Papers of Sybil Shainwald, 1924-2012 (inclusive), 1978-2012 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1978-2012
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
71.39 linear feet ((169 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 1 photograph folder, 16 audiotapes, 11 videotapes, 2 objects, and electronic records)
Series I, PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL, 1924-2010 (#1.1-28.8, 170FB.1-170FB.2, PD.1, T-444.1 - T-444.3, Mem.1-Mem.2, E.1), contains correspondence, notes, speeches, audiotapes, etc., relating to Shainwald's work as a teacher and with the Consumers Union, her role as a women's health advocate, and her involvement in professional legal organizations. Correspondence files consist of Shainwald's professional correspondence, including letters from women asking for advice on seeking compensation for medical problems they suffered resulting from medical procedures or devices. Among the correspondence are letters from women who suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other problems following the use of intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as the Dalkon Shield; had given birth to children with cancers related to the administration of DES during pregnancy; and who suffered from neurological and rheumatological health problems relating to silicone breast implants. Letters containing detailed medical information have been redacted; the originals are closed for 50 years from date of creation.
Consumers Union materials relate to Shainwald's work under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to establish the Center for the Study of the Consumer Movement at the Consumers Union. Files contain a small amount of original historical documents, but are mainly photocopies of documents. The majority of files consist of correspondence, notes, grant applications, and drafts of interviews concerning an oral history project featuring members of the Consumers Union. A finalized transcript of Shainwald's Colston E.Warne interview can be found at Columbia University's Center for Oral History.
National Women's Health Network (NWHN) files contain correspondence, minutes, questionnaires, financial documents, etc., documenting Shainwald's role a a member, board member (1980-1986), president (1982-1986), chair of health law and regulations (1981-1988), and chair of the litigation information service (1980-1986) of the NWHN. Files document the administrative activities of the NWHN, which lobbied for women's health issues in federal policy making and worked to increase awareness of women's health issues. Among the services provided by NWHN was the litigation information service, which offered advice to women on how to pursue litigation against corporations who manufactured medical devices or drugs which caused them harm and, in some cases, matched women with lawyers. The litigation information service files mainly consist of letters from women seeking advice and correspondence among members of the NWHN and lawyers concerning whether or not the women's complaints warranted legal action. Letters containing detailed medical information have been redacted; the originals are closed for 50 years from date of creation.
Shainwald's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2013. Folder titles were created by Shainwald; additional information in square brackets was provided by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series II, DIETHYLSTILBESTROL (DES), 1976-2012 (#28.9-77.4, T-444.4 -T-444.16, Vt-220.1), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, audiotapes, and other material relating to DES legal cases in which Shainwald played a role. DES is a synthetic oral form of estrogen that was prescribed to pregnant women from 1938 through 1971 to prevent miscarriages. The drug was never patented and was produced by numerous pharmaceutical companies under a variety of names including Desplex, Stibestrol, Stibetin, Estrobene, and Dienestrol. In 1954, the first controlled study of DES efficacy revealed that the drug did not prevent miscarriages. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned DES for use during pregnancy because it was found to be associated with a rare form of vaginal and cervical cancer in women exposed to DES in utero. Shainwald's files document her involvement in several DES cases, including Bichler v. Lilly, the nation's first DES daughter victory, as well as in the class action which resulted in the establishment of an Emergency Fund for DES daughters. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles created by Shainwald appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series III, BREAST IMPLANTS, 1988-2008 (#77.5-109.9, 112.1-122.12, Vt-220.2 - Vt-220.9), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, videotapes, and other material relating to silicone breast implant litigation in which Shainwald played a role. Beginning in the late-1980s, Shainwald defended women alleging that their silicone breast implants had leaked and caused a variety of autoimmune, neurological, and rheumatological health problems. Due to the large number of lawsuits filed, cases were consolidated as MDL 926. Large settlements for both domestic and foreign plaintiffs lead to Dow Corning Corporation, the major defendant, to declare bankruptcy. Files represent individual clients defended by Shainwald as well as her involvement in MDL 926. Files particularly represent Shainwald's work on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee and as chair of the Foreign Plaintiffs' Subcommittee, as well as her work tracking the progress of Dow Corning's bankruptcy proceedings. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles created by Shainwald appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, BIRTH CONTROL, 1978-2003 (#123.1-133.4, Vt-220.10), contains correspondence, briefs, clippings, notes, research, drafts, and other material relating to legal cases litigated by Shainwald involving various forms of birth control. Files are largely concerned with litigation involving the Copper-7, Dalkon Shield, and Saf-T-Coil intrauterine devices (IUDs), which caused pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which in turn resulted in ectopic pregnancies and, for some, infertility. In addition, women who became pregnant while using the Dalkon Shield also suffered from septic spontaneous abortions. Correspondence with clients documents health problems suffered by the clients as well as administrative details of the cases. Many files contain internal memos and reports created by IUD manufacturers documenting their knowledge of medical problems resulting from the use of their products. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series V, OTHER CASES, 1975-2007 (#110.1-111.9, 133.5-169.9, Vt-220.11), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, and other material relating to legal cases litigated by Shainwald involving chorionic villus sampling (CVS), Parolodel, Fen-Phen, and other products or issues regarding women's health.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) litigation is represented in files concerning Bowen, Alexandra and Nancy v. Women's Health Center of Oregon, et al. CVS is a prenatal test that detects genetic disorders. The doctor takes cells from the chorionic villi and sends them to a lab for genetic analysis. Nancy Bowen sued her health care providers on the grounds that she and her husband weren't adequately informed of the risks involved with the procedure, which resulted in Bowen's daughter being born without fingers and with a raised "strawberry" birthmark. Depositions and documents, including internal memos, medical records, and reports produced by the defendants are subject to a protective order. Those documents, as well work product and attorney-client privileged records relating to Bowen, Alexandra and Nancy v. Women's Health Center of Oregon, et al., are closed 75 years after date of creation.
Fen-Phen is the more common name for the drug combination fenfluramine/phentermine, an anti-obesity treatment that was shown to cause potentially fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problems. Cases involving Fen-Phen litigated by Shainwald are represented by Lillian Fontane and Philip Fontane v. A.H. Robins Company, et al., which was consolidated into MDL 1203. Files consist mainly of legal filings relating to the MDL 1203 litigation and settlement.
Shainwald brought the initial cases for Parlodel, the brand name for bromocriptine miccylate, a drug produced by Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company to inhibit lactation in women who choose not to nurse. Use of the drug for lactation suppression is associated with cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, and seizures. Files concerning Parlodel litigation include research files on the drug, depositions of medical experts, and documents, including Sandoz Pharmaceutical memos and reports, produced during the course of litigation. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation.
Folder titles were created by Shainwald; additional information in square brackets was provided by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Shainwald has held many positions in the National Women's Health Network, including board member (1980-1986), president (1982-1986), chair of health law and regulations (1981-1988), and chair of the litigation service (1980-1986). She was also on the boards of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Dalkon Shield Information Network, National Network to Prevent Birth Defects, and the Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation. An active member of the American Association for Justice (also known as Association of Trial Lawyers of America), she served as chair of their environmental and toxic tort section; co-chair of their breast implant litigation and DES litigation groups; and was a member of their contraceptive implant litigation group. She has written, testified, and lectured widely on subjects such as obstetrical malpractice, IUDs, hormone therapy, and product liability.
- Series I. Professional and Personal, 1924-2010 (#1.1-28.8, 170FB.1-170FB.2, PD.1, T-444.1 - T-444.3, Mem.1-Mem.2, E.1)
- Series II. Diethylstilbestrol (DES), 1976-2012 (#28.9-77.4, T-444.4 -T-444.16, Vt-220.1)
- Series III. Breast Implants, 1988-2008 (#77.5-109.9, 112.1-122.12, Vt-220.2 - Vt-220.9)
- Series IV. Birth Control, 1978-2003 (#123.1-133.4, Vt-220.10)
- Series V. Other Cases, 1975-2007 (#110.1-111.9, 133.5-169.9, Vt-220.11)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Sybil Shainwald were given to the Schlesinger Library by Sybil Shainwald between April 2001 and May 2013.
Accession numbers: 2001-M64, 2001-M75, 2001-M83, 2001-M92, 2001-M115, 2001-M126, 2001-M128, 2001-M148, 2001-M154, 2001-M164, 2001-M177, 2001-M184, 2001-M198, 2001-M201, 2001-M204, 2001-M216, 2002-M9, 2002-M32, 2002-M33, 2002-M41, 2002-M61, 2002-M63, 2002-M69, 2007-M110, 2007-M168, 2007-M171, 2007-M215, 2008-M27, 2008-M52, 2008-M94, 2009-M233, 2011-M16, 2012-M74, 2013-M15, 2013-M30, 2013-M90
Processed by: Johanna Carll
The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library periodical collection:
- CDRR News, The Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights, June 1983, June 1985
- The Clarion, Clarion (Syracuse, N.Y.), Volume 3, Number 2 (1985)
- Dalkon Shield Action News, Dalkon Shield Action Canada, Volume 2, Number 1 (February 1988)
- Dalkon Shield Information Network newsletter, Number 3 (May 21, 1987)
- DES Action Voice, Volume 1, Number 1 - Volume 2, Number 3 (January 1979 - Winter 1980), Number 27 (Winter 1986), Number 32 (Spring 1987), Number 90 (Autumn 2001), Numbers 96-99 (Spring 2003 - Winter 2004), Number 103 (Winter 2005), Numbers 105-107 (Summer 2006- Winter 2007); Number 109-111 (Summer 2006 - Winter 2007); Number 113-115 (Summer 2007 - Winter 2008)
- Elizabeth Blackwell Women's Health Center newsletter, Fall 1987
- The Equal Rights Advocate, Volume 5, Number 3 (Summer 1985); Volume 8, Numbers 2, 4 (June, December 1987)
- A Friend Indeed, Volume 4, Numbers 5, 10 (October 1987, March 1988); Volume 5, Numbers 1-4, 7-8 (April-September 1988, December 1988 - January 1989); Volume 6, Number 1 (April 1989)
- HERS Newsletter, Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services, Volume 2, Numbers 2-3 (Spring-Winter 1984); Volume 3, Number 2 (Summer 1986); Volume 4, Number 1 (1988); Volume 5, Number 2 (1993)
- Network News, National Women's Health Network, July/August-September/October 1982, March/April 1984, Summer 1984, January/February 1985, November/December 1992
- Wicozanni Wowapi, Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, Fall 1994
- Win Magazine, special issue: feminism, pacifism & reproductive rights, Fall 1979
- Women's Global Network on Reproductive Rights newsletter, July/September-October/December 1987, September/December 1988, January/March 1989, May 28, 1990 (special issue), Numbers 32-33 (1990), Number 43 (April/June 1993), Numbers 45-47 (January/March-July/September 1994), Number 49 (January/March 1995), Number 54 (April/June 1996), Numbers 59-60 (1997)
- Women's Health Journal, Isis International, Number 6/7
- Birth Defect Prevention News, National Network to Prevent Birth Defects, August 1985
- The Campaign Report, The 80% Majority Campaign, Volume 3, Number 6 (June 20, 1988)
- DES Canada Newsletter, Number 63 (Fall 2000)
- DES Issues, The DES Cancer Network, November 1993 (special issue), Number 8 (Winter 1993), Fall 1995
- DCN News, The DES Cancer Network, Number 2 (Spring/Summer 1987), Number 7 (Fall 1991)
- Interaction, Women's Health Interaction, Number 2 (September 1986), Number 3 (March 1987)
- Listening Booth, Booth Maternity Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Volume 8, Number 9 (October 1985)
- London Black Women's Health Action Project Newsletter, Number 5 (October 1986)
- NBNA News, National Black Nurses' Association, Volume 14, Number 1 (January 1987)
- Network Newsletter, National Women's Health Network-New Mexico, Summer 1986
- Red de Salud de Las Mujeres Latinoamericanas y del Caribe, Isis Internacional, Numbers 3-4
- Side Effects, Inter Pares Project, 1985
- The Woman's Reporter, Volume 3, Number 9 (May 1987)
- Women & Pharmaceuticals Bulletin, Women and Pharmaceuticals, Health Action International, November 1990
- Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Spring 2005
- Le Train Bleu menu, 1983
- Women's Gynecological Handbook, Globe Mini Mag by Dr. Yosh Taguchi with William Dick, 1984
By: Johanna Carll, with assistance from Emily Underwood.
- Birth control--United States
- Breast implants--Law and legislation
- Bromocriptine--Adverse effects--United States
- Chorionic villus sampling
- Copper intrauterine contraceptives
- Dalkon Shield (Intrauterine contraceptive)
- Diethylstilbestrol--Law and legislation--United States
- Electronic records
- Intrauterine contraceptives
- Lactation--Effect of drugs on--United States
- Lawyers--United States
- Legal documents
- Products liability--Breast implants--United States
- Products liability--United States
- Web sites
- Women health reformers--United States
- Women lawyers--United States
- Women--Health and hygiene--United States
- Shainwald, Sybil. Papers of Sybil Shainwald, 1924-2012 (inclusive), 1978-2012 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- EAD ID
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