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H MS c23

Gamble, Clarence James, 1894-. Papers, 1920-1970s (inclusive), 1920-1966 (bulk): Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library

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03 July 2007

©2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Center for the History of Medicine. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
Call No.: H MS c23
Creator: Gamble, Clarence James, 1894-
Title: Clarence James Gamble papers, 1920-1970s
Quantity: 268 boxes.
Abstract: The Clarence James Gamble Papers, 1920-1970s, are the product of Gamble's activities in the development and testing of contraceptive methods, changing attitudes of the medical and health professions, legislative reform and education of the public, governmental involvement on local and national levels, and demographic studies in developing countries after the post-World War II population explosion. The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, conference papers, financial data, newsletters, and other records resulting from the establishment, direction, and financing of programs by Gamble to advance the cause of population control through organizations such as the National Committee on Maternal Health, American Birth Control League, Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, Birth Control Federation, Planned Parenthood Federation, and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Processing Information:

This finding aid has been posted as a product of converting a heritage finding aid to an electronic format for the purpose of facilitating collection access. Researchers should be aware that this finding aid has not been revised to meet current Center for the History of Medicine descriptive practices, nor nationally promulgated content standards. Please report any difficulties using this guide to Public Services.

Acquisition Information:

The Clarence Gamble Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine by Gamble's wife, Sarah, and the Gamble children in 1970.

Access Restrictions:

Access requires advance notice. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult the Public Services Librarian for further information.
Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Use Restrictions:

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

Preferred Citation:

Clarence Gamble papers, 1920-1970s (inclusive), 1920-1966 (bulk). H MS c23. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Related Papers in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

Biography

Clarence Gamble was born into one of America's wealthiest mercantile families (Proctor & Gamble) and was educated at Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. A man with a mission for using his considerable wealth and intellectual expertise for the good of mankind, Gamble devoted his life to “The Great Cause”--his goal of making each and every child birth the result of a conscious decision on the part of responsible parents.** From the late 1920s until his death in 1966, Gamble took part in almost every important gain in behalf of planned parenthood: initiating, directing, or financing a considerable number of programs advancing the cause of population control. As his efforts to work through and with the professional organizations in the field left much to be desired, Gamble eventually formed the Pathfinder Fund, which served as a family foundation for the remainder of his lifetime, but has since acquired a highly competent professional staff which advises and works with major worldwide family planning agencies.

* James Reed centers his book, From Private Vice to Public Virtue: The Birth Control Movement and American Society Since 1830 (New York: Basic Books Inc., 1978) around the efforts of Sanger, Dickinson, and Gamble.
** A full-length biography, Every Child a Wanted Child: Clarence James Gamble, M.D., and his Work in the Birth Control Movement (Boston: Countway Library Associates, 1978) has been written by Doone and Greer Williams and edited by Emily P. Flint. Both the Williams and Reed books have drawn heavily on the papers in the Gamble Archive.

Clarence J. Gamble -- Chronology

Scope and Content Note

The Clarence J. Gamble Archive in the Countway Library of Harvard Medical School is a major collection of correspondence and related materials devoted to the subject of population control. Dr. Gamble has been ranked along with Margaret Sanger and Dr. Robert L. Dickinson as one of the three major figures in American birth control during its most crucial years of change.* Gamble was an indefatiguable letter-writer and his correspondence is a rich source of day-to-day information about what was going on with the development and testing of contraceptive methods, changing attitudes of the medical and health professions, legislative reform and education of the public, governmental involvement on local and national levels, and demographic studies in the Third World after the post-World War II population explosion.
Dr. Gamble's papers were presented to the Countway Library in 1970 by his wife Sarah, and the Gamble children. The vast collection (estimated at well over 100,000 pieces) has been processed over a period of years and is now contained in a total of 266 manuscript boxes, plus addenda. Highlights of Dr. Gamble's career are given in the accompanying chronology, which is followed by a list of his publications and outline of the archive's arrangement. A detailed folder-by-folder description of the papers makes up the main body of this Inventory, and there is a selected index of correspondents at the end.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Container List

Clarence J. Gamble -- Bibliography

Index of Correspondents