The Margaret Sanger Papers


Rutgers, Johannes (Jan) (1850-1924)

Dutch physician. Name of first wife not found; second wife Maria Hoitsema. Secretary and president of Rotterdam Medical Association, with socialist leanings. Secretary and influential member of the Dutch Neo-Malthusian League 1899-1917, sought to increase membership and train "lay nurses," working-class women who could provide contraceptive information to others. In 1910 was named secretary for the International Bureau of Correspondence and Defense, which served to gather contributions and support from various neo-Malthusian leagues to help offset costs of prosecutions for birth control dissemination. The Bureau assisted, among others, Margaret Sanger in her Woman Rebel prosecution. Sanger met Rutgers in Holland during her 1915 exile and received practical instruction from him on techniques of fitting diaphragms. Author of What Every Married Couple Should Know (1917), How to Attain and Practice the Ideal Sex Life (trans. Norman Haire, 1937), and Eugenics and Birth Control (trans. Clifford Coudray, 1923).
References: Rosanna Ledbetter, A History of the Malthusian League, 1877-1924 (1976).