Model Mothers: Jewish Mothers and Maternity Provision in East London, 1870-1939

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In late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain there was deep concern about the perceived physical and military deterioration of the nation, reflected in the diminishing birth rate, persistently high infant mortality, and the poor health of the working class. Many medical practitioners and politicians believed that Jewish mothers were "model mothers" whose exemplary care of their children offered a solution to these problems. Lara Marks assesses the extent to which the stereotype of Jewish mothers reflected the reality of their experience in East London between 1870 and 1939. Not only did they have to cope with extreme poverty, but as newly arrived immigrants they had to deal with linguistic and cultural barriers and the unfamiliarity of local medical facilities. Model Mothers makes important contributions to our knowledge of maternal and infant care in this period and to our understanding of the interactions between ethnicity and health-care.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Model Mothers tells a fascinating story, sympathetically and accessibly."—The Women's Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198204541
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Series: Oxford Historical Monographs Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Tables
Introduction 1
1 Background: Immigration and Settlement 11
2 The Health of Jewish Infants and Mothers in East London 43
3 Familial, Neighbourhood, and Communal Resources for Childbirth 92
4 Local Voluntary Hospitals and Maternity Care 129
5 Poor Law Institutions and Maternity Care 179
6 Domiciliary and Dispensary Maternity Provision 226
Bibliography 275
Index 311
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