The Margaret Sanger Papers


Humbèrt, Eugene (1870-1944)

French anarchist and Neo-Malthusian. Married to Jeanne (last name not known). Born the illegitimate son of an officer and a working woman, Humbèrt was a member of the Liberté anarchist movement of Jean Grave. His association with libertarian Paul Robin converted him to the cause of family limitation and he was soon active recruiting other anarchists into supporting Neo-Malthusian goals. In 1908 Humbèrt succeeded Robin as President of the French Neo-Malthusian organization, Ligue de la régéneration humaine. He also started a Neo-Malthusian periodical with his colleague, Gabriel Giroud (pseudonym, G. Hardy), called Génération Consciente, serving as its editor from 1909. Humbèrt was arrested twice for publicly speaking in support of birth control and distributing propaganda. He was jailed for a total of eight months, but continued promoting his cause, addressing over 100 working-class meetings in 1913 alone. As French representative to the Third International Neo-Malthusian Conference held at the Hague in 1910, it was Humbèrt who suggested the need for an International Bureau of Correspondence and Defense to assist individuals and local groups facing legal action for undertaking Neo-Malthusian work. With the outbreak of World War I Génération Consciente ended publication in August 1914 when Humbèrt, who opposed the war, refused to enlist and fled to Spain. Upon his return to France in 1921, Humbèrt was jailed for five years for evading military service. By the time he was released, the French government had suppressed birth control and Humbèrt had little scope for his Neo-Malthusian activities.
References: Jacques Donzelot, The Policing of Families (1979); Jeanne Humbèrt, Eugène Humbèrt: La Vie et l'Oeuvre d'Un Néo-Malthusian (1947); Rosanna Ledbetter, The Malthusian League, 1877-1927 (1976); and Angus McLaren, Sexuality and Social Order: The Debate Over the Fertility of Women and Workers in France, 1770-1920 (1983).