Margaret Sanger, "A Statement of Facts--An Obligation Fulfilled," Aug 1918.
Published article. Source: Birth Control Review, Aug 1918, 3-4 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm S70:798 .
This is the twelfth issue of The Birth Control Review, and as such marks the fulfillment of an obligation. To me a dollar given for the support of any movement such as ours–-is more than one hundred cents, it is a pledge for the betterment of the world–-of the human race. Thus it is doubly the attitude of those chosen to administer the monies contributed for such funds, to see to it that every cent of every dollar is rightfully expended and rightfully accounted for. Governed by this conviction I have issued the twelve numbers of The Birth Control Review, and have succeeded in bringing the magazine to a point where its future usefulness is assured. Before, however, forgetting the obligations of the past in the greater promises of the future, I consider it my duty to make plain to the subscribers of this magazine certain following facts: In October, the year of 1916, the task of stimulating the birth control movement through a monthly publication was undertaken by me with the assistance of Frederick A. Blossom, former manager of the Associated Charities of Cleveland, Ohio. He came to me in Cleveland during the month of July, 1916, and volunteered his services to the movement for a period of six months. Despite the fact that he had had no previous experience in any modern or progressive movement nor scarcely any knowledge of the physical, historical or economic facts of birth control, I accepted his offer, for I believed that with his experience and assistance as manager much of the routine work would be taken off my shoulders, and that I would be able to devote more of my time to agitation, to lecture work, to the opening of clinics and to organizing more intensely some of the many details which had to be neglected because of lack of time. I also hoped to be of more general service in bringing together in closer and more constructive operation the various birth control centers which I had just organized in the United States. In October of the same year, Frederick Blossom was placed in full charge of the New York office, of all the books, of monies received and spent, and generally of all financial affairs of The Birth Control Review. In fact, he was given a confidence usually earned by years of toil and sacrifice and accomplishment.
It was expected that the first issue of the magazine would be issued immediately, but it was not until February of the following year, five months later, that the first number came from the press. The third issue and incidentally the last of his eight months of management of the magazine came in May of that year. Then, to my utter surprise, he proposed to abandon the publication, although he had accepted almost two thousand paid-in-advance subscriptions and had therefore incurred an obligation to continue the issuance of the magazine to the end of the twelfth month. His explanation was he had spent on three issues all the moneys collected, a sum which by his own calculations should have been sufficient for twelve months. He also claimed the magazine owed him several hundred dollars. In May, 1917, Frederick A. Blossom resigned as manager of The Birth Control Review and was asked to discontinue his activities on my behalf. In leaving he took with him all the furniture and furnishings of the office that had been bought in the name of the Review, all books, vouchers, checks and business or financial records of every sort, leaving me with none of the equipments necessary to carry out the obligation to the subscribers of The Birth Control Review, with nine issues out of twelve yet to be published, and not one cent in the bank account of the Review. When Frederick Blossom thus abandoned his responsibilities as manager of the Review, I asked him to give me a complete report or statement of receipts and expenditures. This request was never complied with nor have I to this day been able to obtain the books from him, although this request was made at various times covering the period of a year, sometimes as often as once a week. I needed and asked for the following:
1. The total amount received from subscribers.
2. The names and amounts received from contributors.
3. Moneys received through cash sales of the Review other than through subscribers.
4. Total amount received from sales of the "Girl" and "Mother" books and other literature; also
1. The dates and amounts paid for printing the various issues.
2. Amount spent for postage, wrappers and other incidental disbursements.
3. Amount paid for "Girl" and "Mother" books.
HIS ANSWER WAS that I could "count the number of subscribers on file and send to the printer for the printing bills" for any information. I then requested him, as I had not received a statement, to send to me by return mail the book or books in which a full account of receipts and contributions had been kept, also the bank book, check book and vouchers of the Review account, saying that I would prepare a statement and submit it to him for correction before taking it to the committee of friends who were willing to help me. He refused flatly to do this, and I then placed the matter in the hands of my attorney. Finally, one year after his resignation as manager of The Birth Control Review, he sent to my attorney not a financial statement of receipts and expenditures, nor the books, vouchers, etc., but what purported to be a statement of bank deposits and withdrawals by checks which amounted to $4,816.25. Upon obtaining a transcript of this account from the bank, it was found that their account showed deposits and withdrawals to the amount of $5,185.50. That discrepancy is a question between Frederick Blossom and the bank. Much as the money involved is needed in the movement, its loss, if loss there be, is overshadowed by the difficulties, the embarrassment and injury to the movement from his failure to return to The Birth Control Review its documents and to give an accounting of his financial transaction of his stewardship. All that we have to show covering that stewardship of eight months is the report of deposits and withdrawals, which does not agree with the banks and three numbers of The Birth Control Review. This meeting was finally brought to a head by the interjection of the B.C.L. of New York in the matter. An annual meeting of the B.C.L. of New York was called in Frederick Blossom's apartment on May 11th to elect officers. The newly elected officers, of which Hiram Myers was president, Mrs. Eugene Stone, vice-president; Jonah J. Goldstein, treasurer; Elizabeth Stuyvesant, secretary, requested Frederick Blossom, former treasurer of the League, to pass over to its newly elected officers all books, accounts, etc., of the League. This he refused to do, and the treasurer and president issued a complain against him in the district attorney's office.
IN THE MEANTIME the New York Women's Publishing Co., Inc., had been formed to take over the publishing of the Review and assist me in fulfilling my obligations to subscribers. This statement would have been made earlier, but it could not be made until absolute proof had been given that all obligations included in a year's subscription had been discharged. The Birth Control Review has made good its obligations to its supporters and to the movement--so far as we have been able to ascertain them--even in the absence of the records which Frederick Blossom has as yet not surrendered. If anyone who has paid for a subscription to the Review has not received it, information should be sent to this office at once in order that the unavoidable omission may be made good. Whatever the outcome of the disagreement--personal, petty in the extreme, it does not conflict with the work nor obstruct the goal that is to be reached. Everywhere throughout the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the birth control idea is progressing and the future of the movement is assured.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project