Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 30, Numbers 1 and 2: 2008 ISSN 0196-7134


© 2008 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger (MS) was, and still is, both revered and reviled for her efforts to move contraception out from the shadows of illegality and obscenity into the light of widespread acceptance. During her radical activist days (1910s–1920s), MS honed her leadership, networking, and speechmaking skills and often depended on direct action to further her cause.1 By 1930 she had departed from her radical cohorts but continued to employ her broadening network of contacts. The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 2: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928–1939 covers the efforts and life of MS during this era. In addition to speeches, conferences, and correspondence, in the 1930s MS took her struggle to the halls of Congress, the sound waves of radio (406), and the emerging media of film (19–20). As in her early years, her personality destroyed some alliances and cemented others. Through it all, she never forgot the women for whom she was fighting, often replying to those who wrote to solicit her assistance (123–24, 195). Refusing to settle into a comfortable middle age, MS instead shifted her tactics and her focus.