Text Version of Letter, Dated October 18, 1921

Letter, dated October 10, 1921, from Sanger to Tarbell asking Tarbell to serve on the First American Birth Control League Conference Committee.

October 18, 1921

Mrs. Margaret Sanger, Chairman,
117 West 46 St., New York.
Dear Mrs. Sanger:
Pardon me for being so slow in replying to your letter of October 10. I have been in Washington on the Unemployment Conference and only just returned.


I do appreciate your desire to have my name on the First American Birth Control Conference Committee, but I am convinced that I have no useful place on such a Committee as that. Your Committee, to be effective should be in the hands of (1) physicians (2) men and women who have had the experience of breeding and rearing families and (3) of social workers – broad minded nurses who have come in direct contact in families with the problems that uncontrolled birth gives. I belong in no one of these classes. I have not sufficient back ground of experience to enable me to decide wisely whether the very obvious evils of the lack of control are not more than offset by the far reaching evils of control.


My chief study of these problems has been in France, and the experience of France seems to me a bad argument for your cause. I do not mean to say that birth control necessarily would work out in the way that it seems to me to have done in France, that with a large sense of social and moral responsibility among men and women there might not be a different result. I think it is possible; but, at all events, I don’t feel competent to serve on your Committee, chiefly because I do not belong in any one of the three classes of those from which its membership, in my opinion, should be drawn.


But, please believe me, my dear Mrs. Sanger, I admire the courage and the conviction that you are putting into the matter. You have got an admirable committee, I should say. The greater number of them, from my point of view, have a right to be there; but I have not.



Very sincerely yours,