A Social History of the Holy Name Day Nursery: 1921-1950

Betty Brown, Fordham University


In past centuries the family was a relatively stable, independent unit within which the child received a feeling of security. Due to the growth of cities and the consequent strains and tension arising from fractionalized life the possibility of receiving this feeling was weakened. Opportunities for fulfilling the physical, mental health, social and religious needs of the child became fewer while the complexities of modern civilization demanded more stability than ever before. The importance of childhood experiences in molding the personality of the adult was long recognized and expressed by all, professionals as well as laymen. Even so, realization of facilities to aid the child developed slowly. Day nurseries, the aspect of child care with which this dissertation deals, were given their impetus by wars and depressions and only attained important proportions in the past few decades. During the wars women were recruited for industry, and facilities had to be erected to care for the children who otherwise would be without guidance. Also, the fact that numerous men were found unfit to enter the service gave cause for studying the problems of childhood and planning more adequately for early growth. The national depressions, on the other hand, caused concern for the physical health of the deprived child and in this manner furthered the progress of the day nursery movement.

Subject Area

Social work|Mental health|Clinical psychology|American history

Recommended Citation

Brown, Betty, "A Social History of the Holy Name Day Nursery: 1921-1950" (1951). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30725036.