The Margaret Sanger Papers


Kent, Rockwell (1882-1971)

Artist and activist. Married Kathleen Whiting (1909), five children; married Frances Lee (1926); married Sally Johnstone (1940). Studied architecture at Columbia University and realist painting under Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller, among others. Kent was noted for his symbolic wilderness landscapes and figure paintings, as well as his lithographs and wood engravings which illustrated accounts of his travels and special editions of literary classics, including an edition of Shakespeare. An advocate of birth control, he created a wood engraving for Margaret Sanger which she used as a bookplate and published in the November 1921 issue of the Birth Control Review. He was the author of several books, including Wilderness (1922); Voyaging (1924); Salamina (1935); and Of Men and Mountains (1959). A political activist, Kent was committed to socialist principles and ultimately became a member of the Communist Party. In 1950, when the State Department revoked his passport for his Party affiliation, Kent appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor eight years later. In 1967, Kent was the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize.
References: David Traxel, The Life and Times of Rockwell Kent (1980); Ken Lawless, "Continental Imprisonment: Rockwell Kent and the Passport Controversy," Antioch Review, 1980, 38:3, pp. 304-312.