The First Annual Report of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Presented at New York, February 11, 1875. NEW YORK, SOCIAL WELFARE, VICE.

The First Annual Report of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Presented at New York, February 11, 1875

[New York]: Printed for the Society, 1875.

First Edition. pp 11, [1]. Disbound from a larger volume, otherwise very good. Founded in 1873 by social reformer Anthony Comstock (under the auspices of the YMCA), the New York City Society for the Suppression of Vice monitored the compliance of New York State with state laws regarding morality and what they deemed to be obscenity. "The society crusaded against pornography and persuaded Congress to pass federal legislation, known as the Comstock Act, making illegal the transportation and delivery of “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” materials....Culling the mail for improper materials, Comstock and his colleagues later claimed that they had destroyed 160 tons of obscenity" (First Amendment Encyclopedia). In the course of their work, the Society came into frequent public conflict with progressive social reformers who sought to educate the American public about sexual health and contraception, prominent writers whose work they tried (sometimes successfully) to censor, and booksellers who sold those books. They targeted the work of Theodore Dreiser, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Erskine Caldwell, Oscar Wilde, and many others. After explaining that the Society "was forced into existence by the enormity and the insidiousness of the evil it is intended to counteract," this report reviews the Society's first two years of operation, proudly offering a table recording fines levied; people arrested; prison sentences; and books, newspapers, circulars, photographs, negatives, and printing plates seized and destroyed.

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