"You know more than you think you do": Rare First Edition of The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care; Signed by Benjamin Spock

  • The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.
  • The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.

Item Number: 4175

New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946.

First edition. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Benjamin Spock on the half title page. Near fine in the rare dust jacket which has some chips and tear to the front, spine and rear panel. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Exceptionally scarce, especially in dust jacket and signed.

"The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care has sold over 50 million copies since its publication in 1946 making it the best-selling book of the twentieth century in America, aside from the Bible" (Maier, 2003). As a practicing pediatrician in the 1930s, Spock noticed that prevailing methods in pediatric care seemed cruel and ignored the emotional needs of the child. He wanted to explore the psychological reasons behind common problems seen during practices like breastfeeding and toilet training, in order to give less arbitrary advice to mothers who came to his practice. He thus became trained in psychoanalysis, emerging as the first pediatrician with a psychoanalytic background. Seeking useful ways to implement Freudian philosophy into child-rearing practices, Spock would try out his advice on patients and their mothers, continuously seeking their response. He contradicted contemporary norms in child care by supporting flexibility instead of rigidity and encouraging love for children by their parents. Named by The Library of Congress' list of 88 books that shaped America.