“Childhood is the sleep of reason”*…
The images above and below, originally printed in 1930, reflect the government’s promotion of early-childhood health and well-being in the early years of the Soviet Union. The London School of Economics Library has collected a group of these posters—half brightly-colored, half sepia-toned—in a Flickr set.
In her book about childhood in Russia during the early Soviet period, historian Lisa Kirschenbaum writes that children and childhood were ideologically important to those involved in the Bolshevik Revolution. Children had the potential to grow into ideal communists, and communal early childhood education was seen as a good way of getting all members of the rising generation to hold consistent views. (In the United States, the conservative opposition to attempts to institute government support for day care in the early 1970s often referred, obliquely or explicitly, to the communalism of Soviet child care.)
By 1930, when these images were produced, the government-supported day care (or “crèche”) was doubly politically important, since young mothers were encouraged to work. In these posters, babies that look to be about 6 months old cry “I’m bored at home!” and beg to be taken to the crèche.
More– from “how to hold a baby” to “preparation of juice from raw fruits”– at the ever-illuminating Rebecca Onion’s “Government Child Care Advice From Early Soviet Propaganda Posters.”
* Jean-Jacques Rousseau
As we crib up on cribs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1889 that an estimated 3,000 spectators boarded special trains for a secret location, which turned out to be Richburg, a town just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to attend the Heavyweight Boxing Championship match between defender John L. Sullivan and challenger Jake Kilrain. The fight began at 10:30 p.m.; early on, it appeared that Sullivan would lose (especially after he vomited during the 44th round). But the champion got his second wind after that, and Kilrain’s manager finally threw in the towel after the 75th round. The match was the last world title bout fought under the London Prize Ring Rules— and thus, the last bare-knuckle heavyweight title bout. And it was one of the first American sporting events to receive national press coverage.