May 02

father and baby Photo Credit: Clipart.com

Today in Science

Eminent Pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock Is Born

Born on this day in 1903, Dr. Benjamin Spock was the 20th century's most well-known pediatrician, with his The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (later retitled Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care) becoming one of the best-published titles of all time. More than 50 million copies have been published in more than 40 languages.

His books, which were conversational in tone, encouraged mothers and fathers to take a common-sense approach to parenting and to believe in their gut instincts. This was a change from 19th and early-20th century childcare advice, which instructed parents to take a rigid approach to child-rearing. He also drew heavily from psychology and psychiatry.

In addition to being a doctor and author of 14 books, Spock also was an activist on a variety of social issues, including the Vietnam War; ran for president and vice-president in 1972 and 1976, respectively; and won a gold medal in rowing with his Yale University crew team in the 1924 Olympic Games. He died in 1998.

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