Children's Books and Football in Smithsonian

My newest article, which addresses the links between children's publishing and football in the U.S. during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, appears in Smithsonian this morning. Here's an excerpt:

"The centrality of wealthy white boys these now-familiar debates over football’s safety may seem peculiar now when it’s poor and minority young men who predominate in the game. Camp’s books, though, exemplify more than just this inversion. They also reveal that football, like series books and other leisure products and activities, thrived during his time as part of a reconstruction of American childhood. Parents’ focus shifted away from sheltering children from the outside world and toward helping young people develop skills that would enable them to prosper in a rapidly changing culture. It was under these transitional circumstances that football gained legitimacy, and only after this acceptance was the game able to expand into the mass-market entertainment that it is today."
 

Facebook as a Tool for Public Historians

In the most recent entry of History@Work, the community blog for the National Council of Public Historians, I address the question Can Facebook Help Public Historians Build Community? Using our Facebook page for the William Penn Project as an example, I argue that Facebook can help historians not only to gather information for public history projects, but also to build community support for their endeavors. Thanks to the blog editors for allowing me to make this contribution!

Why Children's Magazines Matter: A Lecture at Guilford College

I was honored to be asked to deliver the annual Rembert W. Patrick Lecture to the History Department at Guilford College on April 24th. My talk, entitled Why Children's Magazines Matter: Studying Artifacts of Popular Culture, focused on my research process for Commercializing Childhood to illuminate how we can use popular artifacts such as children's magazines to discover broader cultural patterns in U.S. history.

Talking History, Children's Literature, and Literacy at the Bank Street School

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to graduate students at the Bank Street School of Graduate Education in New York City.  I gave a brief talk entitled "Why 19th Century Americans Wanted Their Children to Read," and then we had a terrific conversation about how the literacy practices of the 19th century continue to shape the way that their students learn to read in 21st century classrooms. Thanks to Mollie Welsh Kruger for inviting me, and to the students for such an engaged and thought-provoking discussion.