Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family by Nicola Beisel

By Nicola Beisel

Drawing on Victorian debts of these deemed "immoral", this article argues that problem in regards to the ethical corruption of kids speaks to an ongoing parental hindrance: that kids will fail to copy their parent's social place. In doing so it bargains a theoretical method of reform activities.

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43 Congress appointed Comstock as special agent of the post office, charging him with enforcing the obscenity statutes regulating the mails. Although this was to be a salaried position, Comstock refused to draw a paycheck in his capacity as special agent. While the federal Comstock Law banned obscene materials from the mails, about half of the states passed anti-obscenity statutes banning possession and sale of such materials, including contraceptives. Notably, however, these laws banned contraceptives and abortifacients along with other immoral articles.

INTRODUCTION 19 However, people did not wait passively for invitations to events seen as tickets to high society. A good deal of lobbying was involved as well. For example, McAllister’s glitzy picnics in Newport (for which he rented sheep to make his farm look more pastoral) were also the object (according to McAllister) of much social politicking. Now, do not for a moment imagine that all were indiscriminately asked to these little fêtes. 41 Once invited, according to McAllister, the guest was put on “intimate footing” with the best of New York society.

Sammis and Cosgrove had been engaged for several months when she became pregnant. Fearing that her parents would learn of her pregnancy, she traveled to New York City to visit an aunt. There she met Cosgrove and, as she told the coroner before she died, went with Cosgrove to the house of Bertha Burger, who performed an abortion. Sammis became ill, and when Burger refused to call a doctor, her fiancé went to Dr. Whitehead, a man who had been arrested five times for performing abortions, to ask him to attend to Sammis.

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