The Margaret Sanger Papers


Portet, Lorenzo (1871-1917)

Spanish anarchist. Married (wife's name not identified). Portet, a Catalan raised near Barcelona, was an associate of anarchist and educational reformer, Francisco Ferrer, whom he met in Paris in 1896 where both were living in exile. In 1909, when Ferrer was executed by the Spanish government, Portet led a mass protest demonstration in Paris and was arrested in front of the Spanish embassy. Seeking to carry on Ferrer's work, he escaped, went to England and took a teaching position at the University of Liverpool. When Sanger landed in Liverpool after fleeing the U.S. government's indictment <308623>, <308624>, <308625> for her publication of The Woman Rebel, she went to a cafe which catered to radical intellectuals and social activists, where she met Portet. The two became lovers and travelled together to London, Wales, Paris and Spain. In May 1915, Sanger decided to return to Canada, pick up her children and then move with them to Paris to be with Portet, but postponed her plans to await the outcome of William Sanger's Family Limitation trial. Margaret Sanger finally returned to the United States in October of 1915. Though she had planned to immediately go back to Paris to join Portet, the death of her daughter, Peggy, her own trial, and the dangers of travelling during wartime forced her to postpone such a journey. Then Portet, suffering from tuberculosis, died suddenly in the summer of 1917, leaving Margaret Sanger heartbroken.
References: Paul Avrich, The Modern School Movement (1980); Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992); and Margaret Sanger, "Portet and Ferrer," Parts 1-3 (1916-1917) in Margaret Sanger Papers Project Microfilm Edition: Collected Documents Series (1996), Reel C16, Frames 94, 101, and 105.