Fonds 10-093 - Montreal Health Press fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Montreal Health Press fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

Parallel title

Les Presses de la Santé de Montréal

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA ON0034 10-093

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1972-2003 (Creation)
    Creator
    Montreal Health Press

Physical description area

Physical description

345 photographs
4.73 m of textual records
35 drawings

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

(1968-[2001])

Administrative history

The Montreal Health Press–les Presses de la Santé de Montréal–was a feminist, non-profit collective that published affordable print booklets, in French and English, on sexuality and sexual health, for over 30 years. The organization provided affordable and accessible handbooks on issues surrounding birth control, contraception, child birth, sexual orientation, sexually transmitted diseases and menopause.

The organization officially became a women’s collective in 1972, although the collective originated in 1968 when members of the McGill University student body produced and distributed the “Birth Control Handbook.” Two of these student publishers, Donna Cherniak and Allan Feingold, became founding members of the Montreal Health Press.

The organization's administrative style was informal, with annual May meetings held at members’ kitchen tables. One individual was appointed chief coordinator for each publication and members volunteered to contribute their expertise as medical doctors, social scientists, photographers etc. Each handbook was continually re-published with updated medical information.

During the 1970s, a million copies of the “Birth Control Handbook” were distributed. The first handbooks were followed by the “VD Handbook,” in 1973, “A Book about Sexual Assault,” in 1979, and “A Book about Menopause” in 1988, as well as their French-language equivalents. The publications favoured clear and non-judgmental language along with detailed medical diagrams and black and white photographs.

By the 1990s, sales were greatly diminished, due in part to the proliferation of self-help books and to the availability of online content. The collective closed permanently by 2001. During its more than 30-year history, the Montreal Health Press had distributed over 15 million copies of its books and handbooks.

Custodial history

These records were donated in University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections in 2002.

Scope and content

The Montreal Health Press fonds reflects the operations of a small, volunteer-run feminist collective, focussed on disseminating information on health and sexuality. The fonds documents the steps involved in print book production: it includes authors’ draft chapters, interview schedules and author contracts.

The records also reflect the collective's extensive promotional activities, including fund-raising programs, reviews of handbooks, promotional articles and anniversary-year publicity. Letters of support from subscribers testify to the publications’ impact on individual lives and sexual health. The fonds also shows the extensive orders and invoices for handbooks from North American health clinics and organizations.

The photographs and drawings reflect the work of numerous artists. Medical drawings–in ink, pencil and graphite–provide detail on sexual health and anatomy. The photographs represent individuals, couples, and groups of different ethnicity, ages and sexual orientation.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

ACC-2002-7

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

The majority of the fonds is open and accessible, however, some files are restricted for a predetermined period of time. Please ask ARCS staff for further information.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials

Related materials

Accruals

ACC-2021-07

General note

Accession number: ACC-2002-7

Alternative identifier(s)

Wikidata Q identifier

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q102015595

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

CA

Institution identifier

ON0034

Rules or conventions

RAD

Status

Final

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

Sources

Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres