Chapter

Introduction: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson

in The Rights of the Defenseless

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780226652016
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226652023 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226652023.003.0001
Introduction: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson

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This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume which is about the history of child protection in the U.S. during the Gilded Age. It describes the case of Mary Ellen Wilson, a child abuse victim who was rescued by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) from her foster parents. This volume argues that the nexus of animal and child protection was neither sad nor strange, but was instead tightly bound to the crosshatched threads of sentimentalism and liberalism.

Keywords: child protection; U.S.; Gilded Age; Mary Ellen Wilson; child abuse; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; ASPCA; animal protection; sentimentalism; liberalism

Chapter.  8728 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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