1-19 of 19 results  for:

  • Social welfare and reform x
  • sex or birth control reformer x
  • lifestyle and morality x
Clear all

Image

Mary S. Calderone Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Article

Calderone, Mary S. (01 July 1904–24 October 1998), physician and educator, was born Mary Steichen in New York City to Edward Steichen, a photographer, and Clara Smith Steichen. While Mary and her younger sister were growing up, living in both New York and France, their father emerged as one of the most acclaimed photographers in the world, and Mary Steichen later said that her father's ability to portray “human life and the human condition” made a deep impression on her at an early age. Her parents separated when she was ten, and Mary went to live with her father; she remained alienated from her mother for many decades, not restoring their relationship until Mary herself was in her sixties....

Article

Campbell, Loraine Leeson (12 May 1905–10 February 1982), birth control movement leader, was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts, the daughter of Robert Ainsworth Leeson, a corporate executive, and Mildred Dix. She enjoyed a privileged childhood as a member of a socially prominent Boston family, excelled in academics and sports at the Winsor School, where she was student body president, and spent a year “coming out” as a debutante before entering Vassar College in 1924. She majored in psychology, shocked her parents by joining pickets at strikes, and was elected Phi Beta Kappa and student body president. She turned down job offers to conduct child development research after her mother died in the spring of her senior year, and her father urged her to return to Boston to help rear three younger siblings....

Article

Cannon, Cornelia James (17 November 1876–01 December 1969), novelist and birth control activist, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Henry Clay James and Frances Haynes. While her father practiced law and speculated in land, her mother helped out the family fortunes by painting; some of her watercolors are now at the Minnesota Historical Society. Cannon grew up in St. Paul and Newport. At Radcliffe College Cannon studied philosophy with ...

Article

Dennett, Mary Coffin Ware (04 April 1872–25 July 1947), birth control and sex education reformer and pacifist, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Whitefield, a wool merchant, and Livonia Coffin Ware. When Dennett was ten her father died and the family moved to Boston, where she attended public schools and went on to Miss Capen’s School for Girls in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dennett then studied at the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where she displayed a great talent for tapestry and leather design. From 1894 to 1897 she headed the Department of Design and Decoration at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. After a trip to Europe with her sister, during which they collected gilded Cordovan leather wall hangings, the sisters opened a handicraft shop in Boston. Dennett helped organize the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts in 1897. She served on the council of the society until 1905, when her interest in politics and social welfare began to supersede her interest in the arts. In 1900 she married William Hartley Dennett, a Boston architect with whom she had two sons. The marriage ended in divorce in 1913 with Dennett receiving custody of their children....

Article

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...

Article

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....

Article

Levine, Lena (17 May 1903–09 January 1965), gynecologist, psychiatrist, and pioneer of the birth control movement, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Morris H. Levine, a clothing manufacturer, and Sophie Levine. Her parents, Jewish émigrés from Russia, had come to the United States in the 1890s. Her father’s business did well enough that the family lived relatively comfortably compared to their neighbors. Levine received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in 1923, and then went on to earn her M.D. from University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1927. Two years later she married Louis Ferber, another medical student, but decided to retain her maiden name. They both did their residencies at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital....

Article

McKinnon, Edna Bertha Rankin (21 October 1893–05 April 1978), birth control reformer, was born in Missoula, Montana, the daughter of John Rankin, a builder and rancher, and Olive Pickering, a teacher. Edna Rankin entered Wellesley College in 1912 but left in 1914 to enroll at the University of Wisconsin. Two years later, she left school again to work on the successful congressional campaign of her sister, ...

Article

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....

Article

Mudd, Emily Borie Hartshorne (06 September 1898–02 May 1998), pioneer in the field of marriage counseling and birth control advocate, was born Emily Borie Hartshorne in Merion, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Edward Yarnall Hartshorne, a banker and philanthropist in the Philadelphia area, and Clementina Rhodes Hartshorne, a suffragist and member of the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters. Emily later cited her mother’s activism, as well as her father’s Quaker heritage, as sources of her own interest in women’s rights. Also influential were the death of a sister, born prematurely, when she was twelve years old and the knowledge that her maternal grandmother had given birth to thirteen children (eight of whom survived infancy)....

Article

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....

Image

Margaret Sanger. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105458).

Image

Margaret Sanger. Portrait as president of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105456).

Article

Sanger, Margaret (14 September 1879–06 September 1966), birth control advocate, was born Margaret Higgins in Corning, New York, to Michael Hennessey Higgins, an Irish-born free thinker who eked out a meager living as a stonemason, and Anne Purcell Higgins, a hard-working, devoutly Roman Catholic Irish-American. Deeply influenced by her father’s iconoclasm, Margaret, one of eleven children, was also haunted by her mother’s premature death, which she attributed to the rigors of frequent childbirth and poverty. Determined to escape a similar fate, Margaret Higgins, supported by her two older sisters, attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute before enrolling in White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer in 1900. She was a practical nurse in the women’s ward working toward her registered nursing degree when her 1902 marriage to architect William Sanger ended her formal training. Though plagued by a recurring tubercular condition, she bore three children and settled down to a quiet life in Westchester, New York. In 1911, however, in an effort to salvage their troubled marriage, the Sangers abandoned the suburbs for a new life in New York City....

Article

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....

Article

See Stone, Abraham

Article

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....

Article

Yarros, Rachelle (18 May 1869–17 March 1946), physician and reformer, was born Rachelle Slobodinsky at Berdechev near Kiev, Russia, the daughter of Joachim Slobodinsky and Bernice (maiden name unknown). Educated in primary schools, as a teenager she joined a radical revolutionary group, a move her wealthy family opposed. Eventually she realized that she might be sent to jail or Siberia, and she accepted enough money from her parents for passage to the United States. She arrived in New York in the late 1880s....