|Marie Carmichael Stopes,
Marie Stopes in her laboratory, 1904
|Born||15 October 1880
|Died||2 October 1958 (aged 77)
|Alma mater||UCL (B.Sc., D.Sc.)
University of Munich (Ph.D.)
|Known for||Family planning|
|Spouse||Reginald Ruggles Gates (m. 1911; div. 1913)
Humphrey Verdon Roe (m. 1918; ? 1935)
Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes (15 October 1880 – 2 October 1958) was a British author, palaeobotanist, academic, eugenicist, campaigner for women's rights, and pioneer in the field of birth control. Her contributions to plant palaeontology and coal classification were significant, and she was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester.
With her second husband, Humphrey Verdon Roe, she founded the first birth-control clinic in Britain. Stopes edited the newsletter Birth Control News which gave explicit practical advice. Her sex manual Married Love was controversial and influential: it brought the subject of birth control into wide public discourse. She opposed abortion, arguing that preventing conception was all that was needed.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Scientific research
- 3 Marriage and Married Love
- 4 New Gospel
- 5 Family planning
- 6 Birth control on trial
- 7 Literary Stopes
- 8 Abortion views
- 9 Eugenics
- 10 Personal life
- 11 Portland Museum
- 12 Selected works
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
Early life and education
Stopes was born in Edinburgh. Her father was Henry Stopes, a brewer, engineer, architect and palaeontologist from Colchester. Her mother was Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, a Shakespearean scholar and women's rights campaigner from Edinburgh. At six weeks, her parents took her from Scotland and stayed briefly in Colchester; then they brought her to London, where her father had bought a house in Upper Norwood. Both her parents were members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science—where they had met—and Marie was taken to meetings where she met the famous scholars of the day. She was at first home schooled, then from 1892 to 1894 she attended St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh. Stopes was later sent to the North London Collegiate School, where she was a close friend of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn.
She attended University College London as a scholarship student studying botany and geology, graduating with a first class B.Sc. in 1902 after only two years by attending both day and night school. Following this, Stopes earned a D.Sc. degree from University College London, becoming the youngest person in Britain to have done so. In 1903 she published a study of the botany of the recently dried-up Ebbsfleet River. After carrying out research at University College London, she pursued further study at the University of Munich, receiving a Ph.D. in palaeobotany in 1904. She was also Fellow and sometime Lecturer in Palaeobotany at University College London and Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester (she held the post at Manchester from 1904 to 1907; in this capacity she became the first female academic of the University of Manchester).
During Stopes's time at Manchester, she studied coal, coal balls, and the collection of Glossopteris (seed ferns). This was an attempt to prove the theory of Eduard Suess concerning the existence of Gondwanaland or Pangaea.
A chance meeting with Robert Falcon Scott (Scott of the Antarctic) during one of his fund-raising lectures in 1904 brought a possibility of proving Suess's theory. Stopes's passion to prove Suess's theory led her to discuss with Scott joining his next expedition to Antarctica. She did not join the expedition, but Scott promised to bring back samples of fossils to provide confirmatory evidence for the theory. (The interior of Antarctica, being perpetually below 0 °C, is not suitable for life, so the presence of fossils provides evidence of major changes in biological conditions there during geologic time.) The expedition failed and Scott died during the expedition (1912), but near the bodies of him and his companions were fossils from the Queen Maud Mountains that did indeed provide this evidence.
In 1907, Stopes went to Japan on a scientific mission. She spent a year and a half at the Imperial University, Tokyo; she also explored for fossil plants in coal mines on the island of Hokkaido. She published her Japanese experiences in the form of a diary, called Journal from Japan: a daily record of life as seen by a scientist, in 1910.
In 1910, the Geological Survey of Canada commissioned Stopes to determine the age of a geological structure at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, called the Fern Ledges. It is part of the Early Pennsylvanian epoch Lancaster Formation. Canadian scholars were divided between dating them to the Devonian age and the Pennsylvanian period. Stopes arrived in North America before Christmas to start her research. On 29 December she attended a dinner in St. Louis, Missouri, where she met the Canadian researcher Reginald Ruggles Gates and they became engaged two days later. Starting her work on the Fern Ledges in earnest in February 1911, she did both geological field work and research at geological collections in museums. She shipped specimens back to England for further investigation. Married in March and back in England on 1 April with her new husband, she continued her research. In mid-1912 she delivered her results, finding for the Pennsylvanian period of the Carboniferous. The Government of Canada published her results in 1914. That same year, her marriage was annulled.
During the First World War she was engaged in various studies of coal for the British government, which culminated in the writing of a Monograph on the constitution of coal with R.V. Wheeler in 1918. But due to the success of her work in marriage issues and birth control, she reduced her scholarly work and her last scientific publications were in 1923. Nevertheless, W. G. Chaloner states, "between 1903 and 1935 she published a series of palaeobotanical papers that placed her among the leading half-dozen British palaeobotanists of her time." She made major contributions to our knowledge of the earliest angiosperms, the formation of coal-balls, and, above all, the nature of coal macerals. The classification scheme and terminology that she devised for coal are still being used. In addition, she wrote a popular book on palaeobotany, Ancient Plants (1910; Blackie, London), in what was called a successful pioneering effort to introduce the subject to non-scientists.
Marriage and Married Love
In 1911 Stopes married Canadian geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates, but the marriage did not go well. She had maintained her name out of principle rather than taking on her husband's. Her work was blooming while his was struggling. He was disturbed by what seemed to him her suffragette support. He had failed to assert his position as head of the household and was frustrated. After another year she sought legal advice as to how she could end the marriage. Not receiving useful help, she took to reading the legal code looking for a way to get a divorce. The marriage had fallen apart amid squabbling over the house and rent. On 11 May 1913, Stopes filed for divorce on the grounds that the marriage had never been consummated. Gates left England the following year and did not contest the divorce.
Some time around the start of the divorce proceedings, Stopes began to write a book about how she thought a marriage should work. In July 1915, she met Margaret Sanger, who had just given an address on birth control at a Fabian Society meeting. Stopes showed her what she had written and sought her advice for a chapter on contraception. Her book was finished before year's end. She offered it to Blackie and Son, who declined. Several publishers refused the book because they thought it too controversial. It wasn't until Binnie Dunlop, secretary of the Malthusian League, introduced her to Humphrey Verdon Roe, her future second husband, in 1917 that she received the boost that helped her publish her book. Roe was a philanthropist interested in birth control and he supplied the finance to entice Fifield & Co. to publish the work. The book was an instant success, requiring five editions in the first year, and elevated Stopes to national prominence.
On 26 March 1918, the day Married Love was first published, Stopes was visiting Humphrey Roe, who had just returned from World War I with a broken ankle after his plane crashed. Less than two months later they were married and Stopes had her first opportunity to practise what she preached in her book.
The success of Married Love stimulated the need for a follow-up, which Stopes provided in the form of the already written Wise Parenthood: a Book for Married People, a manual on birth control, published later that year. It also brought an avalanche of letters seeking her personal advice, which she energetically endeavoured to give.
The following year she published a condensed form of Wise Parenthood aimed at the poor, A Letter to Working Mothers on how to have healthy children and avoid weakening pregnancies. It was a pamphlet of 16 pages and was to be distributed free of charge. Stopes's intended audience had—until this work—been the middle classes. She had shown little interest in, or respect for, the working classes, but the Letter was aimed at redressing her bias.
Stopes, pregnant and a month overdue, entered a nursing home on 16 July 1919. There was a conflict between Stopes and the doctors over the method of birth—she was not allowed to give birth on her knees—and, when the baby came, it was stillborn. The doctors suggested that the incident was due to syphilis, but an examination excluded the possibility. She was furious and claimed that her baby had been murdered. She was 38 years old.
When Stopes had sufficiently recovered she returned to work in 1920, engaged in public speaking, responding to letters seeking advice on marriage, sex and birth control. She sent Mrs. E.B. Mayne to disseminate the Letter to Working Mothers with its message of birth control to the slums of East London. Mayne approached 20 families a day, but after several months she brought back the observation that the working class was just too mistrustful of well-intentioned meddlers. (see the Settlement movement which peaked at about that time).
It may be that this lack of success brought her to contemplate a different approach to bringing her message to the poor. A conference of Anglican bishops was to be held in June and at home not long before the conference she had a vision: she called in her secretary and dictated a message addressed to the bishops which begins as follows:
"My Lords, I speak to you in the name of God. You are his priests. I am his prophet. I speak to you of the mysteries of man and woman."
The New Gospel to All Peoples seemed to be that the time was now ripe for Stopes's message of wholesome sexual relations between husband and wife. The bishops' response was not receptive. Among the resolutions carried during the conference one was aimed against "the deliberate cultivation of sexual union" and another against "indecent literature, suggestive plays and films [and] the open or secret sale of contraceptives". The Catholic Church's reaction was more strident, marking the start of an open conflict that lasted the rest of her life.
In 1917, before he'd met Marie Stopes, Humphrey Roe offered to endow a birth-control clinic attached to St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. He proposed that all patients be married and that no abortions would be done, but his offer was declined. This was a serious issue for Roe, so after their marriage he and Stopes planned to open a clinic for poor mothers in London.
Margaret Sanger, another birth-control pioneer, had opened a birth-control clinic in New York, but the police closed it. In 1920 she proposed opening a clinic in London, which spurred Stopes to act more constructively, but her plan never materialized. Stopes resigned her lectureship at the University College of London at the end of 1920 to concentrate on the clinic and three months later she and Roe opened the Mothers' Clinic at 61, Marlborough Road, Holloway, North London on 17 March 1921. The clinic, run by midwives and supported by visiting doctors, offered mothers birth-control advice and taught them various birth-control methods.
The free clinic was open to all married women for knowledge about their reproductive health. Because Dr. Stopes opposed abortion, she tried her best to discover alternatives for families and increase knowledge about birth control and the reproductive system. Different options included the cervical cap, which was most popular along with coitus interruptus, and different types of spermicides such as soap or oil based. Dr. Stopes rediscovered an old technique of using olive-oil-soaked sponges as an alternative birth control. Olive oil as a spermicide dates back to Greek and Roman times. Her recipe proved very effective. Which she tested along with many others of her contraceptives, on patients at her clinics.
Stopes also became enthusiastic about a contraceptive device called the "Gold-pin", which was reportedly successful in America. A few months later, she asked a young Australian doctor in London, Norman Haire, if he would be interested in running a clinical trial of the device, as she had two correspondents who wanted to use it. But Haire had already investigated the device and found it dangerous. Haire became involved in another birth-control clinic, which opened in Walworth in November 1921, and later rivalry between Stopes and Haire erupted in The Lancet with allegations hurled in both directions. Haire brought up the gold-pin episode, even though Stopes's clinic had never used it. The issue of the gold-pin device resurfaced in the Stopes-Sutherland libel case a few years later.
Later in 1921 Stopes founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress, a support organization for the clinic.
In 1925 the Mothers' Clinic moved to Central London, where it remains to this day. Stopes gradually built up a small network of clinics across Britain, working tirelessly to fund them. She opened clinics in Leeds in April, 1934; Aberdeen in October, 1934; Belfast in October, 1936; Cardiff in October, 1937, and Swansea in January, 1943.
Stopes and her fellow family-planning pioneers around the globe, like Dora Russell, Margaret Sanger, and Norman Haire, played a major role in breaking down taboos about sex and increasing knowledge, pleasure, and reproductive health. In 1930, five birth-control societies formed Great Britain's National Birth Control Council.
The Marie Stopes International organisation
The clinics continued to operate after her death, but by the early 1970s they were in financial difficulties and in 1975 they went into voluntary receivership. The modern organisation that bears Marie Stopes's name was established a year later as an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on sexual and reproductive health. The Marie Stopes International global partnership took over responsibility for the main clinic, and in 1978 it began its work overseas in New Delhi. Since then the organisation has grown steadily and today the MSI works in over 40 countries, has 452 clinics worldwide, and has offices in London, Brussels, Melbourne and USA.
Birth control on trial
In 1922, Dr Halliday Sutherland, wrote a book called Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo Malthusians. In the inter-war years, birth control and eugenics were closely related and "so intertwined as to be synonymous".
Following attacks on "the essential fallacies of Malthusian teaching", the book attacked Stopes. Under the headings "Specially Hurtful to the Poor" and "Exposing the Poor to Experiment", it read: "In the midst of a London slum a woman, who is a doctor of German philosophy (Munich), has opened a Birth Control Clinic, where working women are instructed in a method of contraception described by Professor McIlroy as ‘The most harmful method of which I have had experience’. When we remember that millions are being spent by the Ministry of Health and by Local Authorities – on pure milk for necessitous expectant and nursing mothers, on Maternity Clinics to guard the health of mothers before and after childbirth, for the provision of skilled midwives, and on Infant Welfare Centres – it is truly amazing that this monstrous campaign of birth control should be tolerated by the Home Secretary. Charles Bradlaugh was condemned to jail for a less serious crime."
Stopes was incensed. The reference to "doctor of German philosophy" sought to undermine Stopes on the basis she was not a medical doctor and, being so soon after the First World War, sought to harness anti-German sentiment. Her work had been associated with Charles Bradlaugh, convicted of obscenity 45 years earlier when he had republished an American Malthusian tract in Britain. The tract, The Fruits of Philosophy, "advocated and gave explicit information about contraceptive methods".
Stopes challenged Sutherland to a public debate. When Sutherland did not respond, she brought a writ for libel against him. The court case began on 21 February 1923. It was highly acrimonious. The jury found in favour of Stopes, answering the judge's four questions:
- Were the words complained of defamatory of the plaintiff? Yes.
- Were they true in substance and in fact? Yes.
- Were they fair comment? No.
- Damages, if any? £100.
But the judge ignored the general tenor of the jury's response and found in Sutherland's favor based on the response to #2. It was a moral victory for Stopes, as the press saw it, and she appealed. On 20 July the Court of Appeal reversed the previous decision, awarding the £100 to Stopes, but this victory was short-lived. The Catholic community mobilized to support Sutherland (himself a Catholic) for a final appeal to the House of Lords, which was heard on 21 November 1924. Their irrevocable decision was in Sutherland's favour. The cost for Stopes was vast. But publicity and book sales partially compensated her losses. The trial had made birth control a public topic and the numbers of clients visiting the clinic doubled.
Stopes was even remembered in a playground rhyme:
Jeanie, Jeanie, full of hopes,
Read a book by Marie Stopes,
But, to judge from her condition,
She must have read the wrong edition.
Persistence and hard work had always served her well. She had gained remarkable results as a scientist. She had two runaway best sellers. She had her clinic and an organization behind her to maintain it. Humphrey Roe, the co-founder of the clinic, was demoted to "husband of Dr. Stopes". In 1924, Marie Stopes gave birth to her only son, Harry, at age 43.
Stopes knew many famous people of her age. Among them were writers such as George Bernard Shaw with whom she corresponded for many decades, Aylmer Maude another lifelong correspondent, H.G. Wells with whom she had stormy discussions, Noël Coward who wrote a ditty about her, and Lord Alfred Douglas whose letters she edited. (She unsuccessfully petitioned Neville Chamberlain to obtain a civil list pension for Douglas: the signitaries included Arthur Quiller-Couch, John Gielgud, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf.) Muriel Spark, then general secretary of the Poetry Society, had an altercation with the birth control champion and lamented "that Stopes's mother had not been better informed on the subject."
This was Coward's hymn to Marie Stopes:
If through a mist of awful fears
Your mind in anguish gropes,
Dry up your panic-stricken tears
And fly to Marie Stopes.
If you have missed life's shining goal
And mixed with sex perverts and Dopes,
For normal soap to cleanse your soul
Apply to Marie Stopes.
And if perhaps you fail all round
And lie among your shattered hopes,
Just raise your body from the ground,
And crawl to Marie Stopes.
Stopes herself wrote plays and poetry. Starting during the First World War she wrote plays on themes that became more didactic until her major success in 1923, a play called Our Ostriches, which dealt with society's shortsighted approach to working class women forced to produce babies all their lives. The play ran for three months at the Royal Court Theatre. The play was hurriedly produced in place of another Stopes play, called Vectia. This was a strongly autobiographical play, which attempted to analyze the failure of her first marriage. As it dealt with sex and impotence, the play never received a licence to be performed, despite Stopes's frequent efforts over the following years. Vectia she had printed in 1926 under the title A Banned Play and a Preface on Censorship. Her later plays did not reach the stage.
In her later years, with the war for birth control won, she published several volumes of poetry.
Stopes was strongly against the termination of a pregnancy once it had started: her clinics did not offer abortions during her life. She saw birth control as the only way families should limit their size.
The nurses at her clinic had to sign a declaration in which they swore not to "impart any information or lend any assistance whatsoever to any person calculated to lead to the destruction in utero of the products of conception."
Her enthusiasm for eugenics was in line with many of the intellectuals and public figures of the time (see for example, Havelock Ellis, John Maynard Keynes, Cyril Burt and George Bernard Shaw.) As a child she had met the founder of the Eugenics movement, Francis Galton, both through the British Association for the Advancement of Science and socially through her father.
She attended the inaugural congress of the Eugenics Society in 1912 and became a fellow in 1921. That same year, she founded the "Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress” to "promote eugenic birth control" in part because "the Society refused to place birth control prominently on its platform". The establishment of the Mother's Clinic (also in 1921) was likewise to further eugenic aims, evidenced by the dispensing of so-called "Pro-Race" cervical cap. As the historian, Richard Soloway, explained in The Galton Lecture in 1995: "If Stopes' general interest in birth control was a logical consequence of her romantic preoccupation with compatible sexuality within blissful marriage, her particular efforts to provide birth control for the poor had far more to do with her eugenic concerns about the impending "racial darkness" that the adoption of contraception promised to illuminate."
Stopes books on marriage and birth control reflect her eugenic theories. She advocated "the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory." The "unfit" included "the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded". Stopes terminology was in line with terms used in The Mental Deficiency Act 1913, which described not only people it categorized as idiots and imbeciles, but also those who were "moral defectives" and "feeble-minded",
She contributed a chapter to The Control of Parenthood (1920), comprising a sort of manifesto for her circle of Eugenicists, arguing for a "utopia" to be achieved through "racial purification":
Those who are grown up in the present active generations, the matured and hardened, with all their weaknesses and flaws, cannot do very much, though they may do something with themselves. They can, however, study the conditions under which they came into being, discover where lie the chief sources of defect, and eliminate those sources of defect from the coming generation so as to remove from those who are still to be born the needless burdens the race has carried.
However, in this tract, she argues that the leading causes of "racial degeneration" are "overcrowding" and sexually transmitted disease. It concludes somewhat vaguely, that racial consciousness needs to be increased so that, "women of all classes [may] have the fear and dread of undesired maternity removed from them ..." to usher in the promised utopia, described throughout.
In 1935 Stopes attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, held in the second year of Hitler's rule. She was more than once accused of being anti-Semitic by other pioneers of the birth control movement such as Havelock Ellis. For instance, during the Second World War, she received a letter from friends whom she had invited to lunch: Could they bring with them a child in their care, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany? Her reply: certainly not; it would offend her other guests.
Stopes was also anti-Prussian, anti-Catholic and anti-Russian, if one can judge by the following unpublished piece of verse, written in 1942, at the height of the struggle with the Axis powers.
The Jews and the Russians,
All are a curse,
Or something worse...
Stopes, who was ever ready to promote her writings, sent a copy of her Love Songs for Young Lovers to Adolf Hitler with the following cover letter:
Dear Herr Hitler,
Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these (poems) that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?
The young must learn love from the particular 'till they are wise enough for the universal.
I hope too that you yourself may find something to enjoy in the book.
(letter from Marie Stopes to Hitler, August 1939)
Her aim was to have her poems distributed through the German birth clinics, but the letter has been interpreted as showing sympathy for Hitler. However, any sympathy she may have had would soon have dissipated when Hitler closed the birth control clinics. On 12 July 1940 she wrote to Churchill to offer a slogan, "Fight the Battle of Britain in Berlin's Air".
Stopes had a serious relationship mainly through correspondence with Japanese botanist Kenjiro Fujii, whom she met at the University of Munich in 1904 whilst researching her Ph.D. It was so serious that, in 1907, during her 1904–1910 tenure at Manchester University, she arranged to do research in Japan, allowing her to be with him, but the relationship ended. In 1911 Stopes married Canadian geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates. Her marriage to Gates was annulled in 1916 on the grounds that the marriage was never consummated.
In 1918 she married the financial backer of her most famous work, Married Love: A New Contribution to the Solution of the Sex Difficulties, Humphrey Verdon Roe, brother of Alliott Verdon Roe. Their son, the philosopher Harry Stopes-Roe, was born in 1924.
Stopes disliked the companion of her son Harry, Mary Eyre Wallis, who was the daughter of the noted engineer Barnes Wallis. When Harry announced their engagement in October 1947, his mother set about "to try to sabotage the union". She found fault with Mary and wrote to Mary's father to complain. She tried to get Humphrey's support against the marriage, arguing that any grandchildren might inherit Mary's myopia. He was not persuaded. Later, believing that "he had betrayed her by this marriage," Stopes cut him out of any substantial inheritance.
Stopes died at her home in Dorking, Surrey, UK from breast cancer. Her will left her clinic to the Eugenics Society; most of her estate went to the Royal Society of Literature; and her son, Harry, got her copy of the Greater Oxford Dictionary and other small items.
In 1923 Marie Stopes bought the Old Higher Lighthouse on the Isle of Portland, Dorset as an escape from the difficult climate of London during her court case against H.G. Sutherland. The island is well known for its Jurassic fossil forests, so it provided her with endless interest. She founded the Portland Museum, on the island, which opened in 1930, and acted as the museum's curator. The cottage housing the museum was an inspiration behind The Well-Beloved, a novel by Thomas Hardy, who was a friend of Marie Stopes.
- Marie C. Stopes (1910). A Journal From Japan. London: Blackie & Son, Limited. OL 9026688W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1912). Botany; or, The modern study of plants. London and Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack. OL 9026684W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1913). Catalogue of the Mesozoic Plants in the British Museum (Natural History): The Cretaceous Flora: Part I - II. London: British Museum.
- Marie C. Stopes; Jôji Sakurai (1913). Plays of Old Japan. London: William Heinemann.
- Marie C. Stopes; Jôji Sakurai (1927). Plays of Old Japan: The 'Nô'. Eclipse Press. OL 9026704W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1914). The 'Fern ledges' Carboniferous flora of St. John, New Brunswick. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Government Printing Bureau.
- Marie C. Stopes (1914). Man, other poems, and a preface. London: William Heinemann. OL 9026691W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1917). Conquest; or, A piece of jade; a new play. London: French.
- Marie C. Stopes (1918). Married Love. London: Fifield and Co. ISBN 0-19-280432-4. OL 9026716W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1918). Wise Parenthood: A Treatise on Birth Control or Contraception. London: Rendell & Co. ISBN 0-659-90552-3. OL 9026714W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1918). On the Four Visible Ingredients in Banded Bituminous Coal: Studies in the Composition of Coal, No. 1. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Government Printing Bureau.
- Marie C. Stopes (1920). Radiant Motherhood. London: Putnam. OL 9026706W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1921). The Truth about Venereal Disease. London: Putnam.
- Marie C. Stopes (1923). Contraception (birth control) its theory, history and practice. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. OL 9026713W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1923). Our Ostriches. London: Putnam. OL 9026703W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1926). Sex and the Young. New York and London: Putnam. OL 53799W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1926). The Human Body. New York and London: Putnam. OL 9026707W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1926). A Banned Play and a Preface on the Censorship. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. OL 9026682W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1928). Enduring Passion. New York: Putnam.
- Marie C. Stopes (1935). Marriage in My Time. Rich & Cowan Ltd.
- Marie C. Stopes (1936). Change of Life in Men and Women. New York: Putnam. OL 9026710W.
- Marie C. Stopes (1939). Your Baby's First Year. London: Putnam.
- Marie C. Stopes (1940). Oriri. London: William Heinemann.
- Marie C. Stopes (1946). The Bathe, an Ecstasy. London: A. Moring. OL 412916W.
- Maude, Aylmer (1933). Marie Stopes: Her Work and Play. John Bale & Sons and Danielsson. p. 42.
- Briant, Keith (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 14.
- Stephanie Green (2013). The Public Lives of Charlotte and Marie Stopes. London: Pickering & Chatto. p. 48. ISBN 9781848932388.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 16.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 28.
- Fraser, H. E. & C. J. Cleal, "The contribution of British women to Carboniferous palaeobotany during the first half of the 20th century", in Burek, C. V. & Higgs, B., ed. (2007). The Role of Women in the History of Geology. Geological Society, London. p.56.
- See the Geological Society article Cold Comfort.
- Falcon-Lang, H.J.; Miller, R.F. "Marie Stopes and the Fern Ledges of Saint John, New Brunswick" date=2007-01-01". Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2007 281: 227–245. doi:10.1144/SP281.13. . (also printed in The Role of Women in the History of Geology edited by C. V. Burek & B. Higgs published by the Geological Society, London (2007) pp.232,236).
- Stopes, Marie C. (1914). Fern Ledges Carboniferous Flora of St. John, New Brunswick. Department of Mines, Geological Survey; Geological Series 38, Memoir 41 (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau).
- Chalone, WG (2005-01-01). "The palaeobotanical work of Marie Stopes". Geological Society of London, Special Publications 2005 241: 127–135. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2003.207.01.10.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 93–94.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 101.
- Greer, Germaine (1984). Sex and Destiny. Secker and Warburg. p. 306.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 102–103.
- Burke, Lucy, "In Pursuit of an Erogamic Life" in Ardis, Ann L., and Leslie W. Lewis, ed. (2003). Women’s Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p.254.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 140–141.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 148.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 125–126.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 173.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 127–129.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 132.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 174.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 160.
- Garrett, William (2007). Marie Stopes: Feminist, Eroticist, Eugenicist. San Francisco: Kenon. p. xvii–xix.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 162–164.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 140.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 143.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. pp. 185–6.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 186.
- Marie Stopes (1925). The First Five Thousand. London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson. p. 9.
- Stopes, Maire (2013). Wise Parenthood a Sequel to Married Love a Book for Married People. London: Forgotten Books.
- Peter, James (1994). Ancient Inventions. New York: Ballantine Books.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 168–169.
- Wyndham, Diana (2012). Norman Haire and the Study of Sex. Sydney: Sydney University Press. pp. 99–100.
- Cohen, Deborah A., "Private Lives in Public Spaces: Marie Stopes, the Mothers' Clinics and the Practice of Contraception", in History Workshop, No. 35 (Spring, 1993), p. 95.
- Halliday Sutherland, Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine against the Neo-Malthusians New York, PJ Kennedy and Sons, 1922.
- Jane Carey, The Racial Imperatives of Sex: Birth Control and Eugenics in Britain, the United States and Australia in the Interwar Years Women's History Review 21, no.5(2012): 753-552 Monash University
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 158.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 172–173.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 174–175.
- Kalsem, Kristin Brandser, 'Law, Literature and Libel: Victorian Censorship of "Dirty Filthy" Books on Birth Control', in William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 10, 2004, p. 566. PDF.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 5.
- Cohen, Deborah A., "Private Lives in Public Spaces: Marie Stopes, the Mothers' Clinics and the Practice of Contraception", in History Workshop, No. 35 (Spring, 1993), p.143.
- Briant, Keith (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 210.
- Mark Bostridge (2 August 2009). "Muriel Spark: The Biography by Martin Stannard". The Guardian.
- Sullivan, Esther Beth, "Vectia, Man-Made Censorship, and the Drama of Marie Stopes" in Theatre Survey, 46:1 (May 2005), p.93.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 180–1.
- Stopes, Marie (1926). A Banned Play and a Preface on Censorship. London: J. Bale, Sons & Danielsson. p. 6.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 76.
- Marie Stopes (1925). The First Five Thousand. London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson. pp. 16–17.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 239.
- June Rose, Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution Faber and Faber London 1992
- Briant, Keith (1962). Passionate Paradox. New York: W.W.Norton & Co. p. 31.
- British Library 58743, Folios 36–37.
- http://www.galtoninstitute.org.uk/Newsletters/GINL9603/social_context.htm viewed 27/1/2014
- The Galton Lecture 1996: Marie Stope, Eugenics and the Birth Control Movement by Richard A Soloway, published by The Galton Institute ISBN 0-9504066-2-7
- Radiant Motherhood. 1920. p. 247,249.
- See last paragraph of Idiots Act 1886
- Marie C. Stopes in James Marchant, ed. (1920). "Racial and Imperial Aspects". The Control of Parenthood. G.P. Putnam & Sons. pp. 208–09. Online at The Control of Parenthood.
- Marie C. Stopes in James Marchant, ed. (1920). "Racial and Imperial Aspects". The Control of Parenthood. G.P. Putnam & Sons. p. 211.
- Marie C. Stopes in James Marchant, ed. (1920). "Racial and Imperial Aspects". The Control of Parenthood. G.P. Putnam & Sons. p. 221.
- Diane Paul, Controlling Human Heredity (1995), pp. 84–91 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 June 2010), Virginia Tech.: Eugenics in Germany
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 288.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 219–220.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 222.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 107.
- Morpurgo, JE, (1972). Barnes Wallis, a Biography. London: Longman Group Ltd. (Page number?)
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 234.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. pp. 234–235.
- In Rose's words, Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 236.
- Peter Pugh (2005) Barnes Wallis Dambuster. Thriplow: Icon ISBN 1-84046-685-5; p. 178
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 303.
- Rose, June (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. Faber and Faber. p. 244.
- Hall, Ruth (1977). Passionate Crusader. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 325.
- "STOPES, Marie (1880-1958)". English Heritage. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- Falcon-Lang, H.J., "Marie Stopes: passionate about palaeobotany" in Geology Today 24.4 (July–August 2008) p.136.
- Marie Stopes Pictures, Portland, Dorset, Steps in Time — Images Project (SITIP) archive.
- Portland Museum, About Britain.
- "Author Query for 'Stopes'". International Plant Names Index.
- "Dr. Marie Stopes". The Medico-legal Journal 26 (2): 70–1. 1958. PMID 13622045.
- Taylor, L. (October 1971). "The unfinished sexual revolution (Marie Stopes)". Journal of Biosocial Science 3 (4): 473–92. doi:10.1017/S0021932000008233. PMID 4942965.
- Simms, M. (October 1975). "Marie Stopes Memorial Lecture 1975. The compulsory pregnancy lobby—then and now". The Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 25 (159): 709–19. PMC 2157852. PMID 1104826.
- Hall, L. A. (June 1983). "The Stopes collection in the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine". The Society for the Social History of Medicine Bulletin 32: 50–1. PMID 11611236.
- Hall, L. A. (1985). ""Somehow very distasteful": doctors, men and sexual problems between the wars". Journal of Contemporary History 20 (4): 553–74. doi:10.1177/002200948502000404. PMID 11617291.
- Bacchi, C. (1988). "Feminism and the "eroticization" of the middle-class woman: the intersection of class and gender attitudes". Women's Studies International Forum 11 (1): 43–53. doi:10.1016/0277-5395(88)90006-4. PMID 11618316.
- Davey, C. (1988). "Birth control in Britain during the interwar years: evidence from the Stopes correspondence". Journal of Family History 13 (3): 329–45. doi:10.1177/036319908801300120. PMID 11621671.
- Fairley, A. (May 1990). "The birth of birth control". Canadian Medical Association Journal 142 (9): 993–95. PMC 1451747. PMID 2183921.
- Jones, G. (August 1992). "Marie Stopes in Ireland—the Mother's Clinic in Belfast, 1936–47". Social History of Medicine 5 (2): 255–77. doi:10.1093/shm/5.2.255. PMID 11623088.
- Geppert, A. C. T. (January 1998). "Divine sex, happy marriage, regenerated nation: Marie Stopes's marital manual Married Love and the making of a best-seller, 1918–1955". Journal of the History of Sexuality 8 (3): 389–433. PMID 11620019.
- Fisher, Kate (2002). "Contrasting cultures of contraception: birth control clinics and the working-classes in Britain between the wars". Clio Medica 66: 141–57. PMID 12028675.
- Sakula, Alex (August 2003). "Plaques on London houses of medico-historical interest; Marie Stopes (1880–1958)". Journal of Medical Biography 11 (3): 141. PMID 12870036.
- Aylmer Maude (1924). The Authorized Life of Marie C. Stopes. London: Williams & Norgate.
- Aylmer Maude (1933). Marie Stopes: Her Work and Play. London: John Bale & Sons and Danielsson.
- Keith Briant (1962). Passionate Paradox: The Life of Marie Stopes. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
- Ruth Hall (1978). Marie Stopes: a biography. London: Virago, Ltd. ISBN 0-86068-092-4.
- June Rose (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-16970-8.
- Works written by or about Marie Carmichael Stopes at Wikisource
- Works by Marie Stopes at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Marie Stopes at Internet Archive
- Works by Marie Stopes at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- "Situating Stopes", by Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library, London
- "Blast from the Past", by Ingrid Birker, McGill University
- 'The Colonisation of a Dried River Bed' – PDF file of Marie Stopes's 1903 article
- Marie Stopes International
- Marie Stopes International UK
- Marie Stopes International Australia
- Marie Stopes International México
- Marie Stopes International South Africa
- Pictures of Marie Stopes and Thomas Hardy at her Portland, Dorset home
- Archival material relating to Marie Stopes listed at the UK National Archives
- postage stamp to Marie Stopes