The Margaret Sanger Papers

Sanger, Peggy (1909-1915)

Margaret and William Sanger's youngest child, Peggy was born in Hastings-on-Hudson. Charming and outgoing, Peggy was adored by her parents and older brothers. According to some reports, in 1913 while the family was vacationing in Provincetown, Peggy was struck by a serious bout of polio. Though she survived the illness, one of her legs remained weaker and shorter than the other. When Margaret Sanger fled her indictment for The Woman Rebel in 1914, Peggy and her older brother Grant were left in the care of their father and their aunt, Nan Higgins. During her exile in London Margaret Sanger became haunted by a series of dreams she began having about her daughter in which Peggy pleaded for her mother to come home. Within a few days of Margaret Sanger's return to the United States in 1915, five-year-old Peggy came down with pneumonia. She was transferred to a New York hospital, where she lingered for a few more days until she died on November 6. Grief-stricken, Margaret Sanger never fully recovered from her daughter's death and spent much of the rest of her life trying to communicate with Peggy through dreams and other spiritual vehicles.
References: Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992); Joseph J. Cohen and Alexis C. Ferm, The Modern School of Stelton (1925); Madeline Gray, Margaret Sanger: A Biography of the Champion of Birth Control (1979); Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938).