At the beginning of the twentieth century venereal disease was a prevalent concern for social health organizations.  These entries reflect the history and some of the activities of the American Social Health Organization and its growth into becoming todays American Social Hygiene Association.

  • American Social Health AssociationAt the beginning of the twentieth century venereal disease was a prevalent concern for social health organizations. Diseases such a syphilis and gonorrhea affected many people and the social stigma attached to sexually transmitted disease prevented most people from discussing or addressing means of treatment for venereal disease. In 1913, at a conference in Buffalo, New York, several organizations dedicated to fighting prostitution and venereal disease joined together to form the American Social Hygiene Association (ASHA).
  • American Social Hygiene Association History and a ForecastAt the beginning of the twentieth century venereal disease was a prevalent concern for social health organizations. Diseases such a syphilis and gonorrhea affected many people and the social stigma attached to sexually transmitted disease prevented most people from discussing or addressing means of treatment for venereal disease. In 1913, at a conference in Buffalo, New York, several organizations dedicated to fighting prostitution and venereal disease joined together to form the American Social Hygiene Association (ASHA).
  • American Social Hygiene Association Posters for BoysDuring the 1920s, ASHA served as a central coordinator for the local or regional committees, doctors, public health officials, and social welfare agencies that were combating venereal disease and vice. In addition to the continued fight against venereal disease and prostitution, ASHA published the Journal of Social Hygiene and the Social Hygiene Bulletin. The organization also promoted character and sex education as a means of preventing the spread of venereal disease. The ASHA educational program emphasized preparation for a wholesome family life, avoiding venereal disease, and physical as well as moral fitness. Below are selected "Keep Fit" posters designed to educate young males.
  • American Social Hygiene Association Posters for GirlsAt the beginning of the twentieth century venereal disease was a prevalent concern for social health organizations. Diseases such a syphilis and gonorrhea affected many people and the social stigma attached to sexually transmitted disease prevented most people from discussing or addressing means of treatment for venereal disease. In 1913, at a conference in Buffalo, New York, several organizations dedicated to fighting prostitution and venereal disease joined together to form the American Social Hygiene Association (ASHA).
  • American Social Hygiene Association Relationship to Community WelfareProgress in social welfare has not been spontaneous. If it is desired to correct or improve a social condition by the formulation of a law, something more must be done that the mere enactment thereof. Laws will not enforce themselves. If a cure is discovered for a disease, something more must be done than its inscription in a medical textbook to make it a factor in the improvements of public health. The same may be said of other social activities. In order to secure effective progress, activities or private and voluntary groups are necessary to supplement and fill in the gaps left by official agencies. The American Social Hygiene Association is organized and equipped to do just this. It is apparent that the activities of the American Social Hygiene Association toward the conservation and protection of the family as a basic social unit is of vital importance to the welfare of any community.
  • American Social Hygiene Association: 1946Incorporation of the American Social Hygiene Association as “a national voluntary non-profit membership organization” took place under the laws of the State of New York in March, 1914. The Constitution adopted at that time reflected the far-seeing vision of the men and women who framed it. Consisting of only two Articles, this documents so broadly and competently stated the problem and opportunities ahead, that no change has ever been found necessary. The purpose of this Association shall be to acquire and diffuse knowledge of this established principles and practices and of any new methods which promote, or give assurance of promoting, social health; to advocate the highest standards of private and public morality; to suppress commercialized vice, to organize the defense of the community by every available means, educational, sanitary or legislative, against the disease of vice; to conduct on request inquiries into the present condition of prostitution and the venereal disease in American towns and cities; and to secure mutual acquaintance and sympathy and cooperation among the local societies for these or similar purposes.
  • American Social Hygiene Association: Keeping Fit Posters I (1919)"Keeping Fit" was a 48-poster series produced by the American Social Hygiene Association in collaboration with the U.S. Public Health Service and the YMCA in 1919. It was designed to educate teenage boys and young men about the dangers of sexual promiscuity and urged them to embrace moral and physical fitness. A parallel series, "Youth and Life" was designed for girls and young women.
  • American Social Hygiene Association: Keeping Fit Posters II (1919)"Keeping Fit" was a 48-poster series produced by the American Social Hygiene Association in collaboration with the U.S. Public Health Service and the YMCA in 1919. It was designed to educate teenage boys and young men about the dangers of sexual promiscuity and urged them to embrace moral and physical fitness. A parallel series, "Youth and Life" was designed for girls and young women.
  • American Social Hygiene Association: Youth and Life Posters (1922)"Youth and Life" was a 48-poster series, designed to educate teenage girls and young women about the dangers of sexual promiscuity and urged them to embrace moral and physical fitness. It was adapted in 1922 by the American Social Hygiene Association from "Keeping Fit,", similar series for boys and young men produced in cooperation with the U.S. Public Health Department and the YMCA.
  • Milestones in Social HygieneThrough the consolidation of the American Federation for Sex Hygiene, the American Vigilance Association (which was the later name for the American Vigilance Committee) the American Purity Alliance, and other agencies for social service, the present American Social Hygiene Association came into existence in 1914, with Charles W. Eliot as President and James Bronson Reynolds and William F. Snow as the executive officers.
  • The March Against Commercialized Prostitution: 1886-19491910: United States Congress adopts Mann Act (prohibiting interstate and international traffic in women) and Bennet Act (penalizing those who import aliens for immoral purposes, and providing for deportation of aliens engaging in the business of prostitution).