Spring 2018 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for spring 2018 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

The Large Family System
An Original Study in the Sociology of Family Behavior

James H. S. Bossard. With the aid and partial collaboration of Eleanor Stoker Boll

328 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth 1956 | ISBN 9781512800791 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512800807 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume
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This book is the first sociological study of the large family as a way of life, as a system of child rearing, and as a matrix for personality development. It is an original study based on case histories of one hundred large families (ranging in size from six to sixteen children), members of which have contributed the facts of their family experiences. A total of 879 children were born in these families, and it is chiefly through the eyes of the children that these families are viewed.

Six years of investigation and analysis were devoted to this study by James H. S. Bossard and his research associates, and the results of their work suggest answers to many questions that have perplexed students of human behavior. For example: What are the attitudes of children toward large families? Of the fathers? Of the mothers? Are large families as happy as smaller families? What are the characteristic features of the happy ones? How and by whom are children reared in large families? How do children in these families get along with each other? Do large families make for feelings of security—emotional and/or economic? Do children reared in large families make good husbands and wives? Do they form large families in turn? Are they well-adjusted persons? What are the special hazards of the large family, and how do large families tend to meet their problems? These are only a few of the questions concerning large families that are studied in this volume.

Including fifty-eight tables and a wealth of case-history material, The Large Family System is a pioneering work of urgent interest to students of the family and child development, to social case workers, to parents in general, to research workers in human behavior, to everyone who has been reared in a large family or who aspires to start a large family of his own.

A leading specialist in the field of family and child behavior, James H. S. Bossard is the author of more than thirty books, including Ritual in Family Living, Marriage and the Child, and Parent and Child. He was Professor of Sociology, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development, and Professor of Sociology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


A Research Associate of the William T. Carter Foundation, Eleanor Stoker Boll was Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She collaborated withJames H. S. Bossard on a number of books.

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