By: Edna L. Foley
Date: May 1910
Source: Foley, Edna L. "Nursing as a Profession for College Women." American Journal of Nursing, 10, no. 8, May 1910, 533, 534, 535, 536.
About the Author: Edna L. Foley, who received her bachelor's degree at Smith College in 1901, was the supervising nurse at the Chicago Tuberculosis Institute.
Alongside traditional occupational categories such as "white collar" or "blue collar," historians and sociologists are increasingly identifying the so-called pink collar occupational realm that features female-dominated jobs that are accorded low pay and little social status. This was clearly the case with nursing, perhaps the most "pink collar" career field of all. Centuries of staffing largely with nuns and community volunteers had served to render nursing a lowly, chronically underappreciated line of work.
Meanwhile, by 1910 the entire medical profession itself was changing. Medicine had once been an unregulated frontier, but the early 1900s witnessed the rapid spread of state certification for doctors and pharmacists. In short, the Progressive-era thrust of championing government intervention into areas of life that had been considered purely private...
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"How Physical Training Affects the Welfare of the Nation"
By: Baroness Rose Posse
Date: October 1910
Source: Posse, Baroness Rose. "How Physical Training Affects the Welfare of the Nation." American Physical Education Review, 15, no. 7, October 1910, 493–494, 496–497, 498, 499.
About the Author: Baroness Rose Posse, founder of the Posse Gymnasium of Boston, Massachusetts, was one of the nation's leading advocates of physical education for the country's boys and girls.
The physical education movement burst onto the American scene in the early years of the twentieth century. The cause of physical education was a solid idea on its own merits; no one could argue against the benefits of physical fitness. But other motives drove the movement, which reflected some of the deeper anxieties present in American life around 1910.
In an earlier age, when America was predominately a rural country, the notion of encouraging physical fitness seemed preposterous. With strapping farm lads pitching heavy bales of hay, there was no need for an exercise program, or concern for eating "natural foods" for that matter. But by the dawn of the twentieth century, a growing percentage of Americans had already shifted from farms and small towns to the cities. If...
(The entire section is 1694 words.)
Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants
By: Immigration Commission; Franz Boas
Source: The Immigration Commission. "Introductory." Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants, 61st Congress, 2d sess. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1910, 5; Boas, Franz. Changes in Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants, 61st Congress, 2d sess. Washington, D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1910, 7–8.
About the Author: Franz Boas (1858–1942) was one of America's leading anthropologists and experts on race and ethnicity. Born and educated in Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 1886 and became a professor at Columbia University.
From its founding in the seventeenth century, there was to many something remarkably special about America. Newcomers quickly realized that the streets were not paved with gold, but the land seemed uniquely blessed. Doubtless this prospect attracted millions of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere over time. And the material abundance was so evident that historian David Potter saw fit to title his classic work on Americans People of Plenty.
This ethos of plenty played itself out in various ways. Many observers contrasted the healthy, chubby-cheeked...
(The entire section is 1599 words.)
"Tobacco: A Race Poison"
By: Daniel Lichty
Date: January 1914
Source: Lichty, Daniel. "Tobacco: A Race Poison." Proceedings of the First National Conference on Race Betterment, Battle Creek, Mich.: Race Betterment Foundation, 1914, 222–224, 225, 226, 229, 230, 232.
About the Author: Daniel Lichty, M.D. was a vigorous anti-tobacco crusader who brought his firsthand experience with lung diseases—especially tuberculosis—to bear on the problems of smoking.
During the Progressive era, while the crusade to prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages was a major issue, a lesser campaign targeted yet another perceived public-health menace—tobacco. While the opponents of alcohol scored a spectacular political victory with the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution mandating at least a partial national prohibition (the manufacture, sale, and transportation were outlawed, while the purchase and consumption continued to be legal), the opponents of tobacco achieved no such comparable triumph.
Nonetheless, the antismoking movement of the 1910s, while hardly successful, served as a harbinger of the antismoking campaign that has been conducted since the publication of the Surgeon General's...
(The entire section is 1666 words.)
By: Henry Smith Williams
Source: Williams, Henry Smith. Painless Childbirth. New York: Goodhue, 1914, 10, 14, 18, 19–20, 36, 43, 90–91.
About the Author: Henry Smith Williams (1863–1943), a physician and pathologist, was one of America's foremost advocates of the so-called new "Twilight Sleep" method for inducing painless childbirth in women.
The pain of childbirth has been something that women, and women alone, have always had to endure. Moreover, childbirth induces a particular type of pain that is not easily treated. Throughout labor, the woman must remain conscious in order to push, hold back, or engage in whatever other actions the birth process may require. Hence, the nineteenth-century introduction of safe general anesthetic, which rendered the patient totally unconscious, was really not an option with labor. Meanwhile, other pain remedies presented the threat that the newborn might be exposed to harmful, even life-threatening, drugs.
However, by 1910 a new pain-management option had arrived in the United States from Germany that went by the name "twilight sleep:" With the use of small doses of narcotics, such as morphine or opium derivatives, a pleasant...
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"The Endowment of Motherhood"
By: John F. Moran
Date: January 9, 1915
Source: Moran, John F. "The Endowment of Motherhood." Presidential Address read at a meeting of the Washington, D.C., Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, January 9, 1915. In Journal of the American Medical Association 64, no. 2, January–June, 1915, 122–126.
About the Author: John Francis Moran, M.D. (1885–1929), president of the Washington (D.C.) Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and a longtime critic of traditional home-childbirth midwives, sought to promote hospital childbirth under physician care for all American women.
There has always existed a tension between the idea of medicine as a healing art and as a business. Over the last two centuries, physicians—sometimes more loyal to the business end of the health-care industry than to its actual practice on patients—have waged a turf battle with other health-related professions that physicians viewed as rivals. Nurses and pharmacists, osteopaths, homeopaths, and chiropractors have all found it hard to resist the economic, political, and social power exerted by physicians backed by the authority of the state.
One example is the relationship between physicians and druggists....
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"How the Drug Dopers Fight"
By: George Creel
Date: January 30, 1915
Source: Creel, George. "How the Drug Dopers Fight." Harper's Weekly, January 30, 1915, 110–112.
About the Author: George Creel (1876–1953), a crusading investigative journalist, was a vehement critic of the patent-medicine industry. Shifting gears, he served the Wilson administration during World War I (1914–1918) as chairman of the highly controversial Committee on Public Information, a government agency designed to promote support for the conflict.
Most of the laws prohibiting the sale, possession, and use of narcotics and other controlled substances are barely a century old. Throughout the earlier part of the nation's history, a libertarian attitude prevailed regarding these matters, which were once deemed private, not public,
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"The Heart of the People"
By: Randolph Bourne
Date: July 3, 1915
Source: Bourne, Randolph. "The Heart of the People." The New Republic, July 3, 1915.
About the Author: Randolph Bourne (1886–1918), an essayist and social critic, was one of the nation's outstanding young intellectuals during the pre-World War I period. A fervent opponent of American intervention in the conflict, Bourne is famous for his aphorism "War is the health of the state." He died prematurely during the influenza epidemic of 1918.
The second decade of the twentieth century saw the American motion picture come of age. Prior to 1915, the movies had largely been the preserve first of carnival arcades with their nickelodeons and later of small movie houses located in seedy neighborhoods frequented by poor immigrants and minorities. But all that changed in 1915 with the release of D.W. Griffith's epic drama, The Birth of a Nation—the first truly great silent-screen classic. Now for the first time, going to the movies became an accepted middle-class pastime.
In addition, by 1915 the increasingly sophisticated motion-picture industry had become a vehicle for the discussion of social issues. Movies often exhibited a gritty...
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"Progress in Pediatrics"
By: Philip Van Ingen
Date: September 1915
Source: Van Ingen, Philip. "Progress in Pediatrics: Recent Progress in Infant Welfare Work." American Journal of Diseases of Children 10, September 1915, 212, 213–214, 219.
About the Author: Philip Van Ingen, M.D. (1875–1953), was one of the nation's outstanding practicing pediatricians. He maintained a lifelong interest in promoting science-based education among parents so as to enable them to appreciate better the medical and nutritional needs of their children. He played a major role in promoting and popularizing the childhood health movement.
The early years of the twentieth century witnessed a dramatic growth in government power throughout the United States that featured extensive state involvement in many areas of life that had previously been considered strictly private matters. Measures appeared regulating personal conduct, including alcohol and drug use and sexual behavior. Older, more libertarian-oriented ideas that unsavory personal conduct could be corrected either by voluntary efforts or by moral pressure gave way to more government-oriented solutions.
Meanwhile, government authority was enhanced in other significant ways....
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"Orthopedic Surgery in War Time"
By: Robert B. Osgood
Source: Osgood, Robert B. "Orthopedic Surgery in War Time." Paper presented at the 67th Annual Session of the American Medical Association, Detroit, Michigan, June 13–16, 1916. Published in Transactions of the Section on Orthopedic Surgery. Chicago: American Medical Association Press, 1916, 143–144, 148, 149, 150.
About the Author: Robert Bailey Osgood (1873–1956), one of America's leading orthopedic surgeons, practiced in Boston. He was a recognized expert on diseases of the bones and joints and an author of a standard reference book on the subject.
One of the consequences of war is the large number of men maimed in combat. In the past, the seriously wounded veteran was more often than not the object of pity. He faced a lifetime of difficult rehabilitation with uncertain prospects for recovery, as well as relentless pain and grief. While those killed in action are in time forgotten, the disabled survivor remains a constant reminder to the community of the human cost of war.
By World War I, medical science had made great strides treating many once life-threatening battlefield wounds. Although the advent...
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"War and Mental Diseases"
By: Pearce Bailey
Date: October 19, 1917
Source: Bailey, Pearce. "War and Mental Diseases." Address given to General Sessions, American Public Health Association, Washington, D.C., October 19, 1917. Reprinted in American Journal of Public Health 8, no. 1, January 1918, 1–5, 7.
About the Author: Pierce Bailey (1865–1922), a major in the U.S. Medical Reserve Corps, was a recognized authority on the mental and psychological aspects of war. He also wrote a comprehensive study of the various diseases of the nervous system resulting from accidents or injuries.
The task of overcoming fear has always been a problem for military commanders. Various solutions have been tried—usually involving a training regimen designed to mold troops into cohesive units where the spirit of teamwork acts as a unifying force intended to overcome normal fear. The legendary eighteenth-century armies of Prussian king Frederick the Great operated on the basis of raw terror, for officers were stationed to the rear of the men with orders to shoot deserters. In essence, Frederick sought to instill in his men more dread of their own superiors than of the battlefield enemy.
The study of the psychological impact of...
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"Some Considerations Affecting the Replacement of Men by Women Workers"
By: Josephine Goldmark
Date: October 19, 1917
Source: Goldmark, Josephine. "Some Considerations Affecting the Replacement of Men by Women Workers." Address given to Industrial Hygiene Section, American Public Health Association, Washington, D.C., October 19, 1917. Reprinted in American Journal of Public Health 8, no. 4, April 1918, 270, 272, 273, 275, 276.
About the Author: Josephine Goldmark (1877–1950) served in various capacities as an officer of the National Consumers' League of New York City. She became a recognized authority on the problems both of women and child labor.
During the Progressive era, many states and localities passed laws mandating worker protection. These statutes included health and safety measures designed to protect women from a variety of hazards, including exposure to toxic substances—especially while pregnant. Other laws limited, for instance, the amount of weight that a woman might be required to lift as part of her job. Ironically, at the moment when the long-standing efforts of industrial reformers were coming to fruition, the emerging feminist movement oftentimes exerted pressure in the opposite direction. Some, but not all, feminists argued that if women desired rough equality...
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"100 Sailors at Great Lakes Die of Influenza"
By: Chicago Tribune
Date: September 23, 1918
Source: "100 Sailors at Great Lakes Die of Influenza." Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1918, 1.
"Find Influenza Germ"
By: Washington Post
Date: September 21, 1918
Source: "Find Influenza Germ." Washington Post, September 21, 1918.
The word plague conjures up horrific images of centuries past when deadly diseases ravaged entire continents. The mid-fourteenth-century bubonic plague ("black death"), when 25 percent of Europe's population was killed, is the most famous example. Thankfully, over the past several centuries, advances in medicine, public health, and personal hygiene have diminished, if not altogether eliminated, most plagues, or "pandemics," as they are called today. Perhaps the reason the AIDS epidemic is so frightening is that modern medical research has failed to find a cure despite its best efforts. It serves as a chilling reminder that microbes can still wreak havoc on the human population....
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"The Fight Against Venereal Disease"
By: Raymond B. Fosdick
Date: November 30, 1918
Source: Fosdick, Raymond B. "The Fight Against Venereal Disease." The New Republic, November 30, 1918, 132–133,134.
About the Author: Raymond Blaine Fosdick (1883–1972), a lawyer and social activist, served as chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities of the Army and Navy Departments during World War I. In this capacity, Fosdick fought to maintain high moral standards among the military recruits.
Of all the various public health concerns, the subject of venereal disease, particularly syphilis, was the most difficult to bring up in public. For unlike other contagious diseases that were more or less randomly transmitted, syphilis carried the stigma of sin, for the disease was contracted by personal behavior and reflected poorly on the victim.
Nonetheless, by 1910 the once-taboo subject was at long last becoming a proper topic of public debate. For instance, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's breakthrough drama Ghosts (1881) brought a new awareness of syphilis to the stage. Elsewhere, the American press began publishing articles about the disease. The widespread adoption of the Wassermann test furnished a...
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"The Next War"
By: Harvey Washington Wiley
Date: January 1919
Source: Wiley, Harvey Washington. "The Next War." Good Housekeeping, January 1919, 44–45.
About the Author: Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley (1844–1930), was a major figure in the campaign to induce the U.S. government to enact the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, which established the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Wiley to be the first commissioner of the FDA, which he headed from 1907 until 1912.
The First World War served as a watershed event in American history in a variety of ways. The Wilson administration presented the struggle to the public as a moral crusade to "make the world safe for democracy." For many ordinary citizens, the war was a reason to remake American society to render the country a fitting place for returning heroes.
The war also proved a milestone in the evolution of power and responsibility for American governments at every level. Efforts to eliminate venereal disease, for instance, were viewed as a means of ensuring the health and productivity of both troops in the field and workers at home. The same could be said for the campaign to eliminate the consumption of...
(The entire section is 1431 words.)