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In September the Papers Project received a request from Robert Boyle, who wrote:

” I am trying to locate a bust of Margaret Sanger done by my Great Aunt, Gertrude F. Boyle [Kanno] probably around 1918.  She also was the  art editor of her magazine from around 1915-1918.  She also contributed poetry for the magazine. She lived in New York from 1915-1931.  I would appreciate being advised of any communications my Great Aunt  had with Margaret Sanger concerning these efforts and also welcome sources to check.”

A different bust of Margaret sanger, sculpted and cast in bronze by Joy Buba.

We checked the Sanger Papers database and did not find any correspondence that matched this description perfectly. However, we did find a letter from Mrs. T. W. Kanno, from 1947.  This is probably not the person we are looking for since Gertrude Boyle divorced her first husband, Takeshi Kanno, around 1919; however, the letter-writer might be a relative of Gertude Boyle.

The letter says:

“Please introduce you myself. I’m Mrs. T. W. Kanno. I’m also an American citizen and teaching dressmaking here in Koriyuma. Your name is very popular in Japan as ‘Sanger Fuzin (Mrs.).  The situation in postwar Japan I think its not necessary for me to explain  you how bad it is.

Mothers in Japan are suffering from food shortage, almost nothing to clothe  their children of course some well-t-do mothers who can afford black market  prices clothe their children pretty neatly. My husband and I want to help lighten the burdens of those suffering mothers  by teaching birth control. The other day my husband went to Tokyo and  met  Dr. Majima at his home and asked for help, he promised he would.

I imaging you have all kinds of pamphlets and books and apparatus on birth control. Will you please send me some of them which might help teaching Japanese mothers? By the way my husband I are planning to establish “mothers clinics” in  Tohoku districts.

Thank you in advance,
very truly yours,

T. W. Kanno”

Mr. Boyle has found two mentions of Gertrude Boyle in Margaret Sanger’s autobiography. The first mention sited her moving in above Margaret Sanger in NYC with Sanger’s sister living above her.  Boyle is later mentioned for introducing Margaret Sanger to a group of Japanese people.

Mr. Boyle later added that after Gertrude Boyle had divorced her first husband, Takeshi Kanno, she was living with a socialist painter, Eitario Ishigaki, who she may have married sometime between 1929-1931. In 1931 she left NY and went back to California, she then left for Japan in 1935.

If anyone has information about correspondence between Sanger and Getrude Boyle [Kanno] or the bust itself, please let us know in the comments or via e-mail [sanger.papers@nyu.com].

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