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Conceiving the FuturePronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938$
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Laura L. Lovett

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831076

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807868102_lovett

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Fitter Families for Future Firesides

Fitter Families for Future Firesides

Florence Sherbon and Popular Eugenics

(p.131) 6 Fitter Families for Future Firesides
Conceiving the Future

Laura L. Lovett

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Florence Sherbon and her eugenics campaign for fitter families. It examines fitter family contests, held at agricultural fairs that combined eugenics with public-health campaigns and practices. The chapter also looks at the rise of a eugenic reform that integrated heredity and environment within an ideal of the family and the home. It documents the establishment of the U.S. Children's Bureau as a government clearinghouse for information on child health, hygiene, and rearing, paying particular attention to its emphasis on infant mortality and birthrate. The chapter describes Sherbon's work at the Children's Bureau, her decision to launch fitter family contests in collaboration with Mary T. Watts such as the Fitter Families for Future Firesides contest at the 1925 Kansas Free Fair, and her initiative known as the “science of parenthood.”

Keywords:   eugenics, Florence Sherbon, fitter families, Children's Bureau, infant mortality, child health, birthrate, Mary T. Watts, science of parenthood, heredity

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