SHCY Bulletin

Society for the History of Children and Youth

No. 17
Spring 2011

Child Health History on the Web

compiled by Janet Golden, Rutgers, Camden and Kathleen Jones, Virginia Tech

Ed. note:  Our list focuses on the US and England.  If you can add to our findings for these countries, or more important,  for other countries or global regions, please send the information to either Janet at or Kathleen at  We will publish updates in the next Bulletin.

The history of medicine is a booming internet field, but currently online archival materials related specifically to the history of child health are scarce.  Below are a few sites with information and images.  Searches for specific childhood diseases – diphtheria or polio, for example – will also produce some useful hits.

Although it isn’t easy to find, those interested in the history of children and health should visit the homepage of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and click on the 2011 online issues.  Beginning in February 2011 this journal is celebrating its 100th year by linking a classic article each month along with commentary from a historian.  The February article discusses child welfare programs and the battle against infant mortality in the first decade of the 20th century.  In the March issue the history of insulin and diabetes is the topic; in April it is rickets.  Pediatrician historian Jeffrey P. Brosco and journal editor, pediatrician Frederick P. Rivara are to be thanked for organizing this important effort.

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau has a “history” timeline with information bits about child health history.   The MCH site includes a description  of materials in the MCH Library (including the records of the Children’s Bureau –but it’s not a searchable source, not a documents collection.)   And a list of archives with materials relevant to maternal and child health.

Scholars interested in the history of parents and children may be interested in the work of the Centre for Parenting Culture at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.  Their website is  Information about their next conference: Monitoring Parents: Science, evidence, experts and the new parenting culture to be held at the University of Kent, 13th and 14th September 2011 is on the website.

Though not specific to childhood health and illness, the Science Museum - Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine features artifacts from the massive collection created by Henry Wellcome.  The site is divided into 10 themes (surgery, public health, hospitals, etc.) and provides biographies of key people in the history of medicine, timelines, and interactive displays.

Visual material is also available at Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) at the National Library of Medicine.  and see the first edition of L. Emmett Holt’s Care and Feeding of Children at the Medicine in the Americas, part of the NLM’s Bookshelf

For more paths to follow for child health history, visit the website of the American Association for the History of Medicine and check out their list of research tools at