Guide to the Margaret Sanger letter to Vachel Lindsay, 1925 February 13
The Margaret Sanger letter to Vachel Linsday regards a request from the contraception activist to the poet asking him to write a statement of support to be read at an upcoming birth control conference. Linsday responds by writing a note at the bottom of Sanger's letter replying that he wishes to father "twelve sons seven feet high" with the famously long-haired Seven Sutherland Sisters. The accompanying pamphlet contains the program for the upcoming conference.
- Collection Number
- Margaret Sanger letter to Vachel Lindsay
- 0.1 Linear Feet, 2 items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
The collection consists of a single-page typescript autograph letter from Margaret Sanger to the poet Vachel Lindsay with an autograph manuscript note at the bottom and an accompanying single-sheet folded pamphlet. The pamphlet contains the program for the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference held in New York March 25-31, 1925; the letter is composed on matching letterhead and addressed to Lindsay care of the Macmillan Company in New York. In the letter, Sanger asks Lindsay if he would be willing to compose a message of support to be read at the conference. Lindsay sent the letter back to Sanger with a playful manuscript note by way of reply at the bottom signed Nicholas Vachel Lindsay. His response states that he wants "twelve sons, seven feet high," and that the best way to get them would be "to marry the Seven Sutherland Sisters, as long-haired women have long-legged sons." He concludes by asking Sanger if she knows where the Sisters happen to be at the time. The Seven Sutherland Sisters were famously long-haired and traveled with Barnum and Bailey as a family singing act. In a 1926 letter to the poet Sara Teasdale, Lindsay's wife Elizabeth refers to this as "his famous response" to the Neo-Malthusian Conference.
Source: The Annotated Letters of Nicholas Vachel Linsday to Sara Trevor Teasdale http://www.vachellindsay.org/LetterstoSara/vl_letters_210_241.pdf; viewed March 9, 2017
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Margaret Sanger letter to Vachel Lindsay, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Margaret Sanger was a pioneering American family planning activist who opened the first birth control clinic in the United States and founded organizations that evolved into the modern Planned Parenthood Federation. Vachel Linsday was a populist American poet who traveled extensively performing his works, which were meant to be sung or chanted.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference
- Lisa Unger Baskin Collection (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
- Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
- Sutherland family
The Margaret Sanger letter to Vachel Lindsay was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.
Processed by Megan E. Lewis, March, 2017
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0050-LUBMSS426