Margaret Sanger

Founder of The Reproductive Rights Movement

Portrait of Margaret Sanger
Harris & Ewing, Margaret Sanger, 1932, glass negative, Harris & Ewing photograph collection

Early Life

Margaret Sanger was born on September 14, 1879 in Corning, New York. She was born the sixth of eleven children. When she was nineteen, her mother passed away from tuberculosis at age fifty. It was then that Margaret realized what the strain of eleven births and seven miscarriages did to her mother’s health. In front of her mother’s coffin, she yelled to her father, “You caused this. Mother is dead from having too many children.”

This incited her to leave her hometown and pursue a career in nursing. She studied at Claverack College, and later started to work at White Plains Hospital in 1902. There, she met and married William Sanger, an architect, and had three children. Later, however, she got a divorce and remarried to Noah H. Slee in 1922.