How Old Are You?: Age Consciousness in American Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

Most Americans take it for granted that a thirteen-year-old in the fifth grade is "behind schedule," that "teenagers who marry "too early" are in for trouble, and that a seventy-five-year-old will be pleased at being told, "You look young for your age." Did an awareness of age always dominate American life? Howard Chudacoff reveals that our intense age consciousness has developed only gradually since the late nineteenth century. In so doing, he explores a wide range of topics, including demographic change, the development of pediatrics and psychological testing, and popular music from the early 1800s until now. "Throughout our lifetimes American society has been age-conscious. But this has not always been the case. Until the mid-nineteenth century, Americans showed little concern with age. The one-room schoolhouse was filled with students of varied ages, and children worked alongside adults.... [This is] a lively picture of the development of age consciousness in urban middle-class culture." —Robert H. Binstock, The New York Times Book Review "A fresh perspective on a century of social and cultural development."—Michael R. Dahlin, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691006215
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/27/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 1,003,410
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 3
Chapter 1. Blurred Age Distinctions: American Society Before 1850 9
Chapter 2. Origins of Age Grading: Education and Medicine 29
Chapter 3. Age Norms and Scheduling: The 1890s 49
Chapter 4. Intensification of Age Norms: 1900-1920 65
Chapter 5. Emergence of A Peer Society 92
Chapter 6. Act Your Age: The Culture of Age, 1900-1935 117
Chapter 7. Age Consciousness in American Popular Music 138
Chapter 8. Continuities and Changes in the Recent Past 157
Conclusion 183
Notes 191
Index 229
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