Abraham Stone papers
The Abraham Stone papers, 1916-1959 are the product of Stone's activities as Medical Director and later Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in New York City and as an administrator at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Planned Parenthood Federation from the 1940s until his death in 1959. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, memoranda, teaching notes, lecture notes, and writings resulting from his administrative activities at the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau. The collection also includes writings and lectures produced by his wife, Hannah Stone, while she served as Medical Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau.
- 1916-1959 (Inclusive), 1951-1959 (Bulk)
- Stone, Abraham, 1890-1959 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, IV, V, VI, and VII. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
The Abraham Stone papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to consult Public Services for further information concerning retrieval of material.
Conditions Governing Use
The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.
Extent13.5 cubic feet (12 record cartons, 1 half record carton, 2 legal document boxes, 1 photograph box)
The Abraham Stone Papers, 1916-1959, are the product of Stone's administrative and professional activities as Medical Director and Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB) from 1941 to 1959, and his activities as a marriage counselor, fertility specialist, and family planning advocate in New York City as a vice-president of both the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
The bulk of the collection falls between 1951 and 1959 and contains meeting minutes, financial reports, correspondence, notes, agendas, manuscripts and publications created during Stone's term as Director of the MSRB. Correspondence, meeting minutes, administrative files, committee notes, conference programs, and photographs from Stone's activities as vice-president of the PPFA and the IPPF. The collection also contains Stone's lecture notes, correspondence, pamphlets, conference programs, television and radio scripts, and photographs regarding the evolution of sex education, contraception,family planning, and birth spacing in the United States, and the legalization of the birth control pill in the early 1960s. Stone's topical correspondence, writings, and lectures in the collection focus on family planning, marriage relations, contraception, sex education, estrogen, fertility, sterility, sexual frigidity, and population. Personal and biographical records include photographs of and correspondence with Margaret Sanger, and his wife, Hannah Stone; as well as correspondence, and writings. The collection also includes Stone's teaching lectures, syllabi, and notes from courses at the New School for Social Research, New York University College of Medicine, and Columbia University. Few items document the MSRB’s role as a teaching and demonstration center for New York University College of Medicine and Long Island College of Medicine’s health and preventive medicine training programs.
Biographical Notes/Historical Notes
Abraham Stone (1890-1959) was Medical Director and later Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB) in New York City from 1941 to 1959. The MSRB was a facility closely aligned with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), of which Stone served as vice-president during the 1950s. Under Stone's leadership from 1941 to 1959, the MSRB further assisted with PPFA fund-raising, accommodated an increased number of PPFA board members on its board of trustees, expanded its programs to include marriage counseling and infertility research, and became the clinical research arm of the PPFA.
Abraham Stone was born in Russia on 30 October 1890 and emigrated to the United States in 1905 at age 12. He received the MD from New York University and Bellevue Medical College in 1912. In 1916, he received the BS from New York University, and in 1917, he married Hannah Mayer (1893-1941), who earned a pharmacy degree from Brooklyn College in 1912 and an MD from New York Medical College and Flower Hospital in 1920. After serving as a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps in World War I, Abraham and Hannah opened a joint private medical practice. Hannah was named Medical Director of the MSRB in 1925, and garnered recognition as the clinical expert on contraception. Due to their clinical experiences in private practice, Abraham and Hannah Stone recognized the need for preventive sex education and trained numerous physicians to offer birth control services, sex counseling, and treatment of infertility. The couple also established the first marriage counseling service under medical direction in the United States at the Community Church in New York in 1931. Due to their work at the MSRB, their promotion of group therapy for treatment of marital sexual dysfunction, and the publication of A Marriage Manual in 1935, the couple actively promoted women's reproductive autonomy during the 1930s.
After Hannah's death in 1941, Abraham replaced his wife as the Medical Director of the MSRB, and was later named Director of the facility by Margaret Sanger in 1950, a position he held until his death in 1959. The MSRB, formerly known as the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, originally aligned itself with the American Birth Control League in 1939, creating the Birth Control Federation of America, later renamed the PPFA in 1942. Despite the merger, the MSRB maintained much of its independence, and renamed its clinic the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in honor of its founder, Margaret Sanger, in 1940. During Stone's tenure, he increased the services of the facility to include fertility counseling and treatment.
Aside from Stone's responsibilities at the MSRB, he remained active in other professional organizations, including the PPFA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); Stone served as vice-president of both organizations during the 1950s. He traveled internationally as vice-president of the IPPF lecturing to family planning groups on the importance of contraception, fertility, and marriage counseling. Stone was a founder and president of the American Association of Marriage Counselors. Other organizations and committees to which Stone belonged included the American Society for the Study of Sterility, the Intraprofessional Commission on Marriage and Divorce Laws, and the American Soviet Medical Society; membership lists, bylaws, event programs, correspondence, notes, and reprints document Stone's activities within these organizations.
During his career, Stone published several articles on topics including sexual relations, family planning,contraception, sterility, and marriage counseling. In 1935, he authored A Marriage Manual with wife Hannah. This book was one of the first published on the subject of marriage and was reprinted in several editions. Stone also published The Premarital Consultation, the first manual on marital relations written for physicians, with physician Lena Levine in 1956. He also lectured frequently to academic and popular audiences on topics including women's reproductive rights, contraception, and marriage counseling.
Abraham Stone died on 3 July 1959 of a heart attack. He was 68.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- Series I. Margaret Sanger Research Bureau Administrative Records, 1928-1959
- ___Subseries A. Administrative Files, 1928-1959
- ___Subseries B. Administrative Correspondence, 1929-1959
- ______Sub-subseries 1. Chronological Administrative Correspondence, 1938-1958
- ______Sub-subseries 2. Alphabetical Administrative Correspondence, 1929-1959
- ___Subseries C. Research Files, 1929-1959
- ___Subseries D. Outreach Publications, Reports, and Research Writings, 1946-1959
- Series II. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Administrative Records, 1929-1959
- ___Subseries A. Administrative Files, 1929-1959
- ___Subseries B. Domestic Correspondence and Records, 1949-1957
- ___Subseries C. International Correspondence and Records, 1951-1955
- ___Subseries D. Outreach Publications, Reports, and Research Writings, 1943-1956
- Series III. International Planned Parenthood Federation Administrative Records, 1933-1959
- ___Subseries A. Administrative Files, 1951-1959
- ___Subseries B. Conference Files, 1952-1959
- ___Subseries C. International Collaboration Correspondence and Records, 1933-1958
- Series IV. Professional Activities Records, 1930-1959
- ___Subseries A. Professional Organizations and Societies Records, 1934-1959
- ___Subseries B. Conference Records, 1930-1959
- Series V. Research Reports, Publications, and Lectures, 1932-1959
- ___Subseries A. Research Reports and Publications, 1934-1959
- ______Sub-subseries 1. Research Writings, 1934-1959
- ______Sub-subseries 2. A Marriage Manual Chapter Drafts and Publication Records, 1934-1959
- _________Sub-sub-subseries a. A Marriage Manual Chapter Drafts, 1934, 1949, 1952
- _________Sub-sub-subseries b. A Marriage Manual Publication Records, 1934-1959
- ___Subseries B. Lectures and Speaking Engagement Records, 1932-1959
- Series VI. Teaching Lectures, Outlines, and Course Records, 1945-1959
- ___Subseries A. New School for Social Research Lectures and Course Records, 1949-1956
- ___Subseries B. New York University College of Medicine Administrative and Course Records, 1945-1959
- ___Subseries C. Columbia University Lectures and Course Records, 1948-1956
- Series VII. Personal and Biographical Records, 1916-1959
- ___Subseries A. Stone Family Correspondence and Papers, 1918-1959
- ___Subseries B. Lantern Slides
- ___Subseries C. Hannah Stone Writings and Lectures
- ______Sub-subseries 1. Research Writings, 1925-1937
- ______Sub-subseries 2. Lectures, 1925-1941
- ___Subseries D. Hannah Stone Death and Remembrance Correspondence and Records, 1941
- ___Subseries E. Margaret Sanger Personal Correspondence and Writings, 1916-1957
The Abraham Stone Papers consist of seven series: Series I. Margaret Sanger Research Bureau Administrative Records; Series II. Planned Parenthood Administrative Records; Series III. International Planned Parenthood Federation Administrative Records; Series IV. Professional Activities Records; Series V. Writings, Lectures, and Publications Records; Series VI. Teaching Records; Series VII. Personal and Biographical Records.
Oversized items are housed in boxes 13, 14, and 16. There are 27 lantern slides containing portraits of birth control advocates and educators and diagrams of contraceptive devices located in Series VII and housed in box 15 and kept on-site with department images in the Center for the History of Medicine stacks in row 1, unit 5, shelf 6.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Abraham Stone Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in 1971 by Gloria Aitken, daughter of Abraham Stone.
Series I, II, IV, V, VI, and VII contain personnel and patient information that is restricted for 80 years. The end of the restriction period is noted with each folder.
Processed by Jennifer Pelose, May 2004.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, reboxed, and created a finding aid for the Abraham Stone papers. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine, etc.
- Stone, Abraham, 1890-1959 (Person)
- Stone, Abraham, 1890- . Personal and Professional Papers, 1916-1959: Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository
The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.
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