The Margaret Sanger Papers


The Margaret Sanger Chronology

1914

February 1914
New York, NY. MS leads a delegation of middle-class women to the Bowery to distribute reduced price meal tickets for Child's restaurant.
March 1914
New York, NY. MS releases first issue (March) of The Woman Rebel. Possibly resumes love affair with Walter Roberts.
April 1914
New York, NY. MS releases April issue of The Woman Rebel.
April 2, 1914
New York, NY. New York Post Office informs MS that the March issue of The Woman Rebel violates Section 211 of the U.S. Criminal Code and is unmailable.
May 1914
New York, NY. MS releases May issue of The Woman Rebel.
June 1914
New York, NY. MS releases June issue of The Woman Rebel. MS forms the Birth Control League of America, the first birth control organization in America. Subscribers of The Woman Rebel numbering 2,000 are the first members.
July 16, 1914
New York, NY. MS releases July issue of The Woman Rebel.
August 1914
New York, NY. MS releases August issue of The Woman Rebel.
August 25, 1914
New York, NY. MS indicted for March, May and July issues of The Woman Rebel, on Section 211 of the U.S. Criminal Code. MS appears at U.S. District Court, is arraigned and released on her own recognizance by Judge Hazel.
August 27, 1914
New York, NY.New York Post Office informs MS that the August issue of The Woman Rebel violates Section 480 of the U.S. Postal Laws and Regulations and is unmailable.
August 1914
New York, NY. MS begins having Family Limitation secretly printed.
September 1914
New York, NY. MS distributes Family Limitation and writes a circular letter asking for funds to support publication.
September-October 1914
New York, NY. MS distributes September-October issue of The Woman Rebel.
October 2, 1914
New York, NY. MS asks for a postponement of her trial; the request is denied.
October 5, 1914
New York, NY. MS fails to appear at court to answer indictments. Judge Foster reschedules case for October 13.
October 13, 1914
New York, NY. MS does not appear for rescheduled court date.
October 28, 1914
New York, NY. MS releases letter to subscribers of The Woman Rebel, indicating that she will continue direct action techniques to combat the law.
October 29?, 1914
New York, NY to Montreal, Canada. MS flees country by train under the assumed name "Bertha L. Watson."
October 30-November 2, 1914
Montreal, Canada. MS stays with Frank and Mildred Bain.
November 3, 1914
At sea. MS sails for England on the S.S. Virginian under the assumed name "Bertha L. Watson." During the journey, MS sends a cable releasing Family Limitation.
November 1914
Liverpool, England. MS meets Lorenzo Portet and they take a trip to Wales.
November 13, 1914
Liverpool, England. MS arrives in England, checks in at the Delphia Hotel. Meets with a group of Fabian socialists. With the help of Elsie Hickling moves to the Allendale (probably a hotel).
November 16, 1914
Liverpool, England. MS visits city patients with Dr. and Mrs. Scott.
November 17, 1914
Chester, England, Wales. MS takes a day trip with Elsie Hickling. Stops at Chester, buying South African lucky bead chain for Peggy. Also visits Carnegie Library.
November 20, 1914 ca.
London, England. MS rents an apartment in Torrington Square, near the British Museum.
November 25, 1914
London, England. MS visits Guy Aldred, Rose Witcop, & Henry Sara. Meets Errico Malatesta. Attends lecture on Nietzsche at Unitarian Church. Has a premonition about her father.
December 10, 1914
London, England. MS visits the Malthusian League, has tea with Bessie Ingham Drysdale, Binnie Dunlop and Stella Browne.
December 16, 1914
London, England. MS receives letter from Havelock Ellis inviting her to visit. Attends an afternoon lecture by Charles Vickery Drysdale at the International Women's Franchise League. Later attends Annie Kenney and Emmeline Pankhurst speech in Kingsway Hall with Binnie Dunlop. Writes William Sanger requesting a divorce.
December 18, 1914
New York, NY.Charles A. Bamberger, an agent of Anthony Comstock, visits William Sanger's studio, but does not meet him.
December 19, 1914
New York, NY. Comstock agent, Charles A. Bamberger, again visits William Sanger's studio using the name "Mr. Heller." Bamberger pretends to be a friend of MS and upon his request William Sanger gives him a copy of Family Limitation.
December 22, 1914
London, England. MS meets Havelock Ellis at his house in Brixton.
December 24, 1914
London, England.Lorenzo Portet visits MS; they both visit Rose Witcop. MS meets Edmund S. P. Haynes, who gives her letters of introduction.
December 28, 1914
London, England. MS visits the British Museum and has lunch with Havelock Ellis.

1915

January 19, 1915
New York, NY. Charles A. Bamberger returns to William Sanger's studio with Anthony Comstock and arrests William Sanger for distributing Family Limitation. The studio is searched and William Sanger taken to Yorkville Court and arraigned; bail was set at $500.
January 20, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger bailed out of jail with funds raised by Leonard Abbott and Gilbert Roe.
January 28, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger's preliminary hearing scheduled.
February 1915
London, England. MS publishes "Should Women Know?".
February 4, 1915
London, England. MS releases circular letter to subscribers of The Woman Rebel indicating that copies of Family Limitation had been exhausted. Also announces William Sanger's arrest, defines it as an attempt to draw her back to the United States.
February 9-10, 1915
The Hague, The Netherlands. MS travels to the Hague to learn contraceptive methods employed by the Dutch Birth Control League. MS stays at the St. Jaris Hotel.
February 12, 1915
The Hague, The Netherlands. MS visits a museum to see Rembrandt's "Anatomy." Spends the afternoon with Dr. Johannes Rutgers, taking a walk in the market.
February 14-27, 1915
The Hague, Netherlands. Meets with Dr. Johannes Rutgers, and attends a special clinic in fitting diaphragms. Also took trips to Delft and Haarlem.
February 22, 1915
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Writes sister Anna Higgins that she intends to return to the U.S. in early April.
February 28, 1915
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. MS leaves Amsterdam for London.
March 1915
London, England. The Malthusian League issues defense of MS in their journal, The Malthusian. They urge the repeal of the postal law in U.S.New York, NY.Mary Ware Dennett organizes the National Birth Control League.
March 4, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger requests a jury trial; the request is denied.
March 7, 1915
Paris, France. MS arrives in Paris.
March 15, 1915
Paris, France.Lorenzo Portet joins MS in Paris.
March 19, 1915
South of France. MS and Lorenzo Portet leave for Spain. MS has problems with her "Bertha L. Watson"passport and is delayed briefly at rail station, trying to get to Barcelona.
March 20 - April 26, 1915
Barcelona, Spain. MS and Portet tour rationalist schools and are followed by "government spies."
March 22, 1915
Barcelona, Spain. MS attends bull fight.
May 3, 1915
Paris, France. MS returns to Paris from Barcelona.
May 4, 1915
Paris, France. MS receives approval from British Vice-Consul and American Consul to return to England and from there to America.
May 10, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger's trial set to be heard at the Court of Special Sessions; later postponed to October session.
May 31, 1915
London, England. MS writes to William Sanger indicating that she will not return to U.S. until she learns of results of his trial.
June 1, 1915
New York, NY.Leonard Abbott urges MS to return to U.S.
June 5, 1915
London, England. MS publishes "Birth Control in America," in Freedom.
June 1915
Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA.Birth Control League set up by Emma Goldman and others.
July 5, 1915
London, England. MS gives a speech at the Fabian Society Hall (25 Tothill Street)
July 12, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger again requests a jury trial in his Family Limitation case; the request is again denied.
July 5, 1915 ca.
London, England. MS has dinner with Marie Stopes and Aylmer Maude, who suggest drafting a protest letter to President Woodrow Wilson.
July 16-26, 1915 ca.
Brighton, England. MS visits Brighton for about ten days.
July 1915
MS publishes "Comstockery in America," in the International Socialist Review.
August 1, 1915
London, England. MS releases pamphlets Methods of Birth Control (Dutch and English), and announces plan to return to United States to stand trial. Also announces plan to open a birth control clinic in the Lower East Side of New York City.
August 1915
San Francisco, CA.Emma Goldman and Ben Reitman are arrested for distributing Family Limitation; fined $100.
September 10, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger is tried and convicted for distributing indecent literature. William Sanger given a choice of $150 dollar fine or 30 days in prison by Justice James J. McInerney. Sanger chooses prison.
September 18, 1915
Bordeaux, France. MS sets sail for the United States.
September 1915
London, England.Marie Stopes organizes a petition of support for MS signed by a number of prominent British authors. The letter is sent to President Woodrow Wilson.
October 6, 1915
New York, NY. MS arrives in New York City.
October 10, 1915
New York, NY.William Sanger released from prison.
October 14, 1915
New York, NY. MS has an argument with William Sanger at hotel.
November 6, 1915
New York, NY.Peggy, MS's five year old daughter, suffering from infantile paralysis dies of pneumonia.
December 5, 1915
New York, NY. MS's article, "Margaret Sanger Defends Her Battle for the Right of Birth Control," published in the New York Call. The article was probably written while MS was still in Europe.
December 7, 1915
Chicago, IL.Emma Goldman raises funds for MS's defense at a birth control meeting.
December 16, 1915
New York, NY.Samuel Untermeyer counsels MS to plead guilty and accept a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney.
December 1915
New York, NY. MS's trial scheduled for end of December; postponed until January 4.

1916

January 4, 1916
New York, NY. MS's trial postponed until January 18. U.S. Attorney's office informs MS that if she pleads guilty, she will be fined but face no prison.
January 5, 1916
New York, NY. MS sends circular letter asserting she will not plead guilty; calls for a letter-writing campaign on her behalf to President Woodrow Wilson, Congressmen, and Judge Clayton of the U.S. District Court.
January 11, 1916
New York, NY.Max Eastman counsels MS to plead guilty. Argues it will provide a better forum for exposing the law.
January 17, 1916
New York, NY. On eve of her trial, MS attends a dinner given in her honor at the Brevoort Hotel. Gives a brief speech.
January 18, 1916
New York, NY. MS is escorted to the court house by 50 prominent men and women. Trial scheduled to begin this day is again postponed until January 24th.
January 26, 1916
New York, NY. MS releases circular letter again calling for letter-writing campaign to President Woodrow Wilson and Judge Clayton of U.S. District Court.
January 1916
New York, NY. MS attends a banquet at the Hotel McAlpin for 160 alumnae of Claverack College and Hudson River Institute.
February 11, 1916
New York, NY.Emma Goldman arrested for distributing birth control information.
February 14, 1916
New York, NY. MS meets with U.S. Attorney Harold A. Content regarding trial date; postponed once again. MS later gives an interview to the press asserting that the government is deliberately delaying case in order to sap support.
February 18, 1916
New York, NY. MS's Woman Rebel case is dismissed, when U.S. District Attornies Harold Content and H. Snowden Marshall enter a motion of nolle prosequi on all three counts in United States District Court of New York.
March 1, 1916
New York, NY. MS is scheduled to speak at a birth control meeting at Carnegie Hall, but illness forces her to cancel. Emma Goldman, John Reed, Bolton Hall, and Dr. William Robinson speak at the event and a letter from MS is read.
April 1916
New York, NY.Emma Goldman convicted of violating Section 1142 of the New York State Criminal Code, sentenced to thirty days in prison.
April 7, 1916
New York, NY. MS kicks off a national speaking tour.
April 22, 1916
Akron, OH. MS speaking tour.
April 23, 1916
Cleveland, OH. MS speaking tour.
May 15, 1916
Indianapolis, IN. MS speaks to the National Conference of Charities and Corrections at the Claypool Hotel.
May 16, 1916
Indianapolis, IN. MS speaks to a group of birth control supporters interested in forming a birth control league at the Hotel English.
May 17, 1916
Indianapolis, IN. MS speaks at the Murat Theatre.
May 18, 1916
Indianapolis, IN. MS takes a rest.
May 19, 1916
St. Louis, MO. MS arrives at the Hotel Jefferson in mid-morning.
May 21, 1916
St. Louis, MO. Theatre manager attempts to prevent MS speech; riot ensues.
May 22, 1916
St, Louis, MO. MS's lecture at the Victoria Theatre is cancelled, she speaks briefly outside of the theatre to a crowd of near 2000.
May 23, 1916
St. Louis, MO. MS speaks to the City Club at a luncheon, in the evening addresses the Town Club in the auditorium of the American Hotel Annex.
May 24, 1916
St. Louis, MO. MS lectures at the Hippodrome Theatre to approximately 300 people.
May 25, 1916
St. Louis, MO. MS leaves St. Louis in the morning, heading for Denver.
May 30, 1916
New York, NY. A protest was held at Union Square to protest the imprisonment of Ben Reitman who spoke about birth control at an anarchist meeting.
June 9-11, 1916
San Francisco, CA. MS lecture tour.
June 15, 1916
Oakland, CA. MS gave speech at the Hotel Oakland.
June 30, 1916
Portland, OR. MS arrested in Portland for selling birth control pamphlets.
July 30, 1916
Boston, MA. MS attends mass meeting at the Majestic Theater.
August 1916
New York, NY. MS returns to New York.
August 16, 1916
Edgar Lake, NY. Spends time with sons Grant and Stuart.
October 16, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS, along with Ethel Higgins Byrne and Fania Mindell, opens the first birth control clinic in the United States. Clinic is located at 46 Amboy Street in the Brownsville section, largely inhabited by Jewish and Italian immigrants.
October 26, 1916
Brooklyn, NY.New York City police raid the Brownsville Clinic, arresting MS and Fania Mindell; Ethel Higgins Byrne picked up later.
October 27, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS, Ethel Higgins Byrne, and Fania Mindell are released on bail pending trial. They are charged with violating Section 211 of the Criminal Code: “"disseminating information on birth control."”
November 3, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. Preliminary hearings held for MS, Ethel Higgins Byrne and Fania Mindell.
November 6, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS, Ethel Higgins Byrne and Fania Mindell are arraigned at the Adam's Street Court. Case is assigned to the Court of Special Sessions.
November 13, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS reopens the Brownsville clinic.
November 15, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS arrested at the Brownsville Clinic for maintaining a public nuisance. She is arraigned at the New Jersey Avenue Court. One report indicates she was released without bail another that she was held on $500 bail.
November 18, 1916
New York, NY. MS rests at home.
November 20, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS appears in court regarding her October 26th arrest. Ida Rauh is indicted by a grand jury for distributing birth control pamphlets at protest meeting held May 30, 1916 at Union Square.
November 21, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS appears to answer public nuisance charge at the New Jersey Avenue Police Court.
November 26, 1916
New York, NY. MS announces that she will not appear in court for her scheduled court date of November 27, 1916.
November 27, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS's trial for distribution of birth control information at the Brownsville Clinic and for maintaining a public nuisance begins. MS does not appear in court, but a plea of not guilty is entered for the nuisance charge and a trial date set. MS's lawyer Jonah Goldstein moves for a grand jury hearing on MS and Ethel Byrne'sSection 211 charges. Trial is postponed pending the Judge's decision.
November 28, 1916
New York, NY. Three committees are formed to support birth control at a meeting at Gertrude Pinchot's home. MS is not present.
December 1, 1916
New York, NY. The Committee of 100, a group of socialites supportive of MS is formed to raise defense funds. MS founds the New York Birth Control League.
December 5, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. The New York State Supreme Court denies MS and Ethel Byrne's motions to have trials transferred from the Court of Special Sessions to the County Court.
December 7, 1916
New York, NY.New York County Medical Society votes down measure to support a change in state laws on birth control; MS attends with Dr. Morris Kahn.
December 10, 1916
Rochester, NY. MS speaks to the Rochester Socialist Party, organized by A. Howser.
December 11, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court dismisses MS's appeal to have her case on the heard by the County Court.
December 12, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS's appeal to have her public nuisance charge transferred from the Court of Special Sessions to the Grand Jury is granted. Dr. Frederick A. Blossom, editor of MS's Birth Control Review, speaks at the monthly luncheon of the Brooklyn Neighborhood Association.
December 22, 1916
Brooklyn, NY. MS's writ of habeas corpus denied in the New York Supreme Court, sending case back to Court of Special Sessions. MS's lawyer appeals decision.