Text Version of Letter, Dated February 15, 1935

Tarbell’s response, dated February 15, 1935, stating that the birth control movement will succeed without her support.

February 15, 1935

Dear Mrs. Sanger:

Please do not think that my silence means that I do not appreciate your letter of January 28th. I appreciated it too much to answer it in a hurry and it come to my desk at a moment when I was too engrossed with a piece of work that had to meet a time limit to give it the consideration that it deserves.


Again, the copy of your book “My Fight for Birth Control” is here and I want to read it before writing you. It has been impossible for me to do so and I fear it will be for some little time so buried am I in my work. Believe me this is not lack of interest. I have tried to make it a rule not to go along with any undertaking of importance, particularly [one] important to the family, unless I had studied it sufficiently to feel sure of my ground. I have never given the birth control movement that careful consideration. I have left it for those that were placed really to know what they were talking about. There are considerations tied up with the development of character – ethical considerations – which I would have to satisfy. Reason won’t do it I am afraid. Somehow I have foggy intuitions which hold me back from what would be the easy way for me and that is to go along with you and the superior woman in the movement. I can’t do it until I have thought or felt my way out and I [fear] that I have not the experience ever to do that.

Forgive this long and unsatisfactory letter. I shall read your book as soon as I have time, do it leisurely and think it over. I have always been hampered in life by the slowness of my conclusions. Possibly that comes from what I am afraid is the truth I am merely an observer of life, not an actor in it.

I am quite convinced that the movement will go ahead, that it does not need me and believe me, dear Mrs. Sanger, for you I have both respect and admiration.

Faithfully yours


Mrs. Margaret Sanger
1343 H. Street N.W.
Washington, D. C.