(Gender Becomes Chemical)
1. Parkes i966,p. 72; quoted in idem, 1966, p. xx.
2. Corner 1965.
3. Quoted in Hall 1976, p. 83, 84. The discussion in this paragraph is based on Hall’s article. Physicians dealt with ‘‘a myriad of complaints and abnormalities that defied classification as failures or over-activity of the gonadal chemical messengers’’ (p. 83).
4. Cott 1987; Rosenberg 1982.
5. Noble 1977.
6. See, for example, Pauly’s discussion of the Wood’s Hole biological research laboratories as a summer resort providing scientists with a haven from the heartless city (Pauly 1988).
7. In February 1914, a group of women that included the journalist Mary Heaton Vorse, the psychologist Leta Stetter Hollingworth, the anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons, and the socialist trade unionist Rose Pastor Stokes sponsored the first ‘‘feminist mass meeting’’ with the title ‘‘What is feminism?’’ As another group member, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the famed socialist and organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, put it, they wanted to see ‘‘the women of the future, big spirited, intellectually alert, devoid of the old femininity’’ (quoted in Cott 1987, p. 38). For more on Parsons and Hollingworth, see Rosenberg 1982.
8. Schreiner 1911. (My father, Philip Sterling, gave me a copy of Schreiner’s book, when I was a young woman. It was his way of helping me to understand the economic basis of women’s inequality.)
9. She avoided charges of obscenity and incitement to murder and assassination (Paul 1995). The latter seems especially ironic in view of her later funding relationship with the Rockefeller Foundation.
10. Goldman served many months in jail for distributing birth control information to impoverished women on New York’s Lower East Side and elsewhere around the country. While she espoused true equality between man and woman, Sanger promoted a different version of feminism, emphasizing the right to choose motherhood. Both her view of motherhood and her vision of the sacredness of women’s erotic desire grew out of her belief in the ‘‘absolute, elemental, inner urge of womanhood’’ (quoted in Cott 1987, p. 48).
11. Ibid. Alice Paul (1885—1977) was an American feminist who fought for passage of the nineteenth Amendment (women’s suffrage). Ellen Key (1849—1926) was a Swedish social feminist. Ruth Law was a popular and pioneering aviatrix with strong feminist sympathies.
12. The ‘‘white slave trade’’ referred to organized crime rings that recruited young white women and forced them into lives of prostitution.
13. Quoted in Aberle and Corner 1953, p. 4.
14. For more on the relationship between Rockefeller and Davis, see Bul – lough 1988 and Fitzpatrick 1990. For more on the Rockefeller Foundation and the scientific study of social problems, see Kay 1993. Davis herself writes, ‘‘The Laboratory of Social Hygiene was established as one of the activities of the Bureau [of Social Hygiene] . . . the women at the State Reformatory. . . have led lives of sexual irregularity’’ (Introduction to Weidensall 1916).
15. While head of the Rockefeller Foundation, Vincent encouraged the development of the National Research Council, which only two years later created, with Rockefeller funding, the Committee for Research in Problems of Sex, the major funding vehicle for hormone biology research until 1940. See Noble i977.
16. Lewis i97i, p. 440.
17. In 1929, Davis’s own study, Factors in the Sex Life of2200 Women, appeared. In it she recounted the results of her studies on middle-class women. No topic, from masturbation to the high frequencies ofhomosexuality, to the sexual mores of everyday married life, seemed too delicate to tackle. Her frank, scientifically detached approach symbolized the transition to the scientific study of sex and sexuality.
18. Earl F. Zinn, recent graduate of Clark University, where he studied with the noted psychologist G. Stanley Hall, apparently came up with his ideas in a discussion with Max J. Exner, member of the professional staff of the YMCA and director of that organization’s Sex Education Committee. He had also authored a research study of the sexual behavior of college men (Ex – ner I9I5).
19. The NRC was organized to help prepare the nation for World War I. It was funded by the Engineering Foundation, which promoted scientific research for industry, and before the war’s end it sought to shift its work to meet the scientific needs of postwar industry. See Haraway 1989 and Noble 1977. See also note 15 on George Vincent and Katherine B. Davis.
While Yerkes was enthusiastic about the idea, the NRC’s Division of Anthropology and Psychology was not. Nor could he at first persuade the Division of Medical Sciences. But Yerkes persisted, finally convincing his colleagues to call a conference to discuss the matter.
20. Aberle and Corner i933,pp. 12—13.
21. Ibid., p. 18.
22. Quoted in Clarke i998,p. 96.
23. The full story of the hijacking can be found in Clarke 1998. Lillie took advantage of an intellectual and strategic vacuum. He articulated his own vision, which looked good in the absence of any competition. Indeed, it was good, but much more limited than the initial vision for CRPS. He and Yerkes benefited mightily by the hijacking, for CRPS supported the research and that of their intellectual offspring (e. g., Moore and Price) for years to come.
24. Mitman (1992) suggests that part of Lillie’s motivation derived from his fears about his own social status: ‘‘Although born of a modest family, Lillie’s marriage to Frances Crane transported him across class lines into the social circles of the wealthy elite. He had much to gain in his espousal of the notion that the lower echelons of society not breed like rabbits, for they were the very class that threatened to undermine his own social lot’’ (pp. 98, 99). His wife militantly supported workers’ strikes, keeping company with well – known feminists such as Jane Addams. He carefully refrained from comment when his wife was arrested while protesting against ‘‘industrial slavery in America.’’ The American conflicts of the era came right into his home. For a brief discussion, see Manning 1983, pp. 39—61.
23. Quoted in Gordon 1976, p. 281. Statistic in idem. In truth, eugenic concerns had been a part of the birth control movement from the beginning. Paul writes that unexpired subscriptions of the American Journal of Eugenics were completed with subscriptions to Goldman’s Mother Earth (Paul 1993, p. 92 ). Both socialists and conservatives agreed that engineering healthy births was a legitimate social concern, not just a matter of individual choice. Nevertheless, Sanger did ally herself with the more conservative wing of the eugenics movement, and at the same time she narrowed her feminist concerns in a manner most distressing to more radical feminists.
For more on the eugenics movement see Kevles 1983 and Paul 1993 and
26. Quoted in Haraway 1989, p. 69; emphasis added.
27. Quoted in Gould i98i, p. 193.
28. In 1916, Harvard denied tenure to Yerkes, apparently because the administration considered the field of psychology unworthy (Kevles 1983).
29. After working with Yerkes on IQ testing, Lewis Terman and his graduate student Catherine Cox Miles turned their attention to the measurement of masculinity and femininity. With funding from the Committee for Research in Problems of Sex, they constructed scales of masculinity and femininity that they felt to be quantifiable and consistent. Contemporary social values make the Terman/Miles tests seem impossibly out-of-date. For instance, one gained femininity points if one found ‘‘dirty ears, smoking, bad manners, bad smells. . . words like ‘belly’ or ‘guts’ and the sight of dirty clothes disgusting.’’ One scored as more masculine if one disliked tall women, mannish women, or ‘‘women cleverer than you are’’ (Lewin 1984). Another of Ter – man’s students, Edward K. Strong, applied the concepts of relative masculinity and femininity to vocational interest. Farmers and engineers he found to have masculine interests, while ‘‘writers, lawyers, and ministers are essentially feminine.’’ ‘‘Are the differences,’’ he wondered, ‘‘in interests of engineers and lawyers to be found in differences in hormone secretions?’’ E. Lowell Kelly, another of Terman’s students, tested the idea that homosexuality represented an inversion of male and female by comparing the Terman-Miles test scores of eleventh grade boys, ‘‘passive’’ male homosexuals, ‘‘active’’ male homosexuals, women ‘‘inverts,’’ and ‘‘superior women college athletes.’’ Kelly found no correlation between the degree of inversion of his subjects and their masculinity or femininity, but Terman urged him not to publish these results until he had become more professionally established. In the end, the ‘‘data were no match for the conviction that feminine women and homosexual men ‘must’ have a lot in common’’ (Lewin 1984, p. 166).
30. Gould 1981 and Kevles 1983 and 1968 document the stories of the development of mental testing and eugenics in considerable detail and offer detailed critiques of the administration, results, and conclusions drawn from these tests. Kevles writes: ‘‘Intelligence testers examined ever more paupers, drunkards, delinquents, and prostitutes. Business firms incorporated mental tests in their personnel procedures. . . and a number ofcolleges and universities began to use intelligence-test results in the admissions process’’ (Kevles 1983, p. 82). Yerkes’s army intelligence tests provided new ammunition for the eugenics movement. Confirming already strongly held beliefs, those who analyzed Yerkes’s data concluded that the average mental age of the white American adult was just above that ofthe moron (a specific scientific category, not just an epithet hurled by eight-year olds). Southern Europeans and American Negroes scored even lower. This new ‘‘scientific’’ information became part of the eugenicists’ rallying cry. They predicted the doom of white civilization, attributing the declining intelligence level to ‘‘the unconstrained breeding of the poor and feeble-minded, the spread of Negro blood through miscegenation and the swamping of an intelligent native stock by the immigrating dregs of southern and eastern Europe’’ (Gould 1981, p. 196).
31. Borell 1978, p. 32.
32. Borell 1978 and 1987; Clarke 1991.
33. Katz (1993) notes a certain irony in the censorship and repression of birth control and other sex-related research in this period because, as he argues, much of the research worked to establish a new role and definition for the concept of heterosexuality—one in which the heterosexual became normal, while all other forms of sexuality became abnormal or perverse (see esp. p. 92).
34. Berman 1921 ,pp. 21—22.
33. Allen et al. 1939.
36. Others have discussed Lillie’s comments as well. See Oudshoorn 1994 and Clarke 1998.
37. Lillie i939,p. 3; emphasis added.
38. Ibid., pp. io, ii.
39. I used a database called Lexis-Nexis—Academic Universe, widely available at universities and research libraries.
40. Foreffects onbone growth, see Jilkaetal. 1992; Slootweg et al. 1992; Weismanetal. 1993; Ribot andTremollieres 1993; Wishartetal. 1993; Hos – hino et al. 1996; and Gasperino 1993. For effects on the immune system, see Whitacre et al. 1999.
A recent article in Discover magazine began: ‘‘Estrogen is more than a sex hormone. It boosts the brainpower of rats’’ (Richardson 1994). Indeed, the proliferation of steroid effects on brain cells is startling. One or another hormone affects the development of the cerebellum, the hippocampus, a number of centers within the hypothalamus, the midbrain, and the cerebral cortex. In fact, the cerebral cortex, not the gonads, is the major site of estrogen synthesis in the male zebra finch (Schlinger and Arnold 1991; Arai et al. 1994; Brownetal. 1994; Litteria 1994; MacLusky et al. 1994; McEwen et al. 1994; Pennisi 1997; Koenig et al. 1993; Wood and Newman 1993; Tsuruo et al. 1996; and Amandusson et al. 1993). For effects on blood cell formation, see Williams-Ashman and Reddi 1971 and Besa 1994; on the circulatory system, see Sitruk-Ware 1993; on the liver, see Tessitore et al. 1993; Gustafsson 1994; on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, seeRenardetal. 1993; FuandHornick 1993; Haffner and Valdez 1993; and Larosa 1993; on gastrointestinal functions, see Chen et al. 1993; on the gallbladder, see Karkare et al. 1993; on muscle activities, see Bardin and Catterall 1981 and Martin 1993; on kidney activities, see Sakemi et al. 1993.
41. Koenig etal. i993,p. 1,300.
42 . For a thorough discussion of the popularization of sex hormones as part of the discourse of sexuality in the i920s, see Rechter i997. For more on the continued changes in sexuality in the i92os in America, see also D’Emilio and Freedman i988. On the biochemistry of androgens and estrogens, see Doisy i939 and Koch i939.
43. Allen and Doisey i923. Allen was a major recipient of CRPS funds from i923 until i94o.
44. Stockard and Papanicolaou i9i7. The method involved using a cotton swab to remove cells from the vagina, and looking at the cells under the microscope. The type of cell changes during the estrous cycle in a manner that is reliable and quantifiable.
45. In this period, hormone research depended on ready access to large quantities of hormone-containing material. Those researchers who worked near slaughterhouses—e. g., in Chicago or St. Louis—had a big advantage. Later, when hormones were found in animal and human urine, those who could command large quantities of the urine became key brokers. For a fascinating discussion of the role of access to research material in the purification of sex hormones, see Oudshoorn 1994 and Clarke 1995.
46. Allen and Doisey 1923, pp. 820, 821. The marketing of hormone potions had become something of an embarrassment to the medical community. One reason to put the study of organ extracts on an arguably scientific basis was to defend the professional honor and status of the medical community (Unsigned 1921a and 1921b).
47. Frank i929, p. 135.
48. Ascheim and Zondek 1927.
49. Both groups also had the support of major pharmaceutical companies (Oudshoorn 1994).
50. Parkes 1966b; Doisy 1939, writes: ‘‘one of the major events upon which the isolation of the hormone depended was the discovery of material existing in the urine of pregnant women’’ (p. 848).
In 1928, progesterone, a second ovarian hormone, was identified. By the mid-1930s it too had been purified. (For simplicity sake, I am leaving progesterone, the menstrual cycle, and its connection to the brain and pituitary hormones [FSH and LH] out of the story.)
51. See the articles in section C: ‘‘Biochemistry and Assay of Gonadal Hormones’’ ofAllenetal. 1939.
52. Frank i929,p. 114.
53. Note the use of the word normal. Presumably female hormones in male bodies could produce abnormalities (such as homosexuality?).
54. The editorial states: ‘‘This raises, of course, the question of specificity and whether the vaginal reactions so largely used in the laboratory study of these hormones in recent years are really reliable criteria of ovarian hormone action’’ (Unsigned i928,p. 1,195).
55. See Oudshoorn 1994, p. 26.
56. Zondek 1934. Thirty-two years later, Zondek vividly recalled his astonishment. Throughout his life he remained unable to understand why all that female hormone did not feminize the stallion. See Finkelstein i966,p. ii.
57. Oudshoorn i99o. See, for example, Womack and Koch i932. By i937, it was clear that the ovary itself was the site of testosterone production in the female (Hill i937aand i937b).
58. Nelson and Merckel i937 ,p. 825. Klein and Parkes ^937) found the effects of testosterone in females mimicked the activity of progesterone, a result they found ‘‘unexpected’’ (p. 577) and ‘‘anomalous’’ (p. 579). See also Deanesly and Parkes i936.
39. Frank and Goldberger 1931 ,p. 381.
Oudshoorn (1994) provides the basis for much of my discussion in this paragraph. See also Parkes i966a, b.
60. Parkes i966a, b.
61. Frank i9 29,p. 197.
62. Parkes 1966b, p. xxvi.
63. This account is based on Frank 1929; Allen et al. 1939 and Oudshoorn 1994.
64. See also Stone 1939.
63. Chemistry 1928; Laqueur and de Jongh 1928.
66. Koch 1931b, p. 939.
67. Pratt 1939.
68. Frank (1929) writes: ‘‘Assay and biological standardization of the water-soluble commercial extracts now placed upon the market show a woeful lack of potency and rapid deterioration of the products. Unpleasant local reactions may arise at the site of injection. The prices of these pharmaceutical preparations are prohibitive. Consequently I warn against their general use until better products are at our disposal’’ (p. 297).
69. While CRPS funded most of the U. S. work, pharmaceutical companies often provided researchers with purified hormone preparations. Koren – chevsky et al. 1932, p. 2,097, for example, thank ‘‘Messrs Schering Ltd for kindly supplying this preparation.’’ Squibb gave a fellowship to F. C. Koch for 1923—26 (see Koch 1931 ,p. 322) and Deanesly and Parkes (1936) note their debt to ‘‘Messrs. Ciba for supplies of the substances referred to above’’ (p. 238).
70. Parkes 1966b, p. xxii.
71. Dale 1932 ,p. 122. At the conference it was also decided that a central standard sample would be kept by Dr. Guy Marrian at the University College in London in sealed ampoules filled with dry nitrogen. They set a minimum number of twenty animals, which had to be used in any valid test, and they standardized the solvents and method of administration of test substances.
72. Oudshoorn i994,p. 47.
73. Korenchevsky and Hall 1938, p. 998. Additional non-reproductive effects are noted in Evans 1939.
74. David etal. i934,p. 1,366.
73. Gustavson i939, pp. 877—78. See also Gautier i935.
76. Oudshoorn i994, p. 33. See also Koch i939, pp. 830—34.
77. Juhnetal. i93i, p. 393.
78. Kahnt and Doisy proposed a complex series of steps to make the es- trus assay work reliably. First, they had to check potential test rats for several weeks and choose only those with normal cycles. Second, they had to check for two weeks after removing the ovaries and discard any animals that still showed signs of internal hormone production. Third, they primed their test animals with injections of two rat units of hormone. Fourth, they tested each animal one week later with another injection; any that failed to respond were discarded as test animals. Fifth, another week later, they injected an amount of hormone too small to produce a result. If there was a response anyway, those animals were also discarded. Finally, they recommended using ‘‘a sufficient number of animals. If 73 per cent of the animals. . . give a + reaction, consider that the amount injected contained one R. U.’’ (Kahnt and Doisy 1928, pp. 767—68). The League of Nations conference also noted the importance of using a large sample size.
79. Korenchevsky et al. i932,p. 2,103.
80. Gallagher and Koch i93i, p. 319.
81. In one of the early articles on isolation of the testicular hormone, the authors wrote: ‘‘It is our feeling that until more is known of the chemical nature of the hormone, no name should be given to the extract. As yet, any name would be valueless and not at all descriptive’’ (Gallagher and Koch
82. Frank 1929, p. 128. The list of terms comes from Frank’s discussion onpp. 127—28.
83. In earlier work I comment on the imbalance between the terms androgens and estrogens; this discussion focuses on the particular historical moment in which the imbalance took hold. See Fausto-Sterling 1987 and 1989. The information on the Index Medicus comes from Oudshoorn 1990, p. 183, n. 66.
84. Parkes 1966b, p. xxiii. Parkes tells a similar story about the naming of the hormone progesterone. The 1961 edition of Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines an androgen as an agent ‘‘which makes a man’’ and an estrogen as one which ‘‘begets mad desire.’’
83. Corner i96^,p. xv.
86. ‘‘The Council desires to express its appreciation to Parke, Davis and Company, for its action in this matter as well as in the case of the name ‘estrone’ ’’ (Chemistry i936,p. 1,223).
87. Doisy I939, p. 839.
8 8. Parkes i938 ,p. 36. This would have provided an exact parallel to the term androgenic.
89. Koch i939.
90. Korenschevsky et al. i937. This group also found many of these hormones to cooperate in producing their effects (Korenchevsky and Hall i937).
91. Parkes i93 8,p. 36.
92. Because the embryo was bisexual and even adults retained a bit of that bisexual potential. ‘‘Even men whose instinct is normally heterosexual,’’ he wrote, ‘‘may contain in their organisms minute vestigia of a female character even though under normal conditions they never come to functional expression’’ (Steinach i940, p. 9i).
93. While most readers are probably aware that such cycles regulate the menstrual cycle, they may be less aware that feedback loops involving the same pituitary hormones also regulate sperm formation in males.
94. In 1939,he wrote: ‘‘Moore seems to remove the necessity of assuming any antagonism in the simultaneous action of the two hormones, by showing that each operates independently within its own field’’ (Lillie 1939, p. 38).
93. Frank i929,p. 120.
96. Quoted in Oudshoorn 1994, p. 28.
97. Parkes 1966b, p. xxvii.
98. Crew I93 3, p. 23I.
99. See Cott i987,p. 149. Davis (i929)offers amore detailed discussion of women’s sexual practices.
100. Cott i987,p. 130.
101 . Cott (i987) documents a real split in the labor movement over this issue. It was a split that replayed itself among late twentieth-century feminists during their battle over the Equal Rights Amendment and the elimination of protective work legislation.
102 . Quoted in ibid.
103. David etal. i934,p. 1,366.
104. Quoted in Oudshoorn i990.