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Babies of the Empire: Science, Nation and Truby King’s Mothercraft in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa

  • S. E. Duff
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood book series (PSHC)

Abstract

In 1923, a coalition of South African child welfare societies invited a nurse trained in Dr Truby King’s mothercraft programme to tour the country, providing a series of public lectures on childrearing. Miss Paterson was met with large audiences and approving newspaper coverage wherever she spoke. Her purpose was to communicate why and how King’s programme of scientific childrearing had contributed to the dramatic reduction in the rate of infant mortality in New Zealand, where King had originated mothercraft in 1907. As Cape Town’s Argus newspaper reported, of every 1,000 babies born in the city in 1922, 137 died, more than half of whom were black. In contrast, in New Zealand, the figure was only 41.8 deaths per thousand — then the lowest in the world. ‘How’, asked the newspaper, ‘do they manage it?’1

Keywords

Infant Mortality Child Welfare White Mother Reduce Infant Mortality Infant Welfare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© S.E. Duff 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Duff

There are no affiliations available

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