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Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records, 1928-2009 (PPFA II)
526 boxes (509.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 371

Abstract:
The records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America provide substantial information about the history of the birth control and family planning movement nationally and internationally. They are a significant source of information on all aspects of the history of birth control and family planning, including women's health issues; sex education; women in poverty; international population planning and policy; and the legal, political and social aspects of contraception and abortion. Types of material include correspondence; memoranda; minutes; reports; financial records; legal records; publicity; publications; photographs; audio tapes; video tapes; and posters. The PPFA Records are divided into two portions, PPFA I and PPFA II, this being section II. The earlier records in PPFA I are completely organized and open to research. PPFA II consists of records received since 1988, dating from the 1920s to the present, so there is some overlap in dates. This portion is unprocessed, and some parts are restricted (see Terms of Access and Use below).

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

PPFA has closed records created January 1, 1985 or later, with the exception of many published materials which are open to research. All records having to do with clinic defense and security are closed. PPFA has closed a small section of files in box 206 for fifty years. Researchers may request access to restricted materials from PPFA.Portions of the collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

PPFA has retained copyright ownership of their records, although the Sophia Smith Collection has been authorized to grant permission to researchers to publish from any of the PPFA Records. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

In 1921 Margaret Sanger founded the national lobbying organization, American Birth Control League (ABCL) which in 1942 became Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Between 1921 and 1942 the organization underwent two transformations. In 1923 Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB) for the purposes of dispensing contraceptives under the supervision of licensed physicians and studying their effectiveness. The ABCL provided institutional backing for clinics. The BCCRB merged with the ABCL in 1939 to form the Birth Control Federation of American (BCFA). In 1942 the name of the BCFA was changed to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Birth Control Federation of America flyer, undated

Birth Control Federation of
America flyer, undated

The name change reflected a redefinition of the organization's goals from family limitation to family planning. While PPFA continued to function as the largest birth control organization in the country, it sought to position itself as a more mainstream and moderate organization committed to a broad range of programs related to reproductive health. Under the leadership of National Director D. Kenneth Rose, the PPFA expanded its programs and services through the 1940s, adding affiliate organizations throughout the country. By the end of World War II, the Federation was no longer solely a center for birth control services or a clearing house for contraceptive information but had emerged as a major national health organization. PPFA's programs included a full range of family planning services, including marriage education and counseling, and infertility services. The leadership of the PPFA, largely consisting of businessmen and male physicians, endeavored to incorporate its contraceptive services unofficially into regional and national public health programs by emphasizing less politicized aspects such as child-spacing. During the 1950s, the Federation further adjusted its programs and message to appeal to a family-centered, more conservative post-war populace, while continuing to function, through its affiliated clinics, as the most reliable source of contraceptives in the country.

From 1942 to 1962, PPFA concentrated its efforts on strengthening its ties to affiliates, expanding public education programs, and improving its medical and research work. By 1960, visitors to PPFA centers across the nation numbered over 3,000,000 per year.

In the 1950s PPFA began focusing greater attention on global population issues as new concerns arose over the political, social, and cultural implications of overpopulation in Asia and around the world. The organization became active in international birth control work through its membership in the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which Margaret Sanger helped found in 1952. In 1961 the population crisis debate, along with funding shortages, convinced PPFA to merge with the World Population Emergency Campaign, a citizens' fund-raising organization, to become PPFA-World Population. Later in the 1960s, after several decades of emphasizing a family-centered, more conservative program for public health, PPFA reasserted its primary commitment to championing women's reproductive rights. It was also in the 1960s that family planning began to win the support of the federal government. Alan Guttmacher, M.D., who served as president of PPFA from 1962 until his death in 1974, was an effective advocate for the idea of a woman's right to safe and effective birth control. He successfully fought for the development of federally funded domestic and international family planning programs. Guttmacher also played an important role in the development of the birth control Pill and IUD. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) was named in his honor. AGI is an independent corporation for research, policy analysis, and public education on reproductive health issues and is a special affiliate of PPFA.

In 1970, Congress enacted Title X of the Public Health Services Act, providing support and funding for family planning services and educational programs and for biomedical and behavioral research in reproduction and contraceptive development. The Family Planning International Assistance division was established in 1972 by PPFA, becoming the largest U.S. nongovernmental provider of family planning services to developing countries.

In 1978, Faye Wattleton was appointed the first woman president of PPFA since Margaret Sanger. She led PPFA in its ongoing battle to preserve access to safe and legal abortion, to protect client confidentiality, especially for minors, against encroachments by the state, and to preserve federal funding for domestic and international family planning programs. By the time she retired from PPFA in 1992, Wattleton had greatly expanded its program of advocacy around the idea that sexual and reproductive liberation is central to women's equality.

In the 1980s and 90s, PPFA faced an onslaught of opposition to family planning and birth control. The organization challenged regulations passed under the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush that placed restrictions on U.S. funding of family planning services overseas and domestically. Organized right-wing opposition and violence against birth control and abortion providers also became a serious concern. PPFA continues to confront this opposition while it also addresses the public health issues surrounding sexuality and reproduction, such as the AIDS epidemic and the effect of poverty on families and children. Gloria Feldt currently serves as president of Planned Parenthood.

References: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ABOUT/NARRHISTORY

The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection Series, edited by Esther Katz, et al., University Publications of America, 1995

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America are divided into two sections, PPFA I and PPFA II, this being section II. PPFA I consists of the earlier records of the Federation (1918-74) and is completely organized and open to research. PPFA II consists of the central files of PPFA from the 1950s through 1981, with scattered earlier items dated as early as 1921, so there is some overlap in the dates. Miscellaneous accessions received from miscellaneous departments from 1988 through the 1990s are also included in a separate list following the central files. PPFA II records are unprocessed; the original order established by PPFA has been retained. For ease of access, restricted materials (1975 to the present and selected earlier records) have been segregated from those that are open to research (see Information on Use). The inventory lists both open and closed materials. The bulk of post-1974 publications are open. Researchers may have access to closed records only if they obtain PPFA's permission. The records, in categories established by the central offices, are organized into ten series, including Chronological files, Classified files, Publications, Subject files, Affiliates, Regions, Minutes, Foreign, Guttmacher, and Restricted.

These records document the work of PPFA nationally and internationally in the areas of advocacy; medical services and research; legislation; public relations; and the specific work of affiliates, departments, and committees. Types of materials include correspondence, reports, minutes, memos, publicity, publications and other printed material, audiotapes, reference files, and financial and legal material.

The PPFA filing system was designed to suit the organization's internal operations and presents complications for the researcher. The classification system used by PPFA is sometimes not very descriptive and obscures the nature of the material. Related material may be located in several places. Divider headings, listed in bold caps, have been retained in the box list, but their relationship to nearby material is inconsistent and not always clear.

NOTE: To view the series descriptions and contents lists, click on the series links below. Some files are quite large and may take several minutes to load, depending on your internet connection.

This collection is organized into ten series:


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

PPFA has closed records created January 1, 1985 or later, with the exception of many published materials which are open to research. All records having to do with clinic defense and security are closed. PPFA has closed a small section of files in box 206 for fifty years. Researchers may request access to restricted materials from PPFA.Portions of the collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

PPFA has retained copyright ownership of their records, although the Sophia Smith Collection has been authorized to grant permission to researchers to publish from any of the PPFA Records. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

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

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

Related records available on microfilm: The Records of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Part I) have been microfilmed by University Publications of America. Additional records can be found in The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection Series, edited by Esther Katz, et al., University Publications of America, 1995. Both of these microfilm collections are in the Sophia Smith Collection and in Neilson Library at Smith College. Reels are also available through interlibrary loan.

History of the Collection

PPFA deposited these records in 1988. Various departments have since sent miscellaneous additions.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing done by Amanda Izzo, 2001.

Recent additions to this collection are unprocessed and are not reflected in the finding aid.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English.