Model Mothers: Jewish Mothers and Maternity Provision in East London 1870-1939

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byLara V. Marks

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This is the first scholarly study to focus on Jewish women's experience of childbirth and infant care. In late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain there was deep concern about the perceived physical and military deterioration of the nation, reflected in the diminishing birth rate,persistently high infant mortality, and the poor health of the working class, revealed by army recruitment. Many medical practitioners and politicians believed that Jewish mothers were `model mothers' whose exemplary care of their children offered a solution to these problems. Lara Marks assesses the extent to which the stereotype of Jewish mothers reflected the reality of their experience in East London between 1870 and 1939. Not only did they have to cope with extreme poverty, but as newly arrived immigrants had to deal with linguistic and cultural barriers, as wellas the unfamiliarity of local medical facilities. Nevertheless, as Dr Marks shows, Jewish mothers and their infants had clearly indicated by the remarkably low rate of Jewish infant mortality, and she examines the reasons for this. Model Mothers makes important contributions to our knowledge ofmaternal and infant care in this period and to our understanding of the interactions between ethnicity and health-care.

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This is the first scholarly study to focus on Jewish women's experience of childbirth and infant care. In late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain there was deep concern about the perceived physical and military deterioration of the nation, reflected in the diminishing birth rate,persistently high infant mortality, and the ...

Lara V. Marks is at Imperial College, University of London.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:342 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019820454X

ISBN - 13:9780198204541

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`a book which constructively combines questions of gender and ethnicity ... Model Mothers provides a rich and critical examination of Jewish motherhood and health provision ... a fine study that will appeal to historians of medicine as well as those of gender and ethnicity'A. James Hammerton, La Trobe University, Albion, Winter '95