Electronic Edition (in production)

The Speeches and Articles of Margaret Sanger, 1911-1959

Go to Beta version

Project launched a third phase of its work, the production of a web-based edition, The Speeches and Articles of Margaret Sanger (1911-1959), to be made available

The free of charge. Unlike much of the historical material currently available on the Internet, our edition will be a completely vetted, historically accurate digital version of her papers and will conform to established standards, both in terms of technical features of its encoding, and in terms of providing accurate renderings of the texts. The Speeches will provide complete access to all of Sanger’s articles, speeches and statements, including both those most frequently cited and those that are often inaccessible to general readers. Through Sanger’s written words and public utterances on labor strikes, prison reform, sex education and, of course, birth control, readers can trace the progression of her ideas and locate her definitive positions on subjects such as the medical profession and legalized contraception, the socio-economic justification for contraceptive use, and such hot-button issues as race and eugenics, population control and sterilization.

With the electronic edition, the Project seeks to make these documents much more accessible to researchers. In a collection where there is so much material on a handful of subjects, we feel that the editors must help researchers wade through the documents with a variety of aids. We will enable readers to search documents by date ranges, by publication sources, and by types (speech, draft article, etc.). We will also make available word searches. While these searches often return too many matches, they are invaluable for a researcher who wants to see each and every instance of Sanger’s use of a term. A reader then could search through Sanger’s writings for the word "abortion" and go through each of them to get a sense of her views. But readers will find that though Sanger uses the word often, relatively few texts are actually about abortion. In most instances Sanger simply stated that birth control would reduce the frequency of abortions. To solve this problem, the Project will subject index the documents which, in the above example, will provide fewer, but more relevant results. Using subject terms in conjunction with word searches will enable us to meet our goal of providing ready access to these documents.

The web-based edition will be hosted by New York University’s Studio for Digital Projects and Research, a collaborative facility of NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library and its Information Technology Service, using the XML encoding system developed by the Model Editions Partnership. Once completed, the edition will be mounted, maintained and preserved by the Studio, and made available for use free of charge.

Project staff have selected over six hundred documents for inclusion and are currently transcribing, proofreading and researching these documents (eliminating multiple versions, verifying dates and titles, and searching for published versions when we only have drafts), and encoding them for display and searching on the Internet.

Funding for this aspect of the Project's work is raised separately from the book edition.


1929 image courtesy of the Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram and Sun Collection.