Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 203

Records of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health, 1915-1965


Minutes, reports, correspondence, etc., of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health.


  • Creation: 1915-1965

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Massachusetts Society for Social Health as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


3.75 linear feet (9 file boxes)

Except for the charter of incorporation (1915) and a few publications, there are no records of the Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene before 1928. The minutes of the Executive Committee and the reports of the Executive Secretary from 1928 through the 1950s provide the most thorough information about the Society; other papers describe its educational activities. Although most of these activities were centered in metropolitan Boston, the Western Branch was active in western Massachusetts. Some of its papers, as well as some of the American Social Health Association, are included in this collection.


The Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene, founded in 1911 and incorporated in 1915, worked to "help people understand and manage sex in its relation to health, good citizenship, marriage, parenthood and family life." In the early years the Society focused on medical and protective measures to combat venereal diseases but in 1928 reorganized to put greater emphasis on educational activities. Through counseling and discussion groups, lectures, a library and visual aids the Society offered information on marriage and family life, as well as on venereal diseases. Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene also worked toward the elimination of prostitution and pornography for "the maintenance of wholesome community life and the protection of youth." The Society was affiliated with the American Social Hygiene Association (later the American Social Health Association) and in 1962 followed the lead of the parent organization by changing its name to the Massachusetts Society for Social Health.

Many Bostonians served the Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene as officers, on the Executive Committee and on the Board of Directors. Dorothy W. Miller was Executive Secretary for 22 years (1936-1958) and Maida H. Solomon was vice-president for 28 years (1928-1956). Presidents include:

  1. Dr. Cecil K. Drinker (1928-1929)
  2. Dr. Wilson G. Smillie (1929-1932)
  3. Dr. E. Granville Crabtree (1932-1937)
  4. Dr. William Leroy Fleming (1949-1951)
  5. Dr. Chester North Frazier (1952-1953)
  6. Gilbert H. Roehrig (1954-1956)
  7. Dugald Arbuckle (1956-1959)
  8. Dr. Guy W. Brugler (1959-1965)

Other Executive Secretaries (later Executive Directors) include:

  1. Dr. Helen I.D. McGillicuddy (1928-1930)
  2. Frank Kiernan (1930-1936)
  3. William Y. Bell (1958)
  4. H. Frederick Brown (1959-1960)
  5. Rheable M. Edwards (1961-1963)

Among the many prominent members of the Board of Directors were Dr. Nicholas J. Fiumara, Miriam Van Waters and Eva Whiting White.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 958

The records of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in 1965 by Louise O. Tilden.


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-6
  2. Box 2: Folders 7-14
  3. Box 3: Folders 15-21
  4. Box 4: Folders 22-33
  5. Box 5: Folders 34-42
  6. Box 6: Folders 43-57
  7. Box 7: Folders 58-74
  8. Box 8: Folders 75-89
  9. Box 9: Folders 90-100

Processing Information

Processed: March, 1974

By: LH

Massachusetts Society for Social Health. Records of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health, 1915-1965: 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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA