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Maternity and motherhood

Our digital collection includes documents which relate to maternity services, maternal mortality and birth control, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s.

Birth control:

  • English methods of birth control, [1915?]. Pamphlet written by Margaret H. Sanger, providing practical advice on birth control. It is based on advice sent by the Malthusian League of England to applicants (as long as they were "married or about to be married").
  • Family Limitation, 1920. Pamphlet written by Margaret H. Sanger, providing practical advice on birth control. The introduction argues that there is a strong social need to educate working women about family limitation, as it is the "big battalions of unwanted babies that make life so hard for the working woman and keep her in poverty and stress from generation to generation". The pamphlet includes a statement that it should only be read by those over the age of 21 who consider "the Artificial Limitation of the Family justifiable on both individual and national grounds".
  • Leaflet promoting the aims of the Workers' Birth Control Group, 1927. The group campaigned for information about birth control to be provided by local authorities through maternity and child welfare centres for those who were unable to pay for private medical advice.
  • 'To our men comrades', leaflet issued by the Workers' Birth Control Group, [1928?]. It appeals for men to join the campaign for maternity and welfare centres to be "allowed to give birth control advice to working mothers", after the group had been informed that this would not be possible "(even if bearing another child will certainly cost the mother her life) without the express authority of Parliament".
  • Leaflet publicising a conference on the giving of information on birth control by public health authorities, [1930]. The conference included a session on the "racial aspect" of birth control.
  • Marriage and parenthood: a pamphlet addressed to those about to marry, 1934. Advice on married life, including birth control, issued by the Marriage and Parenthood Committee of the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers).

Maternity services, maternal mortality and advice for mothers: