Submitter: I found this book at an estate sale – it was first printed in 1950 and, seven years after that, was on its thirteenth printing…! The pictures really speak for themselves – words fail.
Holly: This was probably a reasonable library choice in 1950. It’s a museum piece now. Interesting from a cultural history point of view, but definitely not good information. What a great estate sale find, though! Libraries owning this – and there are a few – should follow that example and sell this in their book sale. Some collector out there will be glad to have it. You have simply got to read some of the passages below!
The Hygiene of Marriage
1942 (second edition)
1932 (original copyright)
This is an example of a pretty forward thinking marriage manual. This book is mostly about sex. In many ways, this particular book is more open minded than many later books from the 1950s. The most interesting part is the discussion of birth control. Not only does the author discuss methods, but also details the health reasons for women, especially poor women, to control family size.
There is also a thorough discussion of the Comstock Act and the efforts of Margaret Sanger. The author also takes lawmakers to task for making this information difficult for single women to obtain. I am sure if Everett were alive today, she would be dissapointed in the lack of progress in women’s health concerns.
Given the condition of the edition I looked at, I would imagine this was passed around quite a bit. Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on this book and my copy won’t last too much longer. Fear not, quite a few health archives and university collections still have this title.
Your First Year of Marriage
Marriage advice is always interesting. This gem (still not weeded!) is from 1967. It assumes that the two newlyweds have barely had any sexual experience, not even “heavy petting.” (‘Cuz nice girls and boys just don’t.) A great deal of the book is dedicated to the mechanics of sex. There was also some pretty decent family planning information, considering it was published in 1967. There are some small chapters dedicated to “special circumstances” (pregnancy, different religions or races) and managing money. Take a look at the two pages I scanned on dealing with the in-laws.
All in all, not that bad of a choice for the 1960s. I am at a loss for why it is still in a public library collection, though.