We’re pleased to announce that the papers of Ethel Spector Person (1934-2012) are open to researchers.
Person, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, did pioneering research in the field of gender and sexual identity, specifically in the areas of transsexualism and transvestism. With Lionel Ovesey, she did groundbreaking work on the psychosexual roots of transsexuality and transvestism, distinguishing core gender identity from gender-role identity, and gender identity from sexual preference.
Person also conducted important research in the area of fantasy. Her most notable project was conducted at Columbia University, where, with Nettie Terestman, she surveyed students regarding their sexual and fantasy experiences, and then conducted a statistical analysis on the results in the context of gender.
In addition to her academic work, Person was noted for her popular works on sex, love, fantasy and sexuality. She was the author of four books: By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives (1995), The Sexual Century (1999), Feeling Strong: The Achievement of Authentic Power (2002) and Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion (2006).
She was also the first woman to be director of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, a position she held from 1981 to her retirement in 1991.