The Margaret Sanger Papers


Wells, H(erbert) G(eorge) (1866-1946)

British author. Married Isabel Mary Wells (1891-divorced 1894); married Amy Catherine Robbins (1895-1924), two children. Wells started life as a draper's apprentice and teacher helped attending London's Normal School of Science and studied under Thomas H. Huxley. After punctuating his graduate study with teaching stints in private schools, Wells got his B.S. in 1890. He continued teaching and began publishing articles on education and pedagogy, before publishing his first novel The Time Machine in 1895. He went on to publish a series of science fiction novels, including The Island of Dr. Moreau (1889), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). By the turn of the century Wells also began writing traditional novels, among them Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr. Polly (1910). A member of the Fabian Society, Wells was a friend of George Bernard Shaw and shared his desire to challenge the Victorian era's class-based orthodoxy. However, by 1908, having failed to transform the Fabian Society into a more active propaganda vehicle, Wells resigned and in 1911 published A New Machiavelli, a critical portrait of the Fabians. Active in World War I propaganda, Wells was responsible for its characterization as "the war to end all wars" and was devastated by the terms of the peace settlement. Convinced the solution lay in educating the public he published Outline of History (1920), followed by two other educational tomes. A birth control advocate, Wells met Sanger in 1920, and the two became close friends and occasional lovers. She also inspired the character of "Miss Grammont," the attractive feminist activist in his 1922 novel, The Secret Place of the Heart. Wells, in turn, influenced Sanger's thought and work, an influence particularly evident in her 1923 book, The Pivot of Civilization to which Wells contributed an introduction.
References: Gordon N. Ray, "H.G. Wells," Encyclopedia Americana, p. 616; Margaret Sanger, Autobiography (1938); David C. Smith, H.G. Wells: Desperately Mortal (1986); Anthony West, H.G. Wells: Aspects of A Life (1984).