Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Website URL
Disability history, US since 1877, Early twentieth-century disability activism, Progressive Era, "crippled children."
Additional Contact Information
Teaching blog at

Personal Info

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign currently working on a dissertation entitled “Changing Bodies and Minds: ‘Crippled Children’ and Their Movement in the United States, 1890-1960.”

Language shifts and medical specialization have rendered the phrase “crippled child” both offensive and vague. However, the term once evoked a gamut of meanings—it referred to a pitiable innocent; the subject of a philanthropic movement; a potentially curable body. It could refer to an infant who had survived polio, a ten-year-old with spinal tuberculosis, or an adolescent born without limbs.

My project examines the role that experiences of “crippled childhood,” as articulated by disabled children and adults, played in forming and informing the crippled children’s movement in the United States from 1890-1960. This movement was more than just a philanthropic project; investigation of the materials left behind by those who shaped it and spoke for it reveal a powerful activist bent to much of the rhetoric of the movement, as well as the involvement of influential disabled writers who used their childhood experiences as guides for the movement’s direction.

Recent Publications
Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Disability, Gender, Women