Dr Caroline Rusterholz

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Associate Research Fellow Saint John's College
Dr Caroline Rusterholz

Caroline Rusterholz is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the Faculty of History. She holds a Phd in Historical demography from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Between 2015-2018, she was a SNSF Post-Doc Research Fellow at Cambridge University and later Birkbeck College, University of London.

Her research interests include the fields of comparative gender history, historical demography and social history of medicine and sexuality.

Her research project supported by the Wellcome Trust 'Youth, gender and teenage sexual counselling in Britain: The making of the Brook Advisory Centre, 1964-2000' uses the history of Brook Advisory Centres (BAC) as a case study through which to reassess the history of teenage sexuality and of the anxieties it caused in postwar Britain. From the first Centre opened in 1964 in London to the present, BAC has been an important provider of contraceptive advice and sexual counselling for unmarried people and teenagers. Although the centres have provoked fierce opposition and triggered recurrent public debates on teenage sexuality, little is known of their history. As a non-governmental organisation which however had clear connections with the Family Planning Association and the National Health Service, BAC provides an insightful locus to explore the way teenage sexuality was handled and debated publicly.

Beyond her interest in youth sexuality, she has published on the history of reproductive politics in Switzerland and on the role played by women doctors in the medicalization of birth control in twentieth century Britain and France.

She welcomes inquiries from students interested in modern social and demographic history, history of reproduction, gender history, and comparative history of Western Europe since 1920s.

She is a member of Association of the Social History of Medicine, European Sexologies, Social Science History Association, and the Association for Young Historical Demographers.


Tags & Themes


Faculty of History, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9EF


Key Publications

  • Caroline Rusterholz, Women’s Medicine, Sex, Family Planning and British Female Doctors in Transnational Perspective (1920-70). Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2020.
  • Caroline Rusterholz, “Deux enfants c’est déjà pas mal”, Famille et fécondité en Suisse, 1955-1970. Editions Antipodes, Lausanne, 2017.


  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘’You can’t dismiss that as being less happy, you see it is different’. Sexual therapy in 1950s England’, Twentieth Century British History, online 2019.
  • Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, Caroline Rusterholz (ed), ‘Introduction: Reproductive Politics in Britain and France’, Special Issue for Medical History, 63, (2), 2019, 117-133.
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘English Women Doctors, Contraception and Family Planning in Transnational Perspective (1930-1970)’, Medical History, 63, (2), 2019, 153-172.
  • Yuliya Hilevych, Caroline Rusterholz, “Two children to make ends meet”: the ideal family size, parental responsibilities and costs of children on two sides of the Iron Curtain during the post-war fertility decline, The History of the Family, 23 (3), 2018, 408-425.
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘English and French women doctors in international debates on contraception (1920-1935)’, Social History of Medicine, 31 (2),2018,  328–347.
  • Caroline Rusterholz,‘Comparative perspectives on Religion and Contraception in Switzerland (1950-70)’ in Alana Harris (ed.), The Schism of ’68: Catholicism, Contraception and Humanae Vitae in Europe (1945 – 75), Palgrave and Macmillan, 2018, 99-119.
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘Testing the Gräfenberg Ring in Interwar Britain: Norman Haire, Helena Wright and the Debate over Statistical Evidence, Side Effects, and Intrauterine Contraception’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 72 (4), 2017, 448–467.
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘Fathers in 1960s’ Switzerland: A silent revolution?’, in Gender and History, 27(3), 2015, 828–843
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘Costs of children and models of parenthood: Evidence from two Swiss cities’, in Journal of family history, 40(2), 2015, 208-229. 
  • Caroline Rusterholz, ‘Reproductive behaviour and contraceptive practices in comparative perspective, Switzerland (1955-1970)’, in The History of the Family, 20(1), 2015, 41-68.

Other Publications

Caroline Henchoz, Anne-Françoise Praz, Caroline Rusterholz, “Saisir l’adolescence à travers la micro-économie familiale (1925-1970)”, Traverses, 2017.

Caroline Rusterholz, Anne-Françoise Praz, “Une transition au féminin? Modèle familial et fécondité en Suisse, 1955-1970” in Genre, sexualité et société, online 2017.

Virginie de Luca Barrusse, Caroline Rusterholz, “Les apports et les promesses de l’économie politique de la fécondité pour l’étude de ses transitions”, Annales de démographie historique, 22016, 17-39.