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Images of mainline Protestant children and families in the U.S.


On the first page of "Growing Up Protestant: Parents, Children, and Mainline Churches," Margaret Lamberts Bendroth sums up the problem of studying mainline Protestant culture in this way: "They are hardly an exotic group . . . Mainline Protestants are, in many ways, the neutral backing to the ethnic crazy quilt of American diversity, the mythical standard by which everyone else becomes an 'other.'" This database considers the backing of the crazy quilt by attention to images of mainline Protestant children and families in the U.S.,from denominational and non-denominational magazines dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. Images related to articles as well as advertisements were selected to consider the configurations of "responsible," "wholesome," and "productive" families. The images include depictions of family size and health, article-related images and advertisements on scientific nutrition, and other images related to scientific progress and proper domesticity. The researchers have also sought to consider ways that families who variously do not fit the norms are depicted within the magazines. These images will likely be relevant to studies in North American religious history, cultural history, and bioethics.

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