Dennett, Mary Ware, 1872-1947. Additional papers of Mary Ware Dennett, 1892-1945:
A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MC 629
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Mary Ware Dennett, 1872-1947
Title: Additional papers of Mary Ware Dennett, 1892-1945
Quantity: 1.04 linear feet (2+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, printed flyers, pamphlets, etc., of Mary Ware Dennett, suffragist,
pacifist, artisan and advocate of birth control and sex education.
Accession number: 99-M146
These additional papers of Mary Ware Dennett were given to the Schlesinger Library
by her granddaughter, Nancy Dennett, in September 1999.
Processed: March 2010
By: Anne Engelhart
Access. Collection is open for research.
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Ware Dennett is held by the President
and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers
in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Mary Ware Dennett Additional papers, 1892-1945; item description, dates. MC 629, folder
#. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Mary Ware Dennett Papers,
1874-1945 (MC 392
Suffragist, pacifist, artisan, and advocate of birth control and sex education, Mary
Coffin (Ware) Dennett was a founder of the National Birth Control League, director
of the Voluntary Parenthood League, and editor of the Birth Control Herald. In 1915
she wrote a pamphlet for her adolescent sons entitled "The Sex Side of Life"; it was
banned as obscene by the Post Office, and Dennett was tried and convicted, but the
judgment was ultimately overturned amidst nationwide public protest.
An accomplished leather worker, Dennett was inspired by the "craftsman ideal" articulated
by John Ruskin and William Morris, a reaction against industrial capitalism. Attracted
to organizations seeking a broader distribution of wealth and power, she worked for
woman suffrage, the single tax, proportional representation, and free trade; she was
also a member of Heterodoxy, a feminist club that met in Greenwich Village in New
York City. An active opponent of U.S. involvement in World War I, she managed a series
of mass meetings of the American Union Against Militarism, and was a leader of the
People's Council, a radical antiwar group, and the Woman's Peace Party. Government
hostility towards pacifists and Dennett's experience in the "Sex Side of Life" case
heightened her interest in civil liberties; she was long active on the National Committee
on Freedom from Censorship and with the American Civil Liberties Union. She was the
niece of Edwin Doak and Lucia (Ames) Mead, two noted Boston social reformers, and
in 1900 married Hartley Dennett, a Boston architect, whom she divorced in 1913; they
had two sons, Carleton and Devon. For further biographical information, see Notable American Women,1607-1950 (1971).
These additional papers include family and general correspondence, printed flyers,
pamphlets, announcements, clippings, etc. They are arranged with family correspondence
first, followed by general correspondence, organized alphabetically by correspondent
or organization. Correspondence with her doctor, Julia Minerva Green, documents a
number of health issues and Dennett's interest in homeopathic remedies, some of which
are enclosed. General correspondence centers upon birth control, sex education, peace,
and other causes close to her heart. Printed material unrelated to correspondence
appears at the end. Folder headings in quotations are those of Dennett; other headings
are by the processor. This collection is minimally processed; dates are approximate.
Brittle and water-damaged items were photocopied and removed to the fragile file.
- 1.1. To her sons, Carleton and Devon Dennett, 1913-1917
- 1.2. To her sons, Carleton and Devon Dennett, 1918-1920
- 1.3. To her sons, Carleton and Devon Dennett, 1921-1923, 1933; includes uncataloged photograph.
- 1.5. "Dr. Green" [Julia Minerva], 1926-1928
- 1.6. "Dr. Green" [Julia Minerva], 1929-1930
- 1.7. "Dr. Green" [Julia Minerva], 1931-1932
- 1.8. "Dr. Green" [Julia Minerva], 1933-1942
- 1.9. "H," 1892, 1917-1934
- 1.10. "Hallinan [Josephine]--P.S. to sealed parcel to CD and DD" [Carleton and Devon Dennett],
- 1.11. "Heterodoxy" [feminist club], 1930-1938
- 1.12. "Heterodoxy" [feminist club], 1935-1936
- 1.13. "Heterodoxy" [feminist club], 1937-1943
- 1.14. "Himes, Prof. Norman E.," 1931-1934
- 1.15. "Dr. [Olive] Hirsell," 1930-1932
- 1.16. "Dr. [Olive] Hirsell," 1933-1943
- 2.1. "Dr. [Elizabeth] Hubbard," 1939
- 2.3. "Judson King--National Popular Government League," 1918-1929
- 2.4. "Judson King--National Popular Government League," 1922-1944
- 2.5. "Konikow [Antoinette]--Letter and circ.," 1925-1940
- 2.6. "Konikow [Antoinette]--Letter and circ.," 1931-1941
- 2.14. "Peoples Lobby," 1935-1943
- 2.15. "Potter" [Edwin S.], 1920-1942
- 2.16. "Potter" [Edwin S.], 1920s, n.d.
- 3.1. "[Rosika] Schwimmer and [Lola Maverick] Lloyd--Campaign for World Federation" [Campaign
for World Government], 1937-1941
- 3.2. "Schwimmer and Lloyd--Campaign for World Federation," 1937-1939
- 3.3. Re: "Sex Side of Life"; also statements re: birth control, legislation, etc.
- 3.5. "Voorhis" [Jerry], 1937-1941
- 3.6. Women's Peace Union, 1939-1941
- 3.7. Printed: biographical, 1913-1931, n.d.
- 3.8. Printed: birth control, 1910s, n.d.
- 3.9. Printed: birth control, 1920s
- 3.10. Printed: birth control, 1930s
- 3.11. Printed: peace, world government, 1914-1945
- 3.12. Printed: miscellaneous, 1914-1941
- OD.1. Printed: Navy recruiting flyer, n.d.; "Peace Terms Proposed in January 1918," chart
by the Woman's Peace Party of New York City; "Annual Report of the Voluntary Parenthood
League, May 1, 1922 - March 4, 1923"
Birth control--Law and legislation--United States
Homeopathic physicians--United States
Mothers and sons--United States
Obscenity (Law)--United States
Sex instruction for children--United States
Social reformers--United States
Trials (Obscenity)--United States
Women--Societies and clubs
Campaign for World Government (Organization)
Ernst, Morris Leopold, 1888-1976
Green, Julia Minerva
Himes, Norman Edwin, 1899-1949
Holmes, John Haynes, 1879-1964
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894
Hubbard, Elizabeth Wright
King, Judson, 1872-1958
Konikow, Antoinette F., Mrs., 1869-1946
Lloyd, Lola Maverick, 1875-1944
National Birth Control League
National Popular Government League
Park, Alice, 1861-1961
Potter, Edwin S.
Schwimmer, Rosika, 1877-1948
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968
Voluntary Parenthood League (N.Y.)
Voorhis, Jerry, 1901-1984
Women's Peace Union