Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project oral histories
Scope and Contents
The Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, includes accounts of individuals throughout the world who have made important contributions to the field. Reflecting the voices and perspectives of advocates, communication specialists, lawyers, managers, physicians, researchers, social workers and others, the series addresses the historical period 1965-2005.
There are forty-one audio recorded interviews with complete transcripts for each. Project records include correspondence and emails between project staff and narrators; and biographical materials, some of which include writings. Jack Smith's professional files include memoranda, emails, correspondence, newsletters, reports, database searches, and project proposals pertaining to the planning and execution of the History Project. They also document some of the important events in the history of the reproductive health movement since 1965. Also included are writings by Deborah McFarlane.
Selected transcripts have been digitized and are available on the SSC Web site.
Dates of Materials
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Some of the oral histories in this collection have restrictions on access. Please see the notes attached to an individual interview for information about restrictions that apply to it.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to all of the oral histories except for the interview with Mercedes Concepción who has retained copyright to her interview. Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to the Sophia Smith Collection.
Biographical / Historical
The Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project began as a discussion in the Population, Reproductive Health, and Family Planning section of the American Public Health Association in the late 1990s. In her newsletter message to the section membership, Deborah R. McFarlane, then chair, discussed the need for archiving the papers of people in the field who were retiring and asked for ideas. Jack C. Smith, an eminent statistician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), read the column and called Deborah. "Not only do the papers of prominent people in our field need to be saved," he said, "but we need to save their stories. These stories are far more compelling than statistics." Jack convinced Deborah and many others of the need to conduct an oral history project with leaders in the population and reproductive health movements.
Jack retired shortly after and spent the next several years looking for an appropriate repository, speaking with oral historians, professional organizations, and friends in the field. He secured funding for a pilot project interviewing the directors of the Division of Reproductive Health at CDC: these interviews were conducted by Rebecca Sharpless, director of the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University. Sadly, Jack died in October 2000, but not before he had identified the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC) at Smith College--following discussions with its director, Sherrill Redmon--as the best place to preserve the interviews and make them available for research. He was impressed with the commitment of the SSC to documenting the history of women's health and the reproductive rights movement and felt that the project's records would be a logical complement to the SSC's impressive holdings on the subject, including the Margaret Sanger Papers, the archives of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and many other collections.
In 2001, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in Menlo Park, California, generously awarded funding to Deborah R. McFarlane of the University of New Mexico for this project. Dr. J. Joseph Speidel, then population program director at Hewlett, has continued to assist the project with his connections to key figures throughout the field.
To preserve the accounts and papers of pioneers in population and reproductive health, McFarlane enlisted the support of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College and the Institute of Oral History at Baylor University. The thirty-eight interviews were conducted by Rebecca Sharpless and Deborah McFarlane between 2002 and 2005. The oral history tapes and transcripts arrived at the SSC beginning in 2005, where they were edited and processed by oral historian Revan Schendler.
Some of narrators in the Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project have agreed to donate their papers to the SSC. Others will donate their papers to the Francis Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University, or other appropriate archives. Where known, this information is included in the list of narrators.
26.125 linear feet (60 containers)
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.
The collection is organized into three series:
- I. ADMINISTRATIVE FILES AND PROJECT HISTORY
- II. TRANSCRIPTS includes the full transcript (except where restricted sections have been removed), brief biographies, and notes.
- III. BACKGROUND MATERIALS contains additional biographical information, research materials, correspondence and emails, notes, release forms, publications, annotated transcripts, audiotapes, and audio-only DVDs
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jack Smith donated his original project records to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2000. Thirty-eight interviews were conducted by Rebecca Sharpless and Deborah McFarlane between 2002 and 2005, and Deborah McFarlane facilitated the transfer of the completed interviews and transcripts to the SSC from 2005-2007, where they were edited and processed by oral historian Revan Schendler.
Audio recordings of interviews have been copied to CDRom for research use.
Transcripts are available in both paper and electronic formats.
Selected transcripts have been digitized and are available on the SSC Web site.
Processed by Revan Schendler and Burd Schlessinger, 2006-2007.
- Abortion -- United States
- Abortion rights movement
- Alan Guttmacher Institute
- Alauddin, Dr. Mohammed
- Benshoof, Esq, Janet
- Birth control
- Birth control -- Law and legislation
- Birth control -- Research
- Camp, Sharon
- Cates, Willard
- Catholics for a Free Choice (Organization)
- Centre for Development and Population Activities
- Computer media
- Concepcion, Dr. Mercedes
- Curlin, Peggy
- Darney, Dr. Philip
- David, Henry P.
- Delano, Mrs. Grace Ebun
- Donaldson, Peter J.
- Duke, Ambassador Robin Chandler
- Dunlop, Joan Banks
- Electronic mail
- Frank, Richard
- Germain, Adrienne, 1947-2022
- Gillespie, Duff
- Gillespie, Robert
- Grant proposals
- International Conference on Population and Development (1994 : Cairo, Egypt)
- International Planned Parenthood Federation
- International Women's Health Coalition
- Jaramillo, Dr. Mario
- Johnson, Dr. J. Timothy
- Kabir, Sandra
- Kissling, Frances, 1943-
- Maguire, Elizabeth
- McFarlane, Deborah R.
- Minto, Lee
- Morris, Leo
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S.). Division of Reproductive Health
- Neuse, Margaret
- Oral histories
- Pellegrom, Daniel E.
- Piotrow, Phyllis Tilson
- Population Action International
- Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project
- Population assistance -- Developing countries
- Population policy
- Potts, Dr. Malcom
- Ravenholt, R. T. (Reimert Thorolf)
- Reproductive and sexual health
- Reproductive health -- Developing countries
- Richards, Cory L.
- Rogers, Everett M.
- Rosenfield, Allan
- Rosoff, Jeannie Isabelle
- Sadik, Nafis
- Sai, Dr. Fred T.
- Scruggs, Stirling
- Seims, Sara
- Sharpless, Rebecca
- Sheeran, Patrick J.
- Sinding, Steven W.
- Smith, Jack, 1941-2000
- Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History
- Speidel, Dr. J. Joseph
- USAID. Office of Population and Reproductive Health
- United Nations Fund for Population Activities
- Viravaidya, Dr. Mechai
- Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project oral histories
- Finding Aid
- Revan Schendler and Burd Schlessinger
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:18-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2020-05-20: Agents and access and use notes added to interviews
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063