J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Visual and Textual Worlds of Children

I’m taking the opportunity to pass on a call for papers from the American Antiquarian Society:

Home, School, Play, Work: The Visual and Textual Worlds of Children
Conference: 14-15 Nov 2008, at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Center for Historic American Visual Culture and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society seek papers that explore the visual and textual worlds of children in America from 1700 to 1900.

We welcome proposals that address the creation, circulation, and reception of print, manuscript, and other materials produced for, by, or about children. Submissions may address any aspect of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century textual, visual, or material culture that relate to the experience or representation of childhood.

Suggested topics include popular prints for or of children, board and card games, children’s book illustration, visual aspects of children’s books and magazines, early photography and children, performing children (theater, dance, the circus), dolls and puppets, child workers in art and printing industries, images of children and race, representations of childhood sexuality, the architecture of childhood spaces (schoolrooms, nurseries), children’s clothing, children’s appropriation of commodities, children’s handiwork (samplers, dolls, toys), and theories of visuality or textuality and childhood.

Please send a one-page proposal for a 20-minute paper and a brief C.V. to Georgia B. Barnhill, Director of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture, by 10 Jan 2008.
See this page for Barnhill’s email address, more detail, and any updates.

The A.A.S. has a significant collection of early American children’s literature. The organization’s founder, Isaiah Thomas, contributed to this field by reprinting many of John Newbery’s pioneering British children’s books—albeit not with Newbery’s formal authorization. The A.A.S. reading room was also where Esther Forbes, author of Johnny Tremain, did much of her research alongside her principal assistant (her mother).

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