Research Programs: Scholarly Editions and Translations

Period of Performance

7/1/2004 - 6/30/2007

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$150,000.00 (approved)
$150,000.00 (awarded)

The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger

FAIN: RQ-50087-04

New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
Esther Katz (Project Director: November 2003 to April 2008)

Completion of volume 2 and continued work on volumes 3 and 4 of a four-volume print edition of materials selected from the microfilm archive of the papers of Margaret Sanger.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) was America's most influential birth control reformer and her papers are critical to understanding the history of one of the most significant social movements of the 20th century, a movement marked as much by its limitations and failures as its achievements. The Selected Papers Of Margaret Sanger, a four-volume book edition, highlights the events that propelled her leadership of the birth control movement, the nature and direction of that leadership, and the strategies, ideas and controversies that characterized this crusade. This proposal seeks funding to complete and publish Volume II: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1929-1939, and continue on Volumes III: The Great Liberator, 1939-1966 and IV: Round the World for Birth Control, 1922-1959, which chronicle Sanger's still vital, though largely unexamined role in the post-World War II struggles for reproductive autonomy. Sanger sought to extend contraceptive services to rural white and black Americans through public health programs in the South, foster the development of the birth control pill, and maintain a woman-centered commitment to birth control in the wake of a post World War II fascination with population control. The volume will also encompass the final years of her life as she surveyed and evaluated her remarkable career. Volume IV concentrates on Sanger's international work.

Associated Products

The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Vol 1, The Woman Rebel (paperback) (Book)
Title: The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Vol 1, The Woman Rebel (paperback)
Editor: Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo and Peter C. Engelman
Abstract: he birth control crusader, feminist, and reformer Margaret Sanger was one of the most controversial and compelling figures in the twentieth century. This first volume of The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger documents the critical phases and influences of an American feminist icon and offers rare glimpses into her working-class childhood, burgeoning feminism, spiritual and scientific interests, sexual explorations, and diverse roles as wife, mother, nurse, journalist, radical socialist, and activist. These letters and other writings, including diaries, journals, articles, and speeches have been selected and assembled with an eye to telling the story of a remarkable life, punctuated by arrests and imprisonments, exile, love affairs, and a momentous personal loss--a life consumed with the quest for women's sexual liberation. bohemian Greenwich Village to her adoption of birth control (a term she helped coin in 1914) as a fundamental tenet of women's rights. It traces the intersection of her life and work with other reformers, activists and leaders of modernity on both sides of the Atlantic, including Havelock Ellis, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Emma Goldman, Max Eastman, and Eugene Debs, as well as many leading radical artists and writers of the day. It highlights her legislative and organizational efforts, her support of the eugenics movement, and the alliances she secured with medical professionals in her crusade to make birth control legal, respectable, and accessible. This volume also includes letters from women desperately in need of fertility control who saw Sanger as their last hope. Supplemented by an introduction, brief essays providing narrative and chronological links, and substantial notes, the volume is an invaluable tool for understanding Sanger's actions and accomplishments. (PAPERBACK)
Year: 2007
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Publisher web papge
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Project web site
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 978-0-252-0746
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes