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Information

Dorothea Palmer collection

Media Type: 
Textual record
Call Number / Archival Reference Number: 
WA17
STEM Field: 
Nursing
Description: 
Collection consists of F.W. Wegenast's material relating to the trial of Dorothea Palmer. It contains correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts of court examinations, arguments used in court, research materials, documents, printed and published items, and clippings relating to the case Rex vs. Palmer.
Biography/Administrative History: 
Dorothea Palmer was born 1908 in England and had some training in a hospital in England. She was employed as a nurse by the Parents' Information Bureau of Kitchener, Ont. to visit homes of those known to be poor or relatively poor, and to offer to needy mothers the opportunity of applying for certain contraceptive materials. Miss Palmer was arrested at Eastview, an Ottawa suburb, as she was leaving the home of a French Roman Catholic family which was on relief and had a large number of children. The mother had telephoned Miss Palmer and asked her to call. Miss Palmer was arrested on the charge of distributing birth control information and contraceptive devices. The trial occupied nineteen days of testimony and four of argument, and during which forty witnesses were examined. The case was a remarkable one in that the decision overruled religious and medical objections to the dissemination of birth control information. Dorothea Palmer was acquitted March 17, 1937 after a trial that extended over a period of six months. The Crown appealed the case which was heard on the 1st and 2nd of June 1937, by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, presided over by the Chief Justice of Ontario and two Associate Judges. The Appeal was dismissed without Defence Counsel being called. Dorothea died in 1992.
Date(s): 
1936-1937
Extent: 
1.3 m of textual records
Province: 
ON
Hosting Institution: 
University of Waterloo
Collection Contact: 
library.scaref@uwaterloo.ca
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