While it is true that the most important bibliography one can have in his private library is a classification of the material of which he himself has become a part while reading it, there are a number of health journals that one can profitably subscribe for. In fact, it is often true that the significant discoveries in scientific fields, or the latest public improvements, such as parks, bridges, model tenements, will not be appreciated until one has read in health journals how these improvements affect the sickness rate and the enjoyment rate of those least able to control their living conditions. The physician and nurse in their educational work for hospitals are distributors of health propaganda.
Wherever there is a local journal devoted to health, parents, teachers, educators, and club leaders would do well to subscribe and to hold this journal up to a high standard by quoting, thanking, criticising it. In New Jersey, for example, is a monthly called the New Jersey Review of Charities and Corrections that deals with every manner of subject having to do with public health as well as with private and public morality and education.
A similar journal, intended for national instruction, is The Survey, whose topical index for last year enumerates two hundred and thirty-two articles dealing with subjects directly connected with public hygiene, e.g.:
Schools, 6; school inspection, 3; eyes,—school children, 1; sex instruction in the schools, 2; psychiatric clinic, special children, 2; industrial education, 5; child labor, 18; playgrounds, 26; alley, crap, playing in streets, 3; labor conditions, 18; industrial accidents, 10; wage-earner's insurance, 4; factory inspection, 1; consumer's league, 3; women's work, 6; tuberculosis, 23; hospitals, dispensaries (social), 5; tenement reform, 10; living conditions, 2; baths, 1; public comfort stations, 2; lodging houses, 1; clean streets, 6; clean milk, 6; smoke, 1; noises, 1; parks, 1; patent medicines, 2; sanitary code, 1; mortality statistics, 2; social settlements and public health, 1; midwives, 1; children's bureau, 1; juvenile and adult delinquent, 25; dependent, defective, and insane, 7; blind, 5; cripples, 1; homes for aged, 1; inebriates, 3; Traveler's Aid Committee, 1; infant mortality, 2; social diseases, 2.
The National Hospital Record, the Dietetic and Hygienic Gazette, the Journal of Nursing, are three other magazines primarily intended for nurses and physicians, but full of suggestive material for unprofessional readers. National magazines concerned with health, but seeking popular circulation, are Good Health and Physical Culture. In England there is a special magazine called Children's Diseases, which could be of great help to a school library for special reference. The same can be said of the Psychological Clinic, Pediatrics, and other technical journals published in this country. For many persons, to make the best use of any one copy of these magazines, clipping is of course impossible, but noting on a card or envelope is practicable.
Of late many of the national popular magazines have several columns devoted to health. We have not appreciated the educational possibilities of these columns. In most large cities there are monthly book reviews which may be profitably consulted in learning the new thought in the health field. If teachers would either write their experience or ask questions, if children knew that in a certain magazine or newspaper questions as to ventilation, bathing, exercise, would be answered, they would take a keen interest in the progress of discussions. The large daily papers make a great feature of their health hints. It is not their fault if questioners care more about cosmetics and hair bleaches than about the fresh-air cure of headaches. They will cooperate with teachers and parents in securing more general discussion of other problems than beauty doctoring.
Finally, persons wanting not only to have intelligence as to matters promoting health, but actually to exert a helpful influence in their community, ought to want the published reports of the mayor, health department, the public schools, and other institutions, noting carefully all that is said about conditions relating to health and about efforts made to correct all unfavorable conditions. The best literature of our day, with regard to social needs, appears in the reports of our public and private institutions and societies. Of increasing value are the publications of the national government printing office. Because it is no one's business to find out what valuable material is contained in such reports, and because no educational museum is comparing report with report, those who live nearest to our health problems and who see most clearly the health remedies, are not stimulated to give to the public their special knowledge in an interesting, convincing way.
Teaching children how to find health lessons in public documents will advance the cause of public ethics as well as of public health. At the New York State Conference of Charities, of 1907, one official complained that the physicians made no educational use of their valuable experience for public education. He stated that a study of medical journals and health articles in popular magazines revealed the fact that the number of papers prepared by physicians in state hospitals averaged one to a doctor for every five or six years of service. This state of affairs is even more exaggerated in strictly educational institutions. Columbia University has recently instituted a series of lectures to be given by its professors to its professors, so that they may have a general knowledge of the work being done in other fields besides their own at their own university. This is equally important for teachers and heads of departments in elementary schools. It is now admitted by most educators that elementary schools and young children present more pedagogical difficulties and pressing biological problems than higher schools. If teachers and parents would realize that their method of solving the health problems that arise daily in the schoolroom and in the home would interest other mothers and teachers, their spirit of cooperation would soon be reflected in school journals, popular magazines, and daily newspapers.