E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation
As part of my dissertation on privacy and technology, I’m looking into sterilization in the early part of the twentieth century. The E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation have a number of archival records capturing information about these patients, especially those who were institutionalized.
Privacy, autonomy, and birth control in America, 1860-1900
Access to birth control became, controversially, protected by the “right to privacy” in 1965; a hundred years before, “procreation was a matter of public concern.” Yet, contradictorily and confusingly, Victorian women — and their bodies — were protected (and limited) by a powerful social division between private and public spheres.
Victorian domestic specialization and gender roles
As the Victorian version of separate spheres solidified in the mid-nineteenth century, the “idea of wifely sainthood gained ever more credence as housewives found themselves increasingly isolated from the male-operated world.”
Justice Scalia on the Constitution, privacy, and criminality
Justice Scalia once noted that “the Constitution sometimes
insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.”
Prohibition and the domestic home
The Volstead Act (implementing Prohibition), in keeping with American legal tradition, gave special recognition to the home and the private, domestic sphere.
No privacy in city life: what modern methods are bringing us to (1902)
“Is it possible,” asked the Chicago Tribune in 1902, “to be a private citizen in Chicago?”
Privacy can keep histories of abuse hidden from public view
Privacy can serve both to protect individuals and to shield abusers from public visibility.
Affirmative vs. passive privacy in domestic violence and abortion
A “passive” version of the right to privacy — the “right to be let alone” — creates challenges for advocates against domestic violence. A more “active” version provides a viable alternative.
Doctor-patient privilege and the common law
Despite being part of the original Hippocratic oath, doctor-patient confidentiality is a relatively new addition to Anglo-American law.