The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of obscene literature

(117 words)

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 …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.