Before Head Start: The Iowa Station and America's Children

Before Head Start: The Iowa Station and America's Children

by Hamilton Cravens
     
 

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Between the 1920s and the 1950s, the child welfare movement that had originated as a moral reform effort in the Progressive era evolved into the science of child development. In Before Head Start, Hamilton Cravens chronicles this transformation, both on the national level and from the perspective of the field's best-known research center, the University of Iowa…  See more details below

Overview

Between the 1920s and the 1950s, the child welfare movement that had originated as a moral reform effort in the Progressive era evolved into the science of child development. In Before Head Start, Hamilton Cravens chronicles this transformation, both on the national level and from the perspective of the field's best-known research center, the University of Iowa's Child Welfare Research Station. Addressing the changing role played by women and the importance of Rockefeller philanthropy, he shows how a women's reform movement became a male-dominated, conservative profession and demonstrates how lay pressure groups can influence the structures and processes of science. Animated by the reformist goals of the child welfare movement, scientists at the Iowa Station challenged the pervasive idea that an individual's development was determined by such group traits as race, class, and gender. Instead, their research suggested that early social intervention could rescue a child from a grim future. Cravens argues that this individualistic perspective, rejected in the 1940s by a scientific community that mirrored society's deterministic notions, anticipated the national social reforms of the post-1950s era, including Head Start.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Cravens (history, Iowa State U.) chronicles the transformation of the child welfare movement that had originated as a moral reform effort in the Progressive era into the science of child development--both on the national level and from the perspective of the field's best-known research center, the U. of Iowa's Child Welfare Research Station. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
Satisfying in its detail, offering a rich and complex analysis of the theories and personalities of the nationally prominent child development researchers of the period.(Isis)

The definitive work on the origins of academic child development research in the United States. (History of Education Quarterly)

This readable and painstakingly researched study will be welcomed by faculty and advanced students. (Choice)

A well-written, insightful history of the origins and growth of the discipline of child development. (Historian)

This solid, superior study of an important and misunderstood discipline is a major contribution to the history of science. (American Historical Review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807860922
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
11/09/2000
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
348
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Before Head Start is a major contribution to American historical scholarship. By using a case study approach, Hamilton Cravens has written what is in effect a history of the evolution of child development theory from the early part of the twentieth century to the 1970s. This work will be of interest not only to historians, but to those in the social and behavioral sciences (including developmental and child psychology). . . . An indispensable contribution.--Gerald N. Grob, Rutgers University

A well-written, insightful history of the origins and growth of the discipline of child development.--Historian

Provides the essential context for the belief, embodied later in Head Start, that the learning abilities and social skills of young children can be raised by deliberate intervention and enrichment of their early lives. . . . A stunning contribution by a master of the sources who approaches the history of the sciences of the human mind in an entirely fresh way, and finds there much to instruct us.--Mary O. Furner, University of California, Santa Barbara

This solid, superior study of an important and misunderstood discipline is a major contribution to the history of science.--American Historical Review

The definitive work on the origins of academic child development research in the United States.--History of Education Quarterly

The book is satisfying in its detail, offering a rich and complex analysis of the theories and personalities of the nationally prominent child development researchers of the period.--Isis

This readable and painstakingly researched study will be welcomed by faculty and advanced students.--Choice

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Meet the Author

Hamilton Cravens, professor of history at Iowa State University, is author of The Triumph of Evolution: The Heredity-Environment Controversy, 1900-1941.

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