Margaret Sanger, "Does Youth Win the Race?," 1911.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Collected Documents Series, C16:1049."


Does youth win the race

Beauty or Brains?

Adoption of little Italian immigrant (slum) child by childless couple (show Ellis Island with incoming family of several children).

Mother splendid type of American school teacher--big-brained & unselfish--intellectual in all current activities.

Her devotion & intellect makes ↑weak↓ husband climb for step by step to highest position in his profession she studies & suggests--he accepts & gets benefit--daughter (adopted) gets same devotion.

Mother tireless in training her in habits of neatness--but she only cares for style;--tireless in training her in habits of concentration--girl flippant and inconstant.

The only quality which seems natural--real--is her voice inherited from Italian parentage far back in that land of sunshine

Thus the mother trains--works night & day to train voice of much beloved child.

Husband dies--

Mother spends entire fortune in helping daughter--who improves but little--good voice but lazy & will not work to develop--

Mother takes in sewing & washing & ironing ↑men's↓ silk shirts as a speciality--

Meets George Neenan a poor but ambitious composer.

He falls in love with mothers [one word missing] mental and mother with him--

Finds himself seeking her advice in all important questions.

mp;hrough her advice he succeeds in a big composition & wins great victory--

Daughter comes home--

Neenan falls in love with daughter--while still in love with the womans mind her big grasp on the world affairs--her deep understanding her psychic & intentional qualities awe him--he needs them--but he loves Dorothy.

He comes to live in their home (flat) to live in touch with the inspiration of Helen the Mother--

He does not tell Dora he loves her--

He tells Helen he can not love her as he would like to-- He is married & can not get divorced.

Helen wants to make him the greatest in the musical world-- She studies for him early & late helps him to rise--and he does--

Word came that his wife has passed away--he is now free to choose--

He is torn between physical love for Dora and the ideal love of Helen--. One love which satisfies the cravings of the ↑body↓ . The other which lifts & exalts the growth of the soul. Man being a physical creature--ages of physical cravings satisfied--the test too hard--

He sees a young couple with a baby & walks behind them & hears their conversation of happiness & joy in their mutual love & he pictures their state of happiness & home life--and torn to a frenzy by the new freedom and the joy which he knows can be his for the asking-- He rushes off to the theatre & asks Dora to marry him.

They marry--

He fearing to lose Helens help--urges Dora to keep their marriage secret.

A happier triangle could not be conceived of--

He the adored of two women is has a complete life--beauty to fill his artistic & physical eye and a clean, clear inspiring intelligence to urge him on to greater & higher accomplishment.

The great pain of Helen is Doras lack of purpose, of character or stability & she covers-up those shortcomings in every way.

He feeds Doras vanity--

Helen feeds his mind.

She is content in the service of [one word illegible] ↑helping↓ them to grow--

From them she gets nothing both selfishly engrossed in their own vanities-- They let her serve on--while they make love behind her back.

Such secrets must out--and after several months they inform Helen that they are to become the loving parents of a new born child.

Helen [one word illegible] receives this news quietly--without emotion.

He fearing she has had a shock--talks quietly-- He tells her of his love for Dora from the moment he laid eyes upon her lovely face. The charm of her voice-- The lift of her adorable eyes-- The fascination of her in all her gestures & doings--his passion abject & helpless before her as none before had come into his life. She listens gazes coldly into his face realizing how little he had her in his thoughts--what a fool she had been--to think he had. Helen turns to Dora--and says What have you to say "Babe Dora stops chewing gum long enough to wipe a tear away from her much powdered face & says indifferently--oh I dont care mother--don't make a scene all over the place-- Its no bodys business who I marry-- So whats the matter with you?

We can all live togerher just the same--wheres the tragedy--cant I marry & have a baby like other folks without a funeral.

Helen reviews in her mind the baby she took under her care the nights & days watching & caring. The confidences etc and then bursts into flame.

Yes you have that right--you both have-- But you had no right to deceive--to ↑live↓ a life of lies to me--to each other. You, poor dear pretty child--for you I can ↑do↓ not blame--

But you George Neenan--you are not a child. You are a man. Your marriage--your love for Dora does not hurt me--but I hate you for the faith you have robbed me of-- I hate you for exploiting my love of you--you knew I loved you. I despise you for climbing to fame upon a woman's Soul.

And now I leave you to each other

Neenan & Dora, one year later in apartment with Dora, untidy unkept & unhappy--quarreling a common habit-- She is still beautiful to look at--but he has missed the intellectual pillar of his successful career. He has gone down hill rapidly--both taken to drink her voice gone--his career [one word torn] . They separate!

Helen takes up social work & becomes head organizer of great national campaign for women. Years (5) later--watches her go ↑proudly↓ past & wonders-- For now he thinks only brains make for real & lasting Beauty.


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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