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The Kinsey Institute 

Masters & Johnson Collection

The Masters and Johnson collection documents the work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who transformed society's understanding of sexual response and sex therapy.

The collection was donated by Virginia Johnson and her family. It includes letters, records, correspondence, research papers, media coverage, books, paintings, awards, and certificates.

About Masters & Johnson

In the late 1950s, Masters and Johnson pioneered research into the understanding human sexual response, dysfunction, and disorders through the direct observation of anatomical and physiological sexual responses of human subjects. They began their joint work in 1957 at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis before founding the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation (later re-named the Masters and Johnson Institute), where they worked from 1978-1994, conducting independent sexological research and organizing training workshops for researchers, educators, and therapists.

William Masters and Virginia Johnson have been widely recognized for their contributions to sexual, psychological, and psychiatric research, particularly for their theory of a four-stage model of sexual response (also known as, the human sexual response cycle) and their study of sexual response among the elderly. Numbered among their awards are acknowledgements from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists in 1978, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists in 1985 and 1992. The Society for Sex Research and Therapy grant the Masters and Johnson annual award for research.

Masters died in 2001 at the age of 85. Johnson passed away in 2013 at age 88.

Collection details

Communications with the research community and general public are among the many treasures in the collection. On file are correspondence with Albert Ellis, Lonnie Barbach, Frank Beach, Hugh Hefner, Morton Hunt, Richard Green, Alan Guttmacher, and Erwin Haeberle, as well as inquiries and letters from Argentina, Chile, England, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Also included in this series are administrative files from the Masters and Johnson Institute workshops and training programs.

Major publications:

  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson. Human Sexual Response. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1966.
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E.  Johnson. Human Sexual Inadequacy. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1970.
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson. The Pleasure Bond. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1974.
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny.  Ethical Issues in Sex Therapy and Research.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. 
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson. Homosexuality in Perspective. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1979.
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny.  Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986.
  • Masters, William H., Virginia E. Johnson, and Robert C. Kolodny.  Heterosexuality.  New York: Gramercy Books, 1994.
William Masters. Photo by William Dellenbeck.
Virginia Johnson. Photo by Bob Levin

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