Sanger, Margaret

The Practice of Contraception

  • First edition, first printing of the results of the Seventh International Birth Control Conference, a “major milestone in the history of contraception” (The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, NYU, newsletter 56, winter 2010/2011). A superb copy, scarce in such nice condition.

    The conference was conceived and organised by birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger (1876-1966), whose goal was to hold a low-key and little-publicised meeting of scientists and doctors, a “fact-finding conference” on scientific progress in birth control, rather than a political meeting. Notably, “For the first time in an international gathering, Sanger gave women doctors and clinicians nearly equal time at the podium” (MSPP 56).

    “The Zurich conference featured forward-looking papers and discussions on new contraceptive technologies and investigations, including an early breakthrough in using hormones to suppress ovulation in mice, the concept that evolved into the birth control pill three decades later. Sessions on various categories of contraceptive methods, on sterilization and on abortion, highlighted new research that led to immediate advancements in the field, such as the independent findings of Dr. Hermann Knaus of Austria and Kyusaku Ogino of Japan that confirmed predictable days of sterility in a woman’s cycle and opened the floodgates to rhythm calendars. Other contraceptive technologies that had shown promise, including a new form of an intrauterine device (IUD) and X-Ray sterilization, met with fierce criticism at the conference that slowed the clinical acceptance of these methods. Recommendations of diaphragms and several reports on recent tests of chemical methods provided a much needed quality control service for the many clinic directors in attendance. In addition, papers by statisticians and demographers led to reappraisals of the links between class and family size. Sanger and her coordinating staff also provided a comprehensive exhibit of contraceptive devices and clinic forms and charts, as well as statistical information gleaned from questionnaires sent out by Sanger to clinics in Europe, Asia and the United States” (MSPP 56).

  • ...An International Symposium and Survey. Edited by Margaret Sanger and Hannah M. Stone. With a Foreword by Robert L. Dickinson. From the Proceedings of the Seventh International Birth Control Conference Zurich, Switzerland, September, 1930.

    Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Company, 1931.

    Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. A superb fresh copy in the jacket with some minor wear and tiny nicks at the extremities and a closed tear to the lower panel. Excellent condition.

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