The Newberry Seminar in American Culture presents:
"The Genealogy of an Advertisement: Madame Restell, Robert Dale Owen, and the Importation of English Neo-Malthusianism to the United States, 1828-1839"
Gail Bederman, University of Notre Dame
November 17, 2000, 3:30-5pm
In 1839, New Yorkers were startled to encounter newspaper advertisements selling "Madame Restell's Preventive Powders." Addressed "To Married Women," they promised that purchasers would be able "to limit their children at will." In clear, persuasive language, they praised contraception's morality and utility. Editorialists, outraged, called for Restell's arrest.
Although Restell's arguments seem innocuous today, contemporaries correctly understood that the ideas in her ads had a history. Borrowed verbatim from Robert Dale Owen's Moral Physiology, they were developed within a trans-Atlantic intellectual subculture which had also supported free love, easy divorce, radical politics, atheism, and race-mixing. This paper traces that genealogy in order to understand why Madame Restell's circulars were so scandalous.
The seminar format assumes participants have read the paper in advance. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend. Papers are precirculated electronically whenever possible. To receive a paper contact Catherine Clement by e-mail or phone (312) 255-3524.
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for Family and Community History
The Newberry Library
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Chicago, IL 60610
phone: (312) 255-3524
fax: (312) 255-3696 Email: email@example.com Visit the website at http://www.newberry.org
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