The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of obscene literature

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Historical Context Note

On the 3rd of March, 1873 The Comstock Act came into force. Named after the founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, Anthony Comstock (7th March, 1844 - 21st September, 1915), the laws banned the mailing of obscene material through the post. Obscene material included contraceptives and information about abortions, as well as 'obscene, lewd, or lascivious' material. Comstock was a fervent campaigner against what he perceived to be threats to public morality, and literature that fell foul of the Comstock Act included a George Bernard Shaw play, anatomy textbooks and Ida Cradock's marriage manuals. In 1902, following her sentence to 5 years in jail for distributing her books, Craddock committed suicide, condemning …

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