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Frances "Francie" Hornstein papers

Identifier: IWA1250

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Scope and Contents

The Frances "Francie" Hornstein papers date from 1972 to 1999 and measure 15 linear inches in three boxes. The papers are arranged in five series: Administrative, Correspondence, Activities, Court Cases, and Resources. The collection represents one decade of Hornstein's life during which she was employed by the Feminist Women's Health Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Administrative series (1974 – 1981) includes some records of the Feminist Women's Health Clinic, Self Help Clinic One, which Hornstein co-directed in the 1970s. Aside from reports, statistics of clinic services, and questionnaires meant to be given to patients, the series also has two folders of Hornstein's professional papers, maintained in their original order. These two folders, entitled "Francie Hornstein" have some professional correspondence along with employment information and other administrative items.

The Correspondence series (1975 – 1983) contains correspondence to and from Self-Help Clinic One, the first permanent Feminist Women's Health Center founded by Carol Downer. The correspondence covers a variety of aspects of running a women's health clinic including book projects, grant funding, and patient experiences.

Feminist publications, events, and organizations are the three main themes of the Activities series (1974 – 1980). Among the publications, researchers will find both finished and in-progress projects such as discussions of the book project that would become A New View of a Woman's Body by the Feminist Women's Health Center, brochures advertising the FWHC services, and a final printed copy of Frances Hornstein's article, Lesbian Health Care. Additionally, the Activities series covers educational events hosted by the FWHC. Covering topics such as population control, and the cutoff for legal abortions in California. These folders contain schedules, programs, and notes about specific events. Finally, the series contains some materials related to organizations adjacent to the FWHC: the Abortion Rights Movement (ARM) and the Association of Radical Midwives.

In the late 1970s, the Feminist Women's Health Center, led by Carol Downer, was involved in two court cases in the state of Florida. The Court Cases series (1977 – 1978) houses information about these. Most of the series has to do with Downer v. State of Florida. In 1977, Carol Downer, Linda Curtis, Virginia Cassidy, and Janice Cohen as members of Women Acting Together to Combat Harassment (WATCH) entered the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after visiting hours to inspect the conditions of the hospital's maternity facilities. The group was charged with trespassing and denied rehearing of the case in 1979. This collection has an affidavit connected to the case and several feminist publications defending Downer and the other women of WATCH. In addition, there is one folder with a document that describes the efforts of a Feminist Women's Health Center in Florida's efforts to gain support from Planned Parenthood in the antitrust case, Feminist Women's Health Center, Inc. v. Mahmood Mohammad et al. (1978).

The final series Resources (1973 – 1999) contains published pamphlets and photocopies of articles on topics related to women's health. Two of the topics, LGBTQ rights and Parenting and Artificial insemination focus most prominently on lesbian experiences while others, such as pamphlets on hysterectomies and menstrual extraction apply to women more broadly. This series also includes a copy of the 1973 pamphlet "Academic Feminists and the Women's Movement" and one issue of Quest, a feminist quarterly.


  • Creation: 1972 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor. However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Frances “Francie” Hornstein was born in 1947 to a Jewish family in Omaha, Nebraska. She attended the State University of Iowa (today the University of Iowa) from 1965 to 1968. Hornstein became active in reproductive rights in her first year when a fellow student in Currier Hall needed an abortion, which was an illegal procedure in Iowa at the time. After college, she left the United States and briefly lived on a kibbutz in Israel but returned to Iowa in 1969.

In Iowa in the early 1970s, Hornstein became involved in women's liberation in Iowa City. She helped found daycares in the area and contributed to the feminist newspaper Ain't I a Woman. In 1971 she met Carol Downer and Lorraine Rothman at a Cedar Rapids NOW sponsored Self-Help Clinic. Downer and Rothman were central figures in the self-help movement, which aimed to give women more control over their reproductive health through education about female bodies and clinics that taught women how to perform cervical self-exams and menstrual extraction.

In 1972, Hornstein moved to California, where abortion was legal, to help Downer and Rothman found the Feminist Women’s Health Clinic (FWHC), Self Help Clinic One. Maintaining her network in Iowa, Hornstein returned to the state multiple times for self-help clinics. In 1973, with the advent of Roe v. Wade, women from Iowa visited the Feminist Women’s Health Clinic in Los Angeles to learn how to run a reproductive health clinic prior to founding the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City.

Hornstein became the co-director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center as it expanded to include multiple clinics. In her role, she contributed to women's health literature including the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Center's book A New View of a Woman's Body and her own article on lesbian health care. Hornstein left the Feminist Women's Health Center in 1980 and pursued a career in medical social work after earning a degree at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Social Welfare.


1.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Co-director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles, California who specialized in lesbian health care.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated by Francie Hornstein (donor no. 1625) in 2019.

Related Materials

Iowa City Feminist Reunion 2017 records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Emma Goldman Clinic records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Interview with Francie Hornstein, Veteran Feminists of America, Inc Oral History Project,

Frances "Francie" Hornstein papers
Anna Holland
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)