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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c537

Edris Rice-Wray papers


The collection consists of records created by Edris Rice-Wray in the course of her career as a specialist in family planning and reproductive medicine working in Mexico City, Mexico. Records include correspondence, manuscripts, and patient data.


  • Creation: 1937-1983 (inclusive)
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960-1970


Language of Materials

Papers are in English and Spanish

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. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult 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 cubic feet (1 records center carton)

The collection consists of records created or collected by Edris Rice-Wray in the course of her career working with family planning institutions, primarily in Mexico.

Correspondence (Series I) consists of letters and enclosures from individuals and groups, including corporations, government offices, and academic institutions. Topics include conferences, professional visits to Rice-Wray’s Mexico City clinic, clinical trials of various types of contraceptives, the activities of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the politics of birth control in Mexico.

Writings and manuscripts (Series II) consist of publications Rice-Wray authored and co-authored in various stages of preparation, including final reprints.

Papers are in English and Spanish.

Biographical Note

Edris Roushan Rice-Wray (1904-1990), B.A., 1927, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York; M.D., 1932, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois; M.P.H., 1950, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, worked to develop the first generation of oral contraceptives and was involved with the founding of the first family planning clinic in Mexico.

Edris Rice-Wray was born in 1904 in New York City, New York and received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1927. She went on to attend Northwestern University Medical School and receive her M.D. in 1932 with a focus on public health work. Between 1934 and 1947, Rice-Wray was in private medical practice in Chicago, lectured on sex education, and was an attending physician at Chicago-area Planned Parenthood clinics.

In 1948, Rice-Wray went to Puerto Rico as a health district director. In 1950, she was appointed Director of the Public Health Training Center, a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico, and as Medical Director of the Puerto Rico Planned Parenthood. During her time in Puerto Rico, Rice-Wray collaborated with John Rock (1890-1984) and Gregory Pincus (1903-1967) on the trials of oral contraceptives on Puerto Rican women.

In 1957, Rice-Wray joined the World Health Organization and moved to Mexico to work as Medical Officer for Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. In 1958 she founded and became the President of the Asociación Pro-Salud Maternal, the first family planning clinic in Mexico. She held this position until 1972 when she became Honorary President and Chief Technical Consultant for the Asociación. During the 1970s, she moved from Mexico City to Cholula in Puebla, Mexico, where she continued to work in reproductive medicine and held a teaching position at the University of the Americas Puebla.

Rice-Wray was a prolific author, publishing regularly throughout her career. She focused on aspects of reproductive and contraceptive medicine, primarily oral contraceptives. She received the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Margaret Sanger Award in 1978; the award, established in 1966, honors outstanding contributions to the reproductive health and rights movement.

Rice-Wray was married and had daughters. She died in 1990 in San Andres Cholula, Puebla, Mexico.

Collection Arrangement

  1. I. Correspondence, 1937-1982
  2. II. Writings and manuscripts, 1957-1973

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Edris Rice-Wray.

  1. Accession number 2018-275. Edris Rice-Wray.

Processing Information

Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook, 2018 July.

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and reboxed material and created a finding aid to increase researcher access. Folder titles were transcribed from original folders which were then discarded.



Rice-Wray, Edris. Papers, 1937-1983 (inclusive), 1960-1970 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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