June 21, 2001
4:39 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know what Comstockism might be? It sounds quite dastardly, whatever it is.
posted by Mocata (5 comments total)
look up Anthony Comstock in search engine.
posted by Postroad at 4:46 AM on June 21, 2001

Anthony Comstock was the father of censorship in the United States. He founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and actually got the U.S. goverment to pay him to intercept mail and remove "objectionable" material. He tried his best to keep information about contraception out of all publications, including medical texts.

Comstock was such an easy mark that a famous publicist, Harry Reichenbach, goaded him into objecting to a obscure painting in order to sell 2,000 prints of it that no one was buying. The prank worked and September Morn sold seven million copies.
posted by rcade at 5:58 AM on June 21, 2001

As rcade suggests, Comstock fought the efforts of pioneering feminist Margaret Sanger to disseminate information about birth control. Comstock won, and Sanger spent time in jail.
posted by briank at 6:07 AM on June 21, 2001

And he confiscated 60,000 condoms in warehouse raids in the first months after the passage of the federal Comstock law in 1873.
posted by debrahyde at 6:34 AM on June 21, 2001

Great stuff! Thanks, informed MeFi community.
posted by Mocata at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2001

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