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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 464: T-292

Papers of Hilda Crosby Standish, 1888-2004


Papers of physician and lecturer on family planning, Hilda (Crosby) Standish.


  • 1888-2004

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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 2 folio folders, 1 oversize folder, 1 oversize volume, 8 photograph folders, 1 audiotape)

The papers are roughly divided into three sections: personal, China, and birth control. Personal material contains reminiscences by Standish on her life and work, family newsletters, photographs, interviews, and speeches. Material from China includes letters home (manuscript, with a separate series of typescript transcriptions for most of the letters), account book, postcards, clippings, photographs, reports, memos, notes. Birth control material contains an audiotape on a discussion with high school students regarding sex education (ca.1950s), photocopies of clippings from a dismantled scrapbook, correspondence, interview and biography of Standish, memos, mailings, papers, and photograph of Katharine Houghton Hepburn.

Additional material received in 2003 and 2004 (accession numbers 2003-M149 and 2004-M147) were added to the collection in June 2017 and are housed in #39-42. A few items were also added to #1, 2, 7, and 24. All other files remain in the same order.


Physician and lecturer on family planning, Hilda (Crosby) Standish was born in 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Julia (Case) and Albert Hutchings Crosby. A graduate of Wellesley College (1924) and Cornell University Medical College (1928), she interned at the Philadelphia General Hospital (1928-1930), traveled and substituted at Bellevue Hospital, New York, New York (1930-1931), and did a year long residency in obstetrics at the St. Louis Maternity Hospital (1931). The following year she accepted a five year appointment to teach obstetrics at the Women's Christian Medical College and the Margaret Williamson Hospital in Shanghai, China. While studying at the Peking Language School, she took a few months leave of absence in early 1934 for a family medical condition. Unable to return to China because of the Japanese invasion, Standish was able to accept the position of medical director at the Hartford Maternal Health Center, the first birth control clinic in Connecticut, which opened in July 1935. Birth control was then illegal in Connecticut and the clinic closed in 1940, following the arrest of staff at a similar clinic in Waterbury. In 1983, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut renamed the West Hartford clinic the Hilda Crosby Standish MD Clinic.

In 1936, she married Erland Myles Standish, a dermatologist. They had five children: Nancy, E. Myles, Jr., Susan Crosby (Sukie), Jared Butler II, and Richard Perkins. Standish gave up the practice of obstetrics and lectured widely--often to groups of students--on sex education and family planning. She served on many community boards and as trustee of Wellesley College and Hartford College for Women. She was inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame in 1994 and received Wellesley's Alumnae Achievement Award in 1998. In 1989, a year after her husband Myles died, Standish moved into the McAuley, a continuing care retirement community in West Hartford. During the 1990s, Standish began writing reminiscences of her life and childhood, her views on aging, the birth control struggle in Connecticut, etc. Standish died in 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 99-M43, 99-M87, 99-M158, 99-M188, 2003-M149, 2004-M147. Accession numbers 2003-M149 and 2004-M147 were added in June 2017.

These papers of Hilda Crosby Standish were given to the Schlesinger Library by Hilda Crosby Standish between March 1999 and December 2004.

Processing Information

Processed: November 1999

By: Glynn Edwards

Updated: June 2017

By: Anne Engelhart

Standish, Hilda Crosby. Papers of Hilda Crosby Standish, 1888-2004: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
The papers were processed by funds provided by Hilda Standish.

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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