Did you know That an American Publisher was Arrested for the publication of a letter condemning forced sex within marriage, which the author identified as rape.
Lucifer the Lightbearer was an individualist-anarchist journal published by Moses Harman in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally produced by a local branch of the National Liberal League as the Valley Falls Liberal (1880–1883), Harman changed the title after he assumed sole editorship in 1883.
The mission of Lucifer was, according to Harman, “to help woman to break the chains that for ages have bound her to the rack of man-made law, spiritual, economic, industrial, social and especially sexual, believing that until woman is roused to a sense of her own responsibility on all lines of human endeavor, and especially on lines of her special field, that of reproduction of the race, there will be little if any real advancement toward a higher and truer civilization.” The name was chosen because “Lucifer, the ancient name of the Morning Star, now called Venus, seems to us unsurpassed as a cognomen for a journal whose mission is to bring light to the dwellers in darkness.”
In February 1887, the editors and publishers of Lucifer were arrested after the journal ran afoul of the Comstock Act for the publication of a letter condemning forced sex within marriage, which the author identified as rape. The Comstock Act specifically prohibited the discussion of marital rape. A Topeka district attorney eventually handed down 216 indictments. In February 1890, Harman, now the sole producer of Lucifer, was again arrested on charges resulting from a similar article written by a New York physician. As a result of the original charges, Harman would spend large portions of the next six years in prison.
In 1896, Lucifer was moved to Chicago; however, legal harassment continued. The United States Postal Service seized and destroyed numerous issues of the journal and, in May 1905, Harman was again arrested and convicted for the distribution of two articles – “The Fatherhood Question” and “More Thoughts on Sexology” by Sara Crist Campbell. Sentenced to a year of hard labor, the 75-year-old editor’s health deteriorated greatly. After 24 years in production, Lucifer ceased publication in 1907 and became the more scholarly American Journal of Eugenics.