Expectant Fathers in 1947 Taking a Pre-Natal Course

Not the kind of photo you’d associate with 1947, huh?  There are many theories concerning historical child-rearing, but one of the most persistent is that pre-family planning parents did not love their children in the traditional sense.  Rather, they were driven by the needs of evolution, economics, and their situation (which before birth control meant that if you were sexually active you were most likely a parent).  I.e. history = bad parents, modern times = good parents.

However, the longer I study history, the more evidence I’ve found that humans, in all times periods and in all cultures, show evidence of loving and cherishing their children.  For every example of the ‘distant-parent’ model in history, there are many examples of parents who were happy when their children were born, wanted advice on the best ways to raise them, and mourned them when they died.  I think the above photo does a good job of breaking these historical anachronisms and stereotypes.  The one thing that all historical time periods have in common is that humans are humans.  The caption on this photo in the Library of Congress is as follows:

“Expectant fathers (l to r) Hilton Fellows, Murray Lieberman, Joseph Irving, Sid Tow, Ira Schiller, and Paul Genin bathing a doll during an infant care class at the Brooklyn Red Cross Headquarters”

Photo source [Library of Congress] and [PopArtMachine.com]

Image | This entry was posted in 20th Century, Family Life, Historical Photos, Modern History, U.S. History and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Expectant Fathers in 1947 Taking a Pre-Natal Course

  1. moore314 says:

    Oh my gosh, this photo speaks volumes about 1946 American social history. First, they’re all white and all in “business” attire (white collar class), It makes me chuckle how they have their sleeves rolleded up and aprons on!!! “And look how much fun this is guys!”. Ward Cleaver, maybe – Ralph Kramden, no way.
    Side note – saw my son bathing his first child in the kitchen sink last weekend – handling that little 2.5 month old like she was a beef brisket – rolled her, soaped her, rinsed her like a pro!

    • I know what you mean, the aprons and rolled up sleeves made me laugh too! Although, I think it’s good planning – from bathing my own son, sometimes I feel you need a wetsuit to get out of the bathroom in one piece. 🙂

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