Collection inventory

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Benjamin Spock and Mary Morgan Papers

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: [Summit record]
Date: 9 Feb 1994

Biographical History

Benjamin Spock (1903-1998) was an American pediatrician, author, and peace activist. He is the author of the worldwide best-selling book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (first edition published 1946) as well as twelve other books and dozens of articles on parenting for popular magazines.

Born in New Haven, Benjamin Spock attended Phillips Academy in Andover and then Yale, where he was a member of the rowing crew. After earning his BA in English and History (1925) he continued his studies at Yale Medical School and then at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, receiving his MD in 1929. During his residency, he underwent ten months of training in psychiatry. He opened his pediatric practice in 1933, and for several years taught at Cornell Medical College. In 1943 he began writing what was to be his best-known work, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, more familiarly known as Baby and Child Care. Speaking of the book later, Spock said "I didn't want to encourage permissiveness, but rather to relax rigidity."

During World War II he served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946. Following the war he returned to pediatrics practice and teaching, including at Western Reserve University from 1955-1967, but his concern for children's health eventually led him into political activism. He was a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons and joined the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) in 1962. He was active in the Civil Rights movement, in the campaign against the Nestlé Corporation for its aggressive marketing of infant formula in third-world countries, a proponent of fluoridation of water and spoke out against male circumcision.

As the United States involvement in the war in Vietnam increased, Dr. Spock became more and more involved in anti-war activities, nuclear disarmament, and the peace movement in general. He was instrumental in the creation of the People's Party and in 1972 was nominated as their candidate for President. In 1968 he was indicted, along with William Sloane Coffin and several others for conspiring to encourage young men to resist the Draft. Though convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, his conviction was overturned in 1969. Over the following decades he partipated in dozens of non-violent protests and was arrested a number of times; his last arrest, for protesting the test launching of the Trident 2 missile, was in 1987 at the age of 84.

For both his work as a pediatrician and as a peace activist, Benjamin Spock was the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the National Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy's Eleanor Roosevelt Award (1963), the Jane Addams Peace Award (1964), the Stephen H. Fritchman "Heretic" Award (1986), and an honorary Sc.D. from the University of Durham in England.

Benjamin Spock married Jane Cheney in 1927. They had two sons, Michael and John. They divorced in 1975.

Mary Morgan (neé Wright) met Benjamin Spock in 1975. She had been involved with the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) campaign as well as the Transactional Analysis movement, among other issues. They married in 1976. They built a home near Rogers, Arkansas, but spent a great deal of time on their boats Turtle and Carapace, and later moved to the British Virgin Islands. For the last two decades of his life, in addition to being Benjamin Spock's constant companion, she helped him manage his career and health and encouraged his adoption of a macrobiotic diet and yoga.

Benjamin Spock died in 1998. Since his death, Mary Morgan has overseen his legacy through the creation of the website and the subsequent editions of Baby and Child Care.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Benjamin Spock and Mary Morgan Papers includes correspondence, medical reference files, writings, memorabilia; cartoons, caricatures, articles by and about Spock, clippings, and photographs relating to his political activities (1951-1976), including material about the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy; biographical transcripts and interview materials; and material relating to Spock's wife Mary Morgan.

Correspondence-subject filesare in two sections: General correspondence, filed chronologically (boxes 1-140), and an alphabetical section (boxes 143-307) which separates out important correspondents, organizations and topics. Boxes 141 and 142 include biographical information on Benjamin Spock and Mary Morgan, records of their wedding and details of his death and memorials.

Records of the company and website are in boxes 308-339. These include internal correspondence and discussion about the business itself (website design and layout, logo development, branding strategies, policies, original content written for the site) as well as extensive material on projects that the company embarked on alone and in conjunction with others, such as Ford's "Boost America" campaign and a series of videos about sickle cell disease.

Legal files (boxes 340-367) include contracts, divorce papers, estate records, litigation documents, real estate records and miscellaneous legal documents and records.

Medical reference files (boxes 368-382) comprise research files kept by Dr. Spock on medical topics ranging from accidents and adoption to workmen's compensation and worms.

Memorabilia (boxes 486- 541 and Oversize boxes 1-14) includes address books, awards and certificates from various organizations, buttons, calendars, clippings, photographs, ship logs for the Turtle and Carapace, personal notes, and a small amount of Wright family (relations of Mary Morgan) material. The photographs -- a mix of negative and prints -- are extensive, and include both personal (Ben as a child, alone and with his siblings; Ben and Mary with friends and family; Ben at home in his last days) and professional (head shots, publicity photos, pictures of Ben at marches, rallies, speeches, etc.).

Recordings (boxes 542-551) are primarily audio and include interviews, recollections ("Stories Ben Told Me"), television and radio appearances, speeches, birthday celebrations, and more. Many of the interviews were recorded by Mary Morgan as part of the writing process for the autobiographical work Spock on Spock. Other recollections were recorded by Mary Morgan and other members of the Spock family in the late 1980s. Many of the recollections have been digitized.

Writings (boxes 383-485) include articles, books (including eight revisions of Baby and Child Care), and speeches and lectures by Benjamin Spock. There is also a small amount of material -- poems, speeches, essays -- by Mary Morgan, and a few items by other authors.

Note: There is a great deal of overlap within the collection, since many of the political organizations as well as publishers with whom Spock worked were closely affiliated, merged or separated, changed names, or worked together on various projects. In addition, different filing systems were used at different times and for different types of material. The researcher is advised to review the entire inventory to ensure locating all relevant material.

Arrangement of the Collection

As mentioned above, Correspondence is subdivided into General correspondence, arranged chronologically, and a section of identified correspondents, arranged alphabetically. All family correspondence has been placed at the beginning of the alphabetical section. Material relating to and Medical files are arranged alphabetically by topic. Legal material is subdivided by type (estates, litigation, and so on) and within that is arranged alphabetically. Memorabilia is arranged chronologically by type; within that, Photographs are arranged chronologically. Recordings are listed alphabetically by the title written on the item or, if no title was available, a title assigned by processing staff. Writings are sudivided by type (articles, books, etc.) and within each type are arranged alphabetically by title. Writings by Mary Morgan have been placed at the end of this section.

Note: There is a great deal of overlap within the collection, since many of the political organizations as well as publishers with whom he worked were closely affiliated, merged or separated, changed names or worked together on various projects. In addition, different filing systems were used at different times and for different types of material. The researcher is advised to review the entire inventory to ensure locating all relevant material.


Access Restrictions:

April 2018: Material in Boxes 169, 170 and 552 contains sensitive personal information and is restricted until 2068.

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Access to recordings may require advance notice to produce a use copy.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The colleciton originally contained a large number of books and other published material, among them various English and foreign-language editions of Baby and Child Care. These have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Many of the recordings have been digitized.

See also the Benjamin Spock Symposium Collection, the Dr. Spock War Posters Collection, and the Lynn Z. Bloom Collection Relating to Benjamin Spock.

Subject Headings


Abzug, Bella S., 1920-1998.
Alexander, Bill, 1934-
Allen, Steve.
Alley, Rewi, 1897-1987.
Amter, Joseph A.
Anthony, Beryl, 1938-
Asner, Edward.
Ayers, William, 1944-
Badillo, Herman, 1929-2014.
Baez, Joan.
Baker, Howard H., Jr. (Howard Henry), 1925-2014.
Baker, Russell, 1925-2019.
Ball, George W.
Bayh, Birch, 1928-2019.
Beame, Abraham D. (Abraham David), 1906-2001.
Belafonte, Harry, 1927-
Bellow, Saul.
Bentsen, Lloyd.
Berrigan, Daniel.
Berrigan, Philip.
Blake, Eugene Carson, 1906-1985.
Bloom, Lynn Z., 1934-
Bly, Carol.
Bombeck, Erma.
Boudin, Leonard, 1912-1989.
Bowles, Chester, 1901-1986.
Bradley, Tom, 1917-1998.
Brazelton, T. Berry, 1918-2018.
Brezhnev, Leonid Ilʹich, 1906-1982.
Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996.
Bryant, Anita.
Buchwald, Art.
Buckley, James Lane, 1923-
Bumpers, Dale.
Bundy, McGeorge.
Bush, George, 1924-2018.
Byrd, Harry F., Jr. (Harry Flood), 1914-2013.
Calder, Alexander, 1886-1962.
Calderone, Mary Steichen, 1904-1998.
Caldicott, Helen.
Caldwell, Taylor, 1900-1985.
Calley, William Laws, Jr., 1943-
Capa, Cornell.
Carmichael, Stokely, 1941-1998.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Castro, Fidel, 1926-2016.
Chaplin, Charlie, 1889-1977.
Chicago, Judy, 1939-
Chomsky, Noam.
Church, Frank.
Clark, Ramsey, 1927-2021.
Clemens, Cyril, 1902-1999.
Clinton, Bill, 1946-
Clinton, Hillary Rodham.
Coffin, Tristram, 1912-1997.
Coffin, William Sloane, Jr., 1924-2006.
Cohen, William S.
Commoner, Barry, 1917-2012.
Conyers, John, Jr., 1929-2019.
Cooke, Goodwin.
Cousins, Norman.
Cranston, Alan, 1914-2000.
Crow Dog, Leonard, 1942-2021.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly.
Daley, William R.
Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944-
Davis, Ossie.
DeCrow, Karen.
Dellinger, David T., 1915-2004.
Denver, John.
Dirksen, Everett McKinley.
Dobrynin, Anatoliĭ Fedorovich, 1919-2010.
Dodd, Thomas J. (Thomas Joseph), 1907-1971.
Donahue, Phil.
Douglas, Melvyn.
Douglas, Paul H. (Paul Howard), 1892-1976.
Eagleton, Thomas F., 1929-2007.
Eaton, Cyrus Stephen, 1883-1979.
Edelman, Marian Wright.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.
Elders, Joycelyn, 1933-
Fonda, Jane, 1937-
Ford, Betty, 1918-2011.
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.
Freud, Anna, 1895-1982.
Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980.
Fulbright, J. William (James William), 1905-1995.
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983.
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006.
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984.
Gardner, Hy.
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997.
Goldberg, Arthur J., 1908-1990.
Goldwater, Barry, 1938-
Gore, Al, 1948-
Gravel, Mike, 1930-2021.
Greer, Germaine, 1939-
Gregory, Dick.
Haig, Alexander Meigs, 1924-2010.
Hammerschmidt, John Paul, 1922-2015.
Hart, Gary W.
Hartke, Vance, 1919-2003.
Hatfield, Mark O., 1922-2011.
Hayakawa, S. I.
Hayden, Tom.
Herter, Christian Archibald, 1895-1966.
Herzog, Arthur.
Hoffman, Abby, 1947-
Holtzman, Elizabeth.
Hooker, John Jay, Jr.
Hồ, Chí Minh, 1890-1969.
Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978.
Inouye, Daniel K., 1924-2012.
Jack, Homer A. (Homer Alexander), 1916-1993.
Jackson, Jesse, 1941-
Javits, Jacob K. (Jacob Koppel), 1904-1986.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
Kangas, Paul, 1937-2017.
Keating, Kenneth B. (Kenneth Barnard), 1900-1975.
Kelly, Walt.
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968.
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971.
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971.
King, Coretta Scott, 1927-2006.
King, Martin Luther, III.
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968.
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Koch, Ed, 1924-2013.
Krementz, Jill.
Kupcinet, Irv.
Lamont, Corliss, 1902-1995.
Landers, Ann.
Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996.
Lescaze, William, 1896-1969.
Lescher, Robert.
Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997.
Lindsay, John V. (John Vliet)
MacLaine, Shirley, 1934-
Magnuson, Warren G. (Warren Grant), 1905-1989.
Mansfield, Mike, 1903-2001.
Martin, Judith, 1938-
Mauldin, Bill, 1921-2003.
Max, Peter, 1937-
McCarthy, Eugene J., 1916-2005.
McCormack, John W., 1891-1980.
McGovern, George S. (George Stanley), 1922-2012.
McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009.
Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978.
Metzenbaum, Howard M.
Mitford, Jessica, 1917-1996.
Mondale, Walter F., 1928-2021.
Montoya, Joseph Manuel, 1915-1978.
Moore, Michael, 1954 April 23-
Morgan, Mary, 1943-
Morse, Wayne L. (Wayne Lyman), 1900-1974.
Morton, Thurston.
Moynihan, Daniel P. (Daniel Patrick), 1927-2003.
Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-1996.
Muste, A. J. (Abraham John), 1885-1967.
Myrdal, Gunnar, 1898-1987.
Nader, Ralph.
Near, Holly.
Newman, Paul, 1925-2008.
Nguyễn, Thị Bình, 1927-
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994.
O'Dwyer, Paul.
Ochs, Phil.
Ozawa, Seiji, 1935-
Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994.
Pearson, Drew, 1897-1969.
Pell, Claiborne, 1918-2009.
Pepper, Claude, 1900-1989.
Phạm, Văn Đồng, 1906-2000.
Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto.
Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr., 1908-1972.
Proxmire, William.
Pryor, David, 1934-
Randall, Tony.
Randolph, A. Philip (Asa Philip), 1889-1979.
Rangel, Charles B.
Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961.
Reagan, Ronald.
Redford, Robert.
Refregier, Anton, 1905-1979.
Reuther, Victor G. (Victor George), 1912-2004.
Ribicoff, Abraham, 1910-1998.
Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979.
Rockwell, Norman, 1894-1978.
Rodino, Peter W., 1909-2005.
Rogers, Fred.
Rothenberg, Michael B.
Rubin, Jerry, 1951-
Rusk, Dean, 1909-1994.
Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970.
Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987.
Sabin, Albert B. (Albert Bruce), 1906-1993.
Safire, William, 1929-2009.
Satir, Virginia.
Saxbe, William B.
Scali, John.
Schary, Dore.
Schlafly, Phyllis.
Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965.
Scott, Hugh, 1900-1994.
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014.
Shriver, Eunice Kennedy.
Shultz, George P., 1920-2021.
Smeal, Eleanor.
Solzhenit︠s︡yn, Aleksandr Isaevich, 1918-2008.
Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994.
Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998.
Steiner, Claude, 1935-2017.
Steiner, Rudolf, 1861-1925.
Stern, Isaac, 1920-2001.
Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977.
Stone, I. F. (Isidor Feinstein), 1907-1989.
Susskind, David, 1920-1987.
Symington, Stuart, 1901-1988.
Szasz, Suzanne.
Thant, U, 1909-1974.
Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.
Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003.
Toynbee, Arnold, 1889-1975.
Travers, Mary Allin.
Trudeau, Pierre Elliott.
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972.
Twitchell, Paul, 1908-1971.
Tydings, Joseph D. (Joseph Davies), 1928-2018.
Vanderbilt, Amy.
Wagner, Robert F. (Robert Ferdinand), 1877-1953.
Walker, Mort.
Wallach, Eli, 1915-2014.
Walters, Barbara, 1929-2022.
Weinberger, Caspar W.
White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985.
Williams, Hosea, 1926-2000.
Winters, Shelley.
Wyckoff, Hogie.
Yarborough, Ralph Webster, 1903-1996.
Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich, 1933-2017.
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Young, Mort.
Young, Whitney M.

Corporate Bodies

ACORN (Organization)
Academy of Medicine of Cleveland
Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
American Board of Pediatrics.
American Broadcasting Company.
American Civil Liberties Union.
American Dental Association.
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
American Friends Service Committee.
American Humanist Association.
American Medical Association.
American Orthopsychiatric Association.
American Pediatric Society.
American Psychiatric Association.
American Psychoanalytic Association.
American Psychosomatic Society.
Americans for Democratic Action.
Amnesty International.
Another Mother for Peace (Association)
Authors' Guild (U.S.)
Black Panther Party.
Blue Plate Productions, Inc.
Bodley Head (Firm)
British Broadcasting Corporation.
CEL Communications, Inc.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Clergy and Laity Concerned
Communist Party of the United States of America.
Community for Creative Non-Violence
Dell Publishing Company.
Democratic National Committee (U.S.)
Duell, Sloan & Pearce.
Emergency Civil Liberties Committee.
Energy Policy Information Center (EPIC)
Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
Gray Panthers.
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Infant Formula Action Coalition.
Little, Brown and Company.
Macmillan Company.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
McCall Publishing Company.
Merv Griffin show (Television program)
Mike Douglas show.
National Broadcasting Company.
National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (U.S.)
National Conference for New Politics.
National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (U.S.)
National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
National Organization for Women.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)
National Press Books.
National Public Radio (U.S.)
New Party (U.S.)
Nicaragua Network.
Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.
Pantheon Books.
Peace and Freedom Party (U.S.)
Penguin Books USA, Inc.
People's Party (U.S.)
Physicians for Social Responsibility (U.S.)
Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood Ontario.
Pocket Books.
Proprioceptive Writing Center.
Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
Random House (Firm)
Socialist Party (U.S.)
South Viet Nam National Front for Liberation.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Southern Poverty Law Center.
Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
Student Peace Mobilization Project.
Syracuse University. -- Libraries.
U.S. News & World Report, inc.
USA today (Magazine)
United Farm Workers.
United Nations.
United States. -- Navy.
United States. -- Federal Bureau of Investigation.
United States. -- Office of Economic Opportunity.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Vietnam Moratorium Committee (U.S.)
Vietnam Summer (Organization)
Viewpoint Syndicate.
War Resisters League.
War Tax Resistance (U.S.)
Washington post.
Western Reserve University.
Women Strike for Peace.
Yale University.

Associated Titles

Ladies' home journal.
Parade (Magazine)
Parenting (Magazine)
Redbook magazine.
Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998. -- Better world for our children.
Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998. -- Common sense book of baby and child care


Antinuclear movement -- United States.
Child care.
Child development.
Child psychology.
Child rearing.
Children -- Health and hygiene.
Equal rights amendments -- United States.
Infant psychology.
Infants -- Care.
Infants -- Development.
Infants -- Health and hygiene.
Medicine -- Practice.
Nuclear disarmament.
Olympic athletes.
Peace movements -- United States.
Pediatricians -- United States.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- United States.
War toys.
Water -- Fluoridation.


Argentina -- History -- 1955-1983.
Cuba -- History -- 1959-1990.
Cuba -- History -- 1990-
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-1990.
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1990-
El Salvador -- History -- 1979-1992.
Hungary -- Description and travel.
Italy -- Description and travel.
Japan -- Description and travel.
London (England) -- Description and travel.
Nicaragua -- Politics and government -- 1979-1990.
Nicaragua -- Politics and government -- 1990-
Russia -- Description and travel.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
Vietnam (Democratic Republic)

Genres and Forms

16mm (photographic film size)
Appointment books.
Calendars (documents)
Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Genealogies (histories)
Long-playing records.
Manuscripts for publication.
Negatives (photographs)
Sound recordings.
Tape reels.
Video recordings.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Benjamin Spock and Mary Morgan Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Benjamin Spock and Mary Morgan, 1966-2012.

Additional Dick Clark correspondence, gift of Kathy Clark, 2020.

Table of Contents

Correspondence-subject files

Legal material

Medical reference files





Note on alternate formats:

Many of the recordings have been digitized.