How to Raise the Perfect Family

Now that you’ve had a successful wedding and are enjoying married life, it’s time for the next step … a family.  You are going to need lots of parenting tips.  Don’t fear — all you need to know can be found in these vintage magazine illustrations.

There will be plenty of time for you to look through all the magazines, since there are lots of sleepless nights ahead.

by Coby Whitmore, Saturday Evening Post, January 21, 1950

You’ve got big dreams for your children…

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by unknown artist, McCall’s, December 1929

So you will want to protect them from dangerous things.

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by unknown artist, McCall’s, April 1929

And periodically check to see that they are growing healthy and strong.

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by Lucile Patterson, American Magazine, June 1919

There will be lots to teach your children.  Encourage them to get close to nature.

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by John C. Chase, McCall’s, January 1930

And to help with the grocery shopping …

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by Stevan Dohanos, Saturday Evening Post, September 19, 1953

You will want your family to be dressed properly for all occasions…

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by unknown artist, McCalls, 1956

Including rainy weather.

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by unknown artist, American Magazine, August 1950

And don’t forget to make sure everyone has plenty of long underwear.

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by unknown artist, Delineator, November 1918

Be prepared for relatives to drop by to spend time with your children…

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by William Steig, Collier’s, November 27, 1937

Though other relatives may just decide it’s just easier to call on the telephone.

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by Austin Briggs, 1959

Eventually, you’ll want to take a family vacation.  But someone’s bound to forget something…

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by Stevan Dohanos, Saturday Evening Post, June 18, 1949

No matter how carefully you’ve planned.


by Al Parker, Ladies’ Home Journal, September 1950

But you’ll be glad to finally get back home … to the calm of everyday life as a family.

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by Lou Cunette, Good Housekeeping, May 1953


The Al Parker image is from the Al Parker Collection.

The advertisements for American Can, Carter’s Underwear, the Cleanliness Institute, DuPont Zelan, P&G Soap, and ScotTissue are from the Periodicals Collection.

All other images are from the Walt Reed Illustration Archive.

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.