Medical and popular periodicals in nineteenth-century America frequently announced noteworthy cases of “precocious maternity”—children as young as eight giving birth. Physicians investigated the causes of precocious maternity, focusing on the influence of climate and race in particular. Newspapers, meanwhile, competed to identify the “youngest mother” in a given city, state, or nation. This focus on maternity obscured paternity: fathers were often left out of accounts of very young mothers. Late nineteenth-century interest in precocious maternity illuminates contemporaneous concerns with the line between childhood and adulthood as well as the stakes of moral purity crusades and age-of-consent debates. Drawing on more than fifty cases of pregnant children, this essay investigates the paradox of the “child-mother” to reveal the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and age in nineteenth-century culture and medicine, the instability of the categories of childhood and adulthood, and the erasure of child sexual abuse in history.