Today in Feminist History: Sex Education is not “Obscene” (April 29, 1929)

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Today in Feminist History is our daily recap of the major milestones and minor advancements that shaped women’s history in the U.S.—from suffrage to Shirley Chisholm and beyond. These posts were written by, and are presented in homage to, our late staff historian and archivist, David Dismore.


April 29, 1929: Mary Ware Dennett was sentenced today for violating the Comstock Act by sending a sex education pamphlet through the mail.

The booklet, entitled “The Sex Side of Life,” was originally a manuscript she wrote in 1915 for her own sons, then aged 10 and 14, because what few materials on the subject she could find contained inaccurate information, and were clearly intended to induce shame and fear about human sexuality.

Her essay was so well written that her friends with adolescent children asked to borrow it, and eventually it was reprinted in the prestigious…

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