Home » Spring 2011 » Digitization Project

Making It Happen: Digitization Project Update

Wilhelm von Gloeden, Male nude, Taormina, Sicily, c.1900. Photograph, KI-VG: 90. From a collection of more than 250 photographs, now digitized.

In 2009, Kinsey Library staff began work on a large preservation and digitization project to protect the archival and art collections, and to make them available and accessible to scholars, students and the public. Over the past few years, generous donations from Michael Sherrod, chair of the Kinsey Institute board of governors and David Henry Jacobs, Jr., an entrepreneur with close family ties to Indiana University, The Ford Foundation, and the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation have propelled our efforts in this long-term project.

A key goal of the digitization project is to make materials from the collection more widely available in a variety of formats. As you browse through the lists of projects and imagine the possibilites for preservation, restoration and world-wide access, we hope you will be inspired to add your own contribution to the Kinsey digitization project.

Kinsey Era Correspondence

The Kinsey Era Correspondence (65,000 pieces) is a rich resource of information that documents how the Institute for Sex Research evolved through Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey’s written interaction with individuals. Over 8,000 individuals and organizations wrote letters to Dr. Kinsey between the years of 1939 and late 1950s, discussing their personal problems as well as professional concerns.

George Platt Lynes, Feral Benga, c.1934. Photograph, KI-GPL-N592. More than 2300 negatives from the George Platt Lynes collection have been digitized. Copyright Estate of George Platt Lynes.

The Alfred C.Kinsey Collection and Interview Sheets

The collection represents Kinsey’s tenure at IU from his arrival in 1920 to 1947 when The Kinsey Institute was established. It includes course materials on entomology and zoology, and human sexuality.

The Interview Sheets includes demographic and sexual history data of more than 18,000 individuals interviewed by Kinsey and his team. While most of the data have been coded and digitally stored, these original pieces remain as unique artifacts.

Individual Archival Collections

Among the unique archives are works of Harry Benjamin (35,000 pieces), one of the most prominent sex researchers of the 20th century, who developed standards of care for transsexuals. Other collections include the personal works of Thomas Painter, a gay activist and writer.

From Magnus Hirschfeld Collection. Hirschefeld (1868-1935), German physician and sex researcher, is a pioneer sex researcher. His collection consists of invitations to professional events and to lectures signed by Hirschfeld, publications and publication announcements, reports, clippings, handbills and posters for lectures on homosexuality and other topics.

Published Works by Sex Researchers

The Kinsey Institute holds books and items from Krafft-Ebing, Sigmund Freud, Magnus Hirschfield, Willhelm Reich, Robert Latou Dickinson, Harry Benjamin, Masters and Johnson, John Money, Vern Bullough, and many others whose works were published before 1923.

A cover from Photo Bits, a London publication of late 19th century, focusing on women and society. Photo Bits ceased publication in the early 20th century. The Kinsey Institute has one of the most complete holdings of this title.

Rare Books and Magazines

This collection includes rare English, French, Japanese and Chinese Erotica, and the Historical Magazine Collection (nudist, fetishist, SM magazines). Other publications are books of the 17th and 18th century concerning sexual beliefs and customs of different cultures and languages.

Film Collection

Along with the unique American stag films from the 1920s to the 1960s, the Kinsey film collection (14,000 films and videos) includes sex education and other high school age guidance films made by production companies such as Churchill Films, Alfred Higgins Production and Perennial Education, from 1960s-1980s. Other unique collections include Animal Sex Behavior from 1940s and 50s, and Swedish Erotica, 8mm and super 8 short commercially produced films for the home collector, from such distributors as Danish Films International, Burning Films, Diamond Collection and more. SexSmart Films has partnered with the institute on several projects to offer a new venue for films and video from the Kinsey Collections.

Completed Digitized Collections

In 2006, the library completed the first digitization collection - the Kinsey Era Print Media Response, with over 25,000 original clippings from journals, newspapers, and magazines dating from 1947 through the 1980s. They include academic articles, book reviews, editorials, letters, advertisements, cartoons, and obituaries of Dr. Kinsey's death. The Ford Foundation provided funding for this project.

Media collage

Also, in 2009, a selection of 1,700 special art objects, photographs, paintings and drawings, and artifacts were scanned using high-definition techniques.

If you would like to help in creating a safe, state-of-the-art home for these extraordinary collections, please consider adding your name to this effort. Contact Kinsey Institute for more information.


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