Richard Meckel (Ph.D. American Culture, University of Michigan) is a Professor of American Studies at Brown. He is a U.S. social and cultural historian, primarily of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whose research and teaching interests include the histories of immigration and ethnicity, childhood and child welfare, medicine and public health, and epidemiology and demography. He is author of Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality, 1850-1929 (1990;1998), Classrooms and Clinics: Urban Schools and the Protection and Promotion of Childhealth, 1870-1930 (2013), and is co-editor of Children and Youth in Sickness and Health (2004). In addition, he is author of variety of book chapters and articles ranging in topic from early twentieth-century Italian-American literature to mid-nineteenth-century urban morbidity and mortality trends.
|Meckel, Richard A. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children . . The American Historical Review. 2016; 121 (1) : 288.2-289.|
Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality, 1850-1929. New and updated paperback edition.
Classrooms and Clinics: Urban Schools and the Protection of Child Health, 1870-1930.
Richard Meckel's research is centered in the intersections between the history of public health and medicine, and the history of child social and medical welfare. He is especially interested in the role of the state in promoting the survival and health of America’s young and has sought to reveal and explain the origins of US infant and child health policy and practice during the critical late nineteenth and early twentieth century period when the nation formatively negotiated the boundaries between public health and private practice and parental and state responsibility for child welfare.
Professor Meckel's current research project is a reconstruction and analysis of the determinants, character, and policy consequences of the 20th and 21st century US discourse on the relationship between poverty, poor nutrition and poor health in childhood.
Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality 1850-1929 (1990) New, paperback edition with revised and updated introduction/preface, University of Rochester Press (Rochester Studies in Medical History), 2015
Classrooms and Clinics: Urban Schools and the Protection and Promotion of Child Health, 1870-1930. New Brunswick and London: Rutgers University Press, 2013
"Child Health in the Age of Empire." In Colin Heywood, ed. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Age of Empire. London: Berg Publishers, 2010, pp. 167-187.
"Politics, Policy and the Measuring of Child Health." In Cynthia Comacchio and Janet Golden, eds. Healing the World's Children: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health in the Twentieth Century.. McGill-Queens University Press, 2008. pp. 235-52
"Medicine: An Overview." In Burt Feintuch and David H. Waters, eds. Encyclopedia of New England Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 1341-1348.
"The Jewelry Industry, Industrial Development, and Immigration in Providence, 1790-1993." In George M. Goodwin and Ellen Smith, eds. The Jews of Rhode Island (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History and Life). Waltham, MA, 2004. Reprint of a 1999 essay.
Children and Youth in Sickness and Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide. Edited with Janet Golden and Heather Munro Prescott. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.
"Infant Mortality," In Paula Fass, et. al., eds. Children and Childhood in History and Society. New York: Macmillan, 2004, pp. 474-79.
"Levels and Trends of Death and Disease in Childhood, 1620-2000." In Janet Golden, Richard Meckel, and Heather Prescott, eds., Children and Youth in Sickness and Health: A Historical Handbook and Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004, pp. 3-24.
"Delivering Oral Health Services to Children in the Past: The Rise and Fall of Children's Dental Clinics." Ambulatory Pediatrics 2 (2002): 255-60.
"Going to School, Getting Sick: The Social and Medical Construction of 'School Diseases' in the Late 19th Century." In Alexandra Minna Stern and Howard Markel, editors. Formative Years: Children's Health in America, 1880-2000. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002, pp. 185-207.
"Pediatrics." In Joseph Hawes and Elizabeth Shores, editors. The Family in America. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2002, pp. 764-773.
"Sickness and Death." In Priscilla Fergusson Clement and Jacqueline S. Reinier, editors. Boyhood in America. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2001, pp. 205-209.
"Historical Perspective on Children's Health Policy." In Vince Hutchins and Wendy Mouradian, eds., Allocation of Resources to Children, Ethics and Oral Health Seminar: Essays. Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, 2000, pp. 83-92.
"Immigrants and the Jewelry Industry in Rhode Island," Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes, 13 (Winter 2000-01): 244-58.
"Racialism and Infant Death: Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Socio-medical Discourses on African American Infant Mortality." In Lara Marks and Michael Worboys, eds. Migrants, Minorities, and Health: Historical and Contemporary Studies. London: Routledge, 1997, pp. 70-92.
"Health and Disease." Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century. Ed. Stanley Kutler et. al. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996, vol 2: 957-986.
"Open-Air Schools and the Tuberculous Child in Early 20th Century America," Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 150 (1996): 91-96.
"Combating Tuberculosis in School Children: Providence's Open-Air Schools," Rhode Island History 53 (1996): 91-100.
"Judging Progressive-Era Infant Welfare in Light of Fatal Years--and Vice Versa." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 68 (1994): 105-112.
Save the Babies: American Public Health Reform and the Prevention of Infant Mortality 1850-1929. (The Henry E. Sigerist Series in the History of Medicine) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990; paperback by University Of Michigan Press, 1998
."Henrietta Russell: Delsartean Prophet of the Gilded Age," Journal of American Culture 12 (Spring 1989): 71-84.
"The Not so Fundamental Sociology of Garibaldi Marto Lapolla," MELUS 14 (Fall 1989): 127-39
With Mary Paula Hunter. A History of Dance in Rhode Island. Providence: RISD Museum, 1989
"Ministry of Mothers." In Mary Beth Norton, ed., Major Problems in American Women's History. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1988, pp. 139-45.
"Protecting the Innocents: Age Segregation and the Early Child Welfare Movement," Social Service Review 59 (Fall 1985): 455-75.
"Immigration, Mortality and Population Growth, Boston, 1840-1880," Journal of Inter-disciplinary History 15 (Winter 1985): 393-417.
"Of Saints and Sinners," American Quarterly 37 (Winter 1985): 742-48.
"Childhood and the Historians," Journal of Family History 9 ((Winter 1984):415-24.
"Educating a Ministry of Mothers: Evangelical Maternal Associations, 1810-1860," Journal of the Early Republic 2 (Winter 1982): 403-23.
|1980||PhD||University of Michigan|
|1970||BA||University of Notre Dame|
American Association for the History of Medicine
American Studies Association
Organization of American Historians
Society for the History of Childhood and Youth
Professor Meckel teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American Studies and History. Among the courses he has taught are: "The Divided Self: Identity and Culture in America; The History of Immigration to the US; The History of Childhood; The History of US Child Welfare; Immigrant and Ethnic Literature; Italians and Jews in Urban America; Children and Families in American History; American Studies: Theory and Method.
|AMST 0150P - The Teen Age: Youth, Society and Culture in Early Cold War America|
|AMST 1611A - Making America: Twentieth-Century U.S. Immigrant/Ethnic Literature|
|AMST 1611Z - The Century of Immigration|
|AMST 1906P - Food in American Society and Culture|
|AMST 1906Q - The History of Children and Childhood in America|