Alfred Kinsey

Sexologist / Zoologist
Date Of Birth:
23 June 1894
Date Of Death:
26 August 1956
heart failure and pneumonia
Place Of Birth:
Hoboken, New Jersey
Best Known As:
Author of The Kinsey Report on sexuality

Alfred Charles Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University who gained fame for his pioneering research on human sexual behavior. Educated at Bowdoin College and Harvard University, Alfred Kinsey joined the staff of Indiana University in 1920. During the 1920s and '30s he became an expert on gall wasps and published high school biology texts, but in 1938 he began researching human sexuality. Kinsey and his research team interviewed thousands of men and women, then published their findings in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). Known popularly as The Kinsey Report, his first book met with mostly positive responses and became a best-seller, and Kinsey used the profits to finance the Kinsey Institute of Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947. By the time his second book was published, however, he had come under fire from religious and political groups. Alfred Kinsey died in 1956, but the controversy surrounding his research continues. Some hail him as a hero for revealing the truth about sexual behavior, but critics consider his report responsible for a "sexual revolution" that undermined the moral values of society.

Extra Credit

The 2004 movie Kinsey starred Liam Neeson as Alfred Kinsey… In its 1956 obituary of Alfred Kinsey, The New York Times said he died “of a heart ailment and pneumonia.” The paper further noted, “The zoologist had been in ill health for six months. He was admitted to Bloomington Hospital Wednesday, but his condition had not been considered critical until last night.”

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