walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Sloppy history

Davis opens _Two Bit Culture_ with a story about the success of Dr. Spock's baby manual.

p 4 "By 1938, he had acquired enough of a reputation to warrant the first call from a publisher eager to have Spock write a book about child rearing for parents. Spock's standing came not because he tended to famous patients but because of his training. At the time, he was perhaps the only pediatrician in the United States, and maybe the world, who had psychiatric and psychoanalytic experience. According to Spock, anyone who made inquiries at university pediatrics departments would have learned that if they wanted a pediatrician with this training, Spock was the one."

I am relatively certain this is self-serving nonsense that Davis didn't bother to fact check, because if _he had_ fact checked it, I'm pretty sure he would have promptly discovered that Leo Kanner had much more extensive training in the same set of fields, was himself running a clinic in an academic context at Johns Hopkins (the first psychiatric clinic for kiddies in the US possibly anywhere, as near as I can tell) around the time Spock got the call. And Kanner's book for parents about child rearing was made it into print _before_ Spock wrapped his up.

But I could be wrong. I know Kanner's book about child rearing came out in 1941 and Spock's came out in 1946. What I'm less certain about is the amount of psychoanalytic training that Kanner had.
Tags: not-a-book-review
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