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History of Pediatrics: Twentieth Century

This guide is an overview of the Rubenstein Library's collections documenting the rich history of pediatrics.

Searching the catalog

These links are sample searches in the Duke Libraries catalog based on library subject headings related to the history of pediatrics. You can limit by location to "Rubenstein Library" to focus on historical sources. 

Print Material

Holt’s book, originally published in 1894, started out as a quick 66 page guide for mothers and children’s nurses, which was progressively expanded , went through many editions (this is the 13th), and was translated into multiple languages.

Originally published in 1896, this medical textbook for physicians, has been through multiple editions (this is the 11th), and evolved into Rudolph’s Pediatrics, earning it a spot as the longest pediatric textbook in continuous print.

Manuscript Collections

John Ridlon was a physician, surgeon, and professor specializing in orthopedic medicine, with a focus on pediatrics, practicing in New York State and Chicago, Illinois. Collection consists of medical case files and casebooks; articles and papers; correspondence; ephemera; diplomas; photographs in the form of prints, negatives, and glass plates; and medical illustrations.

The materials collected by Power document major medical breakthroughs and issues and techniques of the day, including infectious diseases, anaesthesia, x-rays, surgical techniques, vaccinations, treatments for diseases, women's health, pediatrics, mesmerism, and many more topics. They also comment on significant physicians and scientists of the times.

Digitized Content

  • From the Ad*Access Collection, which contains over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering five product categories - Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II propaganda - dated between 1911 and 1955:

Disease Germs Lurk On Half-Clean Hands!!! Play Safe!

"Everything's hunky-dory...Doctor ordered Ivory!"

  • From the Medicine and Madison Avenue Collection, which contains about 600 advertising items and publications dating from 1850 to 1920, illustrating the rise of consumer culture and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry in the United States:

Physicians' Babies Are Better Babies

Two black and white photos showing babies sitting on a scale, and two others on examination tables. The text encourages mothers to have their babies examined, measured, weighed, and recorded, and receive professional advice on feeding baby.

Visit with the Doctor.

The World's Greatest Philanthropy. Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children.