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."