Historians focus their lens on the Kinsey Institute

Drew Clark-Huckstep and Hallimeda Allinson comb the archives to present the history of the Kinsey Institute.

Researchers from the IU department of history have been working as consultants to the Kinsey collections, focusing on a history of the institute from Alfred Kinsey to the present and a reassessment of the Kinsey Institute’s collections. Clark-Huckstep is a PhD candidate with an interest in the history of sex research and sexual identity development; Allinson is also a PhD candidate with an interest in the sexual revolution(s) and the history of identity politics.

Professor Judith Allen of the history department designed these projects in concert with the Director of Library and Collections, Liana Zhou, and in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the Kinsey Institute in 2017. Dr. Allen, herself a scholar of Alfred Kinsey and his research team, believes that although many have written about Kinsey and his work, the institute itself deserves its own history. To date there has been no historical study of the institute’s work, its researchers, impact, and place in the history of sex research. The scholars are also researching American and international history contexts, from Kinsey to the present.

“We hope to bring this history to the public and the institute’s many supporters, but our work is more than just the gathering and writing of this history,” explains Clark-Huckstep. “We have also been charged with evaluating and reassessing the collections the Institute holds, including the recovery of projects from scholars across many disciplines that have utilized the collections.”

Allinson concurs: “Beyond just an historical timeline, our goals are to note and highlight the richness of the Kinsey Institute collections and to assess their promotion and preservation.”

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