[New York: Modern Art Printing Company], 1917. ,251pp. Original light blue cloth, gilt titles on front cover and spine. Minor soiling and edge wear to boards, corners bumped. Front free endpaper lacking, else clean internally. Very good. Item #4615
A rare and early work on birth control written by and with supplemental articles compiled by Margaret Sanger, a prominent New York nurse, sex educator, social and women's rights activist, and birth control advocate. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established entities that eventually evolved into Planned Parenthood. The present work was compiled by Sanger after she opened her first clinic in 1916 and was subsequently arrested for distributing literature on contraception. The work provides information for her defense in the court case, as stated in a subtitle on the title page: "To Aid the Court in its Consideration of the Statute designed to prevent the dissemination of information for Preventing Conception." The book is organized in chapters focusing on the origin of birth control, population & birth rate, infant mortality, maternal mortality, "harmful methods practices to avoid large families," prostitution and venereal disease, other diseases related to child birth, and a conclusion. Sanger includes her own work on birth control, as well as those by other "eminent authorities, whose opinions are selected as being the clearest exposition of the social philosophy -- Birth Control." These authorities include Havelock Ellis, August Forel, G.F. Lydston, Emma Duke, and Grace L. Meigs. Sanger lays out her intention for the work in the Foreword: "The purpose of the Appellant in presenting the various statistics and medical and social facts incorporated in the supplementary brief...is to give the Court a clear conception of the meaning of birth control." Sanger does so through detailed reports, often with supplementary tables and graphs, from the United States but mostly from other countries, as the prohibition of birth control in the U.S. has not allowed for sufficient data to study much of the issues at hand. In recent times, Sanger's reputation as a racist and an early supporter of eugenics have somewhat tarnished her legacy, though the present work stands as an important entry in the history of women's rights and the advocacy of birth control. OCLC reports just five institutional copies, at SUNY-Binghamton, Florida International, Indiana University, Georgian Court University, and Virginia Tech.