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Women's Activism and Social Change:
Documenting the Lives of Margaret Sanger and Jane Addams

Event Date: March 24, 2003

Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, editor-in-chief of the Jane Addams Papers Project at Duke University, and Esther Katz, editor-in-chief of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University, were the featured speakers at the Women's History Month program, Women's Activism and Social Change: Documenting the Lives of Margaret Sanger and Jane Addams. The program celebrated the recent publication of the first two volumes in the Sanger and Addams papers projects, both published by the University of Illinois Press.

John Cole, Director of the Center for the Book, opened the program with brief remarks. He was followed by Janice E. Ruth, American women’s history specialist in the Library’s Manuscript Division, who introduced the speakers and provided background information on the field of documentary editing.

Known primarily as an outspoken pacifist, progressive reformer, and the founder of Hull House, Jane Addams was the leading public intellectual of her era. She powerfully influenced public opinion and policies on social welfare, educational innovation, urban reform, and women’s and labor rights. In her remarks, Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, explained that the first volume of The Selected Papers of Jane Addams, titled Preparing to Lead, 1860-81, documents Addams’s formative years, providing heretofore unavailable insight into her developing ideas, seminary education, family life and friendships within the context of nineteenth-century Illinois.

Margaret Sanger, birth control crusader, feminist, and reformer, was one of the most controversial and compelling figures of the twentieth century. The first volume of The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, titled The Woman Rebel, 1900-1928, documents the critical phases and influences of an American feminist icon and offers rare glimpses into her working-class childhood, burgeoning feminism, spiritual and scientific interests, sexual explorations,and diverse roles as wife, mother, nurse, journalist, radical socialist and activist. In her remarks, editor Esther Katz discussed the selection and annotation of documents for this edition.

This program is part of the Center for the Book's Books & Beyond author series and was cosponsored by the Library's Manuscript Division and presented in cooperation with the University of Illinois Press.

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