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Colonial Childhoods Oral History Project

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The Colonial Childhoods Oral History Project (CCOHP) comprises recorded interviews with 165 New Zealanders, male and female, Maori and Pakeha, the majority of whom were born before 1903. Interviews focus on the period before an individual’s 15th birthday. Participants discussed a wide range of topics relating to the culture of childhood, including home life, sibling influences, school and... Read More »

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Confessions of Dorothy and Abigail Faulkner, Jr.

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Dorothy and Abigail Faulkner: aged 10 and 8

Dorothy Faulkner and Abigail Faulkner, Jr. also lived in Andover, Massachusetts, and their mother was accused of witchcraft as well. While short testimonies, these two children’s stories include the same elements noted in the other children’s trials. Their case is similarly based on the direct implication of mothers in children's confessions.... Read More »

Constitution of the Lacedaemonians

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Very little extant information exists on the life of Spartan women, but one of the main sources is Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaemonians which catalogs Sparta's institutions and customs with the goal of explaining how Sparta came to be a powerful city-state despite its relatively small population. This excerpt concerns the education of children and marriage arrangements in Sparta and... Read More »

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Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Official interest in the rights of children has grown over the course of the 20th century. Urbanization and industrialization led reformers at the turn of the century to focus on child welfare and on children's rights as separate from those of adults. The American Congress responded by creating the U.S. Children's Bureau, the first federal agency in the world mandated to focus solely on the... Read More »

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Creeping Baby Doll Patent

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Strongly influencing the invention of Robert J. Clay's mechanized "Creeping Baby Doll" in 1871, were changing notions of childhood that fostered children's development.

Allowing babies to crawl on all fours as did Clay's doll reflected recent changes in childrearing practices. In Early Modern Europe and in early America, the association between crawling babies and the insane and animals... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Slave Women and Children

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Although marriage was not forbidden between Europeans and slaves or other non-Europeans, it was quite rare and entailed a drop in social status for the European. Nevertheless, sexual relationships occurred—sometimes coerced, sometimes by mutual agreement. The children born to slave women by these relationships were seldom openly acknowledged by their fathers, and thus usually followed the fate... Read More »

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Custom of Cutting the Topknot in Thailand

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The custom described in the text by Phya Anuman Rajadhon is presented as it was traditionally practiced in Central Siam. The head of an infant was shaven as part of the khwan ceremony celebrating its survival and welcoming into the family. Some of the hair over the soft part of the infant's skull was left to grow into a topknot, to be cut in another ceremony when the child came of age. The... Read More »

Title page of the Decameron

Decameron

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Giovanni Boccaccio provided the most famous description of what happened during the Black Death in Italy. His report on the behavior of the Florentines after plague entered their city during the spring of 1348 serves as introduction and frame for his collection of 100 tales entitled the Decameron. The epidemic provides the pretext for a group of young men and women to leave Florence... Read More »

Delaware School Alumni Interviews

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In 1954, the Supreme Court declared the "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional in Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. Years earlier, however, Pierre S. du Pont, President of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and General Motors in the 1920s, took bold steps to modernize the education system for African Americans. Du Pont drew attention to the problem of inadequate education by... Read More »

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Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter)

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Published in 1858, Der Struwwelpeter (Shaggy Peter) is a German children's book first published anonymously under a different title in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman. Hoffman, a Frankfurt physician and father, wrote the book after realizing that there were none he wanted to buy for his 3-year-old son for Christmas. The first English translation was published in 1848. While living in Berlin with his... Read More »

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