American Sexual Histories / Edition 2

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The second edition of American Sexual Histories features an updated collection of sixteen articles and their corresponding primary sources that investigate issues related to human sexuality in America from the colonial era to the present day.

  • Fully updated with ten new chapters, featuring recently published essays by prominent scholars in the field
  • Provides readers with the source documents that historians have analyzed in their articles
  • Allows readers to see how historians craft arguments based on available sources
  • Encourages readers to evaluate historical documents, test the interpretations of historians, and draw their own conclusions
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Editorial Reviews

Lena Calhoun & The Emotions
Hellish hymns from Amphetamine Heaven...These people are witty and they are grand, they do terrible things and make awful remarks. Ombine is an East Village prima donna, a hoarder of gossip. He is filthy, but he is funny....The characters of "a" represent the bizarre new class, untermenschen's prefigurations of the technological millenium. -- The New York Review of Books
From the Publisher
"Elizabeth Reis's American Sexual Histories is a highly readable and utterly valuable resource for students and for the generally curious. This book traces the ever-changing fears, obsessions, and sometimes surprisingly tolerant attitudes Americans have held on the subject of sexual practice from the Puritans to 'liberation' in the late twentieth century." Nancy Isenberg, University of Tulsa

"American Sexual Histories is that all-too-rare achievement: a book of first-rate scholarship that encourages equally first-rate teaching. It is an extremely valuable book for students, teachers, and scholars." Peggy Pascoe, University of Oregon

"This is a wonderful resource. Reis's clear introductions, thought-provoking scholarly articles, and exciting primary sources combine to create an indispensable collection for undergraduate classes." Sharon Block, University of California, Irvine

"Each chapter starts with an easy-to-read, very clear introduction written by Reis which should serve as a helpful guide for students ... American Sexual Histories makes on reconsider what is 'natural' or 'normal' in certain historical periods. And it sends the message that sex has a history like everything else. H-NET

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Reis is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (2009) and Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England (1997).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors x

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1
Elizabeth Reis

Part I Early America 9

1 Bodies in Doubt: Intersex in Early America 11
Elizabeth Reis


1.1 Thomas/Thomasine Hall, 1629 25

1.2 James Parsons, A Mechanical and Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Hermaphrodites, 1741 27

1.3 Jane Sharp, The Midwives Book, 1671 29

2 Transgressive Male Sex in Early America 34
Thomas A. Foster


2.1 Bestiality Cases in New Haven, Connecticut, 1638–49 47

2.2 "Trunil Him well brother," 1751 52

3 Indian Women, French Women, and the Regulation of Sex 56
Jennifer M. Spear


3.1 Journal of Diron d’Artaguiette, 1722–3 73

3.2 Duclos to Pontchartrain, December 25, 1715 75

3.3 Lamothe Cadillac to Pontchartrain, October 26, 1713 77

3.4 Louisiana's Code Noir (1724) 79

4 Rape and Sexual Power in Early America 82
Sharon Block


4.1 Testimony against David Clark, 1764 95

4.2 Ephraim Wheeler's Rape Trial, 1805 96

5 The Overflowing of Friendship 101
Richard Godbeer


5.1 Letters of Robert Treat Paine, 1749 114

5.2 Letters of Daniel Webster, 1801–5 116

6 Sex Among the Rabble 122
Clare A. Lyons


6.1 Philadelphia Magdalen Society, Minutes, 1807-10 134

6.2 Maria; or, the Seduction, 1796 137

6.3 The Histories of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House, 1760 139

7 White Women, Black Men, and Adultery in the Antebellum South 147
Martha Hodes


7.1 Lewis Bourne Divorce Petition, 1823-5 161

8 Obscenity, Sex Education, and Medical Democracy in the Antebellum United States 165
April Haynes


8.1 Frederick Hollick, The Marriage Guide, 1850 177

8.2 Letters to the Editor about Dr. Frederick Hollick, 1845 183

Part II Modern America 187

9 Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America 189
Peggy Pascoe


9.1 "Aoki – Engaged to Daughter of Prelate," 1909 202

9.2 "Emery Girl Ready to Marry the Japanese," 1909 204

9.3 "Aoki Expects to Wed in Portland," 1909 205

9.4 "Whose Business Is It?" 1909 206

9.5 "A Disgusting Spectacle," 1909 206

9.6 "Aoki's Inamorata Flits Northward," 1909 207

10 Hysteria: The Revolt of the "Good Girl" 211
Elizabeth Lunbeck


10.1 The Case of Miss A, 1913-14 224

11 When Abortion Was Illegal 230
Leslie J. Reagan


11.1 A Maryland Abortionist Gets No Pardon, 1904 243

11.2 Dying Declarations Obtained in Abortion Case as Condition to Rendering Aid, 1909 244

11.3 Comments of "Esther E.," 1920 245

12 Contraceptive Consumers 247
Andrea Tone


12.1 Advertisements for Lysol, 1932, 1933 260

12.2 Facts and Frauds in Women's Hygiene, 1936 262

12.3 What Do the American Women Think about Birth Control? 1938 264

12.4 The Dilex Speech, 1938 268

13 Lesbian Pulp Novels and US Lesbian Identity 270
Yvonne Keller


13.1 Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness, 1928 285

13.2 Tereska Torres, Women's Barracks, 1950 288

13.3 Ann Bannon, Beebo Brinker, 1962 291

14 Sex Change and the Popular Press 294
Joanne Meyerowitz


14.1 Girl Changes into Man, 1936 309

14.2 Psychopathia Transexualis, 1949 311

14.3 New Sex Switches: Behind the Sensational Headlines Loom Unpleasant Medical Facts, 1954 316

14.4 I Want to Become a Woman, 1956 317

15 The Population Bomb and the Sexual Revolution 320
Rickie Solinger


15.1 The Slavery of Sex Freedom: America’s Moral Crisis, 1957 335

15.2 Are We Still Stereotyping the Unmarried Mother? 1960 338

15.3 Population Crisis: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Foreign

Aid Expenditures of the Committee on Government Operations, 1965 341

16 Marketing Safe Sex 345
Jennifer Brier


16.1 "Can We Talk?" 1983 361

16.2 "Information for People of Color, 1987" 363

16.3 Promoting Condoms for Gay Men, 1987 364

Source Acknowledgments 368

Index 372

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