Planned Parenthood Federation of America records group II (PPFA II)
Scope and Contents
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.
Dates of Materials
- 1912 - 1998
- Majority of material found within 1950 - 1980
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
The name change reflected a redefinition of the organization's goals from family limitation to family planning. While PPFA continued to function as the largest birth control organization in the country, it sought to position itself as a more mainstream and moderate organization committed to a broad range of programs related to reproductive health. Under the leadership of National Director D. Kenneth Rose, the PPFA expanded its programs and services through the 1940s, adding affiliate organizations throughout the country. By the end of World War II, the Federation was no longer solely a center for birth control services or a clearing house for contraceptive information but had emerged as a major national health organization. PPFA's programs included a full range of family planning services, including marriage education and counseling, and infertility services. The leadership of the PPFA, largely consisting of businessmen and male physicians, endeavored to incorporate its contraceptive services unofficially into regional and national public health programs by emphasizing less politicized aspects such as child-spacing. During the 1950s, the Federation further adjusted its programs and message to appeal to a family-centered, more conservative post-war populace, while continuing to function, through its affiliated clinics, as the most reliable source of contraceptives in the country.
From 1942 to 1962, PPFA concentrated its efforts on strengthening its ties to affiliates, expanding public education programs, and improving its medical and research work. By 1960, visitors to PPFA centers across the nation numbered over 3,000,000 per year.
In the 1950s PPFA began focusing greater attention on global population issues as new concerns arose over the political, social, and cultural implications of overpopulation in Asia and around the world. The organization became active in international birth control work through its membership in the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which Margaret Sanger helped found in 1952. In 1961 the population crisis debate, along with funding shortages, convinced PPFA to merge with the World Population Emergency Campaign, a citizens' fund-raising organization, to become PPFA-World Population. Later in the 1960s, after several decades of emphasizing a family-centered, more conservative program for public health, PPFA reasserted its primary commitment to championing women's reproductive rights. It was also in the 1960s that family planning began to win the support of the federal government. Alan Guttmacher, M.D., who served as president of PPFA from 1962 until his death in 1974, was an effective advocate for the idea of a woman's right to safe and effective birth control. He successfully fought for the development of federally funded domestic and international family planning programs. Guttmacher also played an important role in the development of the birth control Pill and IUD. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) was named in his honor. AGI is an independent corporation for research, policy analysis, and public education on reproductive health issues and is a special affiliate of PPFA.
In 1970, Congress enacted Title X of the Public Health Services Act, providing support and funding for family planning services and educational programs and for biomedical and behavioral research in reproduction and contraceptive development. The Family Planning International Assistance division was established in 1972 by PPFA, becoming the largest U.S. nongovernmental provider of family planning services to developing countries.
In 1978, Faye Wattleton was appointed the first woman president of PPFA since Margaret Sanger. She led PPFA in its ongoing battle to preserve access to safe and legal abortion, to protect client confidentiality, especially for minors, against encroachments by the state, and to preserve federal funding for domestic and international family planning programs. By the time she retired from PPFA in 1992, Wattleton had greatly expanded its program of advocacy around the idea that sexual and reproductive liberation is central to women's equality.
In the 1980s and 90s, PPFA faced an onslaught of opposition to family planning and birth control. The organization challenged regulations passed under the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush that placed restrictions on U.S. funding of family planning services overseas and domestically. Organized right-wing opposition and violence against birth control and abortion providers also became a serious concern. PPFA continues to confront this opposition while it also addresses the public health issues surrounding sexuality and reproduction, such as the AIDS epidemic and the effect of poverty on families and children. Gloria Feldt currently serves as president of Planned Parenthood.
The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection Series, edited by Esther Katz, et al., University Publications of America, 1995
527 boxes (510.25 linear feet)
Language of Materials
- Chronological files
- Classified files
- Subject Files
- Minutes and transcripts
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Related records available on microfilm: The Records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Part I) have been microfilmed by University Publications of America. Additional records can be found in The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection Series, edited by Esther Katz, et al., University Publications of America, 1995. Both of these microfilm collections are in the Sophia Smith Collection and in Neilson Library at Smith College. Reels are also available through interlibrary loan.
Further processing was done by Maida Goodwin in 2016.
The PPFA filing system was designed to suit the organization's internal operations and presents complications for the researcher. The classification system used by PPFA is sometimes not very descriptive and obscures the nature of the material. Related material may be located in several places.
- Abortion -- Law and legislation -- United States
- Abortion services -- United States
- Alan Guttmacher Institute
- American Birth Control League
- Appointment books
- Best, Winfield
- Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (New York, N.Y.)
- Birth Control Federation of America
- Birth control -- 20th century
- Birth control -- Developing countries -- 20th century
- Birth control -- Political aspects
- Birth control clinics -- United States
- Contraceptives -- Research
- Feldt, Gloria, 1942-
- Financial records
- Guttmacher, Alan Frank, 1898-
- Human reproduction -- Political aspects
- Hygiene, Sexual -- 20th century
- International Planned Parenthood Federation
- Legal documents
- McCormick, Katherine Dexter, 1876-1967
- Motion pictures
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America
- Planned Parenthood-World Population (U.S.)
- Population policy -- 20th century
- Reproductive health
- Reproductive health -- Statistics
- Rose, D. Kenneth
- Sanger, Margaret, 1879-1966
- Sex instruction
- Wattleton, Faye
- Women -- Health and hygiene
- Women's health services
- Finding Aid to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America records group II (PPFA II)
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Amanda Izzo, Maida Goodwin
- 2003, 2016
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: mnsss148 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:11-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2019-02-28: Published top-level finding aid with link to PDF, and with correct access restrictions
- 2019-09: Imported inventories of Series I and II, updated a few notes.
- 2019-10: Imported remaining inventories, further note updates
- 2019-11-01: Added 11 boxes that were processed, but never included in the finding aid
- 2019-11-05: Corrected errors in import of Series II.
- 2021-07-22: Fixed incorrect box numbering in Series IV.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063