SANGER, MARGARET

Birth Control Advocate Margaret Sanger Sends Thanks for a Birthday Greeting!

Item #19513


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SANGER, MARGARET - Birth Control Advocate Margaret Sanger Sends Thanks for a Birthday Greeting!
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SANGER, MARGARET - Birth Control Advocate Margaret Sanger Sends Thanks for a Birthday Greeting!

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SANGER, MARGARET.(1879-1966). Reformer and founder of the American birth control movement. ANS. (“Margaret Sanger”). 1p. 4to. N.p., N.d. To notable Civil War scholar and autograph collector ARNOLD F. GATES (1914-1993), written in the lower margin of a typed letter conveying his birthday wishes to Sanger.

 

“Thank you for your kind wishes. It is shocking that anyone but ones mothers should remember a birthday anyway I do thank you for this…”

 

The sixth of eleven children, Sanger attributed her mother’s death from tuberculosis at age 50 to her many pregnancies. After studying nursing, Sanger gravitated toward the bohemian culture of New York’s Greenwich Village and began associating with radicals, political agitators and commentators such as John Reed, Upton Sinclair and Emma Goldman, while taking part in labor rallies and socialist meetings. Fueled by her nursing experiences, Sanger began writing a sex education column for the New York Call in 1912, which led to the first of many charges of obscenity. She coined the term “birth control” and called for family limitation as a path to women’s liberation. In so doing, she challenged the Comstock Laws that banned distribution of contraception information. Her ongoing legal troubles led her to live abroad while continuing to rally support on both sides of the Atlantic. Upon returning to New York, she opened the first American birth control clinic in 1916, in Brooklyn. The clinic was quickly shut down and legal proceedings ensued. On appeal, the court ruled that physicians were exempt from laws prohibiting distribution of contraceptive information. In response, Sanger established the Clinical Research Bureau, the first legal birth control clinic in the country. 

 

Beginning in 1917, Sanger published the Birth Control Review. The American Birth Control League (ABCL), founded in 1921, continued to oversee publication of the monthly periodical. As the movement that Sanger so successfully championed became more mainstream, her views remained radical and she became somewhat marginalized. After the formation of the Birth Control Federation of American (the future Planned Parenthood), Sanger retired to Arizona where she held an honorary position in the birth control movement.

 

Gates, a well-respected amateur historian of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, devoted 50 years to researching those subjects, reviewing books for the Lincoln Herald and contributing to such works as the anthology Lincoln for the Ages. He was an avid letter writer and “friend and unofficial agent of many a noted author,” (“Autographica Curiosa: How Not to Impress Emily Post,” Autograph Magazine, Butts).

 

Folded with normal wear and in very good condition.

 


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