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Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton. This is the second installment of the “Psychology of…” book of the month blog series.

Two years ago I was 38 weeks pregnant and looking for a little parenting advice so I turned to the CCHP Book Collection for help. Fast forward to 2016 and I have a two-year old and a 7-month old and once again I’m desperate for help. I could really, really use some sleep.

The Psychology of Sleep  by Bolton Hall was originally published in 1911 as The Gift of Sleep. The CCHP houses the second edition, published in 1916, exactly 100 years ago. That seemed fitting since it seems like it’s been 100 years since I’ve had a good night’s sleep. But I digress….

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Bolton Hall – this guy looks like he sleeps well, no?

Before I even cracked the book I just knew I was going to see that darn, “sleeping like a baby” hooey. Yep, page 1, there it is, “…the best sleepers…sleep like a child.” Every time I see something like that I think to myself, “Whose child?!” Certainly not mine!

I skimmed through The Psychology of Sleep looking for tips but didn’t find much regarding getting a child to sleep. Though, Chapter XV titled “Opiates” did seem promising.

Since I wasn’t finding anything that really excited me I decided to Google Bolton Hall and see what he was all about. Wow! Now, I was excited!

Bolton Hall (1854-1938) is probably my new favorite person.

Hall was born in Ireland in 1854 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1868. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he graduated from Princeton in 1875. In 1881 he earned his law degree from the Columbia Law School. He was a founder of the American Longshoremen’s Union (now the ILA) and the New York Tax Reform Association.  He was arrested for distributing birth control information in Union Square in 1916. And best of all, he was the originator of the back-to-the-land movement at the turn of the century.

Bolton Hall was a champion for the poor and the working class and an advocate for returning the land to the people. He established the Vacant Lot Gardening Association in New York City in 1906 that later morphed into The Little Land League which had over 200 members by 1909.  These organizations helped provide farming education and housing for New Yorkers, including several families who lived on 30 acres of land in the Bronx owned by the Astor family. They also helped construct a year-round tent city that housed a half a dozen families in Bronxville.

Wild side note – the president of The Little Land League in 1909 (Hall was treasurer) was  P. Tecumseh Sherman, son of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Hall established Free Acres, a co-operative/mini-municipality/kinda-sorta Utopian community in 1910 in Berkeley Heights, NJ through the donation of roughly 70 acres of land. And people still live there today! Check out the Flickr site – it’s awesome.

Whew! When I signed up to write a blog about The Psychology of Sleep I did not think I’d end up here. Dear reader, you just witnessed someone tumbling down the researcher rabbit hole!

And the Bolton Hall rabbit hole led me to his book Three Acres and Liberty. 

By thought and courage, we can help ourselves to own a home, surrounded by fruit and vegetables, flowers and poultry….life belongs in the garden (Hall, 1918, p.1 & p.10).

Right on, Bolton. That helps me sleep at night.

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Lizette – and the two kids who keep her up all night – tending their turkeys, October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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