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Planned Parenthood Special Collections Resources

Guide to resources related to Planned Parenthood in Smith College Special Collections

Planned Parenthood in Smith College Special Collections

The records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America are divided into three sections, PPFA I, PPFA II, and PPFA III. They are found in the  the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History, a part of Smith College Special Collections. Smith College Special Collections comprises the Mortimer Rare Book Collection, the Smith College Archives and the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History.

The list below does not represent all possibly relevant materials in the collection.

Read the “Scope and Contents” and the "Biographical/Historical" notes in the finding aids for more information on each individual collection.

Planned Parenthood Record Groups Overview

Below the record groups are briefly described. For more extensive and detailed information, reading the following sections of the finding aid: Scope and Contents, Biographical / Historical, Additional Description

Planned Parenthood Federation of America records (PPFA I)

Dates of materials: 1918 - 1974
The records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America date from 1918 to the present and document the work of PPFA and its predecessor organizations, national and international, in the areas of advocacy, medical research, legislative reform, public relations, as well as the work of individual administrators, staff, and affiliated organizations. The collection is a significant source of information on all aspects of the history of birth control and family planning, including women's health issues; sex education; women in poverty; international population planning and policy; and the legal, political and social aspects of contraception and abortion. Types of material include correspondence; memoranda; minutes; reports; financial records; legal records; publicity; publications; photographs; audio tapes; video tapes; and posters.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America records group II (PPFA II)

Dates of materials: 1912 - 1998
Majority of material found within 1950 - 1980  
This finding aid covers PPFA II, which consists of the central files of PPFA from the 1950s through 1980s, though some earlier items are also included.

These records document the work of PPFA nationally and internationally in the areas of advocacy; medical services and research; legislation; public relations; and the specific work of affiliates, departments, and committees. Types of materials include correspondence, reports, minutes, memos, publicity, publications and other printed material, audiotapes, reference files, and financial and legal material.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America records group III (PPFA III)

Dates of materials: 1920 - 2018
Majority of material found within 1980 - 2010

The bulk of PPFA III consists of administrative records (primarily after the 1980s) and a wide range of audio and video recordings created or collected by PPFA. Administrative records include correspondence with local affiliates, publicity, reports, and meeting records.

In addition, the collection includes the papers of President Faye Wattleton, files on anti-choice organizations maintained by the Planned Parenthood Security Group, and oral histories created for PPFA's centennial.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger papers

Birth control advocate and nurse. Sanger, a sex reform activist, fought for women's rights to use contraceptives and founded both the national and international Planned Parenthood Federations. Papers include correspondence, writings, organizational and conference materials documenting her leadership of the American and international birth control movements. Also included are records of activities and events related to Sanger's personal life, tributes, travels, art work, family materials, audio and video recordings, and dozens of photographs.

Margaret Sanger Research Bureau records

The Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB) operated under numerous names and parent organizations from 1923 to 1974, providing birth control and infertility clinical services to thousands of patients, and serving as a site for medical research and education on these topics. The MSRB records contain correspondence, printed material, clippings, books, glass slides, films, and a library of 59 books on birth control, sexuality, marriage, family, and related topics. Of particular interest are 19th and 20th century pamphlets on birth control, religious views, sex education, methods and early commercial catalogs; writings by and about Margaret Sanger and other pioneers of the birth control movement; and printed material produced by various birth control leagues and clinics in the United States and England.

Other Organizations

Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts records

Birth control advocacy organization. The records provide a unique source for the study of the establishment and development of an organization largely run by women. They document the half-century struggle to revoke the Massachusetts Comstock Laws through state initiative and referendum voting (1942, 1948) campaigns for the right to disseminate information on birth control. Also of interest are letters to and from Margaret Sanger, and from General Douglas MacArthur forbidding Sanger from visiting Japan; individual files of Loraine L. Campbell, birth control crusader and President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the 1950s; and files on such topics as maternal and infant health, abortion, African Americans and birth control, population and public policy, eugenics, marriage and sex counseling, connections and conflicts with the Catholic Church, and contraceptive research. Types of materials include organizational records, conference proceedings, financial records, publicity, photographs, scrapbooks, a large amount of correspondence, and reports.

Alfred Moran collection of Planned Parenthood of New York City records

Alfred F. Moran served as chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) from 1966 until 1989. He is credited for merging several New York City regional family planning operations, including the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, to strengthen PPNYC’s services, operational budget, and influence on public policy. The materials include meeting minutes, Planned Parenthood clinic statistics, reports and studies on reproductive services and health, redacted patient forms, and training, policy, and procedure documents.

Marcia Lawrence Planned Parenthood of New York City papers

As Communications Director of Planned Parenthood of New York City from 1969 to 1993, Marcia Lawrence wrote and produced materials on abortion, birth control/family planning and women's right to choose. The records include booklets, ads (mostly NY Times), fundraising and policy papers, and a book manuscript.

Watumull Foundation records

Philanthropic foundation. Records consist primarily of correspondence with Ellen Watumull, Margaret Sanger, Shrimati Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, and others about birth control, particularly in India. There is also material documenting the Planned Parenthood meeting in 1969 and the Planned Parenthood Center of Los Angeles. Included are miscellaneous materials about Margaret Sanger and birth control.

Alan Guttmacher Institute records

The Alan Guttmacher Institute is a birth control research and advocacy organization; fields of study include abortion, contraception, HIV and STI's, pregnancy and teenage sexual health research. As the Guttmacher Institute website states, 'Good reproductive health policy starts with credible research'; indeed, the Institute's records provide accurate and accessible research from a wide range of sexual and reproductive health fields. Records include reports, data, publications, administrative and financial records, some correspondence. They also include the papers of Jacqueline E. Darroch, Senior Fellow of the AGI and co-author of over 100 publications related to sexual and reproductive health since her involvement with the Institute in 1978. The collection also contains the papers of Christopher Tietze, physician and celebrated researcher of abortion and contraception.

Training and Access Working Group records

Founded in 1995, TAWG (Training and Access Working Group) is a clearinghouse of more than two dozen local, state and national organizations working together to ensure the continued availability of well-trained abortion providers. The papers contain meeting agendas, minutes, participant lists, notes, correspondence, brochures and publications by others.

Reproductive Justice For All Conference records

"Reproductive Justice For All: A U.S. Policy Conference" was held at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., in November 2005 to examine and discuss issues pertaining to women's rights in the realm of sexuality, reproductive health, assisted reproduction and genetic technologies; and to "design agendas for reproductive policies in the U.S. that advance social justice...placing race, culture, sexuality, age and class at the center of a policy conversation about women's reproductive rights issues." It was organized by Jacqueline Payne, Assistant Director of Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Gwendolyn Mink; and sponsored by the Smith College Women Studies Program and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.


Dorothy Hamilton Brush papers

Birth control advocate, Women's rights advocate, Author. The bulk of the papers focus on Brush's work with Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The collection includes first-hand accounts of Margaret Sanger's work; research and writings on Japanese women; research, questionnaires, and manuscript for her book on menopause; and reports, correspondence and photographs on the birth control missionary work of Sanger and Brush in various countries. Correspondents include C.P. Blacker, Barbara and George Cadbury, Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Margaret Grierson, Vera Houghton, Shidzue Ishimoto Kato, Edris Rice-Wray, Margaret Sanger, and Ellen Watamull. The Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers are closely related to the Margaret Sanger Papers.

Florence Rose papers

Public relations specialist; executive secretary; Director, Meals for Millions; birth control activist; and lobbyist. Major subjects reflected in the Rose papers include the birth control movement in the U.S., relations between African-Americans and Planned Parenthood, the politics of American hunger relief and prevention efforts in developing countries, and the life and legacy of Margaret Sanger. Individuals represented in the papers include Margaret Sanger, Pearl S. Buck, Havelock Ellis, Carrie Chapman Catt, Morris Ernst, Clarence Gamble, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Harriet Pilpel, Emma Goldman, and H.G. Wells. Types of material include correspondence, organizational records, photographs, published and unpublished writings, and speeches.

Harriet F. Pilpel papers

Lawyer; birth control advocate; and abortion rights advocate. The Harriet F. Pilpel Papers are primarily related to her professional work with sexual and reproductive rights. The collection is essentially Pilpel's reference files, and is primarily composed of court documents from various legal cases on the state and federal level. The papers allow for a comprehensive, state-to-state comparison of a variety of sexual and reproductive laws, and provides a sense of the debates going on in individual states and the country regarding sexual and reproductive issues. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, reports, legislation, notes, journal and newspaper articles, and court documents.

Cheri Appel Oral History, Interviewed by Ellen Chesler

Oral history interview of Cheri Appel, M.D., physician and early birth control worker primarily discussing her work and Margaret Sanger. Interview conducted by Ellen Chesler in 1989. Includes audiotape and transcript. Digital copy available upon request.

Joy Dryfoos papers

Researcher; Author; Reproductive health specialist. Papers contain extensive research and printed material, primarily from Dryfoos's work at the Alan Guttmacher Institute in the 1960s and 1970s. They include her working files on such subjects as family planning and abortion as well as numerous articles, reports, and speeches authored by Dryfoos. In 1968 she was employed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America as a researcher, and from 1969-81, she served as the Director of Research and Planning of the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Stella Hanau papers

Editor; Publicist; Birth control activist. Correspondence with family and associates in the birth control movement and the Works Progress Administration (1930s); birth control and WPA publications edited by Hanau; biographical information, memorabilia, photographs, and material for her book, The Provincetown: A Story of a Theatre (1931). During her stint with the Birth Control Review, Hanau became friends with social service personnel and notable women in the birth control movement including Kitty Marion, Margaret Sanger, and early workers at Planned Parenthood. When Margaret Sanger left the American Birth Control League in 1935, Hanau left with her to work on publicity for Sanger in Washington.

Mary Faulkner papers

Birth control advocate. Papers consist primarily of organization records from the Massachusetts Mother's Health Council, 1934-39; committee minutes, memoranda, printed material, and financial material from the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, 1968-82; and financial material, memoranda, and committee minutes from Planned Parenthood of New York City (Margaret Sanger Center), 1972-82.

Alexander C. Sanger papers

The Alexander C. Sanger papers document Alexander Sanger's work as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City, and his involvement in Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the general struggle for reproductive rights in the U.S. and abroad. The collection also includes materials related to the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Program for Commissioning Women in the Performing Arts, founded by Alexander Sanger in 2013.

Hutcheson - Page Family papers

Family papers, including diaries, travel journals, correspondence, and many nineteenth century photographs, of the Hutcheson, Page, Grant, and Stone families. This collection also includes some of Phyllis Page's records of working for Planned Parenthood.

Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project oral histories

Forty-one interviews (with complete transcripts) of individuals throughout the world who have made important contributions to the reproductive health movement since 1965. Includes reproductive health advocates, communication specialists, lawyers, managers, physicians, researchers, social workers and others. The series addresses the historical period 1965-2005.

Beth Jacobs papers

Beth Jacobs was a birth control activist and member of the Legislative Council of Jamaica. Her papers include correspondence, speeches, clippings, photographs, video tape, writings, and printed material relating to family planning, sex education, family life and health, child welfare association, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation and the Beth Jacobs Family Planning Clinic in Jamaica, 1950-1998.

Leslie Tarr Laurie papers

Leslie Tarr Laurie helped found The Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts (later known as Tapestry Health Systems) 1973 to provide family planning services (birth control, pregnancy testing, referral for adoption and abortion services) and other health services (STD testing, gynecological exams). She would serve as CEO/Executive Director of the agency for the next 40 years until her resignation in early 2014. The collection contains correspondence, publications, minutes, reports, clinic data, medical protocols, publicity, photographs, clippings, personnel summaries, financial reports, project files, grant proposals, and personal papers.

Ames family papers

The Ames Family Papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, diaries, artwork, writings, photographs, and printed materials dating from 1812 to 2012. The bulk of the collection pertains to suffragist and early birth control advocate, Blanche Ames Ames. Of particular interest are the records related to Evelyn Ames Davis and Pauline Ames Plimpton, both affiliated with Planned Parenthood.