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Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers, 1840-1969 (Bulk: 1936-1968)
12 boxes (5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 23

Birth control advocate, Women's rights advocate, Author. The bulk of the papers focus on Brush's work with Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The collection includes first-hand accounts of Margaret Sanger's work; research and writings on Japanese women; research, questionnaires, and manuscript for her book on menopause; and reports, correspondence and photographs on the birth control missionary work of Sanger and Brush in various countries. Correspondents include C.P. Blacker, Barbara and George Cadbury, Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Margaret Grierson, Vera Houghton, Shidzue Ishimoto Kato, Edris Rice-Wray, Margaret Sanger, and Ellen Watamull. The Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers are closely related to the Margaret Sanger Papers.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Hooked rug with birth control message, n.d.View larger image

Hooked rug with birth control message, n.d.
View larger image

Dorothy Hamilton Brush was born on March 14, 1894 to Walter James Hamilton, a lawyer, and Mary Jane Adams. She had two sisters, Gladys and Margaret. They grew up in Ohio and Brush went to school at the Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Smith College where she was very active, serving as a delegate to the YWCA Silver Bay Camp in New York, as a house president, and as a Student Adviser. She also participated in a number of clubs and societies, including the Alpha Society, Il Tricolore, Blue Pencil, and the Debating Union. She wrote short stories and other works and served on the editing staff for a variety of college publications such as the Monthly Board, the Weekly Board, and the Class Book Board. During her junior year Brush was the class historian. She wrote the "History of Junior Year" for her class in the 1917 yearbook, as well as the words for the Ivy Song and for "Alma Mater." She graduated from Smith College in 1917.

In 1917 Brush married her first husband, Charles Francis Brush, Jr., son of Charles Brush, the creator of a new arc lamp and lighting system and founder of Brush Electric, which later merged with two other companies to become General Electric. While Charles Brush, Jr. was serving in the Ordinance Officers' Reserve Corp of the Army as a first Lieutenant from 1917 to 1919, Dorothy worked for various charities in Washington, D.C., and then in Sheffield, Alabama. In 1919 Charles and Dorothy embarked on a round-the-world trip that included a stop in Honolulu, Hawaii, and then returned to the United States to settle in the Cleveland, Ohio area where Charles established the Brush Research Laboratory. Their first child, Jane, was born in 1920 and their second child, Charles III, was born in 1923. Beginning in 1922 Brush volunteered for the Junior League in the Cleveland area. Her work in a prenatal clinic led to her increased awareness, and advocacy, of women's health issues and birth control. Along with several friends and supporters, Brush played a large part in the establishment of the Maternal Health Association in 1928, the precursor to Planned Parenthood of Cleveland established in 1966.

In 1927 Brush's daughter Jane became ill with pneumonia and needed a blood transfusion, for which her father Charles had volunteered to donate his blood. Jane did not recover and died, and Charles suffered complications from the transfusion, dying a week later. In an effort to honor the memory of his son, Charles Brush, Sr., established, at Dorothy's behest, the Brush Foundation for the purpose of funding research in population control. Dorothy Brush continued her work with the Maternal Health Association but also became increasingly involved with the Foundation, serving as an administrator and later as Chairman from 1957 to 1963. The Brush Foundation still exists and has broadened its mission to include research and education on a wide variety of birth control issues.

In 1929 Dorothy Brush married Alexander Colclough Dick and they moved to New York City. In 1930 their daughter Sylvia was born. That same year Dorothy began the work with Margaret Sanger that would define her activities for the rest of her life. She volunteered in Sanger's clinic and later in the 1930s traveled with her throughout Asia and Europe as a missionary for birth control and family planning. Brush placed great value on Sanger's work and, as a Smith College alumna, knew about the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC) and its collecting efforts in women's history. She wrote to Margaret Storrs Grierson, director of the SSC, in 1946 and together they convinced Sanger to donate her papers to Smith (portions of her professional papers were already given to the Library of Congress). Brush was also instrumental in Sanger's receiving an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Smith College in 1949 and led the effort to nominate her for a Nobel Prize.

Even as her work with Margaret Sanger and the birth control movement became a central focus, Brush continued her writing. She co-wrote (using her maiden name Dorothy Adams Hamilton) with Walter S. Hayward the books, The American People: A Popular History of the United States, 1865-1941 (1943) and Your Land and My Land: The American People from Lincoln to Roosevelt (1943). Brush also wrote travel articles for the magazine World Traveller and a few children's plays for the Samuel French Company that were published in the late 1920s. In addition to these published materials, Brush also authored a number of manuscripts on women in Japan, Margaret Sanger, birth control, and on menopause that were never published.

In 1947 Brush and her husband Alexander Dick divorced. In 1952 Sanger and Brush saw the fruit of their work in the international birth control movement with the establishment of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Also in 1952 Brush started the IPPF newsletter, Around the World News of Population and Birth Control, which received funding from the Brush Foundation, and she served as its editor until 1956. Although she had intended to retire at this point in part due to health problems, in 1957 Brush agreed to serve as Honorary Advisor for Field Work Services. Many field offices faced political and legal obstacles in continuing their work with family planning and birth control, and Brush and the rest of the field officers helped to support their efforts by locating funding, recruiting volunteers, and generally providing solid, reliable information. Brush continued this work for 4 years, finally retiring in 1961.

In 1962 Brush married Dr. Lewis C. Walmsley, an educational missionary and Professor at the University of Toronto whom she had first met in 1937 through Margaret Sanger. In the early 1960s Brush spent an increasing amount of time at Sanger's home in Arizona due to Sanger's failing health, assisting her until Sanger passed away in 1966. Brush suffered herself during these years and many years before from emphysema and other maladies, and her travel and activities were often restricted.

Because of her continued work with and dedication to Smith College, Brush was awarded a Smith College Medal in October 1967. The medal noted her tireless work with family planning and women's health, her unfailing support of Margaret Sanger, and her numerous contributions to the Sophia Smith Collection and Smith College. Dorothy Brush died a few months later on June 4, 1968.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers consist of 5 linear feet and are primarily related to her professional activities and writings, dating from 1923 to 1969. Types of materials include correspondence; manuscripts, speeches, photographs, reports, journal and newspaper articles, pamphlets, and newsletters.

The bulk of the papers date from 1936 to 1968 and focus on Brush's work with Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The collection contains only a small amount of biographical information on Brush and there are no materials from Brush's early work with the Junior League or the Maternal Health Association, nor are there any manuscripts of her children's plays or published books. Some of the short stories she wrote during college are housed in the student files Smith College Archives.

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

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" 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:

Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Dorothy Hamilton Brush donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection from 1949 to 1968. Additional donors include Sylvia (Dick) Karas, Dr. Lewis C. Walmsley, and Charles and Ellen Brush.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Keen, 2005.

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

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


Series Descriptions
.25 linear ft.

This series contains mostly articles and other writings on Dorothy Brush and Margaret Sanger. Brush authored many of the materials relating to Sanger and wrote pieces on J. Noah Slee, Sanger's husband. The trip sketches reports on the birth control missionary work of Sanger and Brush in Japan, China, Indonesia, Sweden, Haiti, and various other countries.

.5 linear ft.


This series consists of correspondence arranged alphabetically.

Scope and content:

This series consists of correspondence, largely dating from the 1950s and 60s, arranged alphabetically. Much of the correspondence involves Brush's activities with Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The folder list contains cross-references to these and other related materials located elsewhere in the collection. Significant correspondents include C.P. Blacker, Barbara and George Cadbury, Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Margaret Grierson, Vera Houghton, Shidzue Ishimoto Kato, Edris Rice-Wray, Margaret Sanger, and Ellen Watamull.

1.5 linear ft.

Unpublished manuscripts and plays written by Brush during the later half of her life make up the bulk of this series. The manuscripts and plays vary in their completeness, some containing full drafts, others only notes and brief stories. Her manuscript on menopause, co-authored with Hester Hoffman, is especially interesting because of its surveys of individual women and their personal experiences with menopause. Although the manuscript on Japanese women in history was never published, Brush's work provided a basis for Mary Ritter Beard's later book, The Force of Japanese Women in History (1953). This series also includes articles by Brush, largely pertaining to family planning and her work with IPPF, and speeches from her activities with Margaret Sanger and IPPF.

1 linear ft.

This series reflects Brush's work in IPPF as newsletter editor and then as the Honorary Advisor for Field Work Services. There is a near complete run of Around the World News of Population and Birth Control from 1952 through 1963 when the title changed to International Planned Parenthood News. In addition to the English language version of the newsletter, there are select issues of the Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish versions. "Field reports and correspondence - Member countries" contains other language versions of the newsletter as well as first-hand assessments of the politics and events surrounding family planning and birth control efforts in IPPF member countries and elsewhere.

(1840-49, 1923-67)
1.5 linear ft.

This series consists of pamphlets, articles and other publications on various topics, including birth control, women's health, marriage, and the family. Many of the publications were authored by organizations related to the Catholic Church and these are in their own subseries. There are also materials on birth control and population issues in China and Japan, most of which are written in the respective language. Photographs of a birth control-themed rug that Brush owned can be found in this series and the original is shelved with Oversize Materials.

Contents List

Articles about Brush,
1938, 1952-68

Box 1: folder 1
1952, 1960-61, 1967

Box 1: folder 2
Margaret Sanger


Eulogy for J. Noah Slee,

Box 1: folder 3
Impressions of Margaret Sanger,
1935, 1945-57, n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Impressions of J. Noah Slee,
1930-35, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Margaret Sanger's life with J. Noah Slee,
1936, n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
Smith award,
1948-52, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Trip sketches written by Brush,
1937-38, 1946, 1958-59

Box 1: folder 8
Trip to Africa,

Box 1: folder 9

1959-66, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
1959-60, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11

Box 1: folder 12
Brewer, Herbert,

Box 1: folder 13
Brush, Charles and Ellen,
1967, n.d.

Box 1: folder 14
Cadbury, Barbara and George,

Box 1: folder 15
Canfield, Cass and Jane,
1961, 1967-68

Box 1: folder 16
Day, Rufus S.,

Box 1: folder 17

Box 1: folder 18
Deramiyagala, Mrs. Ralph,
1961, 1967

Box 1: folder 19
Durand-Wever, Anne-Marie,

Box 1: folder 20

Box 1: folder 21
Fink, Ruth A,

Box 1: folder 22

Box 1: folder 23
Gamble, Sarah,

Box 1: folder 24

Box 1: folder 25
1959-62, n.d.

Box 1: folder 26
Griessemer, T.O.,
1955, 1961, n.d.

Box 1: folder 27
1942-67, n.d.

Box 1: folder 28-32
Hauser, Philip M,

Box 2: folder 1
1952, 1957-61

Box 2: folder 2
Ingersoll, Mrs. Raymond V.,

Box 2: folder 3

Box 2: folder 4

Box 2: folder 5

Box 2: folder 6
1939, 1951, 1958

Box 2: folder 7
Kennedy, Anne,

Box 2: folder 8

Box 2: folder 9
McWilliams, Brooks,

Box 2: folder 10
Meer, Natividad R.,

Box 2: folder 11

Box 2: folder 12
Muir, Malcolm,

Box 2: folder 13

Box 2: folder 14
Ottesen-Jensen, Elise,

Box 2: folder 15
Parker, Robert A.,

Box 2: folder 16
Rague, John R.,

Box 2: folder 17

Box 2: folder 18
Rizk, Hanna,

Box 2: folder 19
Rollins, Leighton,
1952, 1966

Box 2: folder 20
Sanger, Margaret,
1946-47, 1956, 1962

Box 2: folder 21
Sanger, Stuart,

Box 2: folder 22
Sawyer, Charles Baldwin,

Box 2: folder 23
Schneider, Hubert,

Box 2: folder 24

Box 2: folder 25
Subandrio, H.,

Box 2: folder 26

Box 2: folder 27
Valabreque, C.,
1960, n.d.

Box 2: folder 28
1952, 1958-65

Box 2: folder 29
Weill-Hallé, Lagroua,
1956-60, n.d.

Box 2: folder 30
Wright, Helena,

Box 2: folder 31
1951-67, n.d.

Box 2: folder 32

Articles by Brush,
1936, 1946, 1953-57, 1966, n.d.

Box 2: folder 33
1933-36, 1952-54, n.d.

Box 2: folder 34
Manuscripts and plays

Box 2
How to Survive the Menopause by Fifty Who Did

Case histories

Box 3: folder 1
1950-66, n.d.

Box 3: folder 2
Introduction (by Margaret Sanger)

Box 3: folder 3

Box 3: folder 4-5
Questionnaire, blank

Box 3: folder 6
Questionnaires, completed

Box 3: folder 7-9
Sections I-II

Box 3: folder 10-11
Sections II-III

Box 4: folder 1-2
Japanese women in history [untitled manuscript]


Box 4: folder 3
Section I - Age of Clans

Box 4: folder 4
Section II - Feudalism

Box 4: folder 5
Section III-Capitalism

Box 4: folder 6

Box 4: folder 7
1946, 1956-60, n.d.

Box 4: folder 8

Box 4: folder 9
Margaret: A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes

1949, n.d.

Box 4: folder 10
Scenery for play

Box 4: folder 11

Box 4

Box 4: folder 12
Scenes I-V

Box 5: folder 1-6
Scene VI (partial)

Box 5: folder 7
Scene VII

Box 5: folder 8
Scene VIII (proposed)

Box 5: folder 9
Act II Scene I (proposed)

Box 5: folder 10
Margaret Sanger [untitled manuscript]

Birthday champagne,

Box 6: folder 1
1947-52, 1958, n.d.

Box 6: folder 2
Interview with Brush on the International Birth Control Movement,

Box 6: folder 3

Box 6: folder 4
1952, n.d.

Box 6: folder 5
Nobel Prize,
1948-53, 1959

Box 6: folder 6
Notes from correspondence,

Box 6: folder 7-8
Sanger, William,

Box 6: folder 9

Annual and conference reports,

Box 6: folder 10
Around the World News of Population and Birth Control

1936, 1951-61, n.d.

Box 6: folder 11
Bound volume,

Box 6: folder 12
Loose issues: nos. 7, 114, 117-119 (1952-63)
1-45, 47-77, 79-10

Box 7: folder 1-12
International Planned Parenthood News (formerly Around the World…), no. 123

Box 7: folder 13
Dutch version: no. 45 54 (1957)

Box 7: folder 14
German version: no. 3-4 (1952), 32-42 (1955-56), 45-47 (1956)

Box 7: folder 15
Italian version: no. 37-39 (1955), 47-48 (1956), 51 (1957)

Box 7: folder 16
Spanish version: no. 37-40 (1955)

Box 7: folder 17
Field reports and correspondence


Box 7
Brush, Dorothy,
1937, 1946, 1952-64, n.d.

Box 7: folder 18
Gates, Edith (for the National Committee on Maternal Health and the Pathfinder Fund),

Box 7: folder 19
Roots, Margaret F. (for the Pathfinder Fund),

Box 7: folder 20
1954-63, n.d.

Box 7: folder 21-22
Member countries

Box 7
1959, n.d.

Box 8: folder 1
1959, n.d.

Box 8: folder 2
1957-68, n.d.

Box 8: folder 3
Formosa (Taiwan; Family Planning Association of China),

[see also SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE--Kan, Tze-kuan Shu]

1959-68, n.d.

Box 8: folder 4

Box 8: folder 5
1953-67, n.d.

Box 8: folder 6
1954, 1960

Box 8: folder 7
Hong Kong,

Box 8: folder 8
1958-67, n.d.

Box 8: folder 9
1959-63, n.d.

Box 8: folder 10
1955-60, 1968, n.d.

Box 8: folder 11
1951-60, n.d.

Box 8: folder 12
1959-60, n.d.

Box 8: folder 13
1958, 1966

Box 8: folder 14

Box 8: folder 15
1959-66, n.d.

Box 8: folder 16
1959-68, n.d.

Box 8: folder 17
West Indies,

Box 8: folder 18
Historical sketch by C.P. Blacker,

Box 8: folder 19
International Conference on Planned Parenthood, Tokyo, Japan

Newspaper clippings,

Box 8: folder 20

Box 8: folder 21
Planned Parenthood News, no. 26

Box 8: folder 22
Requests for information,

Box 8: folder 23
(1840-49, 1923-67)

"America Must Choose," speech by Pierre van Paassen,

Box 9: folder 1
Birth control advertisement,

Box 9: folder 2
Birth control and abortion: articles and pamphlets,
1927-39, 1954, 1964-67, n.d.

Box 9: folder 3-4
Birth control-themed rug: photos,

Box 9: folder 5

Catholic Church publications

Birth control,
1923, 1930-58 n.d.

Box 9: folder 6-9

Box 9
1925, 1941-49

Box 9: folder 10
1951-57, n.d.

Box 10: folder 1-2
Marriage and family,
1930-33, 1941-51, n.d.

Box 10: folder 3-6
1935, 1941, n.d.

Box 10: folder 7
Catholicism: articles and correspondence,
1941-42, 1950, n.d.

Box 11: folder 1
China: magazines and pamphlets (M. Sanger and birth control),

Box 11: folder 2
Health and healthcare: pamphlets,
1943-44, n.d.

Box 11: folder 3
Japan: paperback books (relating to birth control movement),
1953-55, 1963-67

Box 11: folder 4-5
Marriage and family,
1934, 1943-56, 1964, n.d.

Box 11: folder 6
The Married Woman's Private Medical Companion by Dr. A.M. Mauriceau,

Box 11: folder 7
Pathfinder Fund,
1967-68, n.d.

Box 11: folder 8
"Preg-No-Matic," Brooklawn-Park Laboratory,
1956, n.d.

Box 11: folder 9
Sex: pamphlets,

Box 12: folder 1
Miscellaneous publications,
1943, 1950, 1966

Box 12: folder 2

Flat file (on top)


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.

  • Birth control--Developing countries--History--Sources
  • Birth control--Europe--History--Sources
  • Birth control--History--20th century--Sources
  • Birth control--Religious aspects--Catholic Church--History--Sources
  • Brush, Dorothy Hamilton
  • Gamble, Clarence James, 1894- --Correspondence
  • Grierson, Margaret Storrs--Correspondence
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation--History--Sources
  • Kato, Shizue, 1897- --Correspondence
  • Menopause--History--Sources
  • Population policy--History--20th century--Sources
  • Sanger, Margaret, 1879-1966
  • Sophia Smith Collection. Smith College--History
  • Women--Japan--History--Sources

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