History of Menopause Bibliography


Query From Cindy Kemp kempkemp@aol.com 07 April 1998

I am a graduate student in Health Advocacy at Sarah Lawrence College researching the history of menopause. Specifically, I'm interested in women's personal experiences with, or historical interpretations of, menopause in the 19th century and earlier. There is quite a bit of material available from the 1930s on (coincident with the advent of DES). I've read several articles by Smith-Rosenberg about the subject which have been very helpful but more medical in orientation. I welcome your suggestions. Thanks in advance for your help.

Responses:

From Sherri Klassen 08 April 1998

The first chapter of my dissertation, which dealt with female aging in eighteenth-century France, focuses on menopause--medical descriptions of it and its use as in the definition of old age. My dissertation is entitled, "Aging Gracefully in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of Elderly Women in the Old Regime Toulouse" and the degree was from Syracuse in 1996. You should be able to find it through interlibrary loan or UMI services.

From Lesley Hall Lesley_Hall@classic.msn.com 03 April 1998

Marie-Claire Balaam at the University of Wolverhampton is working on UK interpretations of the menopause (prior, I think, to 1914, but I do not have the exact details at hand). Margaret Morganroth Gullette has also written on menopause and ideas of midlife crisis in both the present and the past.

There is some correspondence among the Marie Stopes papers in the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine about her book, _Change of Life in Men and Women_, published in the 1930s; the topic is also touched on in the main series of letters from her readers 'ML _Married Love_, though in fact about her other books (articles in the press, etc.) GEN'. There is other material on the menopause in other collections in the CMAC, for further details e-mail cmac@wellcome.ac.uk

From Anya Jabour jabour@selway.umt.edu 02 April 1998

In 1818, Elizabeth Wirt, a Virginia-born woman then living in Washington, D.C., had her last child and entered menopause. When some time had passed and she did not again become pregnant, her husband, U.S. Attorney General William Wirt wrote an oblique letter to a physician delicately inquiring about her medical health. Elizabeth wrote a letter to her mother expressing her joy at ceasing to bear children (the child she bore in 1818 was her twelfth). The second letter is included in my forthcoming book, _Marriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal_ (John Hopkins U press, 1998). The other may be found in the Maryland Historical Society's William Wirt Papers, which are available on microfilm.