Brown Bag Lecture Series: Lifting Eve’s Curse: The Twilight Sleep Association, Mary Ware Dennett, and Reproductive Politics, 1913-1915.


KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb 28, 2017)(This Lecture was given on February 16, 2017)

This paper examines birth control reformer Mary Ware Dennett’s early involvement with the Twilight Sleep Movement. She and her fellow activists were adamant that the Twilight Sleep method revolutionized the notoriously dangerous and painful childbirth process for women. Yet, the movement’s failure ultimately taught Dennett a valuable lesson regarding the cost of connecting physicians’ power to women’s reproductive rights. Her tactical choices during the fight for legal birth control differed from Margaret Sanger precisely because of this earlier experience.

Lauren MacIvor Thompson is Assistant Professor of History (Limited Term) at Kennesaw State University and a Visiting Fellow in the Georgia State University College of Law. She earned her Ph.D. from GSU in May 2016. Her current book project focuses on the legal and medical history of the birth control movement in the United States, and its relationship to the broader women’s movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.