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ExhibitionThe Power of Medicine

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  • 8 White women, seated and standing around a 5 foot tall board with text on it.
    National League of Women Voters, 1920

    “Infancy and Maternity Care” and public health education are part of the planks presented by the National League of Women Voters during the 1920 Democratic Convention

    Courtesy Collection of the Oakland Museum of California

    Right after American women received the vote in 1920, women’s rights advocates briefly succeeded in winning government support for expanded public health nursing with the Sheppard-Towner Act (1921–29), the first federal program to assist babies and expectant mothers.

  • Text on paper.
    A pamphlet supporting the Sheppard-Towner bill, 1920

    “Write your representatives to support…H.R. 10925,” supported passage of the Sheppard-Towner bill, 1920

    Courtesy Library of Congress

    A pamphlet in support of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act urges federal action to combat the high maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States.

  • 13 White women stand on steps for a picture and face slightly left of the viewer
    Supporters of the Sheppard-Towner bill, ca. 1920–1921

    Group portrait of women leaders supporting passage of the Sheppard-Towner bill, ca. 1920–1921

    Courtesy Library of Congress

    Women who supported the federal Sheppard-Towner bill for maternity and infant care included prominent suffragists, consumer and children’s advocates, and peace activists.