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Last modified: Thursday, September 13, 2007

'Indiana Magazine of History' features Alfred Kinsey's controversial marriage course at IU

Sept. 13, 2007

Alfred Kinsey

Alfred Kinsey

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's marriage course, created in 1938 by a not-yet-famous Alfred C. Kinsey, is the subject of the lead article of the September 2007 issue of the Indiana Magazine of History.

Author Donna Drucker, a doctoral candidate in the department of history at IU Bloomington, finds the origins of Kinsey's interest in the scientific study of human sexuality in the three years he spent chairing IU's marriage preparation course at the end of the 1930s. The article examines the support Kinsey received from his students, as well as the controversy created in the larger community by the course's explicit content.

In a related piece, Indiana University Bloomington Chancellor Kenneth Gros Louis reflects on the leadership of Herman B Wells -- who headed IU during Kinsey's rise to fame -- and the qualities necessary for a successful university president today.

Also in the issue, Robert M. Owens, professor of history at Wichita State University, examines the significance of advertisements for runaway apprentices, slaves and wives that ran in the pages of early 19th-century frontier newspapers.

Finally, Gregory Sumner, professor of history at the University of Detroit Mercy, pays tribute to Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut in an essay that looks at the late author's complicated relationship with his hometown.

The Indiana Magazine of History is published quarterly by the history department of Indiana University, Bloomington, in cooperation with the Indiana Historical Society. The magazine's Web site can be found at For general information on the articles, contact the editorial office of the magazine at 812-855-4139.