Women and Health/Mental Health

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Overview

Women and Health/Mental Health

For the purposes of documenting women's history, or “herstory,” the Women's History Library was launched in 1968 with content submitted by women from across the United States. Primary sources such as press clips, journals, alternative newspapers, fliers, research papers, graphics, and poetry represent an array of perspectives. The library blossomed as interest in women's history gained traction, and it became a valuable chronicler of the key years from 1965 to 1974 in the U.S. women's liberation movement. Women and Health/Mental Health is one important collection from that library.

The Women and Health/Mental Health collection features pamphlets, speeches, newsletters, reports, memos, conference papers, mainstream and alternative newspaper stories, and academic journal articles. A subset of the collection comprises special issues of mass periodicals that focus on topics relevant to women's health, including People (women's medicine, sterilization, Planned Parenthood, sex education), Harper's Bazaar (sexuality), and Psychology Today (sexuality, sex education).

Together, these sources provide a comprehensive account of the liberation movement era's perspectives on women's health and illnesses. Topics include nutrition and dieting, sleep and insomnia, addiction, hygiene, and depression. Women's biology and life-cycle concerns are treated extensively, including puberty, menstruation, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause, and aging and death....

Women and Health/Mental Health

For the purposes of documenting women's history, or “herstory,” the Women's History Library was launched in 1968 with content submitted by women from across the United States. Primary sources such as press clips, journals, alternative newspapers, fliers, research papers, graphics, and poetry represent an array of perspectives. The library blossomed as interest in women's history gained traction, and it became a valuable chronicler of the key years from 1965 to 1974 in the U.S. women's liberation movement. Women and Health/Mental Health is one important collection from that library.

The Women and Health/Mental Health collection features pamphlets, speeches, newsletters, reports, memos, conference papers, mainstream and alternative newspaper stories, and academic journal articles. A subset of the collection comprises special issues of mass periodicals that focus on topics relevant to women's health, including People (women's medicine, sterilization, Planned Parenthood, sex education), Harper's Bazaar (sexuality), and Psychology Today (sexuality, sex education).

Together, these sources provide a comprehensive account of the liberation movement era's perspectives on women's health and illnesses. Topics include nutrition and dieting, sleep and insomnia, addiction, hygiene, and depression. Women's biology and life-cycle concerns are treated extensively, including puberty, menstruation, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause, and aging and death. Other subject matter pertains to gender identity and sex and sexuality, addressing such topics as bisexuality, homosexuality, transsexuality, intersexuality, and orgasm, affairs, and pornography. Some of the collection's resources are specific to black women and women from other parts of the world, including statistical and health information concerning sterilization, family planning, and health care.

The largest focus of the Women and Health/Mental Health collection relates to abortion and birth control. Legal, financial, medical, and political aspects of the topics are taken into account in materials that address the establishment of abortion clinics and centers for women's health, and related protests. Information on birth control covers IUDs, male contraceptives, condoms, chastity, celibacy, and in particular the pill, which, because of its impact on the functions and risks of sex, was surrounded by fierce debates and protests.

This collection offers unique insight into the evolution of thought and public discourse regarding women's bodies and health during a pivotal moment of social change in America.

Collection Facts

Date Range:
1965-1975
Extent:
Manuscripts
Source Institution:
The National Women's History Project
Language:
English