Scope and arrangement
Kitty Marion's papers briefly document her personal life and involvement with both the Birth Control International Information Centre in London and the American Birth Control League's Birth Control Review. The materials range from 1908 to 1939, with the bulk of the materials falling between 1934 and 1937, when she was actively involved in the American and international birth control movements.
The collection includes annotated drafts of her memoirs in English and German, incoming correspondence and newsletters, printed matter--much of which features articles on Marion herself, a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, and three photographs.
The Kitty Marion papers are arranged in four series:
- 1908-1914, 1930, n.d.
Kitty Marion's writings consist of autobiographical entries and personal testimonies on protests in which she participated, her treatment in British and American jails, and accounts of the abuses of female actresses in the British theater. A small amount of information is present regarding organizations with which she was affiliated.
The bulk of this series is comprised of Marion's memoirs, heavily annotated by hand. The materials cover her life from early childhood through her involvement with the American birth control movement in the 1930s. In them she discusses her family, life as a German immigrant in England, experiences as an actress in the theater, the means through which she became involved with the Suffragettes, her various imprisonments and excruciating force-feedings, and her career as a newspaper woman selling the Birth Control Review in New York City. The manuscript of the memoirs is present in both English and German language drafts.
Other statements by Marion include a 1908 signed account of manipulative tricks often used by theater managers, a copy of a letter Marion addressed to newspapers on the subject of women in the theater, a personal statement about her imprisonment in the Newcastle Prison in 1909, and an undated speech given by Marion in defense to her arrest for destruction of government property in Newcastle.
The series is concluded by a 1930 draft report written by Miss Marion for the Birth Control International Information Centre, and a list of organizations with which she was active or to which she had made financial contributions.
- 1926, 1933-1939, n.d.
The majority of the letters are from Edith How-Martyn, honorary director of the Birth Control International Information Centre (BCIIC) in London and, coincidentally, one of the first Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) members to be sent to prison. Also present are a fair number of letters from the secretary of the BCIIC, Olive Johnson. The letters of both women report Mrs. How-Martyn's travels in East and Southeast Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East, and Jamaica, with the goals of spreading birth control education and influencing public policy.
The letters report conferences attended by Mrs. How-Martyn, and her reception by local public health officials and doctors. She mentions a meeting with Mahatma Gandhi on the subject of birth control in India. Also mentioned are debates on policy in Great Britain and abroad on the topics of sexual education in schools, alternative birth control methods, population management, abortion, sterilization, and the formation of marriage bureaus.
How-Martyn also offered observations of political issues in the countries she visited, commenting on the reception of birth control advocates in Ireland, and by Catholics throughout her travels, the scandal involving Prince Edward and Mrs. Simpson in England, the activities of Hitler and Mussolini, conflict between China and Japan, and increasing tensions in the Holy Land.
There were originally occasional newspaper clippings included in the correspondence, however these were separated at the time of original processing, and have since been placed in Series III. Printed material and scrapbook.
- 1909, 1917, 1927-1937, n.d.
Printed matter includes materials from the Birth Control International Information Centre, the Birth Control Worldwide News Service, banquet programs from events attended by Kitty Marion, and selected journals and magazines featuring stories on Miss Marion and her colleagues.
The Birth Control Worldwide News Service materials are newsletters dating between 1934 and 1937. The newsletters are typed and include indexes and abstracts preceding each edition. Several mention Kitty Marion, as well as detailed diary accounts of Edith How-Martyn's travels. Other frequent inclusions were excerpts from public speeches on birth control, and copies of pertinent newspaper articles.
The materials from the Birth Control International Information Centre include three copies of the center's newsletter, and several flyers and invitations advertising Edith How-Martyn lectures from 1935 through 1937, some of which occurred in India. The newsletter is present in three volumes dated October 1934, and February and November 1935.
Among the journals and magazines included in the collection are a 1935 copy of The Literary Digest, which contains an article entitled "The Birth Control Debate Renewed;" copies of The New Yorker from 1927, 1930, and 1936, each of which contain short features on Miss Marion; a 1917 edition of The Suffragist, reporting on the famous women's White House protest during the visit of the Russian envoys; and a 1909 edition of Votes for Women edited by Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, which includes an article about the mass arrests following the June 29 protests of that year. This last article is accompanied by a list of brief biographies on the arrestees, including Kitty Marion.
The scrapbook and newspaper clippings contain materials from a variety of different newspapers, ranging in date from 1917 to 1930. Some of the loose clippings were separated from Marion's incoming correspondence during initial processing, and were relocated to this series.
Many items in the series feature articles relating to the birth control movement; articles on Miss Marion's sales of the Review in New York and resulting arrests; features on Marion's colleagues, including Rosika Schwimmer; and other agitation activities of Marion's. One such activity was her 1917 ejection from a public conference at Carnegie Hall, at which she heckled Commissioner of Correction Burdette Lewis for his policy of force-feeding political prisoners. Also included is a October 2, 1937 weekly edition copy of the Viennese newspaper Neues Wiener Tageblatt. The paper contains an article on British Suffragettes and mentions Kitty Marion.
- 1925, n.d.
Photographs consist of one photo of Kitty Marion with two unidentified children, a photo of Miss Marion selling The Birth Control Review that ran with several newspaper articles, and a snapshot of women and staff in the office of the American Birth Control League clinic.
The photos featuring Miss Marion are not dated, however the American Birth Control League clinic photo dates from 1925.