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Rutgers University, Camden (Camden, NJ 08102-1405)
Margaret S. Marsh (Project Director: September 1998 to April 2005)
John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution of the 20th Century

The research and writing of a biography of John Rock (1890-1984), whose pioneering clinical research laid the foundation for what is now the field of reproductive medicine.

This proposal seeks funding for an intellectual and cultural biography of John Rock (1890-1984), pioneering early clinical researcher in reproductive medicine and co-developer of the first oral contraceptive. Both of these developments have served to separate sexuality from reproduction, challenging deeply-held societal beliefs about the nature of family life, the relationship of sexuality to morality, and the basis for enforcing conventional gender roles. Rock's significance to the social and cultural as well as to the medical history of the 20th century makes it surprising that until now there has been no full-scale scholarly study if his life and work. Now, thanks to Rock's family, who have made materials available to me that until now have been inaccessible to scholars, that omission can be redressed. This biography places his work within 1) the intellectual context of the evolution of scientific medicine in the 20th century; and 2) the dramatic social and cultural changes in demography, family organization, and sexual behavior that undergirded the twentieth century quest for control of fertility.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

$150,000 (approved)
$150,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/1999 – 6/30/2004