The History of Contraception: An Online Exhibit

To Birth, or Not to Birth? Much more than just a passing question!

TalesThroughout our history, few concerns have been so ubiquitous as those that concern fertility (or not!) The Dittrick Museum houses a truly unique collection, the Percy Skuy Collection on the History of Contraception. Mr. Skuy, past President of Ortho Pharmaceutical (Canada), assembled the world’s most comprehensive collection of historical contraceptive devices, numbering over 650 artifacts. Since its arrival the collection has grown through donations and museum purchases to approximately 1100 artifacts. The Dittrick also maintains a collection of literature on the topic, including primary source material as well as historical writings. For more on the acquisition, see an article written by Susan Griffith for Case Campus News.

The Collection’s Highlights include Contraception in America 1800-1900, Contraception in America 1900 -1950, and Contraception in America
1950 – Present day. The online exhibit includes:

At the museum gallery, you will also encounter some very unusual methods of birth control from our more distant past (it involves an elephant, a crocodile and a weasel… and no, that isn’t the start of a bad joke!) We hope you will continue to visit us here online and also at the Dittrick Museum–there is so much more to the story!

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Virtue, Vice, and Contraband: A History of Contraception in America

About the blogger

Brandy Schillace is a medical humanist, literary scholar and writer of Gothic fiction. She is the Managing Editor for Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, a guest curator for Dittrick Museum, and a SAGES fellow for Case Western Reserve University (she has also worked as an assistant professor of literature at Winona State). She runs the Fiction Reboot and Daily Dose blogs, leads interdisciplinary conferences abroad for IDnet, and spends a lot of her time in museums and medical libraries.