"THE BASIC FREEDOM OF THE WORLD IS WOMAN'S FREEDOM": FIRST EDITION OF MARGARET SANGER'S FIRST BOOK
SANGER, Margaret. Woman and the New Race. With a Preface by Havelock Ellis. New York: Brentano's, (1920). Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $2800.
First edition of the controversial first book by Sanger, who coined the phrase "birth control" in her struggle for women's rights, a splendid copy in the original dust jacket.
"As the originator of the phrase 'birth control' and its best-known advocate, Margaret Sanger survived Federal indictments, a brief jail term, numerous lawsuits, hundreds of street-corner rallies and raids on her clinics to live to see much of the world accept her view that family planning is a basic human right" (New York Times). Three years before publication of Woman and the New Race, her first book, she was imprisoned for "distributing contraceptives… when she died 50 years later, the cause for which she defiantly broke the law had achieved international stature… For more than half a century Sanger dedicated herself to the deceptively simple proposition that access to a safe and reliable means of preventing pregnancy is a necessary condition of women's liberation and, in turn, of human progress." Woman and the New Race was initially titled "The Modern Woman Movement." After it was rejected by Macmillan, Brentano's "gave it a new title, an allusion not to distinctions of color but to 'race' in its generic sense, as in 'the human race'… 'The basic freedom of the world is woman's freedom,' Margaret wrote… 'No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother'… The availability of modern, scientific birth control, in her view, had suddenly presented women an unavoidable challenge to protect and promote their own freedom and to advance society's well-being by propagating individuals capable of meeting the vigorous demands of modern life." Her book was also controversial for frankly invoking a woman's erotic and sexual freedoms by "celebrating the right of women to make love, as well as to do good" (Chesler, Woman of Valor, 11, 193-94). The year before her death, "the Supreme Court affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control, a right extended to unmarried couples in 1972" (ANB). With frontispiece portrait. Preface by Havelock Ellis. First edition, with no edition statement on copyright page.
Book about-fine, dust jacket with only light rubbing and toning to extremities and a few tiny dampstains to spine. A near-fine copy.