Digital Edition (in production)

The Speeches and Articles of Margaret Sanger, 1911-1959 --A Digital Edition

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The Speeches and Articles of Margaret Sanger (1911-1959) is a web-based edition of Sanger’s writings that includes articles, pamphlets, speeches, stories, and interviews, produced by The Margaret Sanger Papers Project 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.

In a collection where there is so much material on a handful of subjects, readers may search documents by a date ranges, publication source, and type of document (speech, draft article, etc.), as well as by simple word. While such searches often return too many matches, they are invaluable for a researcher who wants to see each instance of Sanger’s use of a word or term. A reader could search for the word "abortion" and go through each of them to get a sense of her views. However, in such a search will pick up not just discussions of abortion, but mere use of the word. In many instances Sanger simply said that birth control would reduce the frequency of abortions. To solve the problem of getting too many, often not relevant “hits,” the Project has prepared a subject index. In the above example, this index will help generate fewer, but more relevant results.

After eliminating variant versions and copies, the editors have included nearly 1,000 documents, each verified by date and title. We have searched for published versions when we only have drafts, and have culled from multiple versions to create the most complete documents. Each document was then carefully transcribed, proofread, and encoded each document, employing the XML P-5 encoding system developed for the humanities by the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Documents were then indexed by subject.

Project staff have selected close to 1,0000 documents for inclusion which will be transcribed for easier reading. In transcriptions we try to stay as close to the original copy text as possible, while still making the documents easily readable. Changes, amendations, and corrections to the document made by Sanger have been retained , as has most punctuation. Slips of the pen, spelling errors, and other elements that would impede word searches have been silently corrected. Any text added to the document by the editors supplied dates, our reading of illegible or partially obscured words) is rendered in [square brackets and italics]. Source notes at the top of each transcription provides information regarding the location or original publication information. The location on our microfilm edition is cited as follows: LCM (Library of Congress microfilm), MSM (Margaret Sanger Microfilm Edition) followed by an “S” for Smith College Collections or “C” forCollected Documents), and the reel/frame numbers. We have transcribed the documents staying as close to the original copy text as possible, while still making the documents easily readable. Changes, amendations, and corrections to the document made by Sanger have been retained , as has most punctuation. Slips of the pen, spelling errors, and other elements that would impede word searches have been silently corrected. Any text added to the document by the editors (supplied dates, our reading of illegible or partially obscured words) is rendered in [square brackets and italics]. Source notes at the top of each transcription provides information regarding the location or original publication information. The location on our microfilm edition is cited as follows: LCM (Library of Congress microfilm), MSM (“S” for Smith College Collections and “C”Collected Documents), followed by the reel and frame numbers.“S” for Smith College Collections and “C”Collected Documents), followed by the reel and frame numbers.

The web-based edition will have access to NYU's Studio for Digital Projects and Research, a collaborative facility of NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library and its Information Technology Service.

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