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Able-Bodied Womanhood : Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston - Martha H. Verbrugge

Able-Bodied Womanhood

Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston

Hardcover

Published: 21st January 1988
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As urban life and women's roles changed in the 19th century, so did attitudes towards physical health and womanhood. In this case study of health reform in Boston between 1830 and 1900, Martha H. Verbrugge examines three institutions that popularized physiology and exercise among middle-class women: The Ladies' Physiological Institute, Wellesley College, and the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics. Against the backdrop of a national debate about female duties and well-being, this book follows middle-class women as they learned about health and explored the relationship between fitness and femininity. Combining medical and social history, Verbrugge looks at the ordinary women who participated in health reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected by the concept of "able-bodied womanhood."

"Fascinating...Verbrugge has written an intelligent and entertaining history of women's health reform."--History of Education Quarterly "Her discussion of each institution is superb, and she also demonstrates a clear understanding of the social context and events in Boston during the period under study....An informative and important contribution."--Journal of Social History "Verbrugge has provided an insightful, carefully-nuanced contribution to the history of American health reform."--Social History of Medicine "Verbrugge has brought together an impressive amount and variety of material....Her array of primary sources is exceptionally comprehensive....Makes a valuable multi-disciplinary contribution to the research on this very significant but understudied topic."--The Historian "Offers a descriptively rich social and intellectual history that makes a significant contribution to the sociology of medicine."--American Journal of Sociology "Fascinating...Verbrugge has written an intelligent and entertaining history of women's health reform."--History of Education Quarterly "Her discussion of each institution is superb, and she also demonstrates a clear understanding of the social context and events in Boston during the period under study....An informative and important contribution."--Journal of Social History "Verbrugge has provided an insightful, carefully-nuanced contribution to the history of American health reform."--Social History of Medicine "Verbrugge has brought together an impressive amount and variety of material....Her array of primary sources is exceptionally comprehensive....Makes a valuable multi-disciplinary contribution to the research on this very significant but understudied topic."--The Historian "Offers a descriptively rich social and intellectual history that makes a significant contribution to the sociology of medicine."--American Journal of Sociology "Adds to the historiography on the 'body politic' by providing use with new and deeper understandings of the complexity of the relationship of the gendered body to the polity as a whole....The book has as much to say about men as it does about women and should...make an excellent teaching volume for any social history of medicine course."--Journal of the History of Medicine "A well-researched exploration of what the middle-class obsession with health meant to Bostonians in the 19th century....Verbrugge integrates material from the most recent works in social, medical, and women's history; especially noteworthy is her sober historiographic recasting of the significance of women's voluntary associations. Recommended."--Choice "An impressive synthesis of women's history and medical history, combining a persuasive analysis of reformers' rhetoric with a close examination of local institutions of health reform....Widely informed, carefully argued, and well written, it seems likely to appeal in the classroom as well as to engage the attention of historians." --ISIS "This study offers much that will be of interest to public health personnel. The three case studies provide many fascinating details, such as the role of women's voluntary associations in supporting the careers of early female physicians, and the obstacle that views of women's physiology posed for their participation in higher education. The book provides an important view of antecedents of health education and health promotion, and recent health-related activities are remarkably similar to those that Verbrugge discusses." --Journal of Public Health Policy

ISBN: 9780195051247
ISBN-10: 0195051246
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 308
Published: 21st January 1988
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.3 x 14.7  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.58