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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 310

Papers of Lucile Lord-Heinstein, 1895-1977


Correspondence, photographs, lecture notes, etc., of Lucile Lord-Heinstein, gynecologist and advocate of birth control.


  • Creation: 1895-1977

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Collection is open for research. Clippings were microfilmed and are available on microfilm (M-53).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lucile Lord-Heinstein as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.42 linear feet (1 file box) plus 6 photograph folders, 1 folio+ folder, 1 supersize folder, 1 reel microfilm (M-53)

The papers of Lucile Lord-Heinstein consist of personal and professional correspondence, lecture notes, minutes, newsletters and other printed materials, newsclippings on microfilm (M-53), and photographs of Lord-Heinstein, as well as a small amount of papers of her mother, Augusta Lord-Heinstein. Augusta Lord-Heinstein's papers include records, 1909-1919, of her work as a physiotherapist and masseuse in Boston, and some of her school records from 1914 and 1915.

The bulk of the collection consists of Lord-Heinstein's professional papers, which cover her professional career beginning with 1935 but concentrate on the period of the Mothers' Health Office raid and subsequent trial and appeal, 1936-1938; they also document her involvement with local and national family planning and sex education organizations. The collection includes a run of the Family Guardian, the newsletter of the Massachusetts Mothers' Health Council, from 1940 to 1942.

Most of the photographs are of Lord-Heinstein taken between 1910 and 1977. Of particular interest are those of Lord-Heinstein and her fellow Tufts College Medical School interns at New England Hospital in 1925 (#18).


Lucile Lord-Heinstein, gynecologist and advocate of birth control, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 22, 1903, to Augusta Lord-Heinstein and Henry Heinstein. Henry Heinstein had emigrated from Russia to the United States in about 1886 and joined the United States Army. In 1895, when he was about twenty-four, he married Augusta Lord, who was then probably nineteen years old. Augusta Lord-Heinstein was a suffragist and a pioneer physiotherapist. Though most of her work was volunteer work, she did run a clinic at home during a polio epidemic sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.

Lord-Heinstein graduated from Boston Girls' Latin School in 1921 and spent two additional years in pre-medical study at Tufts College. With the encouragement of her mother, Lord-Heinstein entered Tufts College Medical School and earned her M.D. in 1927. During her last year of medical school, she lived at the Reformatory for Women at Framingham, Massachusetts. In 1930, following her internship at New England Hospital for Women in Roxbury (1927-1928) and residency at Memorial Hospital in Worcester (1928-1929), she set up a private practice in gynecology in Boston. However, because of overwork and exposure to tubercular colleagues, she contracted tuberculosis and was forced to close her practice after only four months.

In 1935, after this setback, she accepted a volunteer "refresher" position at the gynecology clinic of the New England Hospital for Women. Later that year she began working at the Mothers' Health Office (MHO) in Brookline, one of several birth control clinics sponsored by the Birth Control League of Massachusetts. The next year she became Physician-in-Charge of the Mothers' Health Office in Salem, and in 1937 she and her staff were arrested and convicted under an 1869 law prohibiting distribution of contraceptive advice or devices. They appealed the case, but their convictions were upheld in February 1938. After the police raided several more clinics, the remaining Mothers' Health Offices in the state were closed.

She continued to find ways to make birth control methods available to her patients both at New England Hospital for Women, where she remained on the staff until 1956, and later in private practice. From listening to her patients, Lord-Heinstein recognized the need for improved body awareness and education about sex and marriage. She attended marriage and family counseling seminars at Boston University and was later asked to lead several herself. She was invited to join the American Association of Marriage Counselors and served on its executive committee (1951-1954) and its nominating committee (ca. 1957), and was named a Fellow of the Association. She also served on the executive committee of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (1951-1958) and on its Board from 1959 until at least 1964. She was for many years a counselor for and then Director of the Marriage and Family Counseling Service of the Community Church of Boston, and gave speeches and lectures on marriage, family planning, and sex education to local civic and youth groups.

Though Lord-Heinstein never married, she helped to raise the three children of a distant relative. She has retired from private practice and lives in the Heinstein family summer home in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 76-202, 81-M36

The papers of Lucile Lord-Heinstein were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lucile Lord-Heinstein in 1976 and 1981. They were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-0051-79-1260.)

Processing Information

Processed: May 1981

By: Kathleen Marquis

Lord-Heinstein, Lucile, 1903-1997. Papers of Lucile Lord-Heinstein, 1891-1977: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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