The Margaret Sanger Papers


Sanger, Stuart (1903-1995)
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Physician. Eldest son of Margaret and William Sanger. Married Barbara Peabody (1941), two children. Stuart Sanger was born in New York City while Margaret Sanger was trying to recuperate from a bout of tuberculosis and spent his first months with his mother near a sanatarium in the Adirondac mountains. When he was seven, the Sanger family moved to New York City and Stuart was enrolled in the Ferrer School, where he studied with Will Durant. By 1914, convinced that this active, exuberant child needed a more structured environment, Margaret Sanger sent him to Winnwood, a Christian Science school on Long Island and then enrolled him in the Peddie Institute, a preparatory school in New Jersey. Outgoing, popular and athletic, he was captain of the football team by the time he graduated in 1922. He then went on to Yale University and after graduating spent some months working at a brokerage house in New York. But his career on Wall Street was neither successful nor satisfying. Moreover, he suffered from a chronic sinus ailments for which he endured a series of unsuccessful operations. When the condition continued to plague him, Margaret Sanger took him for a vacation to the dry climate of Tucson, Arizona, a trip his mother would remember fondly some years later when she decided to take up residence there. With financial support from his mother and stepfather, J. Noah Slee, Stuart Sanger finally decided to take up a career in medicine. After getting his medical degree from Cornell, he then interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York. In 1941 he eloped with a young nurse, Barbara Peabody, and they soon had two daughters. With the outbreak of World War II, Stuart served in the military and was shipped overseas in 1943. When his service ended in 1945, Stuart and his family settled in Tucson where he established a successful practice in internal medicine. Though his relations with his mother were always more troubled than those of his younger brother Grant's, Stuart built a house next door to Margaret Sanger's and as she grew older and more frail, took responsibility for her care.
    Copyright to documents written by Stuart Sanger must be secured from: Barbara Sanger, 942 West Camino Guarina, Green Valley, AZ 85614.
References: Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992); Lawrence Lader, The Margaret Sanger Story (1955); Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938).