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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 20, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.

JAMA. 1999;281(3):214. doi:10.1001/jama.281.3.214

Dr. HAVELOCK ELLIS of London is a lawyer as well as a trained medical scientific man. He is the author and compiler of many valuable works on medicolegal topics. His papers on criminality and his studies of sociologic questions have given him a wide reputation in both this country and in Europe, and he published in 1894 a remarkable work "On Man and Woman," which was a pioneer study on the psychologic and anthropologic differences of the sexes. This was followed in 1897 by the first volume of a series of works on the general study of the psychology of sex. This work was called "Sexual Inversion," and was confined to the physiology and psychology of the normal sex impulse. It was translated into German and published at Leipsic, and was read with great interest by jurists and criminal anthropologists. Soon afterward it appeared in London and was very highly praised for its conservative, scientific tone. Finally, in May last, one GEORGE BEDBOROUGH, a bookseller, was arrested for having sold a copy of this book to a detective, and was charged with publishing and circulating an indecent, obscene book. He was speedily committed for trial and had some difficulty getting liberated on bail, which was fixed at the enormous sum of $2500. The injustice of this procedure, in holding the poor dealer accountable when the author and publisher were well-known prominent men, indicated a confused idea of the prosecution. The author and publisher prepared to make a sharp defense, and had accumulated the testimony of most of the leading medical scientists and foremost men in Great Britain to show that the work was no more obscene than the ordinary text-books on obstetrics. . . .

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