Black boots and pinafores : childhood in Otago, 1900-1920
Goodyear, Rosemary K
This study focuses on the world of the child in Otago, during the period 1900-1920. While there has been much written on the family, the world of the child has been ignored till fairly recently. Childhood, though praised by writers as the 'golden years,' is a world that has remained hidden. What were the experiences of children and how did they perceive their world? This study attempts to redress in part, the silence about childhood. Three themes – the impact of class, gender, and geographical location on children's lives - have been followed throughout the study. These forces shaped the world of children: class and gender in particular determined the conditions of children's lives, their experiences and their hopes for their future. Children's experiences were not equal ones; yet this inequality and diversity coexisted with an essential similarity. Despite the differences a remarkably cohesive picture of childhood emerges; one of joy with sorrow, boredom with excitement, subordination and freedom. The period was also one of transition, affected by changing technologies, dramatically altering fashions, and the disruptions of war and sickness, all of which impacted on children's lives. It is the different aspects of the child's life that will follow; first their experiences in the home, then in the world as they began to explore their surroundings. The child lived in the diverse worlds of home, school, and community. These worlds coexisted, sometimes comfortably, sometimes in conflict with those of adults. Children had a different vision, a distinct perception, enforced by their size, their lower status, and their immaturity. The result was a unique vision, not only of their own world of childhood, but of the adult world around them. The information for this study was largely derived from oral history interviews. Thirty-four people born before 1914 were interviewed about their childhood. Secondary material was derived from biographies, the Otago Witness, in particular 'Dot's Little Folk,' a column of children's letters. Illustrative material forms another significant source of secondary material. This ranges from newspaper advertisements, photographs, some courtesy of the Hocken Library, and some from the interviewees. I was fortunate to be able to include original letters and drawings from their childhoods. The picture that emerges in this thesis modifies, but does not totally dispel the image of childhood, as a ‘golden time’ ...
Advisor: Page, Dorothy
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
Description: ix, 423, 2 leaves,  leaves of plates : ill., facsims., maps, ports. ; 30 cm. Notes: Typescript (photocopy). Thesis (M.A.)--University of Otago, 1992. Bibliography: leaves 394-402.