Benjamin Spock

Physician / Writer
Date Of Birth:
2 May 1903
Date Of Death:
15 March 1998
natural causes
Place Of Birth:
New Haven, Connecticut
Dr. Benjamin Spock's book TheCommon Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was published in 1946, just in time for the post-World War II baby boom, and became a best-selling guide to child rearing and arguably one of the most influential books of the 20th century. A pediatrician, Spock encouraged new parents to use common sense and to treat children with respect. Rather than follow the traditional guidelines of rigid schedules, discipline and a "toughen 'em up for adulthood" approach, Spock advocated providing emotional support and told parents to "trust your instincts." This led some critics to call him the "Father of Permissiveness," especially during the 1960s, when a generation of Americans rebelled against their parents. Then Spock became famous for protesting against America's war in Vietnam, he became a target for conservatives as well as the federal government: he was tried in 1968 after being charged with urging young men to reject military service if drafted. Spock was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, but a the next year his conviction was overturned. Seven editions of Baby and Child Care were published during Dr. Spock's lifetime, with updated medical information and social conventions, and the book continues to be published and updated.
Extra Credit

Spock rowed on Yale’s crew team, and with them won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics… Contrary to popular rumor, Dr. Spock’s son did not commit suicide. His grandson Peter did commit suicide in 1983… Spock is occasionally confused with Mr. Spock of the TV show Star Trek.

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