Dickinson-Belskie Collection, 1939-2007. WAM 20500-20899.

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Title

Dickinson-Belskie Collection, 1939-2007. WAM 20500-20899.

Description

Robert Latou Dickinson (1861-1950) was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on 21 February 1861, to Horace Dickinson and Jeannette Latou. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and at age 12 moved with his family to Europe for four years. While there he attended schools in Germany and Switzerland. After receiving his M.D. from Long Island College Hospital, Brookyn, New York, Dickinson entered private practice in Brooklyn and joined the staff of Long Island College Hospital. During his career, he also worked on the staffs of Brooklyn Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.), Episcopal Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.), and Kings County Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). While in private practice, Dickinson developed extensive sexual case histories of his patients, including sketches. This informed his belief in the need for physicians to serve as marriage counselors for their patients. During World War I, Dickinson served on the National Council of Defense, Medical Section, as Assistant Chief (1917), and on the Army General Staff as a medical adviser (1918-1919). In 1923 Dickinson founded the Committee on Maternal Health (later National Committee on Maternal Health), through which he worked with Margaret Sanger on studies of contraceptive practices. In 1939 he became the Senior Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. During his career, Dickinson served as president of the New York Obstetrical Society, the Euthanasia Society of America, and the American Gynecological Society, as well as Fellow and Director of the American College of Surgeons. After retirement from medical practice, Dickinson collaborated with sculptor Abram Belskie on teaching models of conception, fetal development, and birth, some of which were exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, New York. The models were later featured in Dickinson's teaching book, Birth Atlas. The sculptures “Norma” and “Normman” were a product of their collaboration as well. In 1946 Dickinson received the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation award for his work in human fertility. Dickinson died in 1950 at age 89 of pleurisy.

After retirement from medical practice, Dickinson collaborated with sculptor Abram Belskie on teaching models of conception, fetal development, and birth, some of which were exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, New York. The models were later featured in Dickinson's teaching book, Birth Atlas. The sculptures “Norma” and “Normman” were a product of their collaboration as well.

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