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Foote, Edward Bliss (20 February 1829–05 October 1906), eclectic physician and birth-control pioneer, was born near Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Herschel Foote, a postmaster, and Pamelia Bliss. Foote left school at fifteen to pursue a career in journalism, first with the Cleveland Herald...

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Guttmacher, Alan (19 May 1898–18 March 1974), physician and birth-control advocate, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Adolf Guttmacher, a leading Reform rabbi, and Laura Oppenheimer, a social worker. Alan had an identical twin, Manfred, with whom he was very close throughout his life, and a sister. His early years were happy ones in a household where Judaism set the guiding tone. Alan’s paternal great-grandfather had been the chief rabbi of Gratz, and when the family immigrated to the United States they maintained their faith. But Guttmacher renounced his faith after his father died suddenly when Alan was sixteen. Two years later, in 1915, the twins entered Johns Hopkins University. Alan originally planned to pursue a career in English or history, but a brief stint as a private in the army in 1918 changed his direction....

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Morris, John McLean (01 September 1914–08 April 1993), reproductive biologist and physician, was born in Kuling, China, the son of DuBois Morris, a Presbyterian missionary and pastor of Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and Alice Buell. The suffering and cruelty Morris witnessed in China as a child had a lasting influence on his life. He later spoke of seeing people stepping over the bodies of the dead and dying in the streets. His interest in women’s health and reproductive issues stemmed from the widespread infanticide of baby girls he saw in China....

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Rock, John Charles (24 March 1890–04 December 1984), physician and advocate of planned parenthood, was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the son of Frank Sylvester Rock, a businessman, and Ann Jane Murphy. He and his twin sister benefited from the amenities of an upwardly mobile Irish Catholic household, where rugged older brothers were taught to respect John’s interests in sewing, music, and theater, as well as his piety as a daily communicant at the Immaculate Conception Church. In 1906 he left home to attend the High School of Commerce in Boston. After graduation in 1909, he worked for the United Fruit Company on a banana plantation in Guatemala, where he was moved by the plight of the poor and was dismissed after nine months for his lack of enthusiasm. Another job as a cashier for an engineering firm in Rhode Island confirmed that he lacked an aptitude for business. In search of a vocation, he entered Harvard College; lettered in track; performed in Hasty Pudding, the theatrical society; and tried to revive Newman Club, the Catholic students’ organization. He graduated in three years with the class of 1915, received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1918, and spent World War I as a resident in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He concluded his medical education with residencies in obstetrics at Boston Lying-In Hospital and in gynecology at the Free Hospital for Women. After he began private practice in 1921, Rock quickly became prominent in one of the world’s most distinguished medical communities. In 1925 he married Anna Thorndike of Boston, a mathematics major from Bryn Mawr; they had five children....

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Stone, Abraham (30 October 1890–03 July 1959), and Hannah Mayer Stone (15 October 1893–10 July 1941), physicians and marriage counselors, were born, respectively, in Russia and New York City. Abraham was the son of Miron Stone, a merchant, and Amelia Chamers. Hannah was the daughter of Max Mayer, a pharmacist, and Golda Rinaldo. At a time when the discussion of sexuality, fertility, and reproduction was highly controversial—even in the context of marriage—the Stones were leaders in the movement to educate adult Americans on these matters, and they wrote a modern marriage manual that remained authoritative for several generations....

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Storer, Horatio Robinson (27 February 1830–18 September 1922), pioneer gynecologist and anti-abortion crusader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David Humphreys Storer, a prominent naturalist and medical professor, and Abby Jane Brewer. His father had written on the fishes of Massachusetts and North America, helped establish the Tremont Street Medical School in Boston, and eventually taught obstetrics and medical jurisprudence at Harvard Medical School. Storer followed remarkably similar professional interests....