Document 39: Margaret Sanger to James Hubert, 11 June 1935, 2 pp., Reel 31, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document 39: Margaret Sanger to James Hubert, 11 June 1935, 2 pp., Reel 31, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


   In this letter, Sanger thanked Urban League president James Hubert for his cooperation over the years. But this was not the only reason she wrote to Hubert. She also wanted to respond to statements made by American Birth Control League (ABCL) leaders during the transition that suggested that she was eager to rid herself of the Harlem clinic. This letter detailed her understanding of the circumstances of the league's takeover of the Harlem Branch clinic (see Document 38). She reiterated that the ABCL had contacted her because they had received a bequest with which to set up a free clinic in Harlem. Sanger's implication was that the league takeover of the clinic came from their side; they wanted to avoid duplicating services in Harlem.

   Her account, however, reveals that she made the decision to hand the clinic to the American Birth Control League without directly consulting the Advisory Council. Sanger noted that she had not spoken with the council or with Hubert about this decision before leaving the New York area to tend to a family emergency (see Document 41). She did however, ask her trusted associates at the Clinical Research Bureau, Hannah Stone (medical director) and Hazel Zborowski (business manager), to contact the Advisory Council and take care of all the arrangements.[111] At the end of the letter, Sanger stated that she believed that the arrangements were acceptable to the Advisory Council and the Urban League and asked for feedback if that was incorrect. The details of the transfer said much about the power dynamics between the African Americans on the Advisory Board and the white women who ran the Harlem Branch clinic; decisionmaking rested with white benefactors and consultation with African American advisors was often limited and late. Although Sanger tried to ensure that the Advisory Council of the Harlem Branch clinic would share power with the board of the new clinic, this did not happen.[112] See Document 40 for Mabel Staupers's angry response to this turn of events and Sanger's role in it.

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June 11, 1935.

Mr. James H. Hubert,
c/o New York Urban League,
202 West 136

th Street,
New York City.

Dear Mr. Hubert:

   Upon my return from California, where I have been with my son, I find that arrangements have been concluded between the New York City Committee and the Clinical Research Bureau for the taking over of the Harlem branch of the Birth Control clinic.

   I regret very much that I was unable to see you and the members of the Harlem Advisory Council of the clinic before I left. But as I asked Dr. Hannah Stone to represent me and Mrs. Hazel Zborowski to attend to the administrative details with the New York Committee, I felt that all would be in good hands.

   For our records I would like to state the case of the transfer:-

   The Harlem Branch of the Clinical Research Bureau was established by me on February 4, 1930. We moved to the Urban League on May 1, 1933. We have had the most pleasant relations and cooperation between the doctors and staff has been most satisfactory. Since the Rosenwald Fund discontinued financing the clinic, Mrs. Felix Fuld has been our largest and main contributor. While we have not had any large contributions from the negro patients, by accepting the white patients at Harlem clinic we have been able to offset any deficit and to carry on from year to year.

   About a month ago Mrs. Louis B. de Moore[A], representing the New York Committee and the American Birth Control League, gave me the good news that a legacy had been left to the New York Committee to establish a free Birth Control clinic in Harlem for colored people. She asked if I would not like to cooperate with the New York Committee and further stated that she and Mrs. Lamont[B] of the Committee wondered if we would not like to turn over the present clinic in Harlem to the New York City Committee; to be run as a free clinic under the terms of the legacy that was left for this purpose.

   I told Mrs. Moore that I thought that our Committee would be willing to do this and that I would get in touch with the individual members at the earliest possible convenience. I told her quite frankly that without the financial assistance of Mrs. Fuld[C] it would be a difficult matter to carry the Harlem clinic. If there was money left for this purpose I would rather see out present clinic continued than an extra one set up with the extra overhead and all the expense that it involves. I expressed the hope to Mrs. Moore that there would be the same cooperation between the Harlem Advisory Committee that had existed between that Committee and the Clinical Research Bureau. If such arrangements were agreeable to the Harlem Advisory Committee that I personally would be willing to turn over to the New York City Committee the Birth

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   Control clinic at Harlem with headquarters at present in the New York Urban League.

   I understand that arrangements have already been made and all this acceptable to the Harlem Advisory Council and to the Urban League. If there is any point of interest or importance that should go in this record will you kindly inform of such so that it may be corrected.

   With best wishes for the continued success. Please extend to the Urban League and the Advisory Council not only my personal thanks but the thanks of our Clinical Research Bureau for the splendid cooperation that has attained through all our relations since 1933.

Very sincerely yours,


   A. Allison Pierce Moore was a member of the board of the ABCL.

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   B. Florence Haskell Corliss Lamont, wife of financier Thomas Lamont, was also a member of the ABCL board. Thomas Lamont coordinated the fundraising efforts of the New York City birth control agencies later in the decade.

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   C. Carrie Fuld was a longtime advocate of Sanger's work and the main financial supporter of the Harlem Branch clinic (see Document 9, Document 28, and Document 31).

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