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Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Ruth Roemer papers
    Collection number: LSC 2176
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 13 linear ft. (35 document boxes.)
    Date: ca. 1966-2004
    Abstract: Ruth Roemer was an internationally renowned public health lawyer, UCLA School of Public Health professor and advocate for tobacco control, health care reform, and women’s reproductive rights. The collection consists of correspondence, presentation transcripts, lecture notes, research files, publications authored by Roemer and colleagues and records of professional involvement as a founding member of the California Committee on Therapeutic Abortion and as a consultant to the World Health Organization.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ruth Roemer papers (Collection 2176). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Kelly Besser in consultation with University Archivist Charlotte Brown and with assistance from Rebecca Bucher and Alyssa Goodstein.

    Biography/History

    Ruth Joy Rosenbaum was born in Hartford Connecticut in 1916 to a politically progressive family. She was a young girl when her father, a plant pathologist, died of a bacterial infection following the extraction of a tooth. Her mother relocated the family to the Republican town of Milford where Ruth excelled in academics, gained entrance to Cornell University, majored in English and planned to teach after graduation. However, she changed her mind after she toured Europe in 1936 with the American Student Union and witnessed the rise of fascism.
    When she returned to the United States, it was with inspiration to make social change through legislative action so she enrolled in Cornell Law School. There she competed for the editorship of the Cornell Journal of Opinion with pre-med student, Milton Roemer, whom she married in 1939. Upon graduation, she worked as a labor lawyer representing unions through the 1940s and 1950s until she participated in a landmark study of the laws governing admission to mental hospitals in New York state. This work was published in 1962 as a book, Mental Health and Due Process that called for significant reforms, which were adopted by the New York legislature two years later.
    This project led to her newfound focus during the 1960s on public health law and set the stage for her next four decades of legislative activism following her move to Los Angeles. Roemer joined the UCLA School of Public Health in 1962 as a researcher and a professor whose work centered on laws governing abortion and family planning, international tobacco control and health legislation reform.
    Shortly after her move to Los Angeles, Roemer helped organize the California Committee on Therapeutic Abortion (CCTA), formed to provide public education and leadership on the state's abortion law reform. Roemer served as vice president from 1965 to 1976 and led the CCTA's contribution to the enactment of the California Therapeutic Abortion Act in 1967.
    Roemer's work turned to global tobacco control during her last two decades. She had been a heavy cigarette smoker until 1961 when her husband Milton persuaded her to stop. She switched to smoking pipes until she quit in 1972. She believed tobacco use was an epidemic and began service as a consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO). She completed a world review of tobacco legislation in 1982 and the WHO first published these findings in her book, Legislative Action to Combat the World Tobacco Epidemic. After the second edition was published, the WHO invited her to collaborate with attorney Allyn Taylor in 1996 to prepare a document that helped launch the WHO's first international convention on tobacco control.
    Roemer served as President of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and largest professional association of public health workers in the world. She is the author of countless publications and the recipient of numerous awards including the WHO's Medal on Tobacco or Health, the APHA's Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service in Public Health and the UCLA Public Health Student Association's Faculty of the Year Award.
    On August 1, 2005 Ruth Roemer passed away at 89. At the time of her death, she was planning her classes for fall quarter.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of correspondence, presentation transcripts, lecture notes, research files concerning tobacco control, health care and abortion, publications authored by Roemer and colleagues and records of professional involvement as a founding member of the California Committee on Therapeutic Abortion and a consultant to the World Health Organization.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The arrangement maintains the original order of Roemer's office file cabinets. The series titles indicate Roemer's divisions within her filing system.

    Related Material

    California Committee on Therapeutic Abortion records (Collection 1195).   UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.