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COLLECTION — Box: 01 Identifier: H MS c524

Abraham and Hannah Mayer Stone papers

Scope and Contents

Records created and collected by Abraham and Hannah Mayer Stone, including writings, correspondence, events programs, a scrapbook, and photographs reflecting their work related to contraception and family planning.


  • Creation: 1916-1959 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.

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.


1.25 cubic feet (1 records center carton and 1 flat oversize box)

Biographical note for Abraham Stone

Abraham Stone (1890-1959) was Medical Director and later Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB) in New York, New York 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 fundraising, 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 to Meyer Glasisteen and Mollie Ichimerinsky on October 30 1890. He emigrated to the United States in 1905 at age 12. He was identified as white in the 1930 U.S. Census. Stone received his M.D. from New York University and Bellevue Medical College, New York, New York in 1912. In 1916, he received a B.S. from New York University, New York, New York. After serving as a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps in World War I, Abraham and his wife, Hannah Mayer Stone (1893-1941) opened a joint private medical practice. Due to their clinical experiences in private practice, Abraham Stone and Hannah Mayer 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.

Abraham Stone became Medical Director of the MSRB after Hannah Mayer Stone died in 1941, and he was later named Director of the facility by Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) in 1950, a position he held until his death in 1959. The MSRB (formerly the 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 sex, family planning, contraception, sterility, and marriage counseling. In 1935, he authored A Marriage Manual with Hannah Mayer Stone. 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 (1903-1965) in 1956. He also lectured frequently to academic and popular audiences on topics including women's reproductive rights, contraception, and marriage counseling.

Abraham Stone and Hannah Mayer Stone had one child, Gloria. Abraham Stone died on July 3, 1959 of a heart attack. He was 68.

Biographical note for Hannah Mayer Stone

Hannah Mayer Stone was a physician and birth control advocate who was the Medical Director of the Birth Control Clinical Research Center in New York, New York. With her husband, Abraham Stone (1890-1959) she opened the first Marriage Consultation Center in New York, New York and cowrote A Marriage Manual in 1935.

Hannah Mayer Stone (1893-1941) was born Hannah Mayer to Golda Rinaldo Mayer and Max Mayer in New York. The 1910 U.S. Census lists her race as white. Mayer Stone graduated from Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, Brooklyn, New York, in 1912, and then attended Columbia University, New York, New York. After earning her medical degree from New York Medical College and Flower Hospital, New York, New York in 1920, she worked at the Lying-In Hospital, New York, New York (now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center), where she met Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). Beginning in 1925, Mayer Stone left her work as a physician to become the unpaid director of Sanger's Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (until 1928 called Margaret Sanger Research Bureau; founded in 1923 as the Clinical Research Bureau) in New York, New York. In 1929, Mayer Stone and four other staff members at the Bureau were arrested on charges of disseminating birth control literature. However, they were released when there was insufficient proof. Later, Mayer Stone was sued by the U.S. Government for importing Japanese contraception, in apparent violation of the 1930 Tarriff Act. Together, Hannah Mayer Stone and Abraham Stone recognized the need for preventive sex education and trained numerous physicians to offer birth control services, sex counseling, and treatment of infertility. They also promoted women's reproductive autonomy during the 1930s. They opened the first Marriage Consultation Center in New York, New York. The couple also wrote A Marriage Manual in 1935, which talked candidly about sex. In A Marriage Manual, they also responded to the eugenics movement, or the use of birth control as a means of "social engineering," which was advocated by Sanger. They emphasized the social implications of environmental factors, like education and economics (1).

Hannah Mayer married Abraham Stone in 1917. The couple had one daughter, Gloria. Mayer Stone died on July 10, 1941 at age 47 or 48 (obituaries differ).

1. "An Emancipation Proclamation to the Motherhood of America," Lady Science, November 16, 2017,

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University, July 25, 2016 (Acc. 2017-034).

Processing Information

Processed by Charlotte Lellman in June 2021. Collection was processed according to Level 1 protocol.

Stone, Abraham, 1890-1959 and Stone, Hannah M. (Hannah Mayer), 1894-1941. Papers, 1916-1959 (inclusive): A Finding Aid.
Charlotte Lellman
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

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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