We were recently sent the names of a couple of books that got us thinking about how things have changed and how much more positive the attitude to left-handedness is now than it was in the past.
The Prevention And Correction of Left-Handedness In Children by J.W. Conway was published in 1935 and we believe also had the subtitle “On Curing the Disability and Disease of Left-Handedness”.
At this time, he and others saw left-handedness as a deterrent to succeeding in the newly industrialized world. The 39 page booklet recommended the training of children from infancy to overcome left-handedness, which came as a result of parental “indifference to the seriousness of the handicap”, which was a “sinistral condition”, a “disease” that needed to recognized along the same lines as “rickets, pneumonia and colic”. Much needed to be done to “stamp out the newly recognized disease, the curse of left-handedness”.
Well, that tells us!!
Another useful guide at the time (not), The Mental Sorrows of Left-Handedness (1924) by Dr. William. S. Inman was published as an article in The Lancet on the causes of left-handedness, stammer, and squint. He concluded that all 3 are caused by emotional stress and can result from “too severe parenting”. Also, one can become left-handed as “an unconscious revolt against authority”.
Happily this sort of thinking is not applied to our children now (although we do still hear of some pretty strange stories). We would be very interested to see the full content of these books or any others like them so if any of our members have a copy or know where to find one please do let us know by posting a comment on this article below.
Here is a link to the full article by William Inman in The Lancet in 1924
With grateful thanks to Professor Clare Porac – sites.psu.edu/clarep