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Wiener Library

Fairfield, Letitia (1885-1978): papers regarding compulsory sterilisation and the Third Reich (microfilm)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 536a

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Fairfield, Letitia (1885-1978): papers regarding compulsory sterilisation and the Third Reich (microfilm)

Date(s): 1930s

Level of description: collection

Extent: 183 frames

Name of creator(s): Fairfield | Letitia | 1885-1978 | doctor


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dr. Letitia Fairfield (1885-1978), born of Irish extraction received her medical education at Edinburgh and spent her working life in London, becoming the first woman senior medical officer to the London County Council. She joined the LCC service in 1911 and in 1920 was sent on a mission to the West Indies - and in 1938 to Malta - to advise on how to deal with venereal diseases in women. In 1943 she was appointed to the Colonial Office committee on this subject. In 1942 she was appointed a member of the Ministry of Health's Advisory Committee on the welfare of mothers and young children. Earlier activities included the preparation of a report on women's lodging houses in 1927. Later that year she went to America, under the auspices of the Commonwealth Fund of New York, to study child guidance.

In her early years she was an active supporter of the Women's Suffrage Movement and a member of the Fabian Society. In 1930-1932 she was president of the London Association of the Medical Women's Federation. She was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple and for many years regularly attended the meetings of the Medico-Legal Society of London, of which she was a vice-president. She was also co-editor of the Medico-Legal and Criminological Review.

She was an ardent and influential member of the Catholic Church. This is borne out by her documented presence in this collection on a number of committees of Catholic welfare and special interest groups.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal papers of Letitia Fairfield, c 1930-1939, with correspondence dealing in the main with the subject of compulsory sterilisation, in particular in relation to the Nazi eugenics policy; and to the views of the Catholic Church on the subject, including correspondence with the Eugenics Society.


Language/scripts of material: English, German

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Fairfield family


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:

Fairfield, Letitia, 'Catholics and the German Law of Sterilisation' from Catholic Medical Guardian (Burns, Oates and Washbourne, London 1938)



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2007

Eugenics | Heredity | Genetics
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines

Personal names
Fairfield | Josephine Letitia Denny | 1885-1978 | doctor x Fairfield | Letitia

Corporate names
Catholic Church
Eichberg Nursing Home, Hesse
Eugenics Education Society x Eugenics Society x Galton Institute