Document 9: Margaret Sanger to Nathan Levin, Comptroller of the Rosenwald Fund, 29 December 1930, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 2 pp.
The year the Harlem Branch clinic opened was the first year of the Great Depression. In this year-end report to the Rosenwald Fund, Sanger detailed the difficult economic conditions in Harlem as she presented the need for continued funding.
The clinic received $5,000 matching grants from the Rosenwald Fund in 1930 and 1931, matching them each of those years with funds from Sanger's longtime supporter, Mrs. Felix (Carrie) Fuld. The fund's assets were largely composed of Sears, Roebuck stock, which plummeted from a high of $200 a share to less than $10 a share after the stock market collapsed. Because of its own financial situation, the Rosenwald Fund cut back its programs, and it did not renew its support for the Harlem Branch clinic after 1931.
December 29, 1930
Mr. Nathan W. Levin,
Julius Rosenwald Fund,
900 South Homan Avenue,
Dear Mr. Levin:
I enclose herewith copy of our auditor's account for the HARLEM CLINIC, and I would appreciate very much having the next payment on the pledge made by the Rosenwald Fund for this work.
You will see on December 1st we had $821. in the bank. With the remainder of your contribution it will just about allow us to complete our year's work. I have had pledges amounting to about $300. These have not come in yet but I shall endeavor to secure them shortly.
The report of the Harlem activities was sent to you with a list of some of the typical cases.
I am glad to tell you that I think that this piece of work in Harlem has been of inestimable service to the people in that community.
I am now listing some of the most prominent individuals on our Advisory Committee and already have had some splendid responses from clergymen, doctors, social workers, who are willing to help us in the future.
This year, as you no doubt know, has been a severe one and the Harlem Clinic was established to demonstrate the necessity of this work being carried on among the colored people. I think it is quite certain now, and conceded by those interested, that we should continue this branch of the work in Harlem. I should like to plan for at least three years, and I would like your
advice and any suggestions as to the possibility of getting the Rosenwald Fund to help during that period. I feel quite certain that if we could have your backing for this period of time that I might be able to get Mrs. Fuld to help me too.
I am quite convinced that the colored people themselves, while giving their moral support and backing, are unable to do so financially. You will note that the fees of $114.90 are very small considering that we have had about seven hundred patients. The amount from the supplies, too, is very meagre, but on the other hand the social workers tell us that there is a great deal of unemployment among the colored people. We are, therefore, obliged to carry some of our patients free, until the husband or wife is employed again.
Please accept my deepest thanks for your help in this important piece of work.
I extend to you my best wishes for the season.
P.S. The general report of the Harlem Clinic was sent to Dr. Davis December 8th.[A]
A. Michael Davis (1879-1971) was a medical economist who pioneered in fee-for-service medical clinics and health insurance plans. He served as the medical director of the Rosenwald Fund for the period 1928 to 1936. See Edwin R. Embree and Julia Waxman, Investment in People: The Story of the Julius Rosenwald Fund (New York: Harper, 1949), pp. 123-29.
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