Trouble at Home: Perri Klass, MD: A Good Time to Be Born

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January 13, 2021 • 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Only one hundred years ago, even in the world’s wealthiest nations, children died in great numbers—of diarrhea, diphtheria and measles, of scarlet fever and meningitis. Culture was shaped by these deaths; diaries and letters recorded them, poets and writers wrote about and lamented them. Not even the high and mighty could escape: presidents and titans of industry lost their children, the poor and powerless lost theirs even more frequently.

For the first Trouble at Home program of 2021, the Mark Twain House is delighted to welcome Perri Klass to talk about her book, A Good Time To Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future, Langdon Clemens, and how measles plays a role in both Twain’s fiction and his autobiography. Klass will be interviewed by Director of Collections Jodi DeBruyne on Wednesday, January 13th at 5:30pm.

The near-conquest of infant and child mortality is one of our greatest human achievements. Perri Klass pulls the story together for the first time, paying tribute to scientists, public health advocates, and groundbreaking women doctors who brought new scientific ideas about sanitation and vaccination to families. Thanks to their work, early death is now the exception, bringing about a massive transformation in society and freeing parents to worry a lot more about a lot less.

This is a FREE event hosted virtually on Crowdcast. Donations encouraged. REGISTER HERE.

You can purchase a signed copy of Good Time To Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future through our gift store.

Perri Klass is Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University and Co-Director of NYU Florence. She attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston. She writes the weekly column, “The Checkup,” for the New York Times Science Section. She has written extensively about medicine, children, literacy, and knitting. Her new book, A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future, is an account of how victories over infant and child mortality have changed the world.


The Trouble at Home and Trouble Begins at 5:30 series are made possible with the support of Connecticut Humanities. Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community and enrich lives.

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The Trouble Begins at 5:30 lecture series is presented in part with support from The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, Elmira, New York.

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January 13, 2021
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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