New York, NY, January 19, 2017—Leading up to the grand opening of the museum’s transformed fourth floor, the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society is pleased to present a special series of programs in March 2017 to celebrate Women’s History Month. Highlights will include a women’s history conference; an evening with tennis icon and social justice pioneer Billie Jean King; a panel about “Women and the White House” moderated by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl; and a screening of the Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film Woman of the Year (1942), among other events.

“This March, in advance of the official opening of our new, first-ever Center for Women’s History and in honor of Women’s History Month, we are proud to offer the public a series of special programs,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “Our second annual Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History will feature a discussion of reproductive rights in a historical context, with distinguished scholars in conversation on a range of relevant topics.”

Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History
The Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History will be held on Sunday, March 5, 9 am – 4 pm. The day-long event will focus on “Reproductive Rights in Historical Context,” examining the political, legal, and cultural history of reproductive rights. Topics to be addressed include the fluctuating legal and cultural status of contraception throughout American history, the politics of sex education, the evolution of obstetrics and gynecological medicine, the role of race and class in the birth control movement, and the depiction of reproductive justice in popular culture. The three panels include:

The Legacy of Margaret Sanger will feature a discussion of Margaret Sanger’s visionary stances as a feminist, reformer, and activist, as well as her problematic embrace of eugenics.

Moderator: Ellen Chesler, senior fellow, Roosevelt Institute, and author of Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1993, 2007)


  • Adam Cohen, author of Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (2016)
  • Linda Gordon, University Professor of the Humanities, NYU, and author of The Moral Property of Women: The History of Birth Control Politics in America (2004)
  • Iris Lopez, Sociology Department Chair, professor, and co-director of Latin American and Latino Studies, City College of New York; and author of Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women’s Struggle for Reproductive Freedom (2008)

Disciplining Reproduction: Political and Legal Battles will explore the country’s long and agonized controversy over women’s right to control their bodies. Moving beyond individuals and institutions, panelists will focus on the historical impact of the law on questions of reproductive justice.

Moderator: Linda Greenhouse, Pulitzer Prize winner and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School


  • Irin Carmon, visiting fellow, Yale Law School Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice; MSNBC national reporter; and co-author of Notorious R.B.G: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2015)
  • James Mohr, distinguished professor of history and Philip H. Knight Professor of Social Sciences, University of Oregon; and author of Licensed to Practice: The Supreme Court Defines the American Medical Profession (2015), Doctors and the Law: Medical Jurisprudence in Nineteenth-Century America (1993), and Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy, 1800–1900 (1978, 1980)
  • Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; and author of About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st-Century America (2017)
  • Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania; co-author of Frug’s Women and the Law (2008); and author of Killing the Black Body: Race Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty (1997)

Planning Families: The History and Future of Reproduction will ask important controversial questions about having children: Who gets to make a family—and how? What are the ethical, legal, and scientific consequences of the different ways to have children, from in vitro fertilization to surrogacy, adoption, and beyond?

Moderator: Andrea Tone, professor of history and Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine, Departments of Social Studies of Medicine and History & Classical Studies, McGill University; and author of Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America (2001) and Controlling Reproduction: An American History (1997)


  • Sarah Dubow, associate professor of history, chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Williams College, and author of Ourselves Unborn: Fetal Meanings in Modern America (2011)
  • Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and director, Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, University of California Irvine School of Law; president of the Defense for Children International U.S. affiliate; founder of the Institute for Global Child Advocacy; co-author of Biotechnology, Bioethics and the Law (2015) and author of Policing the Womb (2015)
  • Loretta Ross, co-founder and national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, founder and former executive director of the National Center for Human Rights Education, and co-author of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2017)
  • Rickie Solinger, historian, author of Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v Wade (1992) and Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the US (2001), and co-author of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2017)

Speakers and Films
A speaker series also will be part of the month-long programming, with History with David M. Rubenstein presenting An Evening with Billie Jean King on March 7. Billie Jean King—longtime champion for social justice, former number 1 tennis player in the world, and the first female athlete and first member of the LGBT community to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom—is a pioneering leader in the movement for gender equality both within and outside of sports. In celebration of the grand opening of the Center for Women’s History—which will include items from her personal collection in the inaugural display—King will discuss her iconic life and career, highlighting pivotal moments including her historic victory in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match and underlining her mission to incorporate equality into the larger fabric of the American story.

The Bernard and Irene Schwartz Distinguished Speakers Series will feature two programs relating to women’s history in March. The Ascent of Woman on March 1 will feature a talk by historian Amanda Foreman, whose groundbreaking BBC/Netflix documentary series The Ascent of Woman delves into the social, political, and economic importance of gender equality—a history which has spanned millennia and cultures and has developed into one of the critical issues of the 21st century. Women and the White House on March 9 will explore how the White House has been a historically male-dominated office, but since its origins, women have played an integral role in influencing its history, both from inside and outside of the First Family. Beginning with early America, experts survey and celebrate how women have affected the executive branch and our nation as a whole. Moderated by Lesley Stahl, correspondent for 60 Minutes and a former CBS News White House correspondent, panelists include Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor of History, Emerita, at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY; Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family; and Gil Troy, author of The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s.

Additionally, New-York Historical will continue the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Classic Film Series, featuring the Justice in Film series that explores how film has tackled social strife, morality, and the perennial struggle between right and wrong—conflicts that manifest across cultures and history. On March 24, New-York Historical will screen Woman of the Year (1942), a film starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as colleagues who fall in love despite his traditional family values and her driven career ambitions. Author and journalist Kati Marton will introduce this Academy Award-winning romance about rethinking gender roles.

Throughout the month, young visitors can learn more about women’s contributions to history by exploring the DiMenna Children’s History Museum with a women’s history scavenger hunt. On March 14, acclaimed historical musician Linda Russell will explore the women of the past as reflected in the popular songs and stories of the day in their own words. Sunday Story Time throughout March will feature books about remarkable women in history, including Elizabeth Leads the Way by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon and Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper.

Tickets and more programming details are available at

The Center for Women’s History
The Center for Women’s History is the first institution in the nation within the walls of a museum dedicated to this essential subject and will be unique in its size, scope, and inclusive spirit. When the Center opens on the fourth floor of the New-York Historical Society in late April 2017, it will showcase special exhibitions in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, special display cases illuminating particular moments from the broad sweep of women’s history, and bold interactive digital installations. Public funding for the Center for Women’s History was provided by the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs and the State of New York Empire State Development. Major funding for the Center and its programs has been provided by Joyce B. Cowin, Diane and Adam E. Max, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jean Margo Reid, and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. Corporate support provided by Deutsche Bank and Hogan Lovells.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Press Contacts
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New-York Historical Society
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New-York Historical Society
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Thursday, January 19, 2017
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