Pudd’nheads: Childhood in Colonial America

Pilgrim and Puritan colonists had children, and though it would be hard to tell from historical records, so did indigenous families and enslaved Africans.

Pudd’nheads: Childhood in Colonial America examines the unique aspects of childhood between the late sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries and explores themes including birthing and childrearing practices, parenting, children’s health and education, naming, gender, play, and rites of passage.

Providing fresh historical perspectives on key features of children’s lives, this program offers compelling information on colonial children – as well as Native American and enslaved children, who are too often left out of conventional coverage.

For example:

  • The permanent Puritan magical cure for bedwetting was to take the child to the churchyard and have him/her urinate upon the grave of a child of the opposite sex.
  • Native Americans had superstitions that warned pregnant women not to eat seagulls because they caused crybabies.
  • Enslaved children were often required to swallow worms they failed to pick off of cotton or tobacco plants.

Velya Jancz-Urban – author, teacher, and creator of The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife – has partnered with her herbalist daughter, Ehris Urban, on this unique presentation. Pudd’nheads: Childhood in Colonial America is similar to The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife in that it is funny, sad, sweet, and shocking. Dive deeper into our history. There was much more to childhood than hoop rolling and horn books!