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Benjamin Spock
Birth: May 2, 1903
New Haven
New Haven County
Connecticut, USA
Death: Mar. 15, 1998
California, USA

Medical Pioneer, Olypmic Athlete. Noted author of Children's Health Books. His 1946 book, "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" would revolutionize how American parents would raise their children. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, the eldest of six children to a prominent attorney and a devoted mother, he quickly grew up helping to care for his younger siblings. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then Yale University, where he excelled in athletics, especially the sport of scull (crew team rowing). He won a spot on the 1924 Olympic Crew team, and won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics. After two years at the Yale School of Medicine, he transferred to Columbia University and graduated first in his medical school class in 1929. Specializing in pediatrics, he studied children's psychological needs and the family dynamics. During World War II, he served two years in the United States Navy Medical Corps as a Lieutenant Commander, returning to private practice at the end of the war. Realizing that much of the prevailing theory of child raising, that parents should not be emotionally involved with their child, was flawed, he decided to write a book on how to better raise children. The result was the 1946 best seller, "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care," in which he argued that parents were the best experts on their own children. He argued that parents should use their own common sense in areas from discipline to toilet training, being flexible and avoiding a one-size-fits-all attitude on how to raise a child. Arguing that it was alright for parents to love their child, his book differed significantly from the cold authoritarianism approach favored by child rearing books of the day. Critics called this permissiveness, and argued that it would spoil the child and lead to other social problems. The book would go on to sell more than 50 million copies, be translated into 40 languages, and is still in print today. Spock would become a baby care celebrity during the 1950s and 1960s, becoming a household name, while teaching child development at Western Reserve University for 12 years (1955 to 1967). He would write a column on baby care for "Ladies Home Journal" for almost 30 years. He retired from practicing medicine in 1967. When the Vietnam War became a political issue at home, he became a critic of the war and a critic of the nuclear arms race, making him unpopular by many who felt he was speaking out of his element. He participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations during the 1980s and 1990s, and ran for President of the United States in 1972 (on the People's Party ticket). Following a divorce, he married Mary Morgan in 1976, who became his collaborator, assisting in writing his lectures, and helping him write his memoir, "Spock on Spock" (1985). He died in his home in La Jolla, California at the age of 94, having previously suffered a heart attack and several bouts of pneumonia which left him in a weakened condition. He was buried in Rockport, Maine, where he spent his summers. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Mildred Louise Stoughton Spock (1876 - 1968)
 
 Spouse:
  Jane Cheney Spock (1906 - 1989)
 
 Sibling:
  Benjamin Spock (1903 - 1998)
  Marjorie Spock (1904 - 2008)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Seaview Cemetery
Rockport
Knox County
Maine, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2565
Benjamin Spock
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Benjamin Spock
Added by: Andrew
 
Benjamin Spock
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Lin
 
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Thank you so much for your wisdom and you baby care book. I used it all the time when my son was little.
- Alice P.
 Added: Aug. 1, 2014

- Verum
 Added: May. 2, 2014

- LawBaby
 Added: May. 2, 2014
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