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Edith How-Martyn to Margaret Sanger, 14 February 1934.

Dublin Core


Edith How-Martyn to Margaret Sanger, 14 February 1934.


How-Martyn, Edith
American University of Beirut
Levy, Abraham J.
Ginsburg (Alman), Olga
Rogers, Vena
Moore, Leonard
Haddad , Sami Ibrahim
Société Internationale pour la Protection de l’Enfance
Sanger, Margaret


How-Martyn reports on her birth control travels in Palestine and Syria, her efforts to start birth control services there and how the French and British colonial governments affected her work. Also discusses the relations between Jews, Christians and Arabs.


How-Martyn, Edith


Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress (Microfilm)




Katz, Esther (initial entry)
Hajo, Cathy Moran (edited metadata)


A good faith effort was made to find rights holder. Please contact the BCI if you have any information about the rights to this letter.








Reel 20:396-99


Jerusalem, Palestine
Beirut, Syria
Tel Aviv, Palestine
Chicago, IL

Text Item Type Metadata


Beirut, Syria
14 Feb. 1934.
My dearest Margaret,

The time in Palestine from a B.C. point of view has been well worth while and I will sum it up briefly. The political & social conditions in Palestine are seething with racial hatreds, political animosities, religious fanaticism & all sections combine to press, kick or flatter the British government to favour its point of view.

Jews, Christians & Arabs coalesce very little. The Jews through Hadassah are doing magnificent work for maternity & Child Welfare & I have established some very useful contacts. Dr. Levy in charge of the work was very glad to hear everything I could tell him about B.C. tho’ anything he does will have to be strictly on medical grounds & with no publicity otherwise the Rabbis will be down on them!! In Tel Aviv Dr. Ginsburg who wrote to us in London has only been in the country 3 months but has had 10 years experience in Chicago largely in B.C. clinics. This is fortunate. I hope she will go to Jerusalem & show Dr. Levy & train some midwives for him. I have already found her a patient in Jerusalem a well-to-do Englishwoman. I tell Dr. G. that there is a great work for her to do in Palestine. On her way here she visited your clinic & I wish she had had a talk with you.

The British govt. is also doing admirable work mainly among Arabs & the Dr. in charge is anxious to know as mothers are beginning to ask for B.C. I also made good contacts with Superintendent of midwives, Medical Head & Matron of Govt. Hosp. the Govt. Welfare Inspector & others. All will have to avoid publicity or religious opposition will be roused. Here in Syria it is a different story. Under French rule B.C. is illegal but there is the large American University & American Hospital which have a very fine situation & look very flourishing. I have made contacts with several of the Professors and among them Dr. Moore who is making a reputation for himself for his skill in treating babies & children. He wd. like to introduce B.C. & I am sending him some suitable literature when I get back. If you would like to communicate with him the address is--Dr Moore American University, Beirut, Syria. I am hoping to have another talk with him. The Prof. of Surgery says there is no care for maternity & no work being done by the French Govt. & he does not think much can be done about it under French rule & anyhow “it keeps down the population.”

If the French got wind that anything serious in the way of contraception was being done in the Am. School of Medicine they wd be quite capable of closing the school on some pretext or other. In the case of the newspapers an article criticising the govt. causes the suspension of the paper, the editor is put in prison without trial & stays there during the pleasure of the authorities! Still it was worth while coming for we now have first hand knowledge & a few good contacts. Palestine & Egypt are far more enlightened & much more worth our efforts. We are going to Tel Aviv so that I may have a few days with Dr. Ginsburg before leaving Port Said on Feb 26th reaching London on March 8th. When shall we see you in England or Europe? Are you satisfied with the results of the Washington Conference? Has Matrix got any nearer being born?

Lots of love from Edith.

Original Format

Autographed Letter, Signed