Season Three, Episode One

Hidden Childhoods and Double Ages:
An Interview with Dr. Holly White and Dr. Julia Gossard

Transcript coming soon!

Welcome back to the Children’s Table! In this third season, we’re thinking about hidden childhoods, and this first episode asks us to think about how age itself is a murkier concept than we might imagine. We interview Dr. Holly White and Dr. Julia Gossard, who ask us to consider how Americans often impose a sort of “double age” on young people that assigns different meanings to someone’s chronological age depending on their race, class, and gender. After the interview, we think aloud about how we have bent the definitions of childhood for poor children from nineteenth-century London streets to twenty-first-century California farms.   

To learn more about the concept of double age, be sure to check out the special issue of JHCY (Fall 2022, vol. 15 no. 3) edited by Dr. White and Dr. Gossard!

Dr. Julia M. Gossard is Associate Dean for Research in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Associate Professor of History, and Distinguished Associate Professor of Honors Education at Utah State University. A specialist in eighteenth-century childhood and youth, her book, Young Subjects: Children, State-Building, and Social Reform in the 18th-century French World, was published in 2021 with McGill-Queen’s University Press. She currently is working on three additional book projects, including an edited collection, forthcoming from Routledge, titled Encountering Childhood in Vast Early America. That collection is co-edited by our second guest: Dr. Holly N. S. White. 

Dr. Holly White is a historian of the social and legal history of childhood, youth, and age in the early republic. She works at the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture as the Assistant Editor of Digital Projects and OI Publications. Her first book, Protecting the Innocents: Legal and Cultural Debates About Age and Ability in the Early United States, is forthcoming with the University of Virginia Press.

Follow Dr. White on Twitter @drhollywhite1 and visit Dr. Gossard’s website here. See the reading list below for more of their scholarship and a link to their special issue of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth on double age.

reading list

Field, Corinne T. The struggle for equal adulthood: Gender, race, age, and the fight for citizenship in antebellum America. UNC Press Books, 2014

Field, Corinne T., and Nicholas L. Syrett, eds. Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present. NYU Press, 2015.

Gossard, Julia. Young Subjects: Children’s, State-Building, and Social Reform in the Eighteenth-Century French World. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021.

Gossard, Julia, and Holly White, eds. Special Issue: Forum on Double Age in the History of American Childhood and Youth. Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, vol. 15, no. 3, Fall 2022.

Ibrahim, Habiba. Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life. New York University Press, 2021.

Mayhew, Henry. London Labour and the London Poor. Vol. 1: The London Street-Folk. Griffin, Bohn, and Co., 1851. Google Books.

Riis, Jacob. “The Children of the Poor.” Scribner’s Magazine, May 1892. General Collections, Library of Congress.

White, Holly. “Why We’re Letting Americans Vote, Marry and Drink Far Too Young.” The Washington Post, 29 May 2019.

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