Rural Unwed Mothers: An American Experience, 1870-1950

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-03-01
  • Publisher: Pickering & Chatto Ltd

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Between 1880 and 1920 there was a sea change in the public response to unwed mothers. What had once been a community issue became a central concern of the new federal Children's Bureau and social work professionals, whilst in urban areas across the country middle class women opened more than 150 homes for unwed mothers. Although historians have explored the development of and experiences within these homes they have failed to take into account that a majority of the young women within these homes were from the countryside. Drawing extensively from agency records, newspaper accounts, sociological studies, and court documents Hough explores the experiences of rural white unwed mothers in Maine and Tennessee, as the world that defined and responded to them shifted from an isolated island community to a nation integrated by a consumer culture, an industrial economy, and a professionalized work force.

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