Milk Stations and Hygiene Legislation: The Progression of Infant, Child, and Maternal Welfare Programs in Texas from 1910-1930
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On November 23, 1921, the United State Congress passed the Sheppard-Towner Act, legislation granting the states federal funds for the development of infant and maternal hygiene education and preventative health screenings. The act was passed in response to growing concerns about the rate of infant mortality in the United States. This study examines the growth and development of infant mortality programs in Texas beginning with private local programs and ending with the implementation of the Sheppard-Towner Act. The study is primarily concerned with the achievements of Sheppard-Towner in Texas and the effects that the program had on recipients of aid as well as program volunteers. Middle-class club women and male physicians were particularly essential to the success of the program. Women worked hard to ensure the passage of the legislation, while male physicians opposed it. However, both middle-class club women and male physicians worked hard as volunteers during the implementation of the program in Texas. Their relationship is examined to give greater insight into the political role of men and women during the Progressive Era and how they depended on one another to accomplish their own political agendas.