Louise Stevens Bryant

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Louise Stevens Bryant
Louise Stevens Bryant.jpg
Publicity photo of Louise Stevens Bryant for the Girl Scouts of the USA

Louise Stevens Bryant (1885–1956) was an American public health specialist, writer, editor and publicist. She was especially involved in the fields of human sexuality and maternal health, and was the executive secretary of Robert Latou Dickinson's Committee on Maternal Health from 1927 to 1935.


Bryant attended Smith College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1908.[1] She then worked at the Russell Sage Foundation, where she worked in school reform, followed by the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked in Lightner Witmer's clinical psychology clinic for children and simultaneously studied for a PhD in medical science which she received in 1914. After completing her PhD, she worked at the Philadelphia Municipal Court, first as chief of the criminal department's division for women, and then, during the war, as a statistician for the chief of staff.[2] From 1919 to 1923[1] she worked for the Girl Scouts of the USA as the educational and publications secretary.[2]

In 1923, Bryant joined the public health field as an employee of the New York-based Committee on Dispensary Development. In 1927 she was hired by Robert Latou Dickinson as the executive secretary of the National Committee on Maternal Health (CMH). During Bryant's time as secretary, she edited numerous CMH publications, including Control of Conception, a 1931 handbook of contraceptive techniques, and other academic studies on sexology, contraception, abortion and sterility. She left the CMH in 1935 after a disagreement with Dickinson.[2]

Bryant served as the American representative of the English sexologist Havelock Ellis[1] and helped him to negotiate the second American publication of his seven-volume work Studies in the Psychology of Sex in 1933.[3] She worked as a publicist for the American Association of University Women from 1938 to 1952.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Louise Stevens Bryant married Arthur Bryant in 1909; they divorced in 1912.[1] Her romantic partner for almost 35 years was Lura Beam, a writer and teacher.[4] They met in the 1920s while both were working for the CMH. After Bryant's death in 1956, Beam published a biography about her titled Bequest From a Life; a Biography of Louise Stevens Bryant (1963).[5]

Additional Information[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Louise Stevens Bryant Papers, 1885–1963". Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Reed, James (July 14, 2014). The Birth Control Movement and American Society: From Private Vice to Public Virtue. Princeton University Press. pp. 182–183. ISBN 978-1-4008-5659-6. 
  3. ^ Ellis, Havelock (1940). "Letters to an American". Virginia Quarterly Review. 16 (2). Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ Terry, Jennifer (1999). An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society. University of Chicago Press. p. 439. ISBN 978-0-226-79367-2. 
  5. ^ "Beam, Lura (1887–1978)". Maine State Library. Retrieved June 6, 2016.