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MC 748; T-444; Vt-220

Shainwald, Sybil. Papers of Sybil Shainwald, 1924-2012 (inclusive), 1978-2012 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 748; T-444; Vt-220
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Sybil Shainwald
Title: Papers of Sybil Shainwald, 1924-2012 (inclusive), 1978-2012 (bulk)
Date(s): 1924-2012
Date(s): 1978-2012
Quantity: 71.39 linear feet (169 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 1 photograph folder, 16 audiotapes, 11 videotapes, 2 objects, and electronic records)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Sybil Shainwald, lawyer and women's health advocate.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2001-M64, 2001-M75, 2001-M83, 2001-M92, 2001-M115, 2001-M126, 2001-M128, 2001-M148, 2001-M154, 2001-M164, 2001-M177, 2001-M184, 2001-M198, 2001-M201, 2001-M204, 2001-M216, 2002-M9, 2002-M32, 2002-M33, 2002-M41, 2002-M61, 2002-M63, 2002-M69, 2007-M110, 2007-M168, 2007-M171, 2007-M215, 2008-M27, 2008-M52, 2008-M94, 2009-M233, 2011-M16, 2012-M74, 2013-M15, 2013-M30, 2013-M90
The papers of Sybil Shainwald were given to the Schlesinger Library by Sybil Shainwald between April 2001 and May 2013.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 2013
By: Johanna Carll, with assistance from Emily Underwood.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Researchers must sign a special permission form. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Work product and attorney-client privileged records relating to Bowen, Alexandra and Nancy v. Women's Health Center of Oregon, et al. are closed 75 years after date of creation. Letters containing medical information have been redacted; originals are closed for 50 years. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sybil Shainwald 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.

Preferred Citation:

Sybil Shainwald Papers, 1924-2012; item description, dates. MC 748, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

SEPARATION RECORD

Donors: Sybil Shainwald
Accession numbers: 2001-M64, 2001-M75, 2001-M83, 2001-M92, 2001-M115, 2001-M126, 2001-M128, 2001-M148, 2001-M154, 2001-M164, 2001-M177, 2001-M184, 2001-M198, 2001-M201, 2001-M204, 2001-M216, 2002-M9, 2002-M32, 2002-M33, 2002-M41, 2002-M61, 2002-M63, 2002-M69, 2007-M110, 2007-M168, 2007-M171, 2007-M215, 2008-M27, 2008-M52, 2008-M94, 2009-M233, 2011-M16, 2012-M74, 2013-M15, 2013-M30, 2013-M90
Processed by: Johanna Carll
The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library periodical collection:
The following items have been transferred to the Women's Newsletter and Periodical Collection (Pr-4):
The following item has been transferred to the Schlesinger Library menu collection (Pr-7):
The following item has been transferred to the Schlesinger Library feminist ephemera collection (Pr-11):

BIOGRAPHY

Sybil Shainwald received a BA from the College of William and Mary in 1948, an MA in Political Science from Columbia University in 1972, and a JD from New York Law School in 1976. From 1957 to 1968, she worked as a teacher in Forest Hills, Brooklyn, and New Rochelle, New York, and from 1972 to 1978, she served as Director of the Research Center of the Consumers Union. Since being admitted to the New York State Bar in 1978, Shainwald has litigated thousands of cases involving drugs and medical devices that have injured women and their offspring, including DES (Diethylstilbesterol); the Dalkon Shield and other intrauterine devices (IUDs); silicone breast implants; Parlodel, a drug once used as a lactation suppressant; and the contraceptive, Norplant. She has also served as co-counsel in cases involving other product liability actions.
Shainwald has held many positions in the National Women's Health Network, including board member (1980-1986), president (1982-1986), chair of health law and regulations (1981-1988), and chair of the litigation service (1980-1986). She was also on the boards of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Dalkon Shield Information Network, National Network to Prevent Birth Defects, and the Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation. An active member of the American Association for Justice (also known as Association of Trial Lawyers of America), she served as chair of their environmental and toxic tort section; co-chair of their breast implant litigation and DES litigation groups; and was a member of their contraceptive implant litigation group. She has written, testified, and lectured widely on subjects such as obstetrical malpractice, IUDs, hormone therapy, and product liability.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in five series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The papers of Sybil Shainwald contain correspondence, notes, speeches, legal case files, electronic records, audiotapes, and videotapes documenting Shainwald's work as a lawyer and women's health advocate, as well as her involvement in professional legal organizations. Folder titles in Series I and V were created by Shainwald; additional information in square brackets was provided by the archivist. Folder titles created by Shainwald in Series II and III appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the archivist. Folder titles in Series IV were created by the archivist. Folders titled "legal papers" were created by the archivist and may include briefs filed, appendices, court or deposition transcripts, court orders or opinions, etc. The arrangement was created by the archivist.
Series I, PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL, 1924-2010 (#1.1-28.8, 170FB.1-170FB.2, PD.1, T-444.1 - T-444.3, Mem.1-Mem.2, E.1), contains correspondence, notes, speeches, audiotapes, etc., relating to Shainwald's work as a teacher and with the Consumers Union, her role as a women's health advocate, and her involvement in professional legal organizations. Correspondence files consist of Shainwald's professional correspondence, including letters from women asking for advice on seeking compensation for medical problems they suffered resulting from medical procedures or devices. Among the correspondence are letters from women who suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and other problems following the use of intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as the Dalkon Shield; had given birth to children with cancers related to the administration of DES during pregnancy; and who suffered from neurological and rheumatological health problems relating to silicone breast implants. Letters containing detailed medical information have been redacted; the originals are closed for 50 years from date of creation.
Consumers Union materials relate to Shainwald's work under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to establish the Center for the Study of the Consumer Movement at the Consumers Union. Files contain a small amount of original historical documents, but are mainly photocopies of documents. The majority of files consist of correspondence, notes, grant applications, and drafts of interviews concerning an oral history project featuring members of the Consumers Union. A finalized transcript of Shainwald's Colston E.Warne interview can be found at Columbia University's Center for Oral History.
National Women's Health Network (NWHN) files contain correspondence, minutes, questionnaires, financial documents, etc., documenting Shainwald's role a a member, board member (1980-1986), president (1982-1986), chair of health law and regulations (1981-1988), and chair of the litigation information service (1980-1986) of the NWHN. Files document the administrative activities of the NWHN, which lobbied for women's health issues in federal policy making and worked to increase awareness of women's health issues. Among the services provided by NWHN was the litigation information service, which offered advice to women on how to pursue litigation against corporations who manufactured medical devices or drugs which caused them harm and, in some cases, matched women with lawyers. The litigation information service files mainly consist of letters from women seeking advice and correspondence among members of the NWHN and lawyers concerning whether or not the women's complaints warranted legal action. Letters containing detailed medical information have been redacted; the originals are closed for 50 years from date of creation.
Shainwald's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2013. Folder titles were created by Shainwald; additional information in square brackets was provided by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series II, DIETHYLSTILBESTROL (DES), 1976-2012 (#28.9-77.4, T-444.4 -T-444.16, Vt-220.1), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, audiotapes, and other material relating to DES legal cases in which Shainwald played a role. DES is a synthetic oral form of estrogen that was prescribed to pregnant women from 1938 through 1971 to prevent miscarriages. The drug was never patented and was produced by numerous pharmaceutical companies under a variety of names including Desplex, Stibestrol, Stibetin, Estrobene, and Dienestrol. In 1954, the first controlled study of DES efficacy revealed that the drug did not prevent miscarriages. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned DES for use during pregnancy because it was found to be associated with a rare form of vaginal and cervical cancer in women exposed to DES in utero. Shainwald's files document her involvement in several DES cases, including Bichler v. Lilly, the nation's first DES daughter victory, as well as in the class action which resulted in the establishment of an Emergency Fund for DES daughters. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles created by Shainwald appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series III, BREAST IMPLANTS, 1988-2008 (#77.5-109.9, 112.1-122.12, Vt-220.2 - Vt-220.9), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, videotapes, and other material relating to silicone breast implant litigation in which Shainwald played a role. Beginning in the late-1980s, Shainwald defended women alleging that their silicone breast implants had leaked and caused a variety of autoimmune, neurological, and rheumatological health problems. Due to the large number of lawsuits filed, cases were consolidated as MDL 926. Large settlements for both domestic and foreign plaintiffs lead to Dow Corning Corporation, the major defendant, to declare bankruptcy. Files represent individual clients defended by Shainwald as well as her involvement in MDL 926. Files particularly represent Shainwald's work on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee and as chair of the Foreign Plaintiffs' Subcommittee, as well as her work tracking the progress of Dow Corning's bankruptcy proceedings. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles created by Shainwald appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, BIRTH CONTROL, 1978-2003 (#123.1-133.4, Vt-220.10), contains correspondence, briefs, clippings, notes, research, drafts, and other material relating to legal cases litigated by Shainwald involving various forms of birth control. Files are largely concerned with litigation involving the Copper-7, Dalkon Shield, and Saf-T-Coil intrauterine devices (IUDs), which caused pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which in turn resulted in ectopic pregnancies and, for some, infertility. In addition, women who became pregnant while using the Dalkon Shield also suffered from septic spontaneous abortions. Correspondence with clients documents health problems suffered by the clients as well as administrative details of the cases. Many files contain internal memos and reports created by IUD manufacturers documenting their knowledge of medical problems resulting from the use of their products. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation. Folder titles were created by the archivist. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series V, OTHER CASES, 1975-2007 (#110.1-111.9, 133.5-169.9, Vt-220.11), contains correspondence, briefs, depositions, clippings, notes, research, drafts, and other material relating to legal cases litigated by Shainwald involving chorionic villus sampling (CVS), Parolodel, Fen-Phen, and other products or issues regarding women's health.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) litigation is represented in files concerning Bowen, Alexandra and Nancy v. Women's Health Center of Oregon, et al. CVS is a prenatal test that detects genetic disorders. The doctor takes cells from the chorionic villi and sends them to a lab for genetic analysis. Nancy Bowen sued her health care providers on the grounds that she and her husband weren't adequately informed of the risks involved with the procedure, which resulted in Bowen's daughter being born without fingers and with a raised "strawberry" birthmark. Depositions and documents, including internal memos, medical records, and reports produced by the defendants are subject to a protective order. Those documents, as well work product and attorney-client privileged records relating to Bowen, Alexandra and Nancy v. Women's Health Center of Oregon, et al., are closed 75 years after date of creation.
Fen-Phen is the more common name for the drug combination fenfluramine/phentermine, an anti-obesity treatment that was shown to cause potentially fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problems. Cases involving Fen-Phen litigated by Shainwald are represented by Lillian Fontane and Philip Fontane v. A.H. Robins Company, et al., which was consolidated into MDL 1203. Files consist mainly of legal filings relating to the MDL 1203 litigation and settlement.
Shainwald brought the initial cases for Parlodel, the brand name for bromocriptine miccylate, a drug produced by Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company to inhibit lactation in women who choose not to nurse. Use of the drug for lactation suppression is associated with cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, and seizures. Files concerning Parlodel litigation include research files on the drug, depositions of medical experts, and documents, including Sandoz Pharmaceutical memos and reports, produced during the course of litigation. Work product and attorney-client privileged records are closed 50 years after date of creation.
Folder titles were created by Shainwald; additional information in square brackets was provided by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Audiotapes
Birth control--United States
Breast implants--Law and legislation
Bromocriptine--Adverse effects--United States
Chorionic villus sampling
Copper intrauterine contraceptives
Dalkon Shield (Intrauterine contraceptive)
Depositions
Diethylstilbestrol--Law and legislation--United States
Electronic records
Intrauterine contraceptives
Lactation--Effect of drugs on--United States
Lawyers--United States
Legal documents
Products liability--Breast implants--United States
Products liability--United States
Questionnaires
Speeches
Testimonies
Videotapes
Web sites
Women--Health and hygiene--United States
Women health reformers--United States
Women lawyers--United States
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Consumers Union of United States
National Women's Health Network (U.S.)
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (Firm)

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