New York Society for the Suppression of Vice

This timeline tells the story of Anthony Comstock and the founding of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. It documents several instances where this organization attempted to censor literary works in the name of morality

Anthony Comstock dies

Anthony Comstock Dies on this date 1915.

Homo sapiens

Stanislaw Przybyszewski's Homo sapiens is forced off the market.

Mademoiselle de Mauphin

Encouraged the arrest of bookstore employee Raymond D. Halsey for selling the "obscene" novel Madamoiselle de Mauphin by Theophole Gautier.


Attacked as indecent the magazines Artists and Models and Art Lover's Magazine.

John S. Sumner

Anthony Comstock is succeeded by John S. Sumner as the new leader of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

The Genius

Theodore Dreiser's The Genius is forced off the market.

Books seized

More than 3,000 books seized from three book dealers which included Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover, and novels by Oscar Wilde, Frank Harris and Clement Wood

God's Little Acre

Lost fight to have Erskine Caldwell's novel God's Little Acre declared obscene.

Ladies in the Parlor

Charged that Jim Tully's novel Ladies in the Parlor was indecent and emphasized "dirt in the raw'

A World I Never Made

Attempted to block circulation of James T. Farrell's novel A World I Never Made for using obscene langauge.

Memoirs of Hecate County

Charged Edmund Wilson's Memoirs of Hecate County with obscenity.

Name Change

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice was changed to the Society to Maintain Public Decency.

Organization Dissolved

John S. Sumner retires and the organization is dissolved.

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