Women's Activism and
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.
Center for the Book