I got back from the annual meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine meeting yesterday as as usual am bursting with ideas and buried in work. So, this will be quickie overview with more reflection and analysis at a later date.
First, I’d like to report that my forthcoming book (cover photo at left) is moving much closer to actually being out. I received the page proofs about a week ago and am working on getting them back ASAP. Unfortunately the editor decided not to have them available at the meeting because they aren’t corrected — but there’s always next year. Hopefully they will be available at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians next month.
Meanwhile, I got an opportunity to plug my book and establish myself as an authority on the “morning after pill” in an interview for a documentary by Caryn Hunt, President of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women. It was a lot of fun and I wasn’t as nervous as I expected. Also, I got a new suggestion for a doppelganger. Thanks, I agree!
My presentation on The Pill at 50: Scientific Commemoration and the Politics of American Memory went very well and I had a substantial audience (at least 30) despite it being on first thing on the last day of the conference. The reaction was enthusiastic (especially from this leading authority on the history of the Pill) so I’m planning to expand this and submit it to the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
Since I’m teaching in a public history graduate program, and living in Connecticut, my “commemorative mania” will continue with some kind of commemorative event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 (which follows soon after my own half-century mark). Not sure what this will be but the folks at Yale and Planned Parenthood are keen so looks like it will happen. I also told the editor at Rutgers that I’m interested in doing a narrative history (as opposed to a legal history that uses Griswold as a lead-up to Roe v. Wade rather than an event in it’s own right). As it turns out, a very distinguished senior historian of medicine and public health was one of the witnesses who testified. It seems that the New Haven police was willing to shut down the clinic so that birth control advocates in the state could use this as a test case, but they needed evidence that the clinic was dispensing birth control. This historian was a graduate student at Yale and was one of Dr. Buxton’s patients. She volunteered to get the evidence (a tube of contraceptive jelly) and then went straight to the police department to turn in the incriminating evidence and give a statement. When she blurted out that contraception was “women’s right”, the Irish cop asked her, “don’t you mean a married woman’s right?” What a story!
I heard lots a great papers and connect with all my history of medicine buddies. However, work awaits so I’ll have to continue these conference report later (most likely much later since research papers and finals will be landing on my desk shortly).