Bibliography for “Childhood in Premodern Europe”

Revised 11 July 2019


N.B.  This bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive. Rather, it is a short list of suggested secondary works for students who wish to pursue research on certain topics within the broad themes of the course.  Most books focus on European history prior to 1800. Books about 19th/20th century history, and about American history, have largely been omitted.  Remember that virtually every book on this list has its own bibliography, which may provide more specific and relevant information.  Suggestions to Prof. Carlsmith for additional books/articles  will be happily accepted.


Aasgaard, Reidar and Cornelia Horn, eds. Childhood in History: Perceptions of Children in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.


Abrahams, Dorothy.  “Images of Childhood in Early Byzantine Hagiography.” Journal of Psychohistory 6/4 (1979): 497-517.


Acocella, Joan.  “Little People” [review].  The New Yorker (Aug. 18 & 25, 2003): 138-142.


Alexandre-Bidon, Daniele.  Children in the Middle Ages: From the Fifth to the Fifteenth Centuries.  Trans. Jody Gladding.  South Bend: Notre Dame UP, 1999.


Aries, Phillipe.  Centuries of Childhood:  A Social History of Family Life.  Trans. Robert Baldick.  New York: Vintage Books, 1962.


Armstrong, Mary Katherine.  “A Review of Three Recent Books on the History of Childhood.”  Journal of Psychohistory 2002 30(1): 98-103.  [reviews N. Orme, D. Kertzer, C. Heywood]


Baggerman, Arianne and Rudolf Dekker.  Child of the Enlightenment: revolutionary Europe reflected in a boyhood diary.  Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009.


Banker, James R.  “Mourning a Son: Childhood and Paternal Love in the Consolateria of Gianozzo Manetti.” History of Childhood 3 (1976): 351-362.


Beaumont, Lesley A. Childhood in Ancient Athens: iconography and social history. New York: Routledge, 2012.


Boswell, John.  Kindness of Strangers:  The abandonment of children in Western Europe from late Antiquity to the Renaissance.  New York : Pantheon Books, 1988.


Brockliss, Lawrence and Heather Montgomery. Childhood and Violence in the Western Tradition. Oakville, CT: Oxbow Books, 2010.


Burton, Anthony.  “Looking Forward from Aries? Pictorial and Material Evidence for the History of Childhood and Family Life.” Continuity and Change 4/2 (1989): 203-229.


Carlton, Charles.  Royal Childhoods.  Boston:  Routledge, 1986.


Clanchy, M.T.,  “Learning to Read in the Middle Ages and the Role of Mothers,” Studies in the History of Reading, ed. Greg Brooks and A.K. Pugh, (Reading: Centre for the Teaching of Reading, University of Reading School of Education, 1984)


Colon, A.R. A History of Children: a socio-cultural survey across millennia.  Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2001. [too broad]


Crawford, Sally.  Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England.  Gloucestershire : Sutton, 1999.


Cunningham, Hugh.  Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500.  New York:  Longman, 1995.


Cunningham, Hugh.  The Children of the Poor: Representation of Childhood Since the Seventeenth Century.  Cambridge, MA:  Blackwell, 1991.


DeMaitre, Luke. “The Idea of Childhood and Child Care in Medical Writings of the Middle Ages.” Journal of Psychohistory 4/4 (1979): 461-490.


DeMause, Lloyd, ed.  History of ChildhoodNew York, Psychohistory Press 1974.


Derevenski, Joanna Sofaer, ed..  Children and Material Culture.  London, 2000.


Eisenbichler, Konrad, ed.  The Premodern Teenager: Youth and Society, 1150-1650.  Toronto:  Center for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2002.


Evans Grubbs, J. The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.


Fass, Paula S. The Routledge History of Childood in the Western World. New York: Routledge, 2013.


Finucane, Ronald.  Rescue of the Innocents: endangered children in medieval miracles.  New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.


Forsyth, Ilene H.  “Children in Early Medieval Art: Ninth through Twelfth Centuries”, Journal of Psychohistory 4 (1976): 31-70.


Gaffney Phyllis.  Constructions of childhood and youth in old French narrative.  Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011.


Gavitt, Philip.  Charity and children in Renaissance Florence: Ospedale degli Innocenti, 1410-1536.  Ann Arbor:  Michigan UP, 1990.


Guarnieri, Patrizia.  “Per una storia delle Scienze dell’infanzia: Le fonti dell’Istituto degli Innocenti.  Nuncius  (1996) 11 (1): 277-307.


Giladi, Avner.  Children of Islam: Concepts of childhood in Medieval Muslim Society.  New York: St. Martins Press, 1992.


Goldberg, P.J.P. and Felicity Riddy, eds. Youth in the Middle Ages. York: York Medieval Press, 2004.


Greenleaf, Barbara Kaye.  Children Through the Ages: A History of Childhood.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978.


Haas, Louis.  The Renaissance Man and his Children:  Childbirth and early childhood in Florence, 1300-1600.  New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 1998.


Hanawalt, Barbara.  Growing up in Medieval London:  The Experience of Childhood in History.  New York: Oxford UP, 1993.


Hanawalt Barbara.  “Medievalists and the study of childhood”.  Speculum.  77/2. April 2002, 440-460.   


Harlow, Mary and Ray Laurence. A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in Antiquity [800BC-800AD].  New York: Berg, 2010.


Helgren, Jennifer and Colleen A Vasconcellos. Girlhood.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2010.


Herlihy, David.  Medieval Households.  .  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.


Herlihy, David and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber.  Tuscans and Their Families: A Study of the Florentine Catasto of 1427.  New Haven, CT:  Yale Univ. Press, 1985.


Heywood, Colin.  A History of Childhood. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2001. [Orig. printed by Blackwell Publishing, Cambridge, England.]


Hunt, David.  Parents and Children in History:  The Psychology of Family Life in Early Modern France.  New York:  Basic Books, Inc., 1970.


Immel, Andrea and Michael Witmore, eds. Childhood and Children’s Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800.  New York: Routledge, 2006. [literary]


Katalin, Peter, ed.  Beloved Children: History of Aristocratic Childhood in Hungary in the Early Modern Age.  Budapest: Central European U. Pr., 2001.


King, Margaret.  The Death of the Child Valerio Marcello.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.


Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane.  “Childhood in Tuscany at the Beginning of the Fifteenth Century” and “Blood Parents and Milk Parents: Wet Nursing in Florence, 1300-1530” in idem, Women, Family, and Ritual in Renaissance Italy, trans. Lydia Cochrane.  Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1985.


Kroll, Jerome. “The Concept of Childhood in the Middle Ages.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 13/4 (Oct. 1977): 384-393.


Lerer, Seth.  Children’s literature: a reader’s history, from Aesop to Harry Potter. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.


Levi, Giovanni and Jean-Claude Schmitt, eds.  A History of Young People in the West. Vol. I: Ancient and Medieval Rites of Passage.  Trans. Camille Naish.  Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1997.


Luke, Carmen.  Pedagogy, Printing, and Protestantism: The Discourse on Childhood.  Albany: SUNY New York Press, 1989.


Lynch, Sarah B. Medieval Pedagogical Writings: An Epitome.  Leeds: Kismet Press, 2018.


Malvasi, Meg Greene.  A Renaissance Childhood.  Suite101 website:  <>


Marcus, Ivan G.  Ritual of Childhood: Jewish Acculturation in Medieval Europe.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1996.


Moore, Jenny and Eleanor Scott.  Invisible people and processes: writing gender and childhood into European archaeology.  New York: Leicester UP, 1996.


Mustakallio, Katariina. Hoping for Continuity: childhood, education, and death in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2005.


Neils, Jenifer; Oakley, John Howard,; Hart, Katherine., and others.  Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: images of childhood from the classical past.  New Haven : Yale University Press in association with the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 2003.


Neils, Jenifer, et al.  Striving for Excellence: Ancient Greek Childhood and the Olympic Spirit.  [special supplement to the above work].  New York: Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, 2004.


Nicholas, David.  The Domestic Life of a Medieval City:  Women, Children, and the Family in Fourtheenth-Century Ghent.  Lincoln, Nebraska:  1983.


Okenfuss, Max.  Discovery of Childhood in Russia:  Slavic Primers.  [1570-1700]  Newtonville, MA:  ??, 1980.  [reviewed in SCJ ca. 2002.]


Orme, Nicholas.  Medieval Children.  New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2001. [excellent, well-illustrated, comprehensive]


Ozment, Steven.  When Fathers Ruled: Family life in Reformation Europe.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard UP, 1983.  pb.


Ozment, Steven.  Ancestors: The Loving Family in Old Europe.  Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001.


Ozment, Steven. Three Behaim Boys: Growing up in Early Modern Germany. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.


Parsons, John Carmi and Bonnie Wheeler, eds. Medieval Mothering.  New York: Garland, 1996.


Ryan, Patrick J. Master-servant Childhood: a history of the idea of childhood in medieval English culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.


Peter, Katalin.  Beloved Children:  History of Aristocratic Childhood in Hungary in the Early Modern Age.  Budapest and New York:  Central European University Press, 2001.  [reviewed in AHR 107.2]


Pollock, Linda.  Forgotten Children:  Parent-Child Relations from 1500-1900.  Cambridge, 1983


Pollock, Linda.  Lasting Relationship: parents and children over three centuries.  Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, 1987.


Ranum, Orest, et al.  “Childhood History and King Louis XIII” in History of Childhood Quarterly (1974) 2(2): 135-199.


Rawson, Beryl. Children and Childhood in Roman Italy.  Oxford: Oxford Univ Press, 2003.


Ross, James B.  “The Middle-Class Child in Urban Italy, Fourteenth to Early Sixteenth Century” in The History of Childhood, ed. Lloyd deMause, pp. 183-228.  New York: 1974.


Schorsch, Anita.  Images of Childhood: An Illustrated Social History.  Anaheim:  Main Street Press, 1979.


Schultz, James AThe knowledge of childhood in the German Middle Ages, 1100-1350 .  Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995


Schmitt, Jean-Claude.  The Holy Greyhound: Guinefort, Healer of Children since the Thirteenth Century.  Trans. Martin Thom.  Cambridge, 1983.


Sears, Elizabeth.  Ages of Man: medieval interpretations of the life cycle.  Princeton: Princeton UP, 1986.  [art history]


Shahar, Shulamith.  Childhood in the Middle Ages (500-1500 AD).  New York:  Routledge, 1990.


Somerville, John.  The Rise and Fall of Childhood.  [Paper #140].  Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Library of Social Research, 1982.


Sommerville, John.  The Discovery of Childhood in Puritan England.  Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992.


Stearns, Peter. Childhood in world history.  London and NY: Routledge, 2011.


Terpstra, Nicholas. Abandoned Children of the Italian Renaissance.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.


Terpstra, Nicholas. Lost Girls: Sex and Death in Renaissance Florence.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.


Thompson, Jennifer L and Marta Alfonso-Durruty and John J Crandall, eds. Tracing Childhood: Bioarchaeological Investigations of Early LIvesin Antiquity. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2014.


Trexler, Richard.  Power and Dependence in Renaissance Florence. Vol 1: “Children of Renaissance Florence.”  New York: Medieval and  Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993.


Turner, Ralph.  “Eleanor of Aquitaine and Her Children: An Inquiry into Medieval Family Attachment.” Journal of Medieval History 14 (1988): 321-335.


Wiesner, Merry and Monica Chojnacka. Ages of Woman, Ages of Man: Sources in European Social History, 1400-1750. New York: Routledge, 2014. [esp. chap. 1, ‘Childhood’ and chap. 2, ‘Youth, Sexuality, & Single Life’].


Pitkin, Barbara. Are Children Human?  Louisville, KY : Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2000.  Theology and worship occasional paper (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ; no. 12.  [19 pp. only]




Other Resources


History of Childhood Quarterly (1973-1976), which becomes Journal of Pyschohistory (1976-pres.)


Encyclopedia of children and childhood: in history and society / edited by Paula S. Fass.
New York : Macmillan Reference USA, 2003-


Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (JHCY), published quarterly by Johns Hopkins University Press.


History of American Childhood


Brenmer, Robert H. Children and Youth in America: a documentary history. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Pres, 1970-74.


Chudacoff, Howard. Children at Play: an American History.  New York: New York University Press, 2007.


Connolly, Cynthia. Saving Sickly Children: the Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909-1970. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.


Chinn, Sarah E. Inventing Modern Adolescence: the children of immigrants in turn of the century America.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009.


Mintz, Steven. Huck’s Raft:A history of American childhood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.










Family History and Miscellaneous pertaining to History of Childhood


Stone, Lawrence.  The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800.  1977.


Kertzer, David I.  Family Life in Early Modern Times, 1500-1789.  New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.