New York Society for the Suppression of Vice  

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* 1916: Opposed [[Margaret Sanger]] and publishers of [[birth control]] books. * 1916: Opposed [[Margaret Sanger]] and publishers of [[birth control]] books.
* 1919: Failed in its effort to suppress the fantasy novel ''[[Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice]]'' by [[James Branch Cabell]] and ended up giving it considerable publicity and boosting its sales. * 1919: Failed in its effort to suppress the fantasy novel ''[[Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice]]'' by [[James Branch Cabell]] and ended up giving it considerable publicity and boosting its sales.
-* 1919: At its urging a police raid at the [[Everard Baths]] resulted in nine arrests.<ref>[https://books.google.com/books?id=NNHGuVdPELYC&pg=PA216&dq=Everard+Baths Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey Basic Books (May 18, 1995)] {{ISBN|0-465-02621-4}}</ref>+* 1919: At its urging a police raid at the [[Everard Baths]] resulted in nine arrests.
* 1920: After the magazine ''[[The Little Review]]'' serialized a passage of the book ''[[Ulysses (novel)|Ulysses]]'' dealing with the main character masturbating, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who objected to the book's content, took action to attempt to keep the book out of the United States. At a [[Obscenity trial of Ulysses in The Little Review|trial in 1921]] the magazine was declared obscene and as a result ''Ulysses'' was banned in the United States. * 1920: After the magazine ''[[The Little Review]]'' serialized a passage of the book ''[[Ulysses (novel)|Ulysses]]'' dealing with the main character masturbating, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who objected to the book's content, took action to attempt to keep the book out of the United States. At a [[Obscenity trial of Ulysses in The Little Review|trial in 1921]] the magazine was declared obscene and as a result ''Ulysses'' was banned in the United States.
* 1922: Encouraged the arrest of bookstore employee Raymond D. Halsey for selling the "obscene" novel ''Mademoiselle de Maupin'' by [[Théophile Gautier]], which depicted adultery and homosexuality. Halsey was acquitted, and successfully sued the Society for false arrest and malicious prosecution. This case established that literary experts could offer testimony in support of a book to guide the judge's opinion. * 1922: Encouraged the arrest of bookstore employee Raymond D. Halsey for selling the "obscene" novel ''Mademoiselle de Maupin'' by [[Théophile Gautier]], which depicted adultery and homosexuality. Halsey was acquitted, and successfully sued the Society for false arrest and malicious prosecution. This case established that literary experts could offer testimony in support of a book to guide the judge's opinion.
* 1920s and '30s: Prosecuted a long war against the so-called "girlie pulps," which featured titillating fiction, sometimes accompanied with nude photography. * 1920s and '30s: Prosecuted a long war against the so-called "girlie pulps," which featured titillating fiction, sometimes accompanied with nude photography.
-* 1925: Attacked as indecent the magazines ''[[Artists and Models (magazine)|Artists and Models]]'' and ''[[Art Lovers' Magazine]]''.<ref>"Magazine Sales Attacked in Court," ''New York Times'', May 30, 1925.</ref>+* 1925: Attacked as indecent the magazines ''[[Artists and Models (magazine)|Artists and Models]]'' and ''[[Art Lovers' Magazine]]''.
* 1927: Attacked publisher [[Bernarr Macfadden]]'s newspaper, the ''[[New York Graphic]]''. * 1927: Attacked publisher [[Bernarr Macfadden]]'s newspaper, the ''[[New York Graphic]]''.
* 1927: Shut down [[Mae West]]'s first starring role on Broadway, the play ''[[Sex (play)|Sex]]''. West spent ten days in jail. * 1927: Shut down [[Mae West]]'s first starring role on Broadway, the play ''[[Sex (play)|Sex]]''. West spent ten days in jail.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (NYSSV or SSV) was an institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public, founded in 1873. Its specific mission was to monitor compliance with state laws and work with the courts and district attorneys in bringing offenders to justice. It and its members also pushed for additional laws against perceived immoral conduct. While the NYSSV is better remembered for its opposition to literary works, it also closely monitored the newsstands, commonly found on city sidewalks and in transportation terminals, which sold the popular newspapers and periodicals of the day.

The NYSSV was founded by Anthony Comstock and his supporters in the Young Men's Christian Association. It was chartered by the New York state legislature, which granted its agents powers of search, seizure and arrest, and awarded the society 50% of all fines levied in resulting cases. After his death in 1915, Comstock was succeeded by John S. Sumner. In 1947, the organization's name was changed to the Society to Maintain Public Decency. After Sumner's retirement in 1950, the organization was dissolved. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is not to be confused with its namesake, the earlier, 19th-century Society for the Suppression of Vice.

Actions pursued by the NYSSV

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "New York Society for the Suppression of Vice" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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