Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Nine U.S. Editions

The First Edition

Women and Their Bodies (1970)

This first printing, a 193-page stapled, newsprint booklet, is created by the founders and published by New England Free Press. The booklet puts women’s health in a radically new political and social context. 5000 printed copies are distributed by hand at workshops and among friends and the booklet becomes an underground success.

Our Bodies, Our Selves (1971)

To emphasize women taking full ownership of their bodies, the founders change the book’s title to Our Bodies, Our Selves. While the book has a new cover, it is otherwise the same as the 1970 print. The book quickly sells 250,000 copies.

Because the texts are the same, both the 1970 and 1971 prints are considered the first edition.

cover of the 1971 print of

The Second Edition

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women (1973)

The group of founders formally incorporates as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective in order to negotiate a contract for publication with Simon & Schuster. The contract includes a 70 percent discount for health clinics, a clause that is included in every subsequent contract, as well as funding for a Spanish language translation of the book.

cover of the 1973 edition of

The Third Edition

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women, Revised and Expanded (1976)

The founders invite more women to contribute their expertise and experience and publish a major revision of the book, with new content and new topics. The book becomes a bestseller and is recognized by the American Library Association’s Young Adult Service Division as one of the best books of the decade.

Cover of the 1976 & 1979 editions of

The Fourth Edition

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women, Revised and Expanded (1979)

This edition is very similar to the 1976 edition, with the same cover, preface, table of contents, and page count. However, the 1979 update team made small changes to reflect new health information.

Cover of the 1976 & 1979 editions of

The Fifth Edition

The New Our Bodies, Ourselves (1984)

Completely rewritten, the 1984 edition expands to 647 pages (from 383) and includes new chapters on body image, psychotherapy, women growing older, new reproductive technologies, and environmental and occupational health.

Cover of the 1984 edition of

The Sixth Edition

The New Our Bodies, Ourselves, Updated and Expanded for the ’90s (1992)

The 1992 update covers new topics, including the female condom, Norplant, HIV and AIDS, the abortion pill, interstitial cystitis, breast reconstruction after mastectomy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and environmental illness.

cover of the 1992 print of

The New Our Bodies, Ourselves, 25th Anniversary Edition (1996)

In 1996, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the first publication, Simon & Schuster re-issued the 1992 edition with a new cover and a new preface by Byllye Avery, Helen Rodriguez-Trias, and Gloria Steinem.

cover of the 1996 print of

The Seventh Edition

Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century (1998)

The 1998 edition, the first published in the age of the internet, includes a guide on how to evaluate online health info and how to use the internet to connect with others with similar health concerns. It also includes a new chapter on infertility and pregnancy loss and information on new reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy.

cover of the 1998 edition of

The Eighth Edition

Our Bodies Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era (2005)

This major revision, the first print published as a regular sized book rather than an oversized one, includes new information on complementary health practices, aging, medical testing and procedures, and navigating the health care system.

Cover of the 2005 edition of

The Ninth Edition

Our Bodies, Ourselves (2011)

The most recent edition focuses on women’s reproductive health and sexuality. It features new material on gender identity, sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, and sexuality and sexual health across the lifespan. The stories of the OBOS Global Network partners are highlighted throughout the book.

Find out more about the 2011 edition.

2011 Cover of Our Bodies Ourselves