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The Rights of the DefenselessProtecting Animals and Children in Gilded Age America$
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Susan J. Pearson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226652016

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226652023.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Introduction: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson

Introduction: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson

(p.1) Introduction: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson
The Rights of the Defenseless
University of Chicago Press

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

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