KINSEY VS. THE LIBRARIAN

Blog by Randi Richardson

The Institute for Sex Research (ISR) at Indiana University was established in 1947 under the leadership of Alfred Kinsey.  Prior to that time Kinsey had been extensively involved in sex research and had compulsively collected a great number of books and other related materials.  Obviously thinking ahead to the needs of the Institute, he offered Jeanette Howard Foster a lucrative position as the Institute’s librarian.

kinsey
Photo from the IU Archive Collection.  Used with permission.

Jeanette was no ordinary librarian.  She was among the first librarians ever to graduate with a Ph.D.  Her degree was obtained from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago, the first school in that nation to offer a doctorate in library science.  Jeanette entered the library program in 1933 just a few months short of her 38th birthday and received her doctorate in 1935 taking only two, rather than the customary three, years to complete her degree.

Like Kinsey, Jeanette also collected books with a sexual theme.  Unlike Kinsey, however, Jeanette’s collection was strictly focused on lesbianism.  An avid scholar and a lesbian herself, Jeanette hoped one day to publish a comprehensive bibliography of lesbian literature.

When Kinsey offered Jeanette a position at the Institute, she was well aware that the position would provide her with easy access to Kinsey’s goldmine of rare books including those relevant to her own research.  So not surprisingly, she accepted Kinsey’s offer and began working at the Institute in early 1948.

Initially, Jeanette lived in the IU Union Club but soon found more permanent lodging at 416 E. 4th Street.  In 1950, she fell in love with one of her co-workers, Hazel Toliver, who lived with her mother, Myrtle Toliver, in a nearby apartment at 425 ½ S. Henderson.  Although Jeanette found her personal life to be quite to her liking, that same did not hold true for job satisfaction.

The Institute staff found Kinsey to be a leader who always needed to be in control.  He was a micromanager who “cracked the whip” and expected others to be at his beck and call at any time of day or night.  Jeanette, who had held several responsible faculty positions, was not used to Kinsey’s management style.  Additionally, she was offended when Kinsey made sexual overtures toward her.  And lastly, but certainly not among the least of Jeanette’s complaints, Kinsey would not let her catalog books according to the either the Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal Classification system.

Kinsey had developed his own system for cataloging his books.  “Using a self-made pneumonic taxonomic system of approximately 25 categories, he expected books on medicine to be classified under M, prostitution under PR, modern fiction under MF, erotic books under ER, and so forth.”  Adhesive tape on the back of the spine, down near the bottom, identified the category and a line under that noted the first three letters of the author’s name.

Jeanette did everything she could to persuade Kinsey to use one of the standard library classification systems, but he simple would not budge.  He boasted of Jeannette’s doctoral training yet made her feel as though she had never had any training or experience.  She found herself playing more of a support role, and a clerical one at that, rather than being an integral part of a team working at the forefront of sex education.  Four years later, she was at her breaking point.  Along with Hazel, they began searching for alternate positions with other universities.

They left the Institute in 1952 and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where both had positions at the University of Kansas City–Jeanette as a reference and interlibrary loan librarian and Hazel as an assistant professor.  Jeannette, however, remained friendly with Kinsey.  They corresponded occasionally until his death of natural causes in 1956, and for the remainder of his life Kinsey never hired another librarian.

SOURCE—Joanne Passet, Sex Variant Woman:  The Life of Jeannette Howard Foster (Philadelphia PA:  Perseus Books Group, DeCapo Press) 2008.  For more information about Kinsey visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey.

Artifacts from the “Lost” Community of Wayport

Post by Randi Richardson

Wayport is a village founded in Sections 28 and 33 in Washington Township, Monroe County, Indiana.  It was laid out in 1851 and comprised of 16 lots.  For a while it included a store, post office and a blacksmith shop.  It reportedly “hit its peak” from 1877 to 1879.

Danielle Thomas lives in a cabin, the second of two she has called home on property that used to be part of Wayport.  While living in her first cabin, she suspected that at some point it would be lost to the I-69 project, but didn’t suspect that it would be in her lifetime.  She was wrong.

In 2005, a firm out of Pennsylvania arrived to do an archeological study and soil testing on her property.  “It started with a couple of five-gallon bucket holes in her back yard” dug during the course of a week.  Then the holes grew bigger.  When Danielle asked what was going on, she was told the company was looking for the “lost town of Wayport.”

Initially, Danielle received no feedback about what had been found.  But seven years later, in 2012, she received a book of “everything” found.  It turned out that Wayport was in her backyard.  Since that time, Danielle has taken up residence in a second cabin she built near her first one.  In fact, she was able to buy back some of the first property purchased from her for the I-69 project.

Sources:

History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana (Indianapolis, IN:  B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1914) p. 434.

Pete DiPrimio, “Cabin Paradise,” Bloom Magazine, April 2018, pp. 6-11.  NOTE:  The item above was abstracted by Randi Richardson from the original that was accompanied by nine photographs.

No Laughing Matter: When Did It Happen

Blog post by Randi Richardson

spank2
The abbreviated article from the Telephone

Last week our readers were asked to guess when June Fulford assaulted the teacher of her first-grade son who had been whipped for laughing out loud.  If you guessed 1937, you were right.  The story was based on an article published on page one of the Bloomington (IN) Daily Telephone on April 22, 1937.

Although it was June Fulford featured in the Telephone’s story, there was no June Fulford in the 1930 or 1940 census records for Monroe County.  There was, however, a Sarah Jane Fulford in Washington Township among the 1940 census records, the mother of a son old enough to be the first-grader in question.  Sarah Jane was the wife of William Fulford, and in 1940, the Fulford family was noted on Harris Road in a household with five Fulford children and a nephew, 19-year-old Robert Lydy.  The children ranged in age from 5 to 20.  Austin, age 9, was likely the first-grader who received the whipping.

According to information in the census record, first grade was the highest grade Austin completed.  His three older siblings—Lillian, Harley and Mildred—had sixth-grade educations and his parents only a second-grade education.  Five-year-old Ralph, the youngest child in the family, had not yet attended school.

The Fulfords owned their own home valued at $1,000 and William was a laborer who worked on the roads.  In the year just past, he had worked only 29 weeks out of 52, and had earned only $429 for his efforts.  He died on February 28, 1948, of a fractured skull suffered in a car accident.  Sarah Jane, a widow, died at the age of 78 on January 7, 1967, at the Indiana State Hospital for Chest Diseases in Rockville, Indiana.   Her body was returned to Monroe County for burial in the Hindostan Cemetery.

No Laughing Matter

Blog post by Randi Richardson

On a warm, spring day the son of June Fulford came home from school covered with bruises, or so June said, from being whipped by his teacher.  A few days later June confronted the teacher, Betty Jane Robinson, at the school house in Washington Township, Monroe County.  She called her from the classroom into a hallway.  When June asked why her boy, a first-grader, had been whipped, Betty Jane confessed that it was because he had laughed out loud when tickled by another student.

spankJune determined to give Betty Jane taste of the same treatment her boy had received.  Although somewhat smaller than the teacher, she began raining blows upon Betty Jane’s face.  When the principal attempted to intervene, June gave him a few swift kicks on his shins.

Assault and battery charges were filed against June, and she was called into the mayor’s court.  When her case was heard, she claimed that the teacher had picked on her boy because he came from a poor family.  The mayor fined June $1.00 and court costs which amounted to another $10.  She was also given a suspended sentence at the state penal farm and placed on probation.

In what year did this happen?  Although I’ve given you enough clues to find the answer, resist the effort to research the question.  Then take a guess and comment below.  The answer will appear next week for those with an inquiring mind.

 

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