Children Remembered: Responses to Untimely Death in the Past

Robert Woods
Just one hundred years ago, approximately ten percent of all infants born in the United States died before the age of one. In a major city like Chicago, one in four children would die before the age of five. It is difficult for us to imagine the profound effects of such a loss on an individual level—let alone how commonplace these deaths were. Historians have only recently begun to grapple with the experience of child death. Children Remembered explores the experience of parental grief over four centuries in America, England, and France. In contrast to Phillippe Ariès’s influential hypothesis of “parental indifference,” Robert Woods argues that parents did indeed care, memorializing their children through portraits, poems, and other forms of literature. Woods’s unique study transforms these creative expressions into a unique form of historical evidence that challenges disciplinary conventions. The first history to fully consider parental grief in all its expressions, Children Remembered is a groundbreaking addition to this burgeoning debate.

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