In the summer of 1932, Margaret Sanger took a “cure” for her weakness and severe fatigue. Part of this “cure” would take place when she stayed in the Goethe Haus in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia.
Marienbad is a spa town located in the Northwest of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). The town is known for having over a hundred mineral springs which were known as cures for various ailments. It was the restorative waters of these springs that Margaret Sanger sought.
In a letter written to Havelock Ellis on July 16th, Sanger begins by excitedly describing the room in which she is staying.
“Here I am at the above place sleeping in Goethe’s own room, with his very own stove & clock before me & his portrait & that of his last love’s hanging high above me.”
She goes on to describe how her doctor, Dr. Max Porges, believed that she was too weak to begin “curing” in the baths and therefore, she resorted to resting. Porges believed that Sanger suffered from liver trouble and glandular disturbance. His treatment included various injections into Sanger’s liver and ovaries, a mud pack to hold on her liver, daily exercise and a special diet.
How did the spring water factor into Sanger’s treatment? Porges prescribed daily consumption of the water, which was not to Sanger’s liking. In her words it was “horrible!!”
The letter continues with Sanger’s always blunt commentary on the other visitors to the baths.
“It’s amusing to see crowds of grown up fat men & women walking around to music with green or blue or red glasses in their hands sucking water out of glass tubes like babies on their bottles. They are all so ugly looking & so hideous in shape, I wonder God can make such monstrosities.”
Perhaps understandably, Sanger cut her cure at Marienbad short, and at Porges suggestion moved to recuperate at higher altitudes. In this case it meant Cortina d’Ampezza, Italy. But that is a story for another blog post…
Other well-known visitors to Marienbad include Mark Twain and Alfred Nobel.
Click here for our map of Sanger’s travels.
 Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, and Peter C. Engelman, eds. The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928-1939 Vol 2. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006, 197.
 MS to Grant Sanger, July 19, 1932, and MS to Slee, July 15 and 18, 1932.
 Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, and Peter C. Engelman, eds. The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928-1939 Vol 2. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006, 197.