Memorandum from Alan Gregg on his meeting with Alfred C. Kinsey
Gregg describes his visit to Indiana University to meet with Kinsey and university President H. B. Wells to review Kinsey's
sex research and early manuscript.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (198,555 Bytes)
5-7 February 1947
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Postwar Work and Retirement, 1945-1956
Letter from Alfred C. Kinsey to Alan Gregg (February 20, 1947)
Wednesday. February 5, 1947
Left on the Pennsylvania at 6:05 p.m. for Indianapolis.
Thursday, February 6, 1947
Met by Dr. and Mrs. A. L. Kinsey and their two main assistants Martin and Pomeroy at the station in Indianapolis, train being
three hours late. We motored to Bloomington, Indiana, arriving at about 12:45. I went to the Student Union, a comfortable
large building used as a student center and with guest rooms for visitors. After lunch we went over to K's Office and
rooms on the second floor of the Zoology Building where a small secretary's room and a fairly large size but very much
over-crowded single room are available for records and library. Three other rooms are at the disposition of K's helpers
on the same floor. Equipment is modest, though the filing cases for the record cards and identification system are excellent
quality and well protected with locks. The place is far from fireproof, however.
In the new building projected there will be adequate provision for library records and workrooms.
Met the third and most recent assistant, Gebhart, who has a background of training in psychology. The salaries on inquiry
proved to be: Kinsey - $6,500;
Pomroy - $5,200; Martin and Gebhart - $4,400. The cost of books in the library
which have been bought by K. personally or from N.R.C. funds would be in the
neighborhood of $10,000. K. calculates $4,000 per year as the amount necessary
for maintaining the library in an effective working state. The project has received
many gifts, books, photographs, drawings, etc. and K. has slowly built up contacts
or acquired material otherwise difficult to obtain. It is perfectly evident that K's studies represent information analogous
to that which is obtained by a census,
i.e., it is a state of affairs in a population at a given time. It does not cover the type of knowledge or information which
is based upon development or successive
experiences or changes in a given individual comparable to the longitudinal studies
in, say, child growth. K. is still surprised at the extend and variety of other fields which are related to the studies he
is making, e.g. criminology, sociology, religion, graphic arts, history, psychology, folklore and anthropology.
The support from President Wells and the Dean of the Graduate Faculty has been very satisfactory and staunch. K's constant
emphasis is upon human biology and
the remarkable variety as revealed by the histories he has taken. K discussed with
him the possibilities of interference or interruption but did not find that he considers
this as likely. Indeed, relations with at least the Catholic Church and some of its representatives have been unexpectedly
free. This included an invitation to take histories in a seminary for the priesthood. In the evening had dinner with President
Wells, Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Treasurer of the University at the Student Union.
I was agreeably impressed by the
simplicity of Wells and his administrative colleagues. They clearly understand the
nature and implications of K's work. Later in the evening a little gathering at K's
house where his scientific colleagues and their wives met for an hour or two of
general conversation and I was introduced to a new and harmless temperance drink - a mixture of tea, orange juice and plenty
of cinnamon served hot - and all the effect of mulled wine except the after-effect. Then went back with K. to his
office, for further conversation and a clearer understanding of the library and what
the collections contain.
In the light of policy at the Library of Congress I should presume that Kinsey's collection was unexampled in the U.S.
Most of the chapters for Volume I have been completed, and K. was very eager for me to read them. I did so from 12.30 to 4.00
a.m., covering five or six different chapters.
Friday, February 7, 1947
Went over the question in detail with K. Had a brief talk with President H.B. Wells.
1 indicated that until the project is incorporated it could not very satisfactorily
present any request for aid from the RF apart from the subvention through N.R.C.
If the N.R.C. keeps to its ruling regarding the ownership of books and instruments purchased on its grants we could consider
an independent action in point of the library, but I would question whether all expenses of this kind cannot be covered from
royalties from the fees on the first, second or subsequent volumes. K. actually has the hope of working the series up to
a final $100,000. He is not seeking further histories from age groups or educational groups or racial groups, etc. that are
already adequately represented.
He asked me whether I would write an Introduction to Volume I. I told him I would think it over seriously and let him know
later. I do not have the impression that K.
or any of his associates have any morbid or pathological preoccupation with any particular aspect of sex. The character of
the chapters in Volume I satisfies me in point of objectivity and careful statement, and I had only very few criticisms or
corrections to offer on the chapters read.
I should judge that K's relationships with Weed are not exactly strained but certain not relaxed but that the contacts
with George Corner have been somewhat better. K's considerable immersion in the subject makes him rather sensitive to
even small degrees of prudery and very intolerant of it in scientists who are also controlling the funds on which his activities
Left Bloomington at about 11:50, arriving in Chicago 1 1/2 hours late, owing to a snow storm and bitter cold weather.
My general impression of the U. of Indiana was that it was one of the largest small-town universities that I have ever seen.
It is isolated in point of travel and a simple, unselfconscious Hoosier University, perhaps the last place in the world that
one would expect the kind of work K. is doing to originate and perhaps one of the beat places imaginable for it is proceeding
uninterrupted and without effective interference.