Five College Archives and Manuscript
                        Collections
Home >> Sophia Smith Collection >> Midwives' Alliance of North America Records, 1973-1997
Smith College seal
Midwives' Alliance of North America Records, 1973-1999
26 boxes (10.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 375

Abstract:
Records consist of administrative records, printed material, photographs, audio- and videotapes, computer disks, and memorabilia. Documents issues of standards and practices, education, the registration of midwives, and the division between lay and nurse midwives. The contents list is not included here--contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

All records are closed except for boxes 1, 2, and 3 (Publications and publicity). Access to closed records is limited to current MANA board members and researchers authorized in writing by the board.

Restrictions on use:

MANA currently retains copyright ownership of their records. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The Midwives' Alliance of North America (MANA) was founded in April 1982, to build cooperation among midwives and to promote midwifery as a means of improving health care for women and their families. When MANA was founded there were many organizations that midwives had been instrumental in organizing and that provided a means of communication and support. However none had a membership base broad enough, an internal support system, or the political credibility to promote midwifery as an accepted part of the maternal-child health care system in North America. In October 1981, Sister Angela Murdaugh, of the American College of Midwives, invited seven midwives from around the country to Washington D.C. to discuss issues confronting all midwives, with special emphasis on the communication concerns between nurse-midwives and other American midwives. A decision was made to form a "Guild" that would include all midwives with four purposes in mind: to expand communication among midwives; to set educational and training guidelines; to set guidelines for basic competency and safety for practicing midwives; and to form an identifiable professional organization for all midwives in the U.S. Throughout its history MANA has advocated for the belief that birthing mothers should be able to choose their places and caregivers at birth and that midwifery should be decriminalized.

In April 1982, nearly 100 women from around the country met in Lexington, Kentucky. At this meeting the name Midwives Alliance of North America was chosen and it was decided that Canadian midwives would be included in the organization. Officers were chosen and a newsletter Practicing Midwife (changed to MANA News in 1983) was established. In October 1982 a working meeting of 23 women worked out a structure for MANA by forming committees and starting projects.

Much of MANA's organizational energy has been directed toward making national midwifery certification acceptable and workable within the medical community and thereby accessible to women. By 1986, it had become clear that midwives needed to create an internationally accepted direct-entry midwifery credential if they were to preserve the unique forms of practice which midwives had developed over the last thirty years and at the same time work within the larger health-care community. To this end MANA launched the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). NARM became a separately incorporated entity in 1992 and since has developed a competency-based certification process.

Out of the formal support network generated by MANA, the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) was established in 1991. In conjunction with NARM, it accredits a wide variety of direct-entry midwifery educational programs, including apprenticeships, thus formally validating and preserving ancient as well as modern routes to practice.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s MANA participated in the Carnegie Foundation funded Interorganizational Work Group on Midwifery Education (IWG), comprised of representatives from MANA, the American Council of Nurse Midwives, and consumer advocates. The outcome of IWG was educational competency standards for midwives which the board of NARM agreed to take on in 1993.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The MANA Records consist of 10 linear feet of correspondence, minutes, printed material, photographs, audio- and videotapes, computer disks, and memorabilia.

The records date from 1973 to 1997 and reflect the historical experience and organization of midwives primarily in the United States. They also document the stresses and strains of organizational development as the organization grappled with issues of diversity, especially in reference to issues of standards and practices, education, the registration of midwives, and the division between lay and nurse midwives. Of particular interest are the Board of Directors meeting minutes and correspondence, and records of IWG, NARM, and the sometimes uneasy relationship between MANA and the American Council of Nurse Midwives.

Related material in the Sophia Smith Collection can be found in the Midwifery Collection, and in three unprocessed collections: the papers of midwives Carol Leonard and Penfield Chester and the records of Informed Homebirth/Informed Birth and Parenting. Also related is a run of NAPSAC (National Association of Parents and Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth) News located in the Sophia Smith Collection's Periodical Collection.

Contents list is not included here--contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

All records are closed except for boxes 1, 2, and 3 (Publications and publicity). Access to closed records is limited to current MANA board members and researchers authorized in writing by the board.

Restrictions on use:

MANA currently retains copyright ownership of their records. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Midwives' Alliance of North America Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

The collection includes 182 audiotapes, 18 videotapes, 87 photographs and slides, 10 unidentified 5" computer disks, and miscellaneous memorabilia.

History of the Collection

The records of the Midwives' Alliance of North America were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1996 through the efforts of board member Penfield Chester. In addition, in July 1998 a small amount of material was transferred from the records of Informed Homebirth/Informed Birth and Parenting whose founder, Rahima Baldwin Dancy, was treasurer of MANA and in September 1999 7 videotapes of Region 10's annual conference were donated by Alison Bastien.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected

Processing Information

Preliminary processing and finding aid done by Susan Boone, 1999.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Separated Material

Two feet of material was removed and is now the personal papers of midwife Carol Leonard. One and a half feet of material (mostly printed) was removed to form the Midwifery Collection.

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Childbirth--History --Sources
  • Maternal health services--North America--History
  • Midwives' Alliance of North America--History--Sources
  • Midwives--Education--North America--History--Sources
  • Midwives--History--North America--Sources
  • Natural childbirth--History
  • Rural health services--North America--History--Sources


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search