3 Mar:
Comstock’s War On Obscenity

Sending rude mail was dealt a devastating blow on 3rd March, 1873, when the campaign against pornography, reproductive health, birth control, and abortion led by self-appointed ‘Special Agent’ of the US Postal Service Anthony Comstock went all the way to Washington. 

After the ‘Comstock Act’ became law, books were banned, ‘obscene’ pamphlets were destroyed, and, in Comstock’s home state of Connecticut, birth control was banned – even within a marriage.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discover what Comstock thought of the women he met at the White House; reveal his earliest crackdowns on licentiousness; and uncover George Bernard Shaw’s trolling of ‘Comstockery’ in the New York press…

#1800s #Politics #Publishing

Further Reading:

• ‘How an Anti-Obscenity Crusader Policed America’s Mail for Decades’ (HISTORY, 2022): https://www.history.com/news/comstock-act-1873-obscenity-contraception-mail

• ‘Anthony Comstock’s “Chastity” Laws’ (PBS American Experience): https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-anthony-comstocks-chastity-laws/#:~:text=In%20the%20late%201860s%2C%20Comstock%20began%20supplying%20the,the%20contraceptive%20industry%20as%20one%20of%20his%20targets.

• ‘The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age’ (National Archives, 2022):