Children in Colonial America

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Overview

The Pilgrims and Puritans did not arrive on the shores of New England alone. Nor did African men and women, brought to the Americas as slaves. Though it would be hard to tell from the historical record, European colonists and African slaves had children, as did the indigenous families whom they encountered, and those children's life experiences enrich and complicate our understanding of colonial America.

Through essays, primary documents, and contemporary illustrations, Children in Colonial America examines the unique aspects of childhood in the American colonies between the late sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries. The twelve original essays observe a diverse cross-section of children—from indigenous peoples of the east coast and Mexico to Dutch-born children of the Plymouth colony and African-born offspring of slaves in the Caribbean—and explore themes including parenting and childrearing practices, children's health and education, sibling relations, child abuse, mental health, gender, play, and rites of passage.

Taken together, the essays and documents in Children in Colonial America shed light on the ways in which the process of colonization shaped childhood, and in turn how the experience of children affected life in colonial America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Marten adds to the growing body of literature on the history of family life with this rich collection of original essays and transcriptions from primary documents. Divided into thematic subdivisions relating to Europeans and Native Americans, issues of family and community, and the process of becoming American, the 12 essays contributed mainly by history academics examine children's lives from the varied cultures found in Colonial North America and contain copious footnotes and a list of suggested further reading. Such topics as parenting practices, health, education, gender roles, and rites of passage are touched on. The small selection of primary documents (excerpts from letters, diaries, and autobiographies) add depth to an already well-written and researched work whose real strength is its juxtaposition of children's lives across a variety of Colonial cultures.”
-Library Journal

,

“Providing fresh historical perspectives on key features of children's lives, this book offers compelling, new materials on childhood in colonial America, and on groups—including Native Americans and Hispanics—too often left out of conventional coverage.”
-Peter Stearns,George Mason University

Children in Colonial America is a highly original contribution to the history of childhood. The collection’s unique strength lies in its great range of regions and peoples represented: from Indian children of Mexico to young Africans in Jamaica, from Separatist Pilgrims in the Netherlands and Plymouth to Catholic girls in Germany, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. Although ideal for the classroom, these essays offer much that will be of interest to seasoned scholars.”
-Gloria L. Main,University of Colorado-Boulder

“Few books can be all things to all people, but this one is an exception.”
-Kenneth J. Blume

,

“A useful and largely impressive anthology on an under-studied topic.”
-PhiloBiblos

,

Library Journal
Marten (history, Marquette Univ.; Children for the Union) adds to the growing body of literature on the history of family life with this rich collection of original essays and transcriptions from primary documents. Divided into thematic subdivisions relating to Europeans and Native Americans, issues of family and community, and the process of becoming American, the 12 essays contributed mainly by history academics examine children's lives from the varied cultures found in Colonial North America and contain copious footnotes and a list of suggested further reading. Such topics as parenting practices, health, education, gender roles, and rites of passage are touched on. The small selection of primary documents (excerpts from letters, diaries, and autobiographies) add depth to an already well-written and researched work whose real strength is its juxtaposition of children's lives across a variety of Colonial cultures. Werner (Through the Eyes of Innocents: Children Witness World War II) examines the era of the American Revolution (1770-89) through the eyes of 100 children who were between the ages of five and 16 during the conflict. Drawing on diaries, journals, and letters (more by boys than girls), Werner provides a fascinating primary angle on the Revolution. For instance, included are the stories of two young men who were with Washington at Valley Forge and young Emily Geiger, who risked her life to carry a message through British territory to General Greene. While both works supply glimpses into the lives of Colonial children, Marten's work is broader, illuminating the daily lives of a range of ordinary children. Werner's work is necessarily more limited and more conventional, using the experiences of both famous and ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances. Yet both are recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama Lister Hill Lib., Birmingham Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814757161
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Series: Children and Youth in America Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James Marten is Professor and Chair of the History Department at Marquette University. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books including The Children’s Civil War and four NYU Press books: Children and War: A Historical Anthology; Children in Colonial America; Children and Youth in a New Nation; and Children and Youth during the Civil War Era.

Philip J. Greven is professor emeritus at Rutgers University and author of The Protestant Temperament: Patterns of Child-rearing, Religious Experience, and the Self in Early America, among others.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Philip J. Greven     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction   James Marten     1
Race and Colonization
Indian Children in Early Mexico   Dorothy Tanck de Estrada     13
Colonizing Childhood: Religion, Gender, and Indian Children in Southern New England, 1600-1720   R. Todd Romero     33
Imperial Ideas, Colonial Realities: Enslaved Children in Jamaica, 1775-1834   Audra Abbe Diptee     48
Documents
"The Younger Sort Reverence the Elder": A Pilgrim Describes Indian Childrearing     61
"I Have Often Been Overcome While Thinking on It": A Slave Boy's Life     63
Family and Society
Sibling Relations in Early American Childhoods: A Cross-Cultural Analysis   C. Dallett Hemphill     77
"I Shall Beat You, So That the Devil Shall Laugh at It": Children, Violence, and the Courts in New Amsterdam   Mariah Adin     90
"Improved" and "Very Promising Children": Growing Up Rich in Eighteenth-Century South Carolina   Darcy Fryer     104
Documents
"A Dutiful and Affectionate Daughter": Eliza Lucas of South Carolina     116
"A Most Agreeable Family": Philip Vickers Fithian Meets the Carters     119
Cares and Tribulations
"Decrepit in Their Early Youth": English Children in Holland and PlymouthPlantation   John J. Navin     127
Idiocy and the Construction of Competence in Colonial Massachusetts   Parnel Wickham     141
"My Constant Attension on My Sick Child": The Fragility of Family Life in the World of Elizabeth Drinker   Helena M. Wall     155
Documents
"I Had Eight Birds Hatcht in One Nest": Anne Bradstreet Writes about Parenthood     168
Becoming Americans
From German Catholic Girls to Colonial American Women: Girlhood in the French Gulf South and the British Mid-Atlantic Colonies   Lauren Ann Kattner     175
"Let Both Sexes Be Carefully Instructed": Educating Youth in Colonial Philadelphia   Keith Pacholl     191
From Saucy Boys to Sons of Liberty: Politicizing Youth in Pre-Revolutionary Boston   J. L. Bell     204
Documents
"Though I Was Often Beaten for My Play": The Autobiography of John Barnard     217
"A Bookish Inclination": Benjamin Franklin Grows Up     222
In Search of the Historical Child: Questions for Consideration     230
Suggested Readings     235
About the Contributors     245
Index     249
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