ADVICE TO MOTHERS
Advice to Mothers
These books represent a small selection of the types of books that were available to mothers throughout the twentieth century. There were a large range of materials that specifically targeted mothers in an attempt to shape mothering and family life. The books were written by the Health Department, medical specialists, concerned individuals and community groups. Much of the guidance on offer is pedagogical, with an aim of ‘instructing’ women implicitly and explicitly on how to be good mothers. Advice is promoted through illustrations, feature articles, advertising, and advice columns.
ALL ITEMS FEATURED ON THIS PAGE HAVE BEEN DIGITISED IN FULL AND ARE AVAILABLE IN MONASH COLLECTIONS ONLINE. CLICK ON THE IMAGE OF ANY ITEM TO VIEW THE COMPLETE BOOK
ISIE YOUNGER ROSS (1887-1956)
FEEDING THE CHILD – ALL AGES: FOODS THAT PROMOTE GROWTH, HEALTH, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT WITH SPECIMEN MENUS, RECIPES, ETC.
LONDON: FREDERICK WARNE & CO, 1929
Dr Younger Ross wrote this book ‘primarily for mothers with the intent of helping them in the many difficulties which arise in feeding their children’. The book covers all stages of childhood, from five to seventeen years of age. Ross believed that mothers often found it ‘difficult to reconcile the findings of science with the practical preparation of food in the home.’ Ninety years later, families (and mothers) are still grappling with the same issues, only now with decades of research to work through.
VERA SCANTLEBURY BROWN (1889-1946) AND KATE CAMPBELL (1899-1986)
A GUIDE TO THE CARE OF THE YOUNG CHILD: INFANT AND PRESCHOOL AGES. FOR STUDENTS OF INFANT WELFARE
MELBOURNE: VICTORIA, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, 1951
A Guide provides textbook material for Infant welfare nurses, who were at the forefront of the transference of knowledge to mothers about their children. From the research of Dr Scantlebury Brown, it was first published as ‘Guide to Infant Feeding’ in 1929. After the death of Brown in 1946, Dr Kate Campbell updated the content. The book covers all aspects of the growth and development of young children, incorporating food into the process, whether it is breastfeeding, lunches or general nutrition problems.
MINISTERING CHILDREN’S LEAGUE
HAPPY CHILDREN IN YOUR HOME: PARENTS’ GUIDE
MELBOURNE: PUBLISHED BY W. CRUICKSHANK FOR THE MINISTERING CHILDREN'S LEAGUE, 1945
Advice to mothers was also present in more general parenting guides. Happy Children is a wide-ranging guide for parents on child-raising, cooking, amusements, first aid, gardening. Clear here is the struggle to get mothers’ attention. Chapters such as ‘Butter as an Aid to Good Health’, ‘Meat Values’ and ‘Ice Cream - a True Dairy Food’ give advice to mothers, while advertisements on each page suggest food, goods and services. Many of these are targeted at ill or convalescing children.
WE MUST EAT!: FOOD VALUES FOR CHILDREN
MELBOURNE: WHITCOMBE AND TOMBS, 1943
Designed to be read by children as part of the Story Book series of Whitcombe and Tombs, We Must Eat! tells the story of two children, Bob and Margaret in their quest of find out ‘what’s a diet’. They are helped through their exploration by Ms Fraser-Smith, who teaches them the difference between a right and poor diet, the importance of vitamins and how to design a ‘just so diet’ (after the Just So stories). There are menu suggestions for Bob and Margaret at the end, to relay to their mother. Stories are powerful pedagogical tools still used today in teaching children about health.
NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL
FOOD FOR SCHOOL BOYS AND GIRLS
CHICAGO: NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL, 191?
Menu suggestions for breakfasts, dinners and suppers were common tools of handling nutrition issues. Prepared by the Boston Dietetic Bureau, the menus in this pamphlet are directed towards mothers. Highlighting the importance of meals in a simple, visually engaging way, mothers are also advised to provide mid-morning and after-school lunches for children. (see poster)
MOTHERCRAFT ASSOCIATION OF QUEENSLAND
BRISBANE: MOTHERCRAFT ASSOCIATION OF QUEENSLAND, 1956
Founded in 1931 by Phyllis Dorothy Cilento (1894-1987), the Mothercraft Association of Queensland aimed to educate women in all areas affecting maternal and child health. Their magazine does so with a cross section of advice regarding the importance of vitamins, and how to incorporate them into food before recommending to mothers what they should feed their children for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.