Dickinson’s Dealings with Clarence Gamble

The Margaret Sanger Papers
Last updated
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:25 a.m. (view history)

Left to Do: What is their relationship ca. 1943--I know that Gamble ran some of his projects through Dickinson’s Committee on Maternal Health; anything more, any details?

[91] Gamble and Dickinson had met in 1925, Dickinson asked him for support with birth control research and acceptance in medical community. [96] Gamble relied on Dickinson books to advise others on birth control methods. Says that there is no specific documentation of Gamble’s early relations with Dickinson, where he accepted Dickinson’s request for help, but their “relationship steadily grew warmer,” and Gamble described as a latter-day torchbearer for Dickinson’s work.

[286] Reports a letter Dickinson wrote to D. Kenneth Rose in 1941 in which he says “No other physician has given years of exhaustive service to the cause of birth control as has Dr. Gamble, except Hannah Stone, and she had not his university teaching standing. His wealth permitted him to start a lot of practical attacks on live problems of ours, either in rural work or in laboratory research....In the introduction to my book, Control of Contraception, I place him, as initiator, next to Mrs. Sanger.  I agree with you that Gamble is a bother to Boards and to Committees.  Anyone is a nuisance who insists on first things first; on simple solutions; on the poor as having first claim; and on most results for least money.  He was too practical and economical for the Executive Committee of the National Committee on Maternal Health, and for the Federation he doubtless brings up troublesome ideas and decisions.  But few know our field as he does...”

D. Kenneth Rose to MS, Feb. 3, 1943 [MSM S22:138] Reporting on the Annual Meeting. Dickinson “read a rousing protest over the failure to nominate Dr. Gamble to the Board, at the same time getting in a ‘good lick’ at me, at the lay leadership of the Federation for not providing $100,000 or so for the doctors to do research ‘under the control of the doctors,’ and also at the Bureau for not paying Dr. Stone and the staff doctors an adequate salary. He offered his own resignation in the event that Gamble was not put on the Board.” They explained to Dickinson that Gamble had refused the nomination if he would have to clear his private projects through the Board; Rose retired from the meeting to allow them to talk freely, and apparently Stone negotiated a compromise with Dickinson.