mltaylor


Molly Ladd-Taylor

Photo of Molly Ladd-Taylor

Department of History

Professor

Office: Vari Hall, 2136
Phone: (416)736-2100 Ext: 30419
Email: mltaylor@yorku.ca
Primary website: http://mltaylor.info.yorku.ca/

Media Requests Welcome
Accepting New Graduate Students


My research focuses on the histories of women’s health, maternal and child welfare policy, and eugenics in the United States.

More...

My early work explored how middle-class “maternalists” used the image of the good mother, burdened by poverty and overwork, to build a public health and welfare system they thought would protect mothers and children. Later, I shifted my attention from "good" to "bad" mothers, as I sought to understand the ideas and social policies that defined some women as “bad” mothers, unfit to rear or even bear the nation’s citizens. My new research focuses on post-World War II legacies of eugenics in popular thinking about “bad” kids.

Degrees

Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University
M.A., American Studies, Case Western Reserve University
B.A., Honors in History, Oberlin College

Research Interests

, Research Interests: 20th Century U.S. History, health and welfare, gender, childhood, eugenics, History
Books

Publication
Year

Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press: 2017)

2017

Becoming a Historian: A Canadian Manual, 2nd ed., co-Edited with Franca Iacovetta et al. Canadian Historical Association: 2008 (first ed., 1999).

2008

Women, Health and Nation: Canada and the United States Since 1945 Co-edited with Georgina Feldberg, Alison Li & Kathryn McPherson (Mc-Gill-Queen’s University Press, 2003) 438 pp.

2003

'Bad' Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th-Century America Co-edited with Lauri Umansky (New York Univ. Press: 1998) 411 pp.

1998

Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women, 2nd revised edition. Co-edited with Nancy F. Cott, Jeanne Boydston, Ann Braude and Lori Ginzberg (Northeastern University Press: 1996) 440 pp.

1996

Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare and the State 1890-1930 (University of Illinois Press: 1994) 211 pp.

1994

Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers' Letters to the Children's Bureau, 1915-1932, edited with introduction (Rutgers University Press: 1986) 212 pp.

1986

Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“Eugenics and Social Welfare in New Deal Minnesota,” in 100 Years of Eugenics: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Project, ed. Paul A. Lombardo (Univ. of Indiana Press, 2011), 117-140.

2011

“What Child Left Behind? US Social Policy and the Hopeless Child,” in Lost Kids: Vulnerable Children and Youth in Twentieth-Century Canada and the United States eds. Mona Gleason et al, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2009), 157-174.

2009

“The ‘Sociological Advantages’ of Sterilization: Fiscal Politics and Feebleminded Women in Interwar Minnesota,” in Mental Retardation in America: A Historical Anthology, eds. Steven Noll and James W. Trent (New York University Press, 2004), 281-299.

2004

“Comparative Perspectives on Canadian and American Women’s Health Care Since 1945,” co-authored with G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson, Women, Health and Nation, eds. G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), 15-44.

2003

“’A Kind of Genetic Social Work: Sheldon Reed and the Origins of Genetic Counseling,” Women, Health and Nation, eds. G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), 67-83.

2003

"'Fixing' Mothers: Child Welfare and Compulsory Sterilization in the American Midwest, 1925-1945" in Child Welfare and Social Action eds. Jon Lawrence and Pat Starkey (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2001)

2001

"'My Work Came Out of My Agony and Grief': The Sheppard-Towner Act," in Mothers of A New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States, eds. Seth Koven and Sonya Michel (Routledge: 1993), 321-342.

1993

"'Why Does Congress Wish Women and Children to Die': The Rise and Fall of Public Maternal and Infant Health Care in the U.S. 1921-1929," in Women and Children First: International Maternal and Infant Welfare, eds. Valerie Fildes, Hilary Marchand, and Lara Marks (Routledge: 1992), 121-132.

1992

"Federal Help for Mothers: The Rise and Fall of the Sheppard-Towner Act in the 1920s," in Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Women's History, eds. Susan Reverby and Dorothy O. Helly (Cornell University Press: 1992), 217-227.

1992

"Hull House Goes to Washington: Women and the Children's Bureau," in Gender, Class, Race and Reform in the Progressive Era, eds. Nancy Schrom Dye and Noralee Frankel (University of Kentucky Press: 1991), 110-126.

1991

"Women's Health and Public Policy," in The History of Women, Health, and Medicine in America, ed. Rima Apple (Garland Publishing: 1990[ paper back Rutgers UP], 391-410.

1990

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“‘Ravished by Some Moron’: The Eugenic Origins of the Minnesota Psychopathic Personality Law of 1939,” Journal of Policy History 32 (2019): 192-216.

2019

“Contraception or Eugenics? Sterilization and ‘Mental Retardation’ in the 1970s and 1980s,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 31 (2014): 189-211

2014

“My Left History [Symposium on ‘What is Left History?’],” Left History 11 (Spring 2006): 15-17.

2006

“Coping with a ‘Public Menace’: Eugenic Sterilization in Minnesota,” Minnesota History 59 (Summer 2005): 237-248.

2005

“Mother-Worship/Mother-Blame: Politics and Welfare in an Uncertain Age,” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 6 (Spring/Summer 2004): 7-15.

2004

“Eugenics, Sterilization and Modern Marriage: the Strange Career of Paul Popenoe,” Gender & History 13 (August 2001): 298-327.

2001

“Child Guidance and the Democratization of Mother-Blaming,” Reviews in American History 28 (December 2000): 593-600.

2000

"Saving Babies and Sterilizing Mothers: Eugenics and Welfare Politics in the Interwar United States," Social Politics 4 (Spring 1997): 136-153.

1997

"Toward Defining Maternalism in U.S. History," Journal of Women's History 5 (Fall 1993): 110-113.

1993

"'Grannies' and 'Spinsters': Midwife Education Under the Sheppard-Towner Act," Journal of Social History 22 (Winter 1988): 255-275.

1988

"Women Workers and the Yale Strike," Feminist Studies 11 (Fall 1985): 465-489.

1985

"A Forum on the Yale Strike," Radical America 18 (Sept.-Oct. 1984): 7-19.

1984


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/HIST1080 6.0 A Growing Up in North America LECT
Fall 2020 AP/HIST3618 3.0 A United States Since 1945 LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/HIST1080 6.0 A Growing Up in North America LECT
Winter 2021 GS/HIST5230 3.0 M Race, Gender and American Politics SEMR


My research focuses on the histories of women’s health, maternal and child welfare policy, and eugenics in the United States.

My early work explored how middle-class “maternalists” used the image of the good mother, burdened by poverty and overwork, to build a public health and welfare system they thought would protect mothers and children. Later, I shifted my attention from "good" to "bad" mothers, as I sought to understand the ideas and social policies that defined some women as “bad” mothers, unfit to rear or even bear the nation’s citizens. My new research focuses on post-World War II legacies of eugenics in popular thinking about “bad” kids.

Degrees

Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University
M.A., American Studies, Case Western Reserve University
B.A., Honors in History, Oberlin College

Research Interests

, Research Interests: 20th Century U.S. History, health and welfare, gender, childhood, eugenics, History

All Publications


Book Chapters

Publication
Year

“Eugenics and Social Welfare in New Deal Minnesota,” in 100 Years of Eugenics: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Project, ed. Paul A. Lombardo (Univ. of Indiana Press, 2011), 117-140.

2011

“What Child Left Behind? US Social Policy and the Hopeless Child,” in Lost Kids: Vulnerable Children and Youth in Twentieth-Century Canada and the United States eds. Mona Gleason et al, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2009), 157-174.

2009

“The ‘Sociological Advantages’ of Sterilization: Fiscal Politics and Feebleminded Women in Interwar Minnesota,” in Mental Retardation in America: A Historical Anthology, eds. Steven Noll and James W. Trent (New York University Press, 2004), 281-299.

2004

“Comparative Perspectives on Canadian and American Women’s Health Care Since 1945,” co-authored with G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson, Women, Health and Nation, eds. G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), 15-44.

2003

“’A Kind of Genetic Social Work: Sheldon Reed and the Origins of Genetic Counseling,” Women, Health and Nation, eds. G. Feldberg, M. Ladd-Taylor, A. Li and K. McPherson (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003), 67-83.

2003

"'Fixing' Mothers: Child Welfare and Compulsory Sterilization in the American Midwest, 1925-1945" in Child Welfare and Social Action eds. Jon Lawrence and Pat Starkey (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2001)

2001

"'My Work Came Out of My Agony and Grief': The Sheppard-Towner Act," in Mothers of A New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States, eds. Seth Koven and Sonya Michel (Routledge: 1993), 321-342.

1993

"'Why Does Congress Wish Women and Children to Die': The Rise and Fall of Public Maternal and Infant Health Care in the U.S. 1921-1929," in Women and Children First: International Maternal and Infant Welfare, eds. Valerie Fildes, Hilary Marchand, and Lara Marks (Routledge: 1992), 121-132.

1992

"Federal Help for Mothers: The Rise and Fall of the Sheppard-Towner Act in the 1920s," in Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Women's History, eds. Susan Reverby and Dorothy O. Helly (Cornell University Press: 1992), 217-227.

1992

"Hull House Goes to Washington: Women and the Children's Bureau," in Gender, Class, Race and Reform in the Progressive Era, eds. Nancy Schrom Dye and Noralee Frankel (University of Kentucky Press: 1991), 110-126.

1991

"Women's Health and Public Policy," in The History of Women, Health, and Medicine in America, ed. Rima Apple (Garland Publishing: 1990[ paper back Rutgers UP], 391-410.

1990

Books

Publication
Year

Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press: 2017)

2017

Becoming a Historian: A Canadian Manual, 2nd ed., co-Edited with Franca Iacovetta et al. Canadian Historical Association: 2008 (first ed., 1999).

2008

Women, Health and Nation: Canada and the United States Since 1945 Co-edited with Georgina Feldberg, Alison Li & Kathryn McPherson (Mc-Gill-Queen’s University Press, 2003) 438 pp.

2003

'Bad' Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th-Century America Co-edited with Lauri Umansky (New York Univ. Press: 1998) 411 pp.

1998

Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women, 2nd revised edition. Co-edited with Nancy F. Cott, Jeanne Boydston, Ann Braude and Lori Ginzberg (Northeastern University Press: 1996) 440 pp.

1996

Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare and the State 1890-1930 (University of Illinois Press: 1994) 211 pp.

1994

Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers' Letters to the Children's Bureau, 1915-1932, edited with introduction (Rutgers University Press: 1986) 212 pp.

1986

Journal Articles

Publication
Year

“‘Ravished by Some Moron’: The Eugenic Origins of the Minnesota Psychopathic Personality Law of 1939,” Journal of Policy History 32 (2019): 192-216.

2019

“Contraception or Eugenics? Sterilization and ‘Mental Retardation’ in the 1970s and 1980s,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 31 (2014): 189-211

2014

“My Left History [Symposium on ‘What is Left History?’],” Left History 11 (Spring 2006): 15-17.

2006

“Coping with a ‘Public Menace’: Eugenic Sterilization in Minnesota,” Minnesota History 59 (Summer 2005): 237-248.

2005

“Mother-Worship/Mother-Blame: Politics and Welfare in an Uncertain Age,” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 6 (Spring/Summer 2004): 7-15.

2004

“Eugenics, Sterilization and Modern Marriage: the Strange Career of Paul Popenoe,” Gender & History 13 (August 2001): 298-327.

2001

“Child Guidance and the Democratization of Mother-Blaming,” Reviews in American History 28 (December 2000): 593-600.

2000

"Saving Babies and Sterilizing Mothers: Eugenics and Welfare Politics in the Interwar United States," Social Politics 4 (Spring 1997): 136-153.

1997

"Toward Defining Maternalism in U.S. History," Journal of Women's History 5 (Fall 1993): 110-113.

1993

"'Grannies' and 'Spinsters': Midwife Education Under the Sheppard-Towner Act," Journal of Social History 22 (Winter 1988): 255-275.

1988

"Women Workers and the Yale Strike," Feminist Studies 11 (Fall 1985): 465-489.

1985

"A Forum on the Yale Strike," Radical America 18 (Sept.-Oct. 1984): 7-19.

1984


Current Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/HIST1080 6.0 A Growing Up in North America LECT
Fall 2020 AP/HIST3618 3.0 A United States Since 1945 LECT


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2020 AP/HIST1080 6.0 A Growing Up in North America LECT
Winter 2021 GS/HIST5230 3.0 M Race, Gender and American Politics SEMR