Growing up in Peronist Argentina, 1946–55: The Lived Experiences of Children through State Ephemera

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Thomas Brinkerhoff, University of Pennsylvania
On February 15, 1951, Argentine First Lady María Eva Duarte de Perón approached the microphone amidst a mass of children gathered at a state-organized youth soccer tournament in Buenos Aires. Seemingly overcome with emotion, she declared that children, whom the president and first lady frequently referred to as “the only privileged Argentines,” were massed on the city’s playing fields not only to engage in games of soccer, but also to “[learn] to maintain a Peronist revolution for centuries to come.” Eva’s remarks to the child participants underscored the increasing efforts of her husband, President Juan Domingo Perón (1946-1955), to incorporate children, regardless of social class, into the political machinery of the Peronist Party. As Perón boasted after his second electoral victory in 1951, he had won his first election through the vote of men, the second through the vote of women, and he would win the third with the help of children.

This poster is a visual analysis of the experiences of children and the role of childhood vis-à-vis the nuclear family and the state in Perón’s Argentina. Specifically, the poster will incorporate imagery from state-printed children’s readers, magazines, textbooks, pamphlets, and imagery found on posters specifically intended for children. I have gathered these images, primarily, from the ephemera collections held in Argentina at the Archivo General de la Nación and the Instituto Nacional Juan Domingo Perón as well as the “Perón and His Era Collection” held in the United States at Pennsylvania State University. Additionally, I will contrast the imagery found in these sources with propaganda directed at children in other states, both democratic and authoritarian, that governed prior to or concurrent with the Peronist state to showcase the various meanings of childhood and children’s relationships to the state and the nuclear family across the twentieth-century world.

See more of: Poster Session #3
See more of: AHA Sessions