The editor's correspondence
The editor's correspondence was revealing, among other deficiencies, the
wide-spread unpreparedness of the average American girl for motherhood,
and her desperate ignorance when a new life was given her. On the theory
that with the realization of a vital need there is always the person to
meet it, Bok consulted the authorities of the Babies' Hospital of New
York, and found Doctor Emmet Holt's house physician, Doctor Emelyn L.
Coolidge. To the authorities in the world of babies, Bok's discovery
was, of course, a known and serious fact.
Doctor Coolidge proposed that the magazine create a department of
questions and answers devoted to the problems of young mothers. This was
done, and from the publication of the first issue the questions began to
come in. Within five years the department had grown to such proportions
that Doctor Coolidge proposed a plan whereby mothers might be
instructed, by mail, in the rearing of babies--in their general care,
their feeding, and the complete hygiene of the nursery.
Bok had already learned, in his editorial experience, carefully to weigh
a woman's instinct against a man's judgment, but the idea of raising
babies by mail floored him. He reasoned, however, that a woman, and more
particularly one who had been in a babies' hospital for years, knew more
about babies than he could possibly know. He consulted baby-specialists
in New York and Philadelphia, and, with one accord, they declared the
plan not only absolutely impracticable but positively dangerous. Bok's
confidence in woman's instinct, however, persisted, and he asked Doctor
Coolidge to map out a plan.