Margaret Sanger Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Margaret Sanger Papers are divided into two distinct portions: those papers that were microfilmed by the Margaret Sanger Papers Project, consisting of 39.5 linear feet (95 boxes; 83 reels); and the unfilmed portion of the papers consisting of 73.5 linear feet (131 boxes). The unfilmed records and papers were, with few exceptions, not created or authored by Sanger. Material authored by Sanger (including her complete writings), and core organizational records as well as many legal and miscellaneous materials were extracted and included in Microfilm Edition. The unfilmed portion of the Margaret Sanger Papers has been arranged and described to be used in tandem with the microfilm edition. Many of the records are overlapping and interrelated, and some duplication exists between the collections.
The published microfilm edition of the Smith College Collections consists of nearly 45,000 documents drawn from the Margaret Sanger Papers and nineteen other collections of manuscript material and archival records located in the Sophia Smith Collection and Smith College Archives at Smith College. Included are all of Sanger's correspondence and writings, along with a large selection of organizational, conference, and legal materials documenting her leadership of the American and international birth control movements, and other records of activities and events related to Sanger's personal life, awards, tributes, travels, art work, and family. Records were included in the microfilm edition only if created by Sanger, prepared under her supervision, or if they pertained directly to Sanger and her activities. The microfilm edition also includes Sanger documents from twenty other archival and manuscript collections, primarily in the Sophia Smith Collection, but also including several from the Smith College Archives. The published guide is entitled The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection Series (1996). In addition, University Publications has published the Collected Documents, a series of Sanger's papers collected by the Margaret Sanger Papers Project from repositories around the world (guide and microfilm are available in the SSC reading room). The Sanger collection at the Library of Congress, the largest collection of her papers, was microfilmed in 1977.
There is no further description or container listing for the microfilmed portion included here. For more information about the Sanger Papers on microfilm, and to view the online guide to the microfilm, as well as selected documents online, go to the Margaret Sanger Papers Project Web site.
The unfilmed portion of the Sanger Papers and consists of 73.25 linear feet of materials in the original Sanger papers at Smith College that were excluded from the 1995 microfilm edition. It includes a wide range of records that are essential to understanding the roots of the American birth control movement and the work of Margaret Sanger, and that highlight many of the other individuals who led in the pioneering effort to legalize and disseminate contraception in America and abroad. It contains materials documenting the American and international birth control movements from the 1910s to circa 1966 and to a lesser extent, the life of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). Included are correspondence and biographical material of Sanger friends and family, and individuals participating in the birth control movement; limited organization and conference records; informational files on countries and states; subject files covering issues and topics related to birth control, population and sexuality; biographical materials, including some of Sanger's financial records, address books, some family material, and obituaries; research on Sanger, including book manuscripts, biographical work, and theses; printed material, including both foreign and domestic periodicals related to birth control, sexuality and population, and clippings spanning Sanger's lifetime; audio and video recordings; and photographs.
The unfilmed portion documents the American and international birth control movements, particularly between the years 1920 and 1962, but includes records spanning the mid- 19th century to 1970 related to the history of contraception, malthusianism, eugenics, sex education, and other topics related to birth control and population planning. In particular, the correspondence and biographical material serve as an essential supplement to the microfilmed portion, as well as providing substantive information on many of Sanger's closest friends and principal supporters. The collection includes significant documentation of many international organizations and clinics particularly in Europe and Asia, and records of many regional organizations and clinics in the U. S. This collection also provides material on the 19th century English and American roots of the Sanger-led birth control movement. In addition, the Unfilmed Collection offers extensive information on Sanger's family, in particular her second husband, J. Noah Slee, and her sons Grant and Stuart Sanger.
The unfilmed portion of the collection is organized into ten series: