The Margaret Sanger Papers


Robinson, William J. (1869-1936)

Editor, physician and author. A practicing physician, Robinson was better known as a publisher and writer of popular books on health issues, many of which supported the public health benefits of eugenics and contraception. After Margaret Sanger's indictment <308623>, <308624>, <308625> for publishing The Woman Rebel and the publicity surrounding it, Robinson and feminist Henrietta Rodman arranged for a discussion of birth control to be held at the New York Academy of Medicine. Robinson also published his own volume, Fewer and Better Babies, Or the Limitation of Offspring (1915). Though it supported birth control, Sanger noted that it did not provide any specific information on contraceptive methods, but rather included two blank pages where this information ought to have been printed. While Sanger was in exile, Robinson organized a committee of the New York Academy of Medicine to consider the issue of birth control. Though the Academy took no action and the New York County Medical Society continued to oppose the lay distribution of contraceptives, Robinson did tell Sanger in 1916 that the New York medical community would not interfere if she proceeded with her plans to open a birth control clinic if it was physician-run. Robinson was also the founder and editor of Critic and Guide, a monthly medical journal. In 1917 Margaret Sanger persuaded Robinson to publish Marie Stopes' Married Love. Robinson was the author of numerous books on sex, eugenics and birth control including: Sexual Problems of Today (1912); Sexual Impotence (1913); and Sex Knowledge for Men and Boys (1919).
References: Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992); David Kennedy, Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger (1970); Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938)