Dissertation:

They Need You! Disability, Visual Culture, and the Poster Child, 1945-1980

ABSTRACT:
This project examines the emergence of the “poster child” as a new symbol to educate the public about disability and illness in post-World War II America. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP, now March of Dimes) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) used mass media and promotional strategies to circulate representations of disabled children that increasingly focused on scenes of family, community, and the nation. The dissertation argues that the poster child campaigns envisioned physical disability in new ways by depicting American children within their families and communities as full but physically limited citizens and fostered a unique form of civic participation through charitable acts that changed American ideas of philanthropy and the nation.

This dissertation is presented digitally in Scalar.

Digital History Project (forthcoming)

A community-based project centering on oral histories of palliative care workers and the development of hospice care in the US from the 1960s to the present day.