Other amazing women: Dr. Grace Feder Thompson, Nellie Bly, Lydia Pinkham
Historical remedies for menstrual period pain and problems. See more remedies here.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
Odor |
Olor |
Pad directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Dr. Marie Stopes: An amazing woman in the fields of birth control marriage relations
Her book, first published in 1918:

Married Love
by Marie Carmichael Stopes, D.Sc., London; Ph.D., Munich

Fellow of University College London; Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Linnean
and Geological Societies, London. First published in 1918 and, by 1931, translated into 10 languages.
This first American edition was published in 1931 by G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York (The Knickerbocker Press)


"In my first marriage I paid such a terrible price for sex-ignorance that I feel that knowledge gained at such a cost should be placed at the service of humanity."
from the Author's Preface to the First English Edition (1918) of Married Love

Readers of the Guardian newspaper, in the United Kingdom, voted Dr. Stopes "Woman of the Millennium."

The amazing Scotswoman Dr. Marie Stopes, founder of the first birth control clinic in the British Empire (The Mothers' Clinic in London, still running), in 1921, wrote this ground-breaking book that devoted a chapter to the cyclic nature of women's sexual desire, a first, part of which appears below.

In 1914 she had her never-consummated first marriage annulled after a year and began work on this first-of-a-kind book for Britain about sex to prevent other humiliating marriages. She later remarried, but after a few years wrote up a contract with her husband allowing her to take younger lovers!

Although Catholic and Anglican churches and British doctors scorned her book - only in the year of her death, 1958, did an Anglican bishops conference concede the necessity for birth control - the average person in Britain loved it as it went through 19 editions and sales of almost 750,000 copies by 1931.

She loved publicity and contraception. It is said that at fancy parties she would pass around a contraceptive diaphragm - a birth-control device.

The U. S. Customs Service banned the book as being obscene until Judge John M. Woolsey declared it welcome on 6 April 1931 (Woolsey would later allow James Joyce's Ulysses into the United States).

Here's part of what Woolsey wrote:
"[Married Love] makes also some apparently justified criticisms of the inopportune exercise, by the man in the marriage relation, of what are often referred to as his conjugal or marital rights, and it pleads with seriousness, and not without some eloquence, for a better understanding by husbands of the physical and emotional side of the sex life of their wives."

The Publishers' Foreword states, in part:
"It [the suppression of sex-education books] demonstrates once more, and with shocking conclusiveness, that the government agencies vested with the power of initiating suppression are grossly unfit for the task. It emphasizes once more the truth that changing times mean changing morals; that the pernicious methods of secrecy and prudishness which characterized the treatment of sex for generations are things of the past; that with our modern attitude of encouraging and satisfying wholesome curiosity, of meeting our problems squarely and openly, we have come to regard sex not as something vile and unmentionable, not as something to be thrust into the background and to be smirkingly whispered about, but as a human function of momentous importance both to the individual and to society."

Dr. Stokes started out as a paleontologist specializing in plants (in 1902 she took first-class honors in botany and geology at University College London, and in 1904 the University of Munich awarded her a doctorate for her work in paleobotany), writing several books about the subject. But she also wrote about Japanese drama, travel, birth control and wrote plays, stories and poetry. Her passions were birth control, poetry and her son Harry(!). (I gleaned some of these facts from the Marie Stopes International Web site.) The selected bibliography in this volume lists 21 books.

"In the years since this book was first published I have had the pleasure of seeing its title become a phrase so interwoven into our language that even Bishops opposing me use it themselves; and also the great reward of finding even my opponents using my very phrases to express with approval the ideas for which I fought and suffered."
Author's Preface to the Nineteenth English Edition (1931)

SarahAnne Hazlewood generously donated this book to the museum.


third page, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Nellie Bly, Lydia Pinkham,
 Chart 1
[Author's caption] Curve showing the Periodicity of Recurrence of natural desire in healthy women. Various causes make
slight irregularities in the position, size and duration of the "wave-crests," but the general rhythmic sequence is apparent.
[Read a discussion of this chart on the second and third pages.]
[Chart 2 shows a low, irregular curve, demonstrating that fatigue and overwork can disrupt the cycle of a woman's desire.]
[Note that the peaks occur about the time of ovulation and right before the period, a pattern that I believe is accepted today.
For producing children it's valuable that a woman's desire coincides with ovulation. I believe that a woman's pheromones and
vaginal odor also change at this time, as do other things, such as viscosity of the cervical mucus plug, making it easier for sperm
to reach the interior of the uterus. The opening of the cervix, which allows sperm to enter the uterus, also widens.]
Second, third page, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Nellie Bly, Lydia Pinkham,

Radcliffe College, of Harvard University, has probably the largest collection of material about the Pinkham enterprise, the records of the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company.
Part of the donation of SarahAnne Hazelwood to this museum, much of it patent medicine and old medical equipment, was a very interesting biography and study of Mrs. Pinkham's business, Female Complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women's Medicine, by Sarah Stage.
See modern home remedies here.
post card of Stanford University, a bottle for Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, mending kit, booklet Stretching Your Dollar, bottles for her Blood Medicine and (just plain) Medicine, Home Talks, Private Text-Book Upon Ailments Peculiar to Women, Fruits and Candies booklet, and a modern bottle, box and instructions for her Tablets. A discussion of the letter testimonials, and their authenticity, of the Pinkham company (in a discussion of a Pursettes ad with a letter testimonial)
See two letters to MUM about the ingredients of her Compound, and one about the lyrics of an English pop song, Lily the Pink, about her.
Other amazing women: Nelli Bly, Dr. Marie Stopes, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson
See also the patent medicine Cardui, Dr. Grace Feder Thompson's letter appealing for patients, Dr. Pierce's medicines, and Orange Blossom medicine.
© 2000 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to hfinley@mum.org