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National Women's Health Network records

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00360

Scope and Contents

The National Women's Health Network Records consist of 103.25 linear feet, dating from 1963-2011, with the bulk of the records dating from 1976-2000. There is historical and organizational material, but the most of the records document the activities, programs, and projects over a thirty year period. Types of material include correspondence; memoranda; records of the Committees, Board of Directors and Executive Committee; annual reports; material from conferences and meetings; funding proposals, Senate and House testimonies, legal documents and court cases; financial records; program descriptions and reports, publications and articles, research papers; files of affiliated organizations; printed materials; photographs and audiovisual materials. These records provide a rich source of information on the battle for quality health care for women and reflect the NWHN as advocate, information provider, and front line activist organization. Of particular interest are files on breast cancer and tamoxifen, Depo-Provera, reproductive rights and abortion, Dalkon Shield, and consumer protection and the related legal and legislative campaigns. Documents related to the Network's class action suits against A.H. Robins and Upjohn regarding the Dalkon Shield and Depo-Provera are of particular interest, as are those related to tamoxifen clinical trials. Materials related to key subject areas can be found throughout the records and researchers are encouraged to look at all the series for topics of interest.

Dates

  • 1963-2011

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The Records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following exceptions: researchers are required to sign a Records Access Agreement agreeing not to identify NWHN program participants who are still living without their written permissions and a portion of the Depo-Provera registry in Series VIII is closed until 2065.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the records of the organization. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

The National Women's Health Network is a non-profit women's health advocacy organization. It's goals include creating a health care public policy that reflects and responds to the diversity of women's experiences; advocating women's self-determination in all aspects of their reproductive and sexual health; establishing universal health care that meets the needs of diverse women; monitoring the actions of federal regulatory and funding agencies, industry, and health care professions; providing women with objective health information from a feminist viewpoint; and supporting grassroots action.

Created at the height of second wave feminism, the National Women's Health Network was an outgrowth of informal groups of women sharing their experiences. It was founded in 1975 by Barbara Seamon, Alice Wolfson, Belita Cowan, Mary Howell, and Phyllis Chesler as a lobby group for women's health advocacy and quickly expanded to become a clearinghouse for women's health information. It began as the Women's Health Lobby, later called the National Women's Health Lobby Network, and finally the National Women's Health Network. Since its beginnings, the Network has waged numerous legal battles and organized public education campaigns to increase women's input into the U.S. health care system. These include the first Diethylstilbestrol (DES) class action lawsuit on behalf of DES daughters, class action lawsuits against A.H. Robbins manufacturer of the contraceptive intrauterine device, Dalkon Shield, and against the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company on the use of the contraceptive Depo-Provera. In addition the Network organized a Citizen's Petition to the FDA requesting that the Dalkon Shield be declared a banned product. The Network successfully persuaded the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to require studies on the safety of breast implants and to establish mandatory standards on absorbency labeling for tampons to reduce preventable cases of toxic shock syndrome. It also exposed the scientific inadequacies in the clinical trials of tamoxifen. Its information packets and publications provide information to millions of women on a wide range of topics. The Black Women's Health Project (now the Black Women's Health Imperative) was originally a project of the NWHN. It also continues to assist and support local activists in their efforts to expose environmental and occupational health problems, support reproductive rights for all and the health needs of midlife and elderly women.

Currently, the Network is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with affiliates in New Mexico and New Jersey. It has 11,000 (as of December 2011) individual members.

Additional information can be found on the organization's website: http://nwhn.org/

Extent

254 boxes (112.41 linear feet)

.103 Gigabytes (4,810 digital files)

Overview

Non-profit women's health advocacy organization focusing on the diversity of women's experiences; advocating women's self-determination in all aspects of their reproductive and sexual health; establishing universal health care that meets the needs of diverse women; monitoring the actions of federal regulatory and funding agencies, industry, and health care professions; providing women with objective health information from a feminist viewpoint; and supporting grassroots action. The records document activities, programs, and projects over a thirty year period.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into fifteen series:
  1. I. HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION (1977-2006)
  2. II. ADMINISTRATION (1976-2004)
  3. III. COMMITTEES (1978-2004
  4. IV. PERSONNEL AND BOARD MEMBERS (1979-2007
  5. V. MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCIAL MATERIALS (1977-2006)
  6. VI. PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS (1976-2005)
  7. VII. CORRESPONDENCE (1977-2006)
  8. VIII. CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS (1977-2011)
  9. IX. PROJECTS, PROGRAMS, AND REFORM EFFORTS (1963-2007)
  10. X. COURT CASES AND LEGISLATION
  11. XI. OUTREACH AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (1977-2005)
  12. XII. AFFILIATES (1978-88)
  13. XIII. ORGANIZATION FILES (1978-2005)
  14. XIV. SUBJECTS AND REFERENCE FILES (1972-2002)
  15. XV. PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS (1981-2002)

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is comprised of the following accessions, some of which may not have accession records. Accession numbers: 87S-54, 87S-59, 88S-29, 94S-46, 96S-47, 97S-5, 99S-33, 02S-55, 04S-21, 07S-04, 09S-14, 14S-33, 16S-04, 16S-29, 16S-66, 2017S-016. Accessions were received on the following dates: 1987, 1988, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2004-04-13, 2007-01-18, 2009-02-02, 2014-06-02, 2016-01-12, 2016-04-05, 2016-07-05, 2017-03-02, 2019-S-0005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The National Women's Health Network began donating their Records to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1987. Additions to the collection are expected.

Accruals

Periodic additions to this collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Related Materials

Additional records can be found in the papers of Katsi Cook and Loretta Ross and the records of the Black Women's Health Imperative. In addition there is information about the Network in the Voices of Feminism Oral History Project in the interviews with Katsi Cook and Loretta Ross.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2012.

All computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; and file lists were created.
Title
National Women's Health Network records
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Susan Boone.
Date
2012
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Sponsor
Processing of the National Women's Health Network Records was made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:17-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-12-04: Archived website added
  • 2019-04-23: Made paper FA pencil edit changes up to p.169.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063