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Series I Sub-series 5: Dalkon Shields


Scope and Contents

Production commenced on the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device in 1968 under the direction of inventors Hugh Davis, gynecologist, and Irwin Lerner, electrical engineer. In early 1970 Davis and Lerner looked for a pharmaceutical company to market their product more widely, and by June of that year, AHR agreed to purchase it.

The Dalkon Shield came in two sizes: standard, for women who had already had children (multiparous), and small, for women who had never had children (nulliparous). Shaped somewhat like a law enforcement officer's badge, hence its name, the Shield had five fingers protruding along each side, so that it also looked somewhat like a crab. Tied to its base was a three-inch length of synthetic polyfilament otherwise used for surgical sutures. In the case of the Shield, this filament, called the tail string, was principally designed for easy removal of the IUD.

The A.H. Robins Company began production and sales in early 1971. Domestic sales were suspended in June of 1974, although foreign sales continued until August 1975. By the time sales ceased altogether, 3,600,000 Dalkon Shields had been sold worldwide.

This sub-series of 7 boxes (2.9 linear feet) consists of packets of standard and small Dalkon Shields produced by the Dalkon Corporation and by A.H. Robins Co. In addition there are examples of boxes in which the packets were distributed; instruction sheets for physicians and patients; publicity material; rolls of the tail string material, loose shields, and various instruments. Finally, there is a videotape made by the Dalkon Corporation to demonstrate insertion and placement of the Dalkon Shield.


  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1938-[1970-1998] 2000


From the Collection: 327.5 Cubic Feet (408 boxes and cartons, 3 volumes, 271 videotapes, 416 three ring notebooks)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library Special Collections Repository

Arthur J. Morris Law Library
580 Massie Road
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22903 United States