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Alfred Kinsey Collection

[Photo of Dr. Kinsey]

Alfred Charles Kinsey (1894-1956), B.Sc. in Biology and Psychology (Bowdoin College, 1916), Sc.D. in Biology (Harvard, 1919), was hired by Indiana University in 1920 as an Assistant Professor of Zoology. He established a solid academic reputation through his taxonomic research on gall wasps and his high school textbooks. By 1937, American Men of Science listed him as one of their "starred" scientists.

In 1938, the Association of Women students petitioned Indiana University to offer a course on marriage (for students who were married or contemplating marriage). Kinsey, who was invited to coordinate the new marriage course, found little information existed on human sexual behavior. In his view, the existing studies on this topic were value-laden or were based on only a small sample of patients. As a result, Kinsey began gathering case histories of sexual behavior, eventually overseeing the collection of 18,000 sexual histories. In 1940, IU President Herman B. Wells gave Kinsey a choice: to continue either with the marriage course or with his sexuality research project. He chose the latter. By 1941, Kinsey's pioneering work had earned the financial support of the National Research Council (at that time funded by the Rockefeller Foundation), which continued until 1954.

In 1947, in order to guarantee absolute confidentiality to individuals interviewed and to provide a secure, permanent location for the growing collection of interview data and other materials Dr. Kinsey was collecting on human sexuality, the Institute was established as a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with Indiana University.

The material in the Alfred Charles Kinsey collection spans from 1920 to 1947. Material dated after 1947 is cataloged and stored as part of the Kinsey Institute Archives Collection.

This collection representing Kinsey's tenure at Indiana University before the foundation of the Institute includes: course materials on entomology (papers and slides) and zoology (papers, slides, and photographs), speeches and lectures on various topics (1939 - 1942), laboratory and office equipment, and various administrative records relating to his work at Indiana University.

Looking for archival materials on The Kinsey Institute? Two other collections on the Indiana University Bloomington campus house archival materials related to The Kinsey Institute and its founder: University Archives and The Center for the Study of History and Memory, formerly the Oral History Research Center (See History: Kinsey Institute for Sex Research under the Center's list of collections.)

Other collections with archival materials related to The Kinsey Institute and its founder include: The National Academies Archives (Committee on Human Reproduction includes the Committee for Research in Problems of Sex, 1920-1965) and The Rockefeller Archive Center.


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