[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 1964

Some Pediatric Milestones of the 19th Century

Author Affiliations

Max Landsberger, MD, 1022 Delaware Ave, B2, Buffalo, NY 14209.; Children's Hospital of Buffalo and Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine.

Am J Dis Child. 1964;108(2):205-210. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02090010207016

Descriptions of diseases of children have been found which were recorded as early as the 16th century bc in Egypt. Many infections of childhood, such as chickenpox, measles, whooping cough, and other maladies, including rickets and endemic cretinism, became known during subsequent centuries, but pediatrics as a specialty did not emerge until more recent times. The 19th century prepared the ground for modern pediatrics by introducing the scientific approach. This paper attempts to describe the conditions of child care during its early developments and particularly during the 19th century.

The origin of care of children in an institutional setting goes back at least to the foundling homes of early Christian times. These homes were instrumental in putting to an end the cruel custom of ancient cultures which sanctioned, without hesitation, the disposal of unwanted children and of those unfit for normal life.1 The first foundling home was opened in