The Margaret Sanger Papers Project is a historical editing project sponsored by the Division of Libraries at New York University. The Project was formed by Dr. Esther Katz in 1985 to locate, arrange, edit, research, and publish the papers of the noted birth control pioneer. Until 2014, the Project was sponsored by the Department of History.
Margaret Sanger lived a long and productive life. Acutely aware of her position as a reformer and the historical importance of her work, Sanger preserved her papers, dividing them between the Library of Congress and Smith College. Though she originally made a distinction between her "professional" papers, which were to be given to the Library of Congress, and her "personal" papers, which were to go to Smith College, in practice that distinction was not followed rigidly, and both collections contain personal and professional material. These collections are large and cover much of her life; a reader will most likely need to consult both collections for information on any given issue.
Though Sanger contacted her associates in the 1940s and the 1950s, urging them to send her the letters she had written them so that they could be preserved in her collection, she did not recover all of them. In order to fill the gaps in the two main archives, the Margaret Sanger Papers Project (MSPP) undertook a ten-year search to locate Sanger documents in other collections. In the process we located and collected some 7,000 documents, many of them fascinating personal letters written to close friends and confidants, which were located in over 400 archives and private collections.
We are still actively gathering Sanger papers: letters written to or from her, letters written on her behalf by secretaries, reports or interviews by her, speeches, articles, and diaries. If you have any Sanger Papers in your private collection or know of any at a library or archive, please contact the project to see if we have already located them.