The children of white missionaries, from 1819-1850, with an emphasis on parents’ responses.
Joseph F. Kett. “Curing the Disease of Precocity.” In Turning Points, ed. John Demos and Sarane Spence Boocock. American Journal of Sociology, v. 84, Supplement, 1978. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1978. pp. S183-S211
Joseph F. Kett. Rites of Passage: Adolescence in America, 1790 to the Present. NY: Basic Books, 1977.
A detailed and important history of the idea of adolescence.
Wilma King. Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995.
Wilma King. “Within the Professional Household: Slave Children in the Antebellum South.” Historian, 59 (1997): 523-540.
Children from 1820-1865.
Kenneth F. Kiple and Virginia H. Kiple. “Slave Child Mortality: Some Nutritional Answers to a Perennial Puzzle.” Journal of Social History, 10 (1977): 284-309.
African-American children from the 1840s to the 1860s.
Anne L. Kuhn. The Mother’s Role in Childhood Education: New England Concepts, 1830-1860. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1947.
An analysis of the mother’s desired role in education, and of what that education was supposed to include.
[r] Lucy Larcom. A New-England Girlhood. 1889.
The classic New England childhood of a white girl born in 1824.
[r] Alexandra Lee Levin. “Miss Knight Abroad.” American Heritage 11 (April 1960): 14-29.
Excerpts from the diary kept by Fanny Knight, a white girl born around 1838, during her Grand Tour of Europe in 1854.
[r] Frank B. Linderman. Red Mother. 1932. Repr. as Pretty-Shield. Lincoln, NB: Bison, University of Nebraska Press, 1974.
The childhood of a Crow girl born in the late 1850s, as recorded by a white man.
Phoebe Lloyd. “Posthumous Portraits of Children in Nineteenth Century America.” Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Digest of Research, 71 (1986): 32-38.
Phoebe Lloyd. “A Young Boy in His First and Last Suit.” Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 64 (1978-1980): 105-111.
An analysis of an 1856 portrait discusses posthumous portraits of children.
Cathy Luchetti. Children of the West: Family Life on the Frontier. NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 2001.
Children of every race—Native American, Asian-American, Latino, African-American, white—& the adults who loved them, into the early 1900s. Birth, death, work, play, & education. Loads of astonishingly intimate photographs; charming, & a very good read.
James Marten. Children for the Union: The War Spirit on the Northern Home Front. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2004.
James Marten. The Children’s Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
James Marten. “ ‘I Think It’s Just as Mean as It Can Be’: Northern Children Respond to Lincoln’s Assassination.” Lincoln Herald, 102 (1999): 117-121.
Harriet Martineau. “Children.” In Society in America. (1837) LAC 20695
An essay, with anecdotes, on the education and personalities of American children, by a British visitor.
William G. McLoughlin. “Evangelical Child Rearing in the Age of Jackson: Francis Wayland’s Views on When and How to Subdue the Willfulness of Children.” Journal of Social History, 9 (Fall 1975): 20-43. Repr. in Growing Up in America: Children in Historical Perspective, ed. N. Ray Hiner and Joseph M. Hawes. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985. pp. 87-107
A discussion of an incident in a white family in 1831, and of its impact on a family and on the surrounding culture.
Bernard Mergen. “Toys and American Culture: Objects as Hypotheses.” Journal of American Culture 3 (1980): 743- 51.
Daniel R. Miller. and Guy E. Swanson. The Changing American Parent. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1958.
[r] John G. Neihardt. Black Elk Speaks. 1932. Repr. Lincoln, NB: Bison, University of Nebraska Press. Selections are excerpted in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
The reminiscences of an Oglala Sioux boy born in 1863.
Carolyn Niethammer. “The Dawn of Life” and “The Indian Child.” In Daughters of the Earth. NY: Macmillan, 1977.
A broad survey of child rearing in Native American nations all across the North American continent.
[r] William Nowlin. The Bark Covered House. 1876. Repr. ed. Milo Milton Quaife. Dearborn, MI: Dearborn Historical Commission, 1967. online
The Michigan childhood of a white boy born in 1821, whose family went to Michigan in the 1830s.
Jadviga M. Da Costa Nunes. “The Naughty Child in Nineteenth-Century American Art.” Journal of American Studies (Great Britain), 21 (1987): 225-247.
Focuses on 1840-1880.
A.P. “The Street-Arabs of New York.” Appleton’s Journal (Jan. 4, 1873): 47-49.
Margaret A. Paine. “The Ministry of Childhood.” The Ladies’ Repository (Cincinnati) Nov. 1860: 685.
Martha Irene Pallante. “The Child and His Book: Children and Children’s Moral and Religious Literature, 1700 to 1850.” PhD diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1988.
Rosemary Gudmundson Palmer. “Voices from the Trail: Young Pioneers on the Platte River Road between 1841 and 1869.” PhD diss. University of Wyoming, 1997.
Claire Perry. Young America: Childhood in 19th-Century Art and Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
Images of 19th-century American children—black, white, & native American—in art & in their books & magazines; lushly illustrated.
Pat Pflieger, ed. “ ‘Dear Friend Robert Merry’: Letters from Nineteenth-Century Children.”
Letters from Nineteenth-Century American Children, edited, updated, and online.
Pat Pflieger, ed. Letters from Nineteenth-Century American Children to Robert Merry’s Museum Magazine. Lewiston, NY: Mellen Press, 2001.
A selection of several hundred letters from Robert Merry’s Museum’s monthly letters column, mostly by whites, with a handful of Native Americans. With brief biographies of many letter-writers.
“Question and Answer: or, the Inquisitive Disposition of the Young Considered as Suggesting the First Natural Steps in Early Education.” The New Englander (Nov. 1852): 493-511.
Richard L. Rapson. “The American Child as Seen by British Travellers, 1845-1935.” American Quarterly 17 (Fall 1965): 520-34.
Jacqueline S. Reinier. From Virtue to Character: American Childhood, 1775-1850. Twayne’s History of American Childhood Series. NY: Twayne Publishers, 1996.
An excellent and detailed survey covering whites, African-Americans, and Native Americans; very useful bibliography.
Marion Rinhart. “Levi L. Hill.” The Magazine Antiques, 163 (April 2003): 122-125.
The development of color daguerreotypes; with three terrific images of children, showing clothing styles.
Daniel T. Rodgers. “Socializing Middle-Class Children: Institutions, Fables, and Work Values in Nineteenth-Century America.” Journal of Social History, (Spring 1980): 354-367. Repr. in Growing Up in America: Children in Historical Perspective, ed. N. Ray Hiner and Joseph M. Hawes. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985. pp. 119-132
How education, child-rearing advice, and children’s books reflect changes through the 19th century.
[r] Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt; an Autobiography. 1913. online
The childhood memories of a privileged white boy born in New York City in 1858; includes what he read.
David Roper. “Innocence Betrayed: Black and White Children on Antebellum Plantations.” Plantation Society in the Americas, 4 (1997): 1-40.
Jack Rudolph. “Youth in the Civil War: The Children’s Crusade.” Civil War Times Illustrated, 21 (1982): 10-17.
William F. Russell. “The Early Teaching of History in Secondary Schools.” The History Teacher’s Magazine 5 (Sept. 1914): 203-208; 5 (Nov. 1914): 311-318; 6 (Jan. 1915): 14-19; 6 (April 1915): 122-125.
A descriptive survey; the April 1915 section is a list of history texts published before 1861.
Karen Sanchez-Eppler. “Playing at Class.” English Literary History, 67 (2000): 819-842. Reprinted in The American Child, ed. Caroline E. Levander & Carol J. Singley. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003.
Play & the working child.
Karen Sanchez-Eppler. “Temperance in the Bed of a Child: Incest and Social Order in Nineteenth-Century America.” American Quarterly, 47 (1995): 1-33.
Focuses on the 1850s-1870s.
Steven L. Schlossman. “Juvenile Justice in the Age of Jackson.” Teachers College Record, 76 (1974): 119-133.
About the New York House of Refuge in 1825.
Anita Schorsch. Images of Childhood: An Illustrated Social History. NY: Main Street Press, Mayflower Books, 1979.
A richly illustrated analysis of how children are pictured in western art, arranged by subject.
Marie Jenkins Schwartz. “One Thing, Then Another: Slave Children’s Labor in Alabama.” Labor’s Heritage, 7 (1996): 22-33, 56-61.
Concerns children in the 1820s-1860s.
Rebecca Scott. “The Battle Over the Child: Child Apprenticeship and the Freedmen’s Bureau in North Carolina.” Prologue, 10 (1978): 101-113.
African-American children from 1865-1868.
[r] A Season in New York, 1801; Letters of Harriet and Maria Trumbull, ed. Helen M. Morgan. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1969.
Letters written by two white teenagers, about their time in New York City.
Janet Harrison Shannon. “African-American Childhood in Early Philadelphia,” in Multiculturalism: Roots and Realities, ed. C. James Trotman. Bloomington & Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2002.
Indentured children from 1780 to just after the turn of the 19th century.
Douglas V. Shaw. “Infanticide in New Jersey: A Nineteenth-Century Case Study.” New Jersey History 115 (Spring/Summer 1997): 3-31.
Eric Sloane. Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake, 1805. Np: Funk & Wagnalls, Inc., 1962.
Fictionalized expansion of a white boy’s 1805 diary, emphasizing the physical details of early 19th-century life.
“The Small Arabs of New York.” Atlantic Monthly 23 (March 1869): 279-286.
A description, amused and admonitory, of children working in the streets of New York City, which asserts that many a millionaire started out thus. Only in America.
Deborah A. Smith. “ ‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus’: Consolation on Delaware Children’s Gravestones, 1840-1899.” Markers, 1987: 85-106.
A fascinating combination of number-crunching and quotes; illustrated.
[r] James L. Smith. The Autobiography of James L. Smith. 1881. A chapter appears in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
Virginia childhood of an African-American boy born into slavery in the 1820s.
[r] Luther Standing Bear. My Indian Boyhood. 1931. Repro. Lincoln, NB: Bison, University of Nebraska Press, 1988.
The childhood of a Sioux boy born in the 1860s, lovingly detailed and originally intended for children.
Peter N. Stearns and Timothy Haggerty. “The Role of Fear: Transitions in American Emotional Standards for Children, 1850-1860.” American Historical Review, 96 (1991): 63-94.
Richard H. Steckel. “The Age at Leaving Home in the United States, 1850-1860.” Social Science History, 20 (1996): 507-532.
Geoffrey H. Steere. “Changing Values in Child Socialization: A Study of United States Child-Rearing Literature, 1865-1929.” PhD diss. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1964.
Kate Steinway. “Early Nineteenth-century American Children’s Books and Their Relationship to Currier & Ives Lithographs.” Imprint, 18 (1993): 17-26.
Focus is on 1813-1868.
[r] Andrew Taylor Still. The Autobiography of Andrew Taylor Still. 1897. A chapter appears in American Childhoods, ed. David Willis McCullough. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1987.
Tennessee and Missouri childhood of a white boy born in 1828.
Robert Sunley. “Early Nineteenth-Century American Literature on Child Rearing.” In Childhood in Contemporary Cultures, ed. Margaret Mead and Martha Wolfenstein. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955.
Thrace Talmon. “Degeneracy of Stature.” The National Era 10 (18 Dec. 1856): 201. online
Blames the “school-room steam-press systems” and the rushrushrush of mid-19th-century life for the fact that “our young people are deteriorating in stature.”
Kathryn Manson Tomasek. “Children and Family in Fourierist Communities.” Connecticut History, 37 (1996-1997): 159-173.
[r] Lew Wallace. Lew Wallace: An Autobiography. NY: Harper & Brothers, 1906. 2 vol
The lively autobiography of a white boy born in Indiana in 1827; Wallace, the author of Ben-Hur, read Peter Parley as a child.
[r] Evelyn D. Ward. The Children of Bladensfield During the Civil War. NY: Viking Press, 1978.
The remembered Virginia childhood of a white girl, 1861-1865.
[Francis Wayland.] “Case of Conviction.” American Baptist Magazine, 11 (1831): 296-301. online
A white father compels the obedience of his 15-month-old son in a disturbing incident; the author draws comparisons between his treatment of the “wilful” child and God’s treatment of the willful sinner. William G. McLoughlin (see above) identified the anonymous author and discusses contemporary reactions to the article.
[r] John Weatherford. “School and Other Days, 1859: Selections from the Diaries of Robert and Sylvester Bishop.” Ohio Historical Quarterly, 70 (1961): 58-63.
Excerpts from the diaries of two white boys born in 1848 and 1850.
Robert K. Weis. “To Please and Instruct the Children.” Essex Institute Historical Collections, 123 (1987): 117-149.
Toys and children from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Gene Weltfish. “The World of a Pawnee Boy: Spring 1867.” In The Lost Universe: The Way of Life of the Pawnee. Np: Basic Books, 1965.
An anthropologist’s reconstruction of a year of Pawnee life; while I have chosen to list this chapter, the entire book is rich in the details of the fictional child’s daily life.
Emmy E. Werner. Pioneer Children on the Journey West. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1995.
Children of the 1840s and 1850s.
Emmy E. Werner. Reluctant Witnesses: Children’s Voices from the Civil War. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998.
Elliott West. Growing Up with the Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1989.
A highly readable study of mostly white children living west of the Mississippi River.
Mark Irwin West. “Nineteenth-Century Toys and Their Role in the Socialization of Imagination.” Journal of Popular Culture 17 (1984): 107-15.
George Whippel. “Dangers of Childhood, and Means of Obviating Them.” Mother’s Assistant (Feb. 1845): 25-30. online
David K. Wiggins. “The Play of Slave Children in the Plantation Communities of the Old South, 1820-60.” Journal of Sport History, Summer 1980: 21-39. Repr. in Growing Up in America: Children in Historical Perspective, ed. N. Ray Hiner and Joseph M. Hawes. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985. pp. 173-190
Bernard Wishy. The Child and the Republic: The Dawn of Modern American Child Culture. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1972.
A lively and readable analysis of 19th-century child rearing.