Welcome. Here are a few highlights from my current research on the history of birth certificates and birth registration in the United States. I'm adding new items here as I find materials that I think will interest a broader audience. For more on my work, see my main website.
Shows a pig and a baby side by side. The pig is labeled with a breed-registration number, captioned "registered." The baby is unlabeled, captioned "Not Registered." Below is the question, "Why?"
Agricultural comparisons were common ways that health departments emphasized the importance of birth registration to rural people during the early 20th century.
The United States Children's Bureau was the first US federal agency to focus on the health and well-being of children and their mothers. Founded in 1912, it played a major role in the development of the early US welfare state.
Many of the items reproduced here concern the work of Dr. Ionia Rollin Whipper (1872-1953), an African-American obstetrician who graduated from Howard University Medical School in 1903. During the 1920s, Dr. Whipper traveled throughout the South teaching midwives to register the births they attended.
Not all of the items here are fully described yet.
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