Margaret Marsh is a Distinguished Professor of History and University Professor at Rutgers, where she divides her time between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on the Camden campus and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research on the New Brunswick campus. From 1998 to 2011 she served in several leadership positions at the university, most recently as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Camden. For more than two years, from 2007 to 2009, she served as Interim Chancellor of the Camden Campus.
She was previously a professor of History at Temple University, where she developed the Ph.D. program in Women’s History and served as Chair of the History Department. She is the author of numerous articles in journals including the American Quarterly, the Journal of American History, and Pennsylvania History, and of chapters in books on topics ranging from the history of motherhood to the history of masculinity. She has written four books: Anarchist Women (1981); Suburban Lives (1990); The Empty Cradle: Infertility in America from Colonial Times to the Present (1996/paperback 1999), a collaboration with her sister Wanda Ronner, a gynecologist; and The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution (2008), which is also a collaboration with Dr. Ronner. She and Dr. Ronner are currently working on a new book project, this one on the recent history and contemporary policy implications of reproductive medicine. Its working title is “Beyond IVF.”
The Empty Cradle marked a turning point in her scholarly interests and led directly to the idea for The Fertility Doctor. John Rock is remembered today principally as the co-developer of the oral contraceptive. But before he became known as a father of the Pill, Rock was almost equally famous as the leading “fertility doctor” in the nation. In the course of a professional life spanning more than half a century — he graduated from medical school in 1918 and retired in 1972 — John Rock was a pivotal figure in many of the most important questions of the age having to do with sexuality and reproduction.
Professor Marsh and Dr. Ronner recently received an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their new research project. Marsh was also the recipient of two major multi-year research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities – the first for The Empty Cradle from 1990-1994, and the second, from 1999 to 2005, for The Fertility Doctor. She has been a History Fellow at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. In 1996 she received Temple University’s Paul W. Eberman Faculty Research Prize for excellence in scholarly contributions, and The Empty Cradle was named an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice Magazine. In recognition of both her scholarship and service to the university, Rutgers named her a University Professor in June, 2009.
Her record of service to her profession and the community has included serving on numerous non-profit boards and committees including the Richard Stockton Foundation from 1977-1981 (as Vice-President); the New Jersey Humanities Council (1983-1990); the College Outcomes Evaluation Committee of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education (1986-1988); the Board of Directors of the Urban History Association (1994 -1997; and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Selection Committee for History Fellows (1990 – present). She was a Liaison Officer for the Faculty Resources Network for the Ford Foundation and New York University in 1984 and 1985 and has chaired several prize committees and nominating committees for various professional organizations. She has chaired the Finance Committee of the American Association for the History of Medicine and recently concluded her service as Treasurer for the organization. She also served as Treasurer and Member of the Executive Committee of Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey until its merger in October of 2016 and is a member of the Board of Managers of Moore College of Art and Design. She served as a consultant for the film, Emma Goldman: An Exceedingly Dangerous Woman. She has appeared on the Discovery Health Channel and in the American Experience documentary on the birth-control pill for PBS. Other national media experience includes interviews for NPR and service as a consultant and on-camera interviewee for the American Experience documentary on the history of In Vitro Fertilization.