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The sex problem

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The sex problem Thomas Hunt Morgan, Richard Goldschmidt, and the question of sex and gender in the twentieth century
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Koehler, Christopher Scott Whiston
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xiv, 392 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Biology ( jstor )
Chromosomes ( jstor )
Eggs ( jstor )
Female animals ( jstor )
Genetic inheritance ( jstor )
Genetics ( jstor )
Men ( jstor )
Sex determination ( jstor )
Transgenderism ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF ( lcsh )
History thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1998.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Christopher Scott Whiston Koehler.

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THE SEX PROBLEM: THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, RICHARD
GOLDSCHMIDT, AND THE QUESTION OF SEX AND GENDER IN THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY











By

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT WHISTON KOEHLER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1998



























Copyright 1998

by

Christopher Scott Whiston Koehler





























This dissertation is dedicated in part to my parents, Paul B. Koehler and Roberta
W. Koehler, who encouraged me and fostered a love of learning that has led to
the present work.

This dissertation is also dedicated to my partner, Burch R. Bryant, Jr., without
whose support and love I never could have completed it.













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A project as lengthy and as complicated as a doctoral dissertation is never

solely an individual effort, and it is with real pleasure and no little gratitude that

I acknowledge the numerous people who helped me in one way or another.

I would like to thank my partner, Burch R. Bryant, Jr., who tolerated the

intrusion of a complicated project into our household. There were many times

that I either ignored him or my responsibilities to work on some aspect of the

project. He was also more than understanding about my absences, mental and

physical. He endured it all with love and patience.

I could neither have started nor completed my dissertation without the

help of my dissertation advisor, Professor Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis. Her

enthusiasm for my work from the very beginning was a source of inspiration and

comfort, and she always seemed to know when I was in need of moral support.

When my work began to take me in directions other than either of us expected,

Betty encouraged me where others might have tried to head me off. Her

assistance, whether in navigating the science-studies literature or the tangled

path of grant writing, was crucial. Likewise, Professor Geoffrey Giles guided me

through the twists and turns of German history and the history of sexuality with

good cheer and was an early advocate of a project that combined the history of

German biology with the history of sexuality. He also provided help with








translating sometimes peculiar German concepts into coherent English. His

advice and vast knowledge made working with German archival sources as easy

as possible, and his enthusiasm for Berlin was quite contagious. I am also

grateful for the advice, training, and (occasionally) sympathy that the other

members of my committee gave me. Professor Frederick Gregory introduced me

to the range and subtleties of German science from the Enlightenment onwards,

and, when I took his Science and Enlightenment course with the notion of

challenging the Enlightenment project, managed to convert me. He was an able

mentor and a sympathetic advisor. Professor Robert Hatch introduced me to the

history of the history of science and reminded me of why the decision between

Early Modem and Moder science was a difficult one for me to make. Professor

H. Jane Brockmann welcomed me into her zoology courses on evolution and

ethology, and welcomed the different perspectives I brought with me.

Individually and as a group, the members of my committee made my work

much simpler.

I would also like to thank the many people who commented on this

project in various stages, or who otherwise contributed their help. Professor

Michael Dietrich of the History and Philosophy of Science Program at the

University of California, Davis, has been no end of help, starting with

encouraging me as an undergraduate. It was he who introduced me to Richard

Goldschmidt and the problems of German genetics as a beginning graduate

student under his tutelage, and later suggested the comparative dimension

between American and German approaches to sex determination. Professor








Dietrich opened his collection of Goldschmidt's articles and reprints to me, and

secured office space and photocopying privileges for me with the HPS program

during a summer visit. He has also read various drafts and never stinted his

encouragement. So far, he has not seemed to mind sharing. Professor Sue V.

Rosser of the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research at the University

of Florida read my dissertation at various stages and made many helpful

suggestions. Professor Jane Maienschein and Professor Garland Allen both

commented on the project during its early stages. Professor Charles Woolf of

the Department of Zoology of Arizona State University shared his personal

recollections of Goldschmidt and provided initial encouragement. Professor

Marsha Richmond, who wrote her own dissertation on Goldschmidt and sex

determination, was also encouraging.

Mark Lesney, my friend and fellow graduate student at the University of

Florida, helped me in many ways through his conversation and his comments on

my work. Our discussions about the nature of history and about the cultural

study of scientific knowledge helped to clarify my own thinking on the subjects.

If we could have gotten our debates onto paper during the time I stayed with

him while researching at the Library of Congress I suspect that we both would

have had much stronger "methods" sections in our dissertations.

Other members of the Department of History at the University of Florida

contributed, as well. Professor Carol Lansing opened my eyes to the

applicability of historiography to the history of science. It was in her class that I

first began to work with the ideas and concepts that ultimately formed the core








of this dissertation. Because of that course, I look at the history of biology in a

new light. Betty Corwine, first the graduate secretary and later secretary to the

department chair, mothered all the graduate students, and kept me especially out

of trouble.

This project depended on the help of numerous librarians and archivists,

and it is thus with gratitude that I acknowledge their assistance. The long-

suffering Interlibrary Loan staff of the University of Florida Libraries located

virtually all of my obscure and often incomplete requests with speed and good

humor. Beth Carroll-Horrocks and Rita Dockery of the Library of the American

Philosophical Society steered me through the vast APS collections in the history

of genetics and evolution and brought numerous sources to my attention.

Bonnie Ludt of the Archives of the California Institute of Technology steered me

through the Morgan and Sturtevant Papers, while Raymond Stokes of the

Bancroft Library helped with the Goldschmidt Papers and filled photocopy

requests from across the country. Kristel Weligen of the Bibliothek und Archiv

zur Geschichte der Max Planck Gesellschaft in Berlin was most helpful, as were

the people whose names I could never quite catch at the Staatsbibliothek zu

Berlin (Unter den Linden), the Humboldt Universitatsbibliothek, the Geheimes

Staatsarchiv Preuflischer Kulturbesitz, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the

Bayerische Hauptstaatsarchiv, and the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitatsarchiv.

They made working in a German-speaking country almost easy and met me

more than halfway. I would also like to thank Professor Erwin Haeberle of the








Archiv fir Sexualwissenschaft, Robert-Koch-Institut, for opening his archives

and for his conversation and encouragement.

I would also like to thank various other people for their encouragement.

My parents, Paul and Roberta Koehler, always listened when I had difficulties

and encouraged me when I grew discouraged. My in-laws, Burch and Marie

Bryant, always welcomed me and provided a needed respite on many occasions.

Noel Rosales and Vic Spain were always interested in my progress and even

cared about my topic. Katherine Bell and Tracy Miller commiserated when the

going got rough and were pleased when it got easy. Andrew Frank and Lisa

Tendrich Frank were always game for dinners out and, as members of my

graduate school cohort, kept me grounded in what was important: friends and

good conversation.

As in the beginning, so in the end: thanks to Burch R. Bryant, Jr., the sine

qua non of this dissertation.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................................................................... iv

A B S T R A C T ......... ......... ................................................................................. ............... iii


INTRODUCTION: READING THE SEX PROBLEM......................... .............

Bourgeois Biologists at the Fin de Si6cle ..........................................................4
Thom as H unt M organ ............................................................ ....................7....
Richard Goldschm idt ...................................... .......... ....................9
So urces .............................................. ................ .. ....... .. ...................10
M methodology ........................................ ... ....................... .............. ......12
Conceptual Distance and the Histories of Biology and Sex .............................12
H historical Theory .............................................................. .................... 17
O organization ....................................... ............................................ ..... .......... 22
N otes ....................... .. ........ .............. .............. ..... 26


CHAPTER 1. 'ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR': MODERNITY,
BOURGEOIS ANXIETY, AND THE SEX PROBLEM..........................................29

The Fin de Sicle............................. ........................29
M odernity ................................................ ............................ ................... .. 3 1
D iscontinuity ......................................... ................................................32
U rbanization....................................................... .................................. 34
Amerikanisierung: The United States, Germany, and Modernity...................35
A C onsum ing D esire........................................................... .......................38
Public and Private Modernity ........................................... .................... 40
Modern Sexual Personae........................... ..... ... ........................42
The Crisis of M asculinity..................... ............ ...................... ..........................44
ANew Reflexivity .....................................................45
The Sex Problem ............................................................. .................... 47
Science and M odernity.................. ............................ ............ ..........................49








The Sex Problem and the Biology of Cultural Anxiety .......................................53
A Single Sexual System ............................ ... ... ..................... 57
The Biologization of Culture ................................ ...........................62
Sum m ary ............................................. ........................................... 67
N otes ........................................69


CHAPTER 2. THE BIOLOGY OF SEX DETERMINATION.......................................79

Introduction to the Biological Aspects of the Sex Problem.................................79
Cytology: The Accessory Chromosomes and Sex Determination......................82
August Weismann and
the Separation of German Cells from Somatic Cells......................................82
The Cytologists ................ ................... ........................84
M endelism in a Pea-Shell ..................................... .......................86
Mendelism and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity.........................................89
Opposition to Mendelian Interpretations of a Chromosome Theory of
H eredity and Sex.......................................................... 01
Preformation and Epigenesis .................. ....................... .....................102
Speculation Run W ild ...................... ........... .......... ........... 103
Other Problems with the Chromosome Theory of Sex .................................104
Cytoplasm ic Inheritance .......................................... .........................................105
Balance Theories of Sex Determination: "The Enemy Within" and the
Cultural Implications of a Scientific Theory........................ .... ................ 109
Sum m ary .................. .......................................................117
N otes ..................... ...........................................118


CHAPTER 3. THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, SEX DETERMINATION, AND
TH E N EW W O M AN .... ........................................................... ...................... 124

New Sexual Personae and the Sex Problem ................................................124
The Lord of Misrule:
The New Woman and the Subversion of Bourgeois Femininity .......................126
The Education of W omen............................... ......... .................131
Biology in the United States:
Thomas Hunt Morgan, the Education of Women,
and the Sex Problem ........................................... ....................138
Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Determination of Sex ........................ .........142
Sex Determination at the Fin de Siecle.......................................................... 144
Morgan's Theories of Sex Determination and Sexual Aberration................157
M organ and Parthenogenesis........................................ ............ .................. 163
Sex Determination and Middle-Class Anxiety About Sex and Gender...............169








N o te s ...................................................................................... ........................ 17 3


CHAPTER 4. RICHARD GOLDSCHMIDT, INTERSEXUALITY, AND
HOMOSEUALITY IN GERMANY ........................................ ..................183


Sexual Inversion and M ale Anxiety.... ................................ .................. 183
The B irth of the Invert ......................................................... ... .......... ........184
A Note on Lesbians.................................. ..... ...................186
Germany: The Crisis of Fertility and a Place in the Sun ..................................187
Under Siege: Sexual Inversion and Germany ......................... ....................... 189
A Note on the 'Tolerance' of Weimar-Era Berlin .......................................192
Sexualwissenschaft: Germany and the Science of Sex..................................... 195
Richard Goldschmidt and the Determination of Sex ......................................... 199
Before the Intersexes: Goldschmidt's Early Views of Sex Determination .........202
Die Weibchenmdnnchen: The First Intersexes................... .....................212
Sexological Influences on Goldschmidt and
the Extra-Scientific Origins of the Intersex Concept ........................................226
Summary ............. ....... .................................229
N otes ....................................................................................... ......... .... 23 1


CHAPTER 5. FROM SEX DETERMINATION TO GENETICS: THE
'DELICATE PARTICLE LOGIC' OF SEX AND THE MECHANICAL
TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION .............................................. 240

Introduction............................ ............ ................. ................... 240
Genetics From Sex Determination...................................244
Morgan, Sex Determination, and Genetics ........................ ...................248
Goldschmidt, Sex Determination, and Genetics ..................... ...................260
Heredity/Development in Goldschmidt's Thought.....................................261
Separate Genetical Sciences....... ..... ........................ ....................264
Heredity and Control........................ .. ... .............................................. 268
Summary: Genetics, M odernity, and Control ....................................................273
N otes ..................... .... ....... ...... ................... ... ................ 275


CONCLUSION. WORDS AND THINGS: THE DISCURSIVE
TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION ............................ ............ 283

Introduction .............................. .... ............... ....................... .....................283
Policing the Borders: Biologists, the Discursive Technologies
of Sex Determination, and the Borders of Sex and Gender ...............................284








The W ill to K now ........................................ ................. ....................287
Sex and Truth: Naming, Normalizing, Controlling ..........................................303
Discursive Technologies: Taxonomies of Sexual Aberration
and the Calculus of Perversion..................................................305
Sexology: Taxonomies of Human Sexuality ..............................................305
Sexology and the Mathematization of Sex and Sexuality.............................307
Biologists and Discursive Technologies of Sex Determination....................310
Biologists and the Mathematical Nature of Sex...........................................317
Conclusion: Biology and the Normalization of Sex .........................................320
N o te s ............................................................ ...................... ...........................3 3 1


BIBLIOGRAPHY ...................................................................... .... .................. 338


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .....................................................................................391













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE SEX PROBLEM: THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, RICHARD
GOLDSCHMIDT AND THE QUESTION OF SEX AND GENDER IN THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY

By

Christopher Scott Whiston Koehler

May 1998

Chair: Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis
Major Department: History

Biologists made extensive investigations into the biological basis of sex

towards the end of the nineteenth and during the early decades of the

twentieth centuries. Concerned with such phenomena as the nearly equal

ratio between the sexes and the basis of sexual dimorphism, biologists

attempted to discover through a variety of means the exact moment when sex

was determined. This was one aspect of the so-called sex problem.

Sex determination constituted a major focus of the experimental study

of heredity and was a science in its own right. Nonetheless, historians have

focused on it only to the extent that it contributed to the development of

genetics. While genetics made crucial contributions to twentieth-century

biology, this approach obscures the extent to which the experimental study of

heredity was consumed by concerns about sex and its biological basis.













At the same time, the era historians refer to as the "fin de siecle," sex

presented similar problems to middle-class society in western Europe and

North America as part of the adjustment of bourgeois culture to Modernity.

This was another aspect of the so-called sex problem. The bourgeoisie was

predicated on the separation of men and women into public and private

spheres of activity and influence, and this separation by the fin-de-sicle was

increasingly fragile. Two types of people, feminist women and homosexual

men, threatened the bourgeois understanding of sex and gender by crossing

the borders between the two spheres.

This dissertation argues that the coincidence of such intense interest on

the part of biologists in sex determination with cultural anxieties about the

definition of sex and gender was not accidental. Focusing on the work of the

American biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan and the German geneticist Richard

Goldschmidt, this dissertation examines the ways in which culture and

science interacted to produce an understanding of sex and gender and argues

that sex determination constituted an effort to control and limit the changes

which occurred to the middle-class understanding of sex.












INTRODUCTION
READING THE SEX PROBLEM:
BIOLOGY AS CULTURE, CULTURE AS TEXT


Nature is the shape in which the man of higher Cultures synthesizes
and interprets the immediate impressions of his senses. History is that from
which his imagination seeks comprehension of the living existence with a
deeper reality.


Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2 volumes, (London: G. Allen,
1922), p. 8.


What was the meaning of sex? This question lay at the heart of the so-
called "sex problem," a problem that many biologists sought to solve at the
end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth.

It was this question about the meaning of sex that motivated biological work
on sex determination in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Beginning in the later nineteenth century, biologists became ever more
interested in the processes and implications of sex determination, and by the
beginning of the twentieth century much of the work of some of the most
prominent biologists was devoted to the determination and control of sex,
especially among those interested in questions of heredity.'
The language used in many articles, as well as in speeches and lectures,
by these early twentieth-century biologists confused and conflated sex and
sexuality. This confusion and ambiguity centered on the phrase the sex
problem, and ramified outward to many terms dealing with biological sex,
sexuality, and gender roles.2 The sex problem was defined perhaps once or
only a few times in over thirty years of work on sex determination;3 it was








simply assumed that all who read it knew what the phrase meant. Did the

"sex problem" refer to sex determination, sexual dimorphism, the roles of
gametes in fertilization, to the control of sex, to the mystery of the nearly
equal sex ratio in most sexually reproducing species, to the existence of sexual
variants like gynandromorphy and intersexuality, or even human sexual
variants?' The answer was, "Yes." These were all part of the sex problem, and,
with perhaps one exception, which sense of the phrase was intended was
never explicitly stated.
Biologists, however, were not the only ones confronting a perceived
sex problem; the sex problem referred to more than biology. The varied
approaches to the determination of biological sex mirrored a similarly varied
concern about the cultural meanings of sex and sexuality on the part of
various societies in many Western countries. The later nineteenth century,
and especially the early twentieth century witnessed many changes in the
transition to modernity, but the ones which posed the greatest cause for alarm
within the traditional, male-dominated bourgeois order were those that
related to changes in traditional sex and gender roles, as well as to changes in
traditional conceptualizations of sexuality. While to some, sexuality
represented the emancipation of humanity from the strictures of the past, to
others, particularly conservative commentators, sexuality contained within it
the destruction of Western culture.5 Two sorts figures, both of whom
traduced the accepted bourgeois definitions of appropriate feminine and
masculine behavior, were of particular concern to the middle classes. One
was the "New Woman," the woman who left the domestic sphere allotted to
her by bourgeois culture to demand a more active, public role in middle-class
culture, and the other was the homosexual or "Inverted Man," who by virtue
of being perceived to have given up the "man's" sexual role was thought to








have forsaken the masculine realm for the feminine. These two sexual
personae together caused anxiety in middle-class men about the status and

nature of masculinity. Taken together, these changes characteristic of
modernity embodied in these personae seemed to created a climate of great
concern over matters of sex and gender. The New Woman and the Inverted
Man appeared to some to conspire to create the belief that somehow,
modernity had created sexual anarchy.
It is the intention of this project to demonstrate that these two
seemingly disparate yet parallel narratives, sex determination and crises of
sexual identity, were, in fact, manifestations of the same phenomenon: a
cultural preoccupation with matters of sex, gender, and sexuality. Located
between science and culture, sex determination reflected both cultural
concerns and biological expectations. This dissertation maintains that sex
determination was the scientific effort to control and order aspects of life that
had apparently moved beyond all control or understanding. Sex
determination, then, was concerned with making the changing definitions of
gender more comprehensible, rule-like, and orderly at precisely the same
moment as the old assurances of traditional sexual roles were breaking down
in the face of modernization. Sex determination sought to make science, and
hence culture, more exact and rigorous, and, reflecting cultural
preoccupations, sought to reify sexuality Through this historical examination,
this dissertation will look not only at specific programs of sex determination
and how sex determination led to genetics, but will also examine the role of
science in the shaping of a cultural response to the threat posed by the New
Woman and the Inverted Man. This dissertation will also suggest some
implications of the biological categorization of gender.








Bourgeois Biologists at the Fin de Sicle
Work on sex determination advanced rapidly in the 1890s with the
work of the cytologist H. Henking, who first noticed the presence of an
"accessory chromosome," which N. M. Stevens (1861-1912) and E. B. Wilson
(1856-1939) independently connected to sex determination in 1905-06. The
period between 1900 and 1930 witnessed the greatest work by biologists on the
sex problem. Before this period, sex determination was the province of many
areas of biology, while after the province of medically oriented sexologists.
This dissertation focuses, then, on the period in which fears of changes
expressed by men (and it was usually, though not always, men) ran the
deepest and when the work on the biological basis of sex was at its most
intense.
Although biologists in many countries tried to solve the problem of
sex, such work was concentrated primarily in the United States and Germany.
While Lucien Cudnot in France and F. A. E. Crew and Leonard Doncaster in
Great Britain worked on sex determination, there is little evidence suggesting
that these countries supported the concentrated, virtually institutionalized
effort to understand the biological basis of sex that the United States and
Germany did. The present project takes as its subject the bourgeoisie in the
United States and Germany, both because most biologists were members of
the middle classes, and because the middle class itself had particular attitudes
towards sex, the body, and science. While the middle classes have been
regarded as those that introduced the repression of the body to the West, they
in fact applied the techniques of the body (medicine, pedagogy, and biology,
for example, as well as an ethos of self-control) to themselves through the
process of class differentiation from the upper classes and the working classes:








The health of the body and its sexuality became the hallmark of the
bourgeoisie, as well as the source of its identity.6
The present project focuses on middle-class male biologists who were,
more than any other segment of the population, in a position to marshal the
most powerful resources of Western culture to deal with a perceived threat
that was thought to have organic origins. To begin with, it was men's
attitudes and perceptions that precipitated a crisis of masculine sexual
identity. Many of the historical actors involved with the narrative of sex
determination were men, although there were notable exceptions, and
science, including academic biology, was run by and for men. In fact, it may be
that much of this cultural narrative about controlling sexual anarchy was
about silencing the New Woman and the Inverted Man, about re-establishing
or re-emphasizing traditional bourgeois definitions of femininity and
masculinity.
This project consequently focuses its attention on two of the most
significant biologists in the United States and Germany who attempted to
solve the sex problem, and then compares the work of these biologists with
that of their colleagues and associates. This project will examine the work on
sex determination of Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945) in the United States
and Richard Benedict Goldschmidt (1878-1958) in Germany to assess and
explain the meaning of sex determination. Both biologists worked extensively
on sex determination in the early decades of the twentieth century, and both
scientists contributed, not incidentally, to the developing science of genetics,
which was inextricably linked to the work on the determination of sex. Both
Morgan and Goldschmidt were pioneers in the field of genetics, and both had
early interests in sex determination. They were, however, to develop
significant differences in their ideas on the nature of sex, as well as on the







modes of genic action in relation to sex. Morgan fitted into what Maienschein
called the developmentalist approach, which saw sex as something which
unfolded in accordance with individual physiological processes.7 Yet as work
on hereditary concerns developed, and as Morgan's work on genetics began to
contribute to a convergence of Mendelian and chromosomal approaches, his
views changed. By 1911 Morgan saw sex determination as a nuclear process.8
Similarly, Goldschmidt's theory of sex determination rested upon the action
of the genes, as was thus ultimately nuclear in nature. This later led to a
science of physiology and development--physiological genetics--that
depended upon the action of the genes.
Primary among the questions raised by sex determination and
addressed by Morgan, Goldschmidt, and others was the nature of the
relationship between the hereditary material and the eventual form of the
organism. How does a single pair of alleles, to use anachronistic terminology,
have such profound consequences for the developing organism? This was a
question that interested both Morgan and Goldschmidt. The divergent
answers to this question contributed to the eventual split between the
Morgan school and the proponents of the evolutionary synthesis on the one
hand and Goldschmidt on the other, fact, there are grounds for the argument
that the interest in sex determination, both scientific and cultural, led directly
to the rise and eventual adoption of Mendelism and classical genetics. Given
the dramatic difference that arose in the 1930s between the Morgan school
and Goldschmidt, a comparison of their views in this crucial area should
reveal the importance to concerns about sex and gender to the formation of
modern biology.
For the sake of comparison and to provide scientific and institutional
context, this project also will assess related work on sex determination,







notably the work of William E. Castle (1867-1962), Wilson, Stevens, Carl

Correns (1864-1933), and others. This project is not, however, intended in any
way to be biographical. Both Morgan and Goldschmidt have sufficient
biographical or autobiographical materials devoted to them, as well as
numerous articles and other works that elucidate to varying degrees their
scientific work. Nonetheless, short biographical sketches are presented below.
Thomas Hunt Morgan
Morgan was born in 1866 to a patrician family in Lexington, Kentucky.
Like many biologists, Morgan displayed an early interest in nature and in
collecting various aspects of it. Historian of biology and Morgan biographer
Garland Allen notes that however much Morgan's scientific work focused on
laboratory biology, Morgan always enjoyed natural history.' Morgan attended
the State College of Kentucky at Lexington, followed by graduate study at
Johns Hopkins University under the biologist William Keith Brooks.
Morgan was evidently always a congenial and pleasant person, and despite
his family background not particularly aloof or class-conscious.'0 Well-
traveled, Morgan made many trips to Europe and was interested in classical
painting, sculpture, and literature." He maintained a life-long interest in
music, and Morgan and his wife regularly attended concerts.12 He was always
financially generous and on more than one occasion made up for shortfalls in
his students' fellowships.'" In fact, it was Morgan who paid the two
thousands dollars (in 1919) bond to secure Goldschmidt's release from an
internment camp to which he had been relegated as an enemy alien." After
graduate school, Morgan worked first at Bryn Mawr and then later at
Columbia University (and eventually at the California Institute of
Technology).








Morgan is reputed to have advocated a certain elevation from
contemporary political and cultural struggles, operating, according to Allen,
on the principle that scientists best served their country by concentrating on
science and avoiding political entanglements. He evidently regarded the
activism of some of his students with a jaundiced eye." This would seem to
render him ill-suited to a project such as this, which depends on situating the
biologist and the science securely within their contemporary context.
Evidence exists, however, that is at slight variance with the public persona
that Morgan projected. Otto Mohr (1886-1967), a post-doctoral student of
Morgan's and a life-long friend, wrote to Goldschmidt about Morgan's
perspectives about Mohr's recent work on genetics, which included a section
dealing with human applications of the science. Mohr wrote,

Morgan's remarks on my last chapter may interest you. It reads/runs
as follows: "The final chapter, dealing with the bearings of genetics on
human affairs, takes an unusually sane and unbiased attitude towards
such controversial subjects as sterilization, birth control, racial crossing,
environment versus heredity. ." You know Morgan well enough to
realize that this was more than I expected, since Morgan is very afraid
of committing himself in connection with such topics.'6

This did not mean that Morgan did not think about such topics, only that he
preferred not to take public positions. Indeed, Morgan not only thought about
such topics, but on occasion spoke about them publicly. Morgan and the
American biologist C. B. Davenport considered writing a joint paper on the
subject of war and eugenics during World War One, although there is no
evidence that they ever completed the project.17 Morgan also addressed a
group of sociologists on "the relation of modern theories of heredity to the
State."'8 Morgan was cognizant of the implications of the study of heredity,
even if he would not always, or even ever, take a public position. Despite this







reticence (or perhaps because of it), Morgan was a figure of no little interest
culturally, as well as biologically.
Richard Goldschmidt
Richard Goldschmidt's position vis-a-vis his culture is easier to
ascertain, thanks in part to Goldschmidt himself. In several retrospective
essays, as well as an autobiography that virtually ignored his scientific work,
Goldschmidt endlessly examined himself and his life. Goldschmidt
descended from an ancient Jewish family, a proud heritage that nonetheless
proved difficult in Germany after the institution of the National Socialist
government in 1933. When the Nazis came to power they published a poster
bearing his family tree to show how this family, which Goldschmidt traced
back to sixteenth-century Frankfurt, had set out to conquer the world, or at
least Germany (the Goldschmidts were related to many of the world's great
banking and industrial families)." Goldschmidt was painfully aware that his
Jewish heritage marked him as a perpetual outsider in German culture,
despite the contributions he and other such acculturated Jewish Germans had
made to German culture.20 This awareness of his status as outsider remained
with him all his life and may have contributed to his aloof personality.
Goldschmidt was born on 12 April 1878 to Solomon Goldschmidt and
Emma Fliirscheim in Frankfurt am Main. His parents were prosperous,
though by no means wealthy, bourgeois. It was a comfortable life,
surrounded by family and servants.21 Goldschmidt noted, however, that in
such bourgeois families, children were more pets than anything else, and as a
result, no-one seemed interested in his mind.22 Although it was a good life,
Goldschmidt felt that his home life was "too bourgeois--conservative,
parsimonious, but without a cultured style, the enjoyment of literature and
arts, or those small but highly important refinements that make up the








difference between comfortable living and cultured living."23 Nonetheless,
Goldschmidt was highly cultured, described by his friends as a "man of very
broad knowledge and culture and.. .especial competence in the field of
Oriental ceramics and life."24
Goldschmidt was educated in the humanistic traditions of the
Gymnasium and the Bildungsburgertum, or cultivated middle class. This
humanistic school included nine years of Latin and French, and six years of
Greek, as well as numerous history and mathematics courses. Goldschmidt
stated that

The Gymnasium graduates [that I taught] were brought up practically
without sciences, [but they] understood science much better than the
graduates from modern schools based upon mathematics and science. I
realized... that secondary schools are more successful if they do not
impart practical knowledge, useful later in life, but teach the
impressionable young mind to work, to think clearly.25

Of direct significance to his scientific formation was the Senckenberg Society
in his hometown of Frankfurt, in which Goldschmidt's interests in the
natural world were encouraged and cultivated.26 After the Gymnasium,
Goldschmidt attended university at Heidelberg, pushed into the medical
faculty by his parents, who were not optimistic about their son's chances to
earn a living as a zoologist in the climate of the German universities during
the Wilhelmine era.27 After working at the University of Munich,
Goldschmidt was called to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology in Berlin,
where he worked until he fled Germany in 1936.
Sources
To fulfill its goal, the present project relies on the writings of and about
many early twentieth-century biologists. Some of the primary sources
constitute the printed and published works of Morgan, Goldschmidt, and








biologists such as Correns, Castle, Wilson, Stevens, and others on the subject
of sex determination. Other primary sources for this project include
unpublished archival material, such as speeches on the sex problem, notes,
and letters. The scientific papers and books provide the primary material that
is to be subjected to a close critical reading. It is in these sources, for example,
that one finds the greatest ambiguity in the language of sex and sexuality, as
well as the most suggestive use of metaphor, simile, and word choice.
Scientific sources reveal a great deal about attitudes toward sexuality, even
given the reticence of many scientists, such as Morgan, to comment about
such matters. If science and culture are assumed to be at least partly the same
thing, then contemporary debates about changing sex and gender roles or
fears about homosexuality become clearer, even in scientific texts. These
papers are so rich with possibilities for analysis precisely because the authors
often claimed value-neutrality for them.
Other important sources include related contemporary works from
other branches of knowledge. These scientific and "para-scientific" works help
to reveal the debate over changing sex and gender expectations, both through
explicit reference and the sorts of implicit discussion mentioned above. For
this project, material from contemporary debates about the role of women in
society and culture, which were often tied to their "role" in biology and
nature, and the material from sexology will be important primary sources.
Likewise, the literature on degeneration, which spanned all areas of cultural
production, plays an important role, because many of the changes detailed by
the present project were couched in terms of degeneration as a biological
problem.
Given the emphasis of the project on the influence of gender and
sexuality on biology, original materials relating to the study of sexuality might








shed some light on the subject. However, much of the material on the study
of sex represents the emergence of sex research, particularly sexuality research,
from biology and its concomitant adoption by medicine, whereas this project
is interested specifically in the work of biologists as biologists on sex, rather
than in the work of biologists as sexologists. The primary focus of the project
is on the lives and work of various biologists, and not on assorted sexologists
per se. Furthermore, there is little evidence that Morgan, Goldschmidt, or any
of the other biologists whose work is to be explored, read, or even had access
to, primary sexological literature. So while Alfred Kinsey, somewhat like
Goldschmidt, was a zoologist who considered human sexuality, he did so for
reasons much different from those that motivated Goldschmidt.28 Thus
while the Kinsey Records at Indiana may contain relevant documents from
the period after this study, they were not examined. Likewise, while
Hirschfeld certainly had an enormous collection of data, his Institute, with
most of its records, was destroyed by the Nazis. But although Goldschmidt
lived in Berlin at the height of the Institute's visibility and was aware of
Hirschfeld's work, there is no indication that he ever entered, let alone
examined the records on sex and sexuality.
Methodology
Conceptual Distance and the Histories of Biology and Sex
Although it might not appear so at first glance, the history of science
and the history of sexuality can profitably inform one another, especially in
the context of the fin de siecle. One reason for this is that biology participated
in the definition of sexuality and gender roles; the life sciences at the fin de
sibcle were permeated with sexual imagery.29 At the fin de siecle, the era in
which the West became recognizably modern, questions of sex and identity
were reconceptualized and incorporated into scientific discourse." The sexual








element has been implicit in the modern project from the beginning, both in
attitudes between the sexes and in human attitudes towards natural order.31
This project lies at that cross-roads between the history of the life sciences
(specifically the study of heredity) and the history of sexuality, because
discussions about biological nature and causation were not objective
explanations, but rather were part of a discourse of naturalness and
degeneration, emancipation and enslavement.32 What counted as "natural"
or "degenerate" was culturally and historically mediated.
Scientists worried about these issues, and did so well into the twentieth
century. Yet a history of sex determination that ignores the contemporary
crisis of sexuality tells perhaps only half of the story. This confluence of
biology and culture suggests what historian Stephen Kern terms a
"conceptual distance."33 It is a way of bridging the gaps between fragmentary
and disparate historical sources by juxtaposing seemingly disparate
phenomena, such as the sex problem in biology and contemporary concerns
about changing gender roles. Kern suggests that the thinking of widely
disparate fields, when they arrive at similar generalizations, may reveal
something of the Zeitgeist of a particular place and time. When biologists
and other cultural producers like writers or artists fretted about the dis-order
of sex, there may well have been something dis-ordered, from their
perspective, about it.
One interesting example of the confluence of the history of sexuality
with the history of science was Otto Weininger (1880-1903) and his book, Sex
and Character (1903; English-language edition, 1906). Weininger was a
Viennese Jewish intellectual who published a virulently anti-Semitic and
misogynist work and then committed suicide not long after.34 Sex and
Character was one of those mediocre books that nonetheless had a wide








impact, and it is thus difficult to over-estimate its influence on culture in
general. It became a best-seller almost overnight by virtue of the fact that it
seemed to express the anxieties about sex that many members of the
bourgeoisie had been feeling.35 As historian Richard Evans observes, "it was
huge, turgid and absurd, but it went through eleven editions by 1909."3
Sex and Character was by no means a scientific text; it had no
significant impact on the scientific world of the fin-de-siecle West.3
Nonetheless, Weininger used the language of science to articulate
contemporary fears and prejudices about sex and modernity.3 Weininger
argued that the sexual impulse was not limited to the sex organs, but was
generalized throughout the body. Humans were furthermore innately
bisexual, and even adult humans retained a vestige of this condition

it can be shown that however distinctly unisexual an adult plant,
animal or human being may be, there is always a certain persistence of
the bisexual character, never a complete disappearance of the characters
of the undeveloped sex. Sexual differentiation, in fact, is never
complete. All the peculiarities of the male sex may be present in the
female in some form, however weakly developed; and so also the
sexual characteristics of the woman persist in the man.9"

Reflecting contemporary anxiety about the crumbling distinctions between
the genders, Weininger argued that "in the widest treatment of most living
things, a blunt separation of them into males or females no longer suffices for
the known facts."40
Since a physical examination could not be counted on to reveal the
true natures of men and women, Weininger turned to science to differentiate
between them.41 Noting that chemistry had laws that described the behavior
of the atoms of an ideal gas, Weininger crafted mathematical formulae to
describe the sexual and romantic behavior and composition of ideal men and
women. These formulae described the balance between the feminine and








masculine elements of any given person." For what Weininger termed a
"true sexual union" to occur, the proposed couple had to add up to a complete
female and male. That is, the amount of the feminine essence in a man had
to complement the amount of masculine essence in a woman." Weininger
went so far as to craft a formula to describe the strength of the sexual
attraction between any two people, taking into account such variables as race,
class, age, health, and other such considerations.4 Weininger attempted to
define scientifically the subjective qualities of true femininity and
masculinity, and so to establish mathematically his culture's belief in sex as
something that occurred between a man and a woman, regardless of the
genders involved.
Homosexuality (what was referred to at the fin de sibcle as sexual
inversion), which appeared to hold unique horrors for the German-speaking
world, was similarly susceptible to such "scientific" treatment. Inverts were
simply those men and women in whom the amounts of the essence of the
"opposite" sex were very nearly equal. Weininger argued that "individuals

[exist] in whom there is as much maleness and femaleness, or indeed who,
although reckoned men, may contain an excess of femaleness, or as women
and yet be more male than female."45 These inverts, however, were not all of
a kind, but rather constituted a continuum between two polar sexes (poles
that no one ever really reached)." Weininger's system represented an
attempt to define in an authoritative manner (hence his use of science)
something his culture found to be highly threatening.
Weininger, however, was no biologist. Yet biologists certainly
expressed concerns similar to Weininger's. In 1895, just a few years before
Weininger's work was published, James Weir, Jr., published a jeremiad
against the evils of female emancipation in, of all places, The American








Naturalist. Like so many at the turn of the century, Weir associated the
extension of the franchise to women, which seemed to symbolize the
intrusion of women into the public, masculine realm, with rule by women,
what Weir castigated as "matriarchy."4 That is, if women voted, they would
perforce dominate everything, and lead to the decline of the race.

A return to matriarchy at the present time would be distinctly, and
emphatically, and essentially retrograde in every particular. The right
to vote carries with it the right to hold office, and, if women are
granted the privilege of suffrage, they must be given the right to
govern.48

What Weir called a privilege was, at that time, at least according to the
Constitution, a right theoretically possessed by all citizens. Yet if women
voted (and naturally from there, they would try to take over), it would lead to
the deterioration of the race and of bourgeois culture. Women seemed to
carry the possibility for cultural decay within them.
Worse than suffrage, however, was feminism. Comparing feminism
to the "retrogressive" doctrines of communism and nihilism, Weir argued
that they were all "degenerate beliefs."49 He claimed that

woman of to-day, who believes in and inculcates the doctrines of
matriarchy, doctrines which have been, as far as the civilized world is
concerned, thrown aside and abandoned these many hundred years, is
as much the victim of psychic atavism... [as the neurasthenic].50

Weir was obviously horrified by the so-called New Woman (see chapter 3,
below), part of a cadre of educated bourgeois women who sought life in the
heretofore masculine world of work and politics. These New Women were
held by some, including scientists, to be mentally degenerate. This pernicious
feminism, however, led to sex reversal ("viraginity") and lesbianism in
women.








Viraginity has many phases. We see a mild form of it in the tom-boy
who abandons her dolls and female companions for the marbles and
masculine sports of her boy acquaintances. In the loud-talking, long-
stepping, slang-using young woman we see another form, while the
square shouldered, stolid, cold, unemotional, unfeminine android (for
she has the normal human form, without the normal human psychos)
is another. The most aggravated form is that known as homo-
sexuality... Another form of viraginity is technically gynandry, and
may be defined as follows: A victim of gynandry not only has the
feelings and desires of a man, but also the skeletal form, features, voice,
etc.s5

Weir's most revealing comment was his parenthetic note about the
constitution of the "unfeminine android." Although the physical description
of this woman was that of the ideal man, the description of her psyche,
presumably also masculinized, was not referred to as "manly" but as
"inhuman." Weir equated a lack of femininity as bourgeois culture defined it
at the fin de siecle with a lack of humanity. A cold, "unfeminine" woman
was not "unwomanly" or "manly" but "inhuman." To Weir and the editors
of The American Naturalist, the New Woman not only demonstrated a high
degree of degeneracy, she carried it with her like a plague, so that the
matriarchy that she planned to institute would drag all of bourgeois culture
down with it.52
Both Weininger and Weir, who approached the sex problem from
different perspectives, arrived at similar conclusions. According to the
notion of conceptual distance, when commentators from divergent areas,
such as biology and a semi-popular consideration of sex, reached similar
conclusions, there may have been something to those generalizations.
Historical Theory
This project will attempt to evaluate this conceptual distance through
which a science, specifically sex determination, expressed certain cultural
preoccupations. Much of it will consist of tracing out the connections between







words and ideas and their relations to biological and cultural phenomena in
relevant biological texts. This project of "deeper meanings" necessitates the
use of a comparative methodology--attention to the details of language--and
the subsequent analysis of power/knowledge relations.
This dissertation depends on a close reading of texts both biological and
cultural, although that distinction is somewhat artificial. Intellectual history,
from which the history of science has so often drawn, has tended to view
language as a stable set of references and narrative as something that conveys
fixed and determinant meanings. However, according to certain post-
structuralist critics, including Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel
Foucault, language could not be relied upon to convey fixed meaning.
Language, instead of a stable system of signs, was a play of unintended
transformations and represented economy of differences in perception that
made the world (from the human perspective) rather than reflected it.53
Likewise, narrative was similarly problematic for the post-structuralists
because of its reliance on words. Historians have always assumed that an
historical narrative contained a fixed meaning, that of the historian or that of
the historical subject. This notion of narrative, however, was destroyed by
the notion that no relationship of word to thing existed; there were only
words, which proliferated rapidly.54 Because narratives were constructed of
words, they, like words themselves, generated multiple meanings."
Science at the beginning of the twentieth century (and at the end, for
that matter), however, was made up of language that was taken to be an
essential reflector of the natural world, and language-based narratives were
taken to reflect the truth of the natural world. Science depended on texts that
were written by individuals (or small groups) of subjects and that were
focused on the intent of the authorial subject. Methodologically, the history







of science has tended to adopt this stance. This was absolutely necessary when
the historian attempted to understand the science of past eras, and thus the
history of science relied on the subject and the text to a degree perhaps greater
than other forms of history. To certain analyses, however, especially to
analyses of scientific texts for content other than the explicitly "scientific," the
text--a constellation of subject and object bound together and permeated by
discourse--contained more than what it was intended to convey. Taken at
"face value," the journal articles, books, and documents that constitute the
sources of the sex problem were rather technical expressions of biological
esoterica. When read within a larger context, these texts assumed real
meaning for the culture that produced them. It was on this level that the
question shifted from "how did this audience understand the determination
of sex?" to "what work did this do for the culture in which it was produced?"
In this shift, the biological details and assumptions assumed a broader
meaning.
The present project thus depends on language to link together
seemingly disparate subjects, specifically the history of biology and the history
of sexuality, through the idea of the conceptual distance. It does this through
attention to the language of biological and sexual writing. Such a literary read
of a variety of sources can avoid the question of the validity of a given text, in
favor of taking it as a witness to certain events, as is implied in the concept of
conceptual distance.56 Instead of worrying about the objectivity of the
biologist, the purity of the biology, and the isolation of the biologists from
culture, this language-based approach assumes from the beginning that
science and culture are part of the same thing and that both constitute human
experience. The object of inquiry becomes how the author of the text went
about producing the meanings contained within it. In this manner, because








the common reality shared by interlocutors cannot be transferred to author
and reader, and because reference and representation are problematic actions
(due to the putative lack of connections between words and things), the text is
severed from authorial intent."5 The author fades thus from view along with
his or her intentions, and the text then can suggest possibilities for wider
cultural meanings.5 Thus biological texts dealing with making the organic
bases of femininity and masculinity can become barometers of cultural
anxiety.
Biological texts at the fin de siecle were cultural texts, as well. As
historical evidence, virtually all texts are equally permeated with ideological
elements or philosophical commitments. These commitments reveal a great
deal about the climate that the texts were written in. As historian Hayden
White suggests, any text or artifact can reveal something of the cultural
milieu of its time and place of production.59 Through a broader, more
ecumenical use of a text than is customary in the history of science--assuming
that science and culture are the same--questions of causation can assume a
different aspect. Science is neither internally autonomous nor externally
determined. By looking at a "text" as what historian Dominick La Capra
terms a "situated use of language marked by an interaction between mutually
implicated but contestatory tendencies," the question of the internal and the
external becomes meaningless.60 The distinction between what is inside and
what is outside becomes meaningless as nothing is seen as purely internal or
purely external to texts. The question becomes one of interactions between
language and the world.61
Just as a comparison of language sheds light on the cultural aspects of
sex determination as represented in scientific discourse, so too can an
examination of power/ knowledge relations in the discourse of sex







determination illuminate other levels of the cultural meaning of sex, gender,
and sexuality in early twentieth-century culture. This sort of method of
historical investigation tries to determine who holds positions of authority,
tries to define the forms that authority takes, and tries to see who and what
constitutes the subjects of that authority. Some of the work of the French
historian and philosopher Michel Foucault, especially his analysis of
power/ knowledge relations,62 and his analysis of sexuality in the West,63 has
particular relevance to the history of science, particularly the history of sex
determination. Cultural history, inasmuch as it represents a 'discipline'
rather than a set of analytical tools, holds the realm of scientific investigation
to be one of the primary domains of power and knowledge, whereby
knowledge of nature becomes power over nature, and thus the scientific
investigation of sex and gender can be seen as an aspect of controlling the
sexuality of bodies. The scientific work on sex determination, which began to
increase dramatically in breadth and comprehensiveness in the nineteenth
century, represents an example of an institutional "will to know," to learn as
much as possible about the human body.
A power/knowledge analysis can allow the historian to ask questions
that tend to remain unanswered in histories of genetics. For instance, an
analysis of power/knowledge relations can elucidate the work that sex
determination did for early twentieth-century culture by asking who was
determining and defining, thereby reifying the normal and the aberrant, and
who and what was subject to these definitions. Such an inquiry brings into
greater relief just exactly what the subject matter was and what it represented,
the hidden "who" behind the sex problem. In many cases, workers like
Morgan and Goldschmidt looked at gynandromorphic or intersexual bodies.
Yet these genetic and/or morphological anomalies are comparatively rare (at








least until scientists like Goldschmidt and others began to breed for them).
Rather than take the work at face value, a power/knowledge analysis looks
beneath the surface of the scientific discourse to see how it operates and to see
how it goes about making cultural meaning out of fairly rare phenomena.
Organization
This dissertation is organized along comparative lines, and it discusses
culture and then biology to demonstrate the lack of strict separation between
the two. Chapter 1 examines the cultural background for the investigation of
sex common to both the United States and Germany, highlighting those areas
in which German experience with modernization differed from the
American. Chapter 1 also examines the ways in which American and
German culture attempted to address various problems, specifically
problematic changes to definitions of gender, through science.
Chapter 2 picks up the biological background to the sex problem,
and examines in detail the cytological background for the research, performed
predominantly by American and German biologists, that led to an
understanding of the chromosomal basis for differences between men and
women. Chapter 2 also examines the Mendelian contribution towards an
understanding of sex and then addresses the very real barriers that existed to
the synthesis between cytology and Mendelism, a synthesis that not only
"solved" (on one level) the sex problem but also led to the formation of

genetics. Chapter 2 considers some of the theories of sex that opposed
Mendelism and some theories of sex that, while quite Mendelian, were not
"correct," and how these theories were particularly evocative of cultural
anxieties about changing definitions of sex and gender.
Chapter 3 examines the first of the troubling sexual personae,
specifically the New Woman in the United States, and makes connections







between the New Woman and the blurring of boundaries between the sexes
by virtue of her education. At this same time, when the academic world was
not only becoming more open to women scholars but also subject to attack for
"defeminizing" women (educated middle-class women had significantly
fewer children than those who did not attend college), the geneticist Morgan
began work on sex determination in parthenogenetic forms. Chapter 3
concludes by examining Morgan's status as arbiter of some of these cultural
and sexual changes.
Chapter 4 details the implications of the second troubling persona,
the Inverted Man, for Imperial and Weimar Germany. In Weimar Germany,
Goldschmidt formulated a theory of sex determination and inheritance,
which he eventually extended throughout the animal kingdom. From 1916 to
1931, he included human homosexuality under the rubric of intersexuality,
suggesting a confluence of interests.
Chapter 5 explores the formation of classical genetics out of work on
sex determination, particularly as it grew out of Morgan's discovery of a sex-
linked mutation that proved the validity of the chromosome theory of
inheritance. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 together examine the mechanical
technologies of sex determination.
The Conclusion explores the discursive technologies of sex
determination, the ways in which words and language contributed to the
definition of gender, and highlights the importance of language in the
discourse of sex determination. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz,
paraphrasing Max Weber, claims that if man is an animal suspended in webs
of significance that he himself has spun, culture constitutes those webs.64
Historian William Bouwsma argues that those webs are spun with the help
of language, because it is with language that humans order the mass of








information provided by the natural world.65 Through language, which is
shifting and without fixed meaning, humans order the chaotic, organize
nature into categories and make it useful.6
Nature is one such conceptual category that humans create to order
sensory impressions. It is, however, often thought to be the one category with
the least distance between perception and reality, and taken to be
unconstrained by language. Because science is fundamentally dependent on
language, and language is so historically contingent, the concept of science as
the next step away from undifferentiated nature is historically contingent,
too. If the dream of modernity since the Enlightenment has been the creation
of a social and cultural order that was as orderly and rational as the
Newtonian world--what historian Stephen Toulmin refers to as the
Cosmopolis--then that orderly rational world was in and of itself an
imposition on nature, a reflection of Western culture.67
The order of nature, like all representations, was and is a story that the
West has told about itself. It has been extraordinarily successful in its
manipulations of the natural world, but it is still an imposition from
without. Nature does not recognize the divisions and categories that are
imposed upon it. Toulmin suggests that the emotional, particularly its
ultimate somatic embodiment in the guise of the sexual, has been carefully
bracketed out of the Cosmopolis, the modern relation of the cultural and the
natural.68 The West perceived the sexual as irrational, and this ran counter to
the explicit agenda of the creation of a human culture that fitted into exact
and rational "natural" categories. Sex determination, in trying to "scientifize"
sex, represented the belated attempt to fit the sexual (literally the
polymorphous perverse) into the exact rational categories of Newtonian
nature. At the particular historical juncture of the fin de siecle, sex was seen





25

as not only fundamentally disordered, but also disordering, a source of
contagious chaos. Sex determination was how a certain group of cultural
producers, specifically biologists, sought to organize the chaos.








Notes


SW. E. Castle to C. B. Davenport, 16 October 1906, C. B. Davenport Papers, Library of the
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.
2 Historian Alice Dreger notes that the late twentieth century draws distinctions between sex
(an anatomical category), gender (social identification), and sexuality (sexual desires and acts)
However, until at least the late nineteenth century, these distinctions did not exist. As Dreger
points out, the characteristics were conventionally associated with one another (p. 49). See
Alice Dreger, "Hermaphrodites in Love: The Truth of the Gonads," in Science and
Homosexualities, ed. Vernon A. Rosario (New York: Routledge, 1997), 46-66.
3 Richard Goldschmidt, "Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm
Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften zu ihrem 10. Jihrigen Jubilium, ed. C. Neuberg
(Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921), 90-95.
SThe general term for a body that combined both female and male elements under pathological
conditions was gynandromorphy, although humans so afflicted were also designated as
androgynes. Hermaphrodites combined the sexes normally.
5Cornelie Usbome, The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany: Women's Reproductive
Rights and Duties (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 70.
6 Biddy Martin, "Feminism, Criticism, and Foucault," New German Critique 27 (1982): 8.
7 See Jane Maienschein, "What Determines Sex? A Study of Converging Approaches, 1880-
1916," Isis 75 (1984): 457-480.
* Ibid.
9 Garland Alen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1978), pp. 10-11.
5 Ibid., pp. 14-15.
SIbid., p. 20.
12 Ibid., p. 21.
" Ibid., pp. 16-17.
1 Richard Goldschmidt, In and Out of the Ivory Tower: The Autobiography of Richard
Goldschmidt (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), p. 180.
' Allen, Morgan, pp. 21,207-208.
6 Otto Mohr to Richard Goldschmidt, 6 February 1935, p. 1. Richard Goldschmidt Papers, The
Bancroft Library, the University of California, Berkeley, CA.
7 Morgan to C. B. Davenport, 13 April 1917; Davenport to Morgan, 19 Aril 1917; Morgan to
Davenport, 9 May 1917, Davenport Papers, APS.
" Morgan to Hans Driesch, 27 November 1907, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
" Goldschmidt, Tower, pp. 4-5. The Nazi propaganda poster, on which Richard Goldschmidt's
name appears near the bottom, can be found between p. 274 and p. 275.
20 Ibid., p. 7.
21 Ibid., p. 5.
SIbid., p. 6.









23 Ibid., p. 36.
2 L. C. Dunn to L. Farrand, 11 October 1935. L. C. Dunn Papers, APS.
25 Goldschmidt, Tower, pp. 11-13.
" Ibid., pp. 29-30.
7 Ibid., p. 39.
"James H. Jones, Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life (New York: W. W. Norton &
Company, 1997).
9 Ludmilla Jordanova, "Natural Facts: A Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality," in
Nature, Culture, Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormick and Marilyn Strathern (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 42.
0 Chandak Sengoopta, "Science, Sexuality, and Culture in the Fin de Sicle: Otto Weininger as
Baedeker," History of Science 20 (1992): 256.
1 Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1990), p. 134.
1 Rainer Herrn, "On the History of Biological Theories of Homosexuality," in Sex, Cells, and
Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference, ed. John P. De Cecco and David Allen
Parker (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, 1995), p. 32.
" Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1983), p. 7.
Sengoopta, "Science," p. 249.
M Ibid., p. 249; Helen Haste, The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes
the Difference (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 95.
1 Richard J. Evans, The Feminist Movement in Germany, 1894-1933 (Beverly Hills: Sage
Publications, 1976), p. 183.
3 Sengoopta, "Science," p. 249.
8 Weininger's book in fact deals with both sex and race in the face of modernity, although the
racial element is excluded from the present project. According to Rita Felski, Weininger
portrayed modernity as synonymous not with the sovereignty of the masculine, but with the
advancement of feminization. Felski, Gender of Modernity, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1995), pp. 46-47.
"Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906), p. 5.
*Ibid., p. 5.
" The scientific tropes in Weininger's work will be discussed in the Conclusion following
Chapter 5, below.
2 Weininger, Sex, pp. 7-8.
SIbid., p. 29.
"Ibid., pp. 37-38.
SIbid., p. 47.
SIbid., pp. 7,45.
" James Weir, "The Effect of Female Suffrage on Posterity," American Naturalist 29 (1895):










815-821.
*Ibid., p. 818.
"Ibid., p. 818.
5 Ibid., pp. 818-819.
5 Ibid., p. 820.
2 Ibid., pp. 822-824.
3 David Harlan, "Intellectual History and the Return of Literature," The American Historical
Review 94(1988): 596.
Ibid., p. 582.
5 Ibid., pp. 582-583.
Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 192.
7 Harlan, "Intellectual History," p. 587
"Ibid., p. 587.
" White, Content, p. 187.
a Dominick La Capra, "Rethinking Intellectual History and Reading Texts," History and
Theory 19 (1980): 247.
1 Ibid., p. 247.
6 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, trans. Alan
Sheridan-Smith (New York: Random House, Inc., 1970); Foucault 1977 PowerlKnowledge:
Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, ed. by Colin Gordon (New York: Random
House, Inc., 1977).
" Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley.
(New York: Random House, Inc., 1978).
4 Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 5.
" William Bouwsma, "Intellectual History in the 1980s: From the History of Ideas to the
History of Meaning," in The New History and Beyond: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, ed.
Theodore K. Rabb and Robert 1. Rothenberg (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), 289-
290.
"Ibid., pp. 289-290.
6SeeToulmin, Cosmopolis.
SIbid., pp. 134-135.












CHAPTER 1
'ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR':
MODERNITY, BOURGEOIS ANXIETY, AND THE SEX PROBLEM

ANGEL: Forsake the Open Road:
Neither Mix nor Intermarry: Let Deep Roots Grow:
If you do not MINGLE you will Cease to Progress:
Seek not to Fathom the World and its Delicate Particle Logic:
You cannot Understand, You can only Destroy,
You do not Advance, You only Trample



PRIOR: We can't just stop. We're not rocks-progress, migration, motion is
... Modernity.

Tony Kushner,
"Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika"
Act I, Scene 2; Act V, Scene 5


To be modem is to be part of a universe in which, as Marx said, "all
that is solid melts into air."

Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of
Modernity (New York: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 15.


The Fin de Sidcle
The general cultural environment at the end of the nineteenth
century, at least for such producers of middle-class Western culture as some
writers, artists, scientists, and social critics, was one of profound pessimism.
This was the era of the fin de siecle, the period stretching from approximately
1890 until after World War One. Although he characterized the sentiment
defined by the phrase "fin de siecle" as originally French and expressive of an
originally French feeling, Max Nordau (1849-1923), a prophet of cultural








degeneration and despair, observed before World War One that the
expression was found in most of the "civilized" languages of the West by the
end of the nineteenth century. Nordau opined that its near-universal
adoption indicated that it fulfilled a need.1 Though particularly acute during
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the sentiment was not new
to the bourgeois culture of western Europe and North America. In fact, as
historians David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley observe, cultural pessimism
actually characterizes bourgeois societies in general, and Western culture at
the fin de siecle was no exception.2 The bourgeoisie regarded any change or
deviation from its cultural ideals as a turn for the worse. That the
bourgeoisie never achieved these ideals only further heightened the
pessimism. An age of progress accordingly lived in perpetual fear of decline.
The sensitive and astute at first, and then increasing numbers of other
observers, noticed this decline, which Nordau characterized as "a compound
of feverish restlessness and blunted discouragement... The prevalent feeling
is that of immanent perdition and extinction."3 Both confession and
complaint, the fin de sibcle evoked the feelings of a jaded, weary culture,
bored with itself and helpless in the face of inevitable decay.
Immediately after the war, Oswald Spengler summarized this middle-
class pessimism best in Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Twilight of the
Evening Lands) (1918). Suggesting that cultures, like organisms, possessed
definite life spans, Spengler proclaimed that the West had reached the end of
its natural span. Spengler stated that

Each culture has its own new possibilities of self-expression which
arise, ripen, decay, and never return. There is not one sculpture, one
painting, one mathematics, one physics, but many, each in its deepest
essence different from the others, each limited in duration and self-
contained.'







Western culture (Kultur) by the fin de siecle had declined to a mere

civilization (Zivilisation). Civilizations, in Spengler's view, constituted the
"inevitable destiny" of cultures, and were

the most external and artificial states of which a species of developed
humanity is capable. They are a conclusion, the thing-become
succeeding the thing-becoming, death following life, rigidity following
expansion... They are an end, irrevocable, yet by inward necessity
reached.5


Before the West lay only the void of extinction, as inevitable in Western
culture as the senescence and death that awaited all life forms.
Modernity
One of the greatest sources of fin-de-siecle anxiety, and one that linked
all the seemingly disparate causes for concern together to unify them, was the
final transition of nineteenth-century bourgeois culture to the "modern
condition." While modernity after the Renaissance often implied
progressive rationality and cohesion, by the end of the nineteenth century, it
had also become associated with less positive traits. Historian Detlev Peukert
notes that while the concept of "modernity" derived from the history of art
and architecture, it nonetheless proves useful in describing the character of
the fin de siecle and early twentieth century.6 Developments on a number of
cultural fronts at the turn of the century, including in science, technology, the
arts, and intellectual life--all of which are constitutive of the form of life
extant at the end of the twentieth century--were affected by the modern
condition.7 The beginning of modernity is notoriously difficult to date with
any precision.8 Stephen Toulmin, in fact, has observed that whereas some
date the origin of modernity to Gutenberg's invention of moveable type
printing in 1436, the pronouncement of Luther's theses in 1520, or to the end
of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, others date the origin of the modern







condition to the late nineteenth century with the publication of Sigmund
Freud's (1856-1939) Interpretation of Dreams (1895) and the development of
the "Modern style" in the arts.9 Still others, however, place the start of
something called "modernity" firmly within the Enlightenment project of
the liberation of humanity through the accumulation of knowledge.10 On
the other hand, Peukert argues that many of the characteristics of what
historians term "modernity" were in place by the fin de siecle or immediately
prior to World War One at the latest. Thus the era of "classical modernity"
consisted of the period from the 1890s to the 1930s." The present project
follows Peukert's periodization, focusing on the years from 1900-1930 as the
height and twilight of the modern era, and, as this dissertation argues, not
coincidentally, the years of greatest activity by geneticists on the
determination of sex.
Discontinuity
One characteristic of modernity, and one that William Everdell, author
of The First Moders (1997), argues is among its chief constituents, is the
notion of ontological discontinuity.' That is, much of modern thought
across a host of disciplines depended on discontinuity and a lack of smooth
transition between apparently disparate phenomena. This idea contributed to
the sense of anxiety and foreboding that afflicted the bourgeoisie at the turn of
the century. If, as Everdell argues, the fully realized modern world of the
twentieth century can be thought of as "digital," than the world-view of the
middle classes during the nineteenth century was "analog," that is, the
bourgeoisie perceived the world to be continuous and singular, while
modernity implied a discontinuous and fragment cosmos.'
One thing above all became clear to certain observers of the mental
world of the bourgeoisie at the fin de siecle: Their mental world had run







down. The singleness of mind that the bourgeoisie had sought during the
nineteenth century, and that science would ultimately render untenable, was
in the twentieth century to die entirely.1 The goal of intellectual life in the
nineteenth century was unity, but the reality of the twentieth century
promised fragmentation and discontinuity. Where nineteenth-century
sciences depended on evolution, fields, and Entwicklung, twentieth-century
sciences would reveal the gene and the quantum, and the digital notion of
atoms (in the wider sense of discrete, bounded entities) in the void.15 The
twentieth-century world (at least the world of certain cultural elites) came to
be defined by the discrete. For example, mathematics insisted on the notion
of "space" between numbers, just as modern culture insisted that all things
were discontinuous and separable. Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1916) applied
this notion to the molecules of a gas, and crafted statistical statements of their
behavior. Max Planck (1858-1947) derived the quantum of energy from
Boltzmann's work, and within two generations, the continuous physics of the
nineteenth century, emblematized by James Clerk Maxwell's (1831-1879)
electromagnetic field theory, had been rendered discontinuous and, in
Werner Heisenberg's approach, at least, linked to particles. The arts displayed
a similar switch from continuity as the pointillism of the painter Georges
Seurat (1859-1891), which depicted the world as a myriad of tiny dots that
coalesced into a coherent whole, replaced the Renaissance technique of
imperceptible shading from one color to another. Likewise, Santiago Ram6n
y Cajal (1852-1934) resolved the gray matter of the brain into billions of
discrete neurons, which communicated in a manner reminiscent of
Boltzmann's colliding gas molecules, and Freud constituted the human mind
from the fragments of human experience, a discontinuous entity made of the
conscious and the unconscious. In 1900, Hugo de Vries (1848-1935) proposed







the concept of the gene to account for the whole number ratios he discovered

in hereditary phenomena." The wholeness of the nineteenth-century world
thus appeared to members of various cultural elites to disintegrate into an
infinite number of fragmented images at the beginning of the twentieth
century.
Urbanization
From the middle of the nineteenth century on, modernity was very
much an urban phenomenon. Cities appeared to many observers to be
something of an alien world, and lurid stories taught the residents of smaller
towns that cities were not to be trusted.17 The bourgeoisie itself was
somewhat ambivalent towards the cities that it had created and that had, in a
sense, created it. While cities were the physical locations of middle-class
wealth, power, and dominance over nature, they also harbored social
disorder, crime, poverty, and disease.18 Modernity arose along side the
tremendous growth of cities in western Europe and North America due to
migration from rural areas, and resulted from the need to confront the
psychological, social, technological, political, and other cultural problems
attendant upon the major shifts of population."
The large city, or the metropolis, inseparable from industrialization,
became the locus of new modes of perception as human contacts were both
multiplied and robbed of any form of continuity by the teeming masses of the
cities.20 The sexologist August Forel (1848-1931) voiced this concern when he
observed that the society of urban areas was made up of many social circles,
each of which had little to do with the others. Forel thought that this only
encouraged "vice and depravity... produc[ing] a restless and unnatural
existence."21 To be modern was thus to find oneself in an environment that
promised adventure, transformation, and power at the same time that it








threatened the destruction of the familiar patterns of life. Modernity cut

across all boundaries of geography, ethnicity, sex, class, and ideology. So
while modernity in a sense unified the West, it was what literary critic
Marshall Berman termed a "unity of disunity, a maelstrom of perpetual
disintegration and renewal... To be modem is to be part of a universe in
which, as Karl Marx (1818-1883) said, 'all that is solid melts into air.'"22 The
loss of continuity of experience in the midst of the multitude provoked a
disorienting reaction.
Amerikanisierung: The United States, Germany, and Modernity
The modern experience had made inroads in the United States by the
end of the nineteenth century. Industrialization, mechanization,

urbanization, and immigration swept America at the turn of the century to
create a nation recognizably modern." Although Europeans dating back at
least to Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) had branded America as 'modern,'
America only became such at the end of the nineteenth century.24 Much of
this anxiety associated with modernity concerned the morals of the country.
Just as America on the eve of the twentieth century was believed, if not
always in a positive sense, to be more modern than western Europe, it was
also thought to be more Victorian.25 Reformers, reacting to the moral threats
of modernity, demanded a purity that most Americans had never really
practiced. In so doing, however, they sought to reinforce traditional sexual
values and definitions of femininity and masculinity. This threat mounted
at the fin de siecle, sparking a veritable witch-hunt.26
Modernity made similar inroads in Germany, especially between 1900
and 1930, for which the United States served as the explicit model. While the
name of the Weimar republic was synonymous with modernity, not all of
German modern culture was a product of the Weimar era itself. In fact, in







Germany, modernity constituted a cultural epoch stretching from the turn of
the century to the early 1930s.27 Like many countries in western Europe and
North America experiencing modernity, German cities experienced
unprecedented growth. Grosstiidte, cities of more than 100, 000 inhabitants,
grew from 8 in 1871 to 48 in 1910, a six-fold increase.28 In 1910, 21. 9 per cent
of the German population lived in cities of 100, 000 or more inhabitants,
while by 1933, more than 30 per cent did so. More importantly, only about
one-third of the population could be described as 'rural.'29 With cities came
both a brilliant display of wealth and learning, as well as misery, poverty,
rising crime, suicide, and abortion rates.30 Of all the German states, Prussia,
with its capital city of Berlin, was the most modern, because it displayed the
ruptures and discontinuities of modern life.3
The modernization of the United States and Germany occurred not in
isolation from one another, but in fact constituted an asymmetric dialogue.
German cultural critics worried about Amerikanisierung, or
"Americanization," an insidious cultural imperialism that symbolized
unfettered modernity.32 America constituted the bete-noire of the culturally
conservative, at once the source of all degeneracy and the omnipotent threat
to Kultur. One such observer remarked that "historians of the future will
one day mark the page following the great European war as the beginning of
the conquest of Europe by America."33 The real danger, though, was not so
much the economic dependence that American assistance packages created or
even the possibility of mere political colonization, but instead a spiritual
peril. The true danger to Europe was American "boredom," a quality that
rose from the essences of American life. American boredom was restless,
nervous, and aggressive, outrunning itself and seeking anesthesia in
sensation. American boredom constantly created new diversions, such as







radio or cinema, to quiet its racing senses as part of its "rabid frenzy of eternal
flight from time."34 As with so many of the changes that some members of
the bourgeoisie on both sides of the Atlantic found threatening (urbanization,
industrialization, changes in the definitions of gender roles), the United
States rushed in where other countries, angelic or decidedly less so, feared to
tread. America represented to Germany Western bourgeois culture at its
purest, an image of the middle-class future awaiting it.35
The perceived "decadence" of the modern era was striking, and
modernity accordingly received a mixed reception in Germany after World
War One. The author of a cultural history of the inflationary period
summarized the utter chaos and lack of moral guidance well when he
described the period as a "hellish carnival" characterized by

plunderings and riots, demonstrations and confrontations, profiteering
and smuggling, agonizing hunger and gluttonous feasts, sudden
impoverishment and rapid enrichment, debauched, maniacal dancing,
the horrifying misery of children, naked dances, currency conjurers,
hoarders of real value, amusement ecstasy--indulgence, materialist
worldviews and religious decline, flourishing occultism and
clairvoyance--gambling passion, speculation frenzy, an epidemic of
divorce, women's independence, the early maturity of youth.3

All the moorings of German life had been cast loose by the war and its
aftermath. Among those were sex and sexuality, which escaped all fetters, as
"an ecstasy of eroticism cast the world into chaos. Many things that otherwise

took place in secret appeared openly in the bright light of the public stage."37
An influx of new cultural forms (conservatives of the right found American
jazz music especially alarming) and the perception of moral laxity, especially
in Berlin, struck many as evidence of the decay of Kultur.38 Germans, linking
political change to the cultural "decline," held the Weimar Republic itself
responsible for the decadence and the crisis of the private world of the







bourgeoisie, and for the inroads that superficial Zivilisation made into the
formerly pure German Kultur.9 As youth like Hans Goldschmidt
(Goldschmidt's son) danced to sound of "Yes, We Have no Bananas" and
danced the Charleston and the "Edgar Slide" on his father's priceless Chinese
rugs (Edgar was a school friend of Hans's who consented to be dragged around
on the rugs "fanny down and legs up" in order to "de-Charlestonize" them),40
members of the cultivated middle classes fulminated against precisely such
decadence and worried that the world, or at least their world, was coming to
an end. Richard Goldschmidt certainly did, "blowing his top" when he saw
the damage to the rugs.41 In a sense, that world already had ended. While no
doubt containing elements of generational conflict and difference, Hans
Goldschmidt's dancing on his father's carpets can be read as a metaphor, as
the children of Germany's Kulturtrager, the guardians and preservers of the
humanistic traditions, trampled the very thing their parents worked so hard
to preserve in the face of modernity.
A Consuming Desire
Another characteristic of modernity, and one that held great
significance for a history of sex determination, was the change in mentality
associated with the shift from a society of production to a culture of
consumption. Although the late nineteenth-century changes in capitalism
were intrinsically significant from an economic point of view, they also
effected profound changes in Western culture. Although the Enlightenment
model of economics that informed industrialization emphasized production
and property, it had begun to decline by the fin de sibcle.42 The autonomous
individual, upon whom industrial capitalism had been based and who had
been characterized by his property, was by the turn of the century
characterized by his desire for goods, which was fulfilled through







consumption.4 This change indicated a profound shift in the world-view of
the Western bourgeoisie, and one that led to the eroticization of objects and
the objectification of desire. This new emphasis on consumption and desire
cut across the distinction between the public and the private, one of the
constituent distinctions of the bourgeoisie. Cultural historian Rita Felski
argues that the modern department store, such as the one depicted in Emile
Zola's Au bonheur des dames (The Ladies' Paradise) (1883), which made the
connection between shopping and the erotic, created a public space that
catered to women and allowed the public world of commerce and trade to
invade the domestic sphere through women." This sexualization of
modernity was synonymous with its demonization. To some members of the
bourgeoisie, the belief that Western culture had repressed erotic drives
through an ideology of restraint was jeopardized by the primacy of desire and
sexualized representations in the rise of the modern consumption-based
economy." Concomitant with this was the realization that consumer
demand did not passively reflect economic imperatives, but was instead
susceptible to the influence of a number of factors, including gender.
Significantly, the consumer was quite often depicted as a women.46 Because
of the domestic, non-laboring role demanded of bourgeois women, shopping
came to be seen as a leisure activity, and the department store, perhaps the
greatest innovation of modern consumerism, came to market not just goods,
but an aesthetic model that blurred the distinctions between classes and sexes.
The department store, the "ladies' paradise," sold not just goods, but the very
act of consumption, and turned the act of purchasing into a sensual
experience.47 The modern became associated with a pessimistic vision of
feminine sexuality that had been seduced by a consumer culture. Rather than
the rational and progressive society dominated by a masculine public sphere,







modernity exemplified an advancing feminine irrationality based on the
satisfaction of manufactured desires.48
Public and Private Modernity
The sexually problematic nature of modernity lay at the center of the
study of sex, including its biological basis, at the fin de siecle and early
twentieth century. In fact, modernity threatened the bourgeoisie by blurring
the distinction between the public and the private worlds upon which the
bourgeoisie was predicated. Accordingly, the relations between and among
the sexes that the separation of the public and private worlds entailed had by
1900 metamorphosed into a hotbed of politicism, negotiation, and wrangling.
This is hardly surprising, as the most political venues were those that appear
to be the least political-the domestic realm and sexuality.49 Changing
economic and social conditions led to a struggle for control and definition in
the relations between the genders. Sexuality became a battleground not only
because it was the locus of many of the changes associated with modernity,
but also because it became what historian Jeffrey Weeks termed a 'surrogate
medium' through which other concerns were articulated.50
The exact locus of shifting assumptions, the space between the
boundaries of the political and the sexual constituted the space of ideological
formation." Sexuality, like any ideology, depended on mutual definition.
What counted as sexuality was not only variable and political, but also
historically contingent.52 It was this historically contingent space that various
men and women at the fin de siecle rendered untenable by their refusal to
consent to mutual definition. For a relatively long time, relations between
the sexes in the middle classes had been fixed by custom and that most
powerful of bourgeois forces, propriety. Men went out into the political,
sexual world and women maintained a pure, clean, sanctified self and home,







a retreat from the venality and cupidity of the world of men.5 Modernity
implied the intrusion of the private through the sexual into the public.
This was the ideology of the separate spheres of the bourgeoisie. The
nineteenth century, the century of the bourgeoisie, was the century that saw
the final separation of the private world from the public world concomitant
with the formation of the bourgeoisie as a distinct class.5" The public sphere--
the world of men--was separated by an uncrossable divide from the private
world of the family, the domain of women. Historian Christoph Asendorf
argues that the distinction was, to a very real extent, actually constitutive of
the bourgeoisie.55 The notion of the spheres was a crucial one, for on it was
predicated the more or less absolute distinction between a set of binary pairs
that coordinated with one another: male/female and public/private. These
were political, social, and moral precepts that constituted the foundations of
bourgeois culture." In fact, the very moral code that was so important to
middle-class culture depended on these pairs, as well as the distinctions
between public/private, society/family, work/leisure, and
promiscuity/ restraint.57 These patterns of social organization, in reality the
"building blocks" of the middle-class world, mapped onto one another and
reflected a particular set of attitudes towards sex and sexuality.58 The sexual
danger of the public sphere opposed the purity and decency of the domestic,
just as the corruption and decay of the urban environment confronted the
"naturalness" of the family.59 These provided the basis for the fundamental
notion of "man/woman." As this system began to break down under the
weight of its own internal contradictions, sex determination, cultural and
biological, grew more and more important. As the social values on which
middle-class society depended came under harsh scrutiny, and as the iron
separation between the public and private realms began to falter, attitudes







towards sex and gender, so confident earlier in the Victorian century, gave
way to a sense of anxiety and foreboding.6
Modem Sexual Personae
The fin de siecle, in fact, witnessed major upheavals in the rush
towards modernity as the separate cultural spheres of Victorian society began
to move together in some people, who literally embodied these changes.
What seemed to be happening in response to these changes-rapid
urbanization, industrialization, the decline of traditional social relations-
was a continuous conflict over the definition of appropriate and acceptable
sexual behavior.61 Some middle-class women (the New Women), aided and
abetted by certain men (homosexuals, or Inverted Men), threatened to bring
down the entire social settlement of previous generations. What many
referred to as "the woman question," really a subset or iteration of a larger
problem of sex and sexuality, challenged the traditional institutions of work,
marriage and family. Historian Elaine Showalter argues that to many men of
the fin de siecle "women appeared to be agents of an alien world," one that
evoked anger and confusion, while to women, men appeared as the
defenders of an "indefensible order."62 In a context of change, such as that
witnessed during the fin de siecle, this posed a serious threat. As historian
George Mosse claims, the effort to control sexuality constituted a part of that
larger discourse of control aimed at mitigating the effects of modernization.6
Sexualities and gender roles were in flux and both tormented segments of the
bourgeoisie with visions of dissolution.64
The continuing modernization of the bourgeoisie at the fin de siecle
and the concomitant decline of the ideology of the separate spheres created
two sexual personae, the New Woman and the Inverted Man. The New
Woman, the woman who deliberately left the private sphere of the domestic







world for the masculine public sphere of education and employment, was
fundamentally a product of modernity.65 This New Woman, who was
supposed to represent the comforts of home and family in a traditional sense,
instead brought the "perils" of modernity into the home, further collapsing
the distinctions between the spheres.66
Likewise the male homosexual, or the Inverted Man, was both a
product of bourgeois modernity and a threat to bourgeois definitions of
masculinity. Beginning in the 1890s, there was a fear that sexual inversion
was on the rise, especially among the "better" classes of society, and that this
increasing homosexuality presaged decline and degeneration. Historian
Isabel Hull notes that this was part of the general climate of pessimism of the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries associated with modernity.67
The Inverted Man was further linked to modernity through the rapid growth
of cities and the concomitant disruption of traditional patterns of communal
life." The sexologist Iwan Bloch thought that the 'vibrations of modernity'
caused homosexuality.69 Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), himself an early
twentieth-century advocate for homosexual emancipation, noted that many
assumed homosexuality to indicate a state of mental or psychological decay,
and the sexologist and psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902)
associated homosexuality with neurosis and an hereditary neuropathische
Belastung (neuropathic disease). However, Carpenter argued that there were
few people in modern life who could be declared entirely sane.70 The
Inverted Man, who was really part of a third sex, neither male nor female,
was himself an emblem of modernity and a corporeal indicator of its harmful
effects.71







The Crisis of Masculinity
The figures of the New Woman and the Inverted Man posed a distinct
challenge to accepted conceptions of the roles and actions appropriate for the
sexes, the one by crossing the borders from the feminine to the masculine
sphere, the other by acting in a sexual manner antithetical to traditional
bourgeois notions of manhood, and in a sense crossing the sexual borders in
the opposite direction.72 The existence of both personae cast doubt on the
comfortable world of the middle class and rendered the established gender
norms increasingly untenable. Both provoked a similar reaction from
heterosexual middle-class men, viz., a crisis of masculinity.73 The crisis of
masculinity stemmed, at least in part, from bourgeois men themselves, and
was generated from the stresses and tensions produced by the disparity
between the inflexible gender roles they expected and the fluid reality they
experienced. By the fin de siecle the system of patriarchy predicated on the
relegation of women to the private sphere was under attack from all sides by
those who challenged the assumptions that permitted the dominance of
middle-class heterosexual males in Western culture.74
If some men doubted and feared women, they also found themselves
doubting each other, too. Otto Weininger raised the specter of homosexuality
in male friendship when he declared that

there is no friendship between men that has not an element of
sexuality in it, however little accentuated it may be, and however
painful the idea of the sexual element would be... Much of the
affection, protection, and nepotism between men is due to the presence
of unsuspected sexual compatibility.75

This inherent inversion threatened the masculine sense of the self by
suggesting to men that they might not, indeed, be "all man." Certain middle-
class men were hostile towards the Inverted Man because they perceived real







threats to the gender relations at the turn of the century as the New Woman
whittled away at what they regarded as their manly prerogatives and rights.76
This can be seen in changing views of the hermaphrodite, the embodiment of
sexual ambiguity: Hermaphrodites caused the greatest concern at times of
acute male anxiety about sex and gender roles, about the boundaries and
distances between the sexes." The hermaphrodite (or gynandromorph, or
intersex), not coincidentally, played an immense role in the work on the sex
problem, which suggests a connection between the two.
A New Reflexivity
At the root of the crisis of masculinity lay a dialectical relationship
between the definition of the masculine and feminine roles in culture, and
even between the biological sexes that often, but not always, mapped onto
those roles. Peter Gay summarized them succinctly: Man was active,
vigorous, assertive, intellectual, the warrior on the battlefield of life; woman
was passive, retiring, domestic, healing, the keeper of the home.78 New
Women and Inverted Men caused great concern perhaps less because of
whatever feelings they inspired in and of themselves, but because of what the
implications of these personae caused middle-class men to think about
themselves. Changes in sex roles were so threatening precisely because these
changes made it difficult to "be a man." The bourgeois notion of true
masculinity suffered assault on many fronts, from work and the notions of
success, to family structure and sexuality. These changes in women's roles,
embodied by the New Woman, and the changes in the definitions of
manhood, embodied by the Inverted Man, represent what historian Peter
Filene termed not only a "battle of the sexes, but also a psychic civil war."79
The changes in sex roles and expectations forced middle-class men to change
their mental view of the world.








This growing sense of novelty in masculinity, of the renegotiation of
sex and gender roles, and the attendant crisis of masculine identity they
engendered, were observed by contemporaries and witnesses to the
turbulence. Edward Carpenter observed in 1912 that "in later years (and since
the arrival of the New Woman among us) many things in the relation of
men and women have altered." The growing sense of equality in cultural
roles and expectations, such as university education, suffrage, athleticism,
that Carpenter observed had brought about a "rapprochement" between men
and women. If the modern woman was just a bit more 'masculine' than her
predecessors, the modern man was just a bit more sensitive and artistic,
though "by no means effeminate.""8 Carpenter claimed that not only had
men and women achieved a certain parity, but also that the borders between
what had been the masculine and the feminine were no longer all that
distinct.

Although he did not use the term, Carpenter described the birth of a
New Man to accompany the New Woman. Showalter points out that while
some bourgeois men focused increasing attention on "the woman question,"
the New Woman and the Inverted Man raised "the man question."8 Was
there a New Man? To a certain extent, Carpenter and others were somewhat
optimistic when they expressed the idea that the New Man existed and was
the New Woman's willing play-mate. This New Man was exactly what lay at
the root of the crisis of masculinity. The qualities that Carpenter ascribed to
the New Man were precisely those qualities that scientific authorities often
used to define women biologically." The New Man had quite a bit of the
womanly about him, so the creation of the New Man appeared to involve
what many middle-class heterosexual men feared most: feminization and
the loss of traditional masculine identity. An example of this concern was








articulated by a contemporary to Oscar Wilde's trials for homosexuality, an
event that shocked the West. It was part of a diatribe against "sexomania"
and was written by "An Angry Old Buffer":

When Adam delved and Eve span
No one need ask which was the man.
Bicycling, football, scarce human,
All wonder now, 'Which is the woman?'
But now a new fear my bosom vexes;
Tomorrow there may be no sexes!
Unless, as end to all the pother,
Each one in fact becomes the other."83


The poem expressed the basic fear of the traditional bourgeois that the
changes in sex and gender roles, which seemed to imply women acting as
men and men as women, presaged an actual reversal of the sexes. Men were
afraid that they would be turned into women.
The Sex Problem
The new sexual personae and the crisis of masculinity they sparked led
to a "sex problem" in middle-class society. A belief in the essential
subversiveness of sex was relatively old in the West. Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778), linking sex to the 'subversiveness of women,' the Other of
Western sexual discourse, declared that "'never has a people perished from
an excess of wine; all perish from the disorder of women."'"8 At the fin de
sibcle, Sigmund Freud articulated this thought when he described an
unconscious life seething with sex, a sexual world that was not the bipolar
world of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, but a world wherein the
distinctions between the two sexes were diffuse and increasingly arbitrary.85
It was only with the advent of the modern world that that subversiveness
came to represent a widespread problem." The moral values that supposedly
radical individuals fought at the beginning of the twentieth century were







precariously hegemonic at best and there was no 'golden age' of sexual
propriety."7 Sex was always unstable, and at no time more so than the fin de
siecle. The very precarious nature of this hegemony, however, explained the
vociferousness with which the sexual status quo was defended. The novelist
George Gissing (1857-1903) named the fin de sibcle a time of "'sexual
anarchy.'"88
This climate of anarchy was perceived in both the United States and
Germany. By 1900, tensions between American men and women had grown
considerably, threatening the traditional definitions of masculinity and
femininity.8 A newspaper editor proclaimed in 1913 that sexuality was
running rampant: "Sex o'clock had struck America."90 Social critics saw an
erotic revolution. Between 1905-1909 and 1910-1914, for example, the number
of articles in American periodical literature dealing with issues of sexuality
doubled, and more than 90 per cent were hostile towards the changes.9
Sexual anarchy had come to America; the situation in Germany was the
same. Just as American commentators decried the changes, their
contemporaries in Germany lamented the same "erotic revolution."92 By
1918, the end of World War One, some observers perceived that the old
moral order had broken down past the point which it could be repaired.
German historian and moralist Bruno Grabinski lamented the corruption of
Germany. He blamed emancipation movements such as those of women and
homosexuals (among others), decrying the "moral syphilis" that attacked
Germany and lamented the unfettered "sexualism."93 This concern
sometimes reached hysterical heights, as when pastor and pamphleteer
Ludwig Hoppe of Berlin wrote a scathing attack which denounced changes in
morality as "'sexual bolshevism.'"94 The concept of "sexual crisis" became one
of the central metaphors of German modernity.95








Science and Modernity
Science played an integral part in the experience of modernization,
both in helping to define the modern experience itself and in providing a
vocabulary for the articulation of anti-modern sentiment, including the
reaction to changing sexual standards. On the one hand, science at the fin de
siecle was characterized by what historian T. J. Jackson Lears described as a
species of positivism." This positivism--no doubt derivative of Comtean
positivism--was not so much the systematic positivism of the Vienna Circle
but rather a cultural tendency shared by educated Europeans and Americans.
It took the form of a belief that the universe, including and especially human
life, operated by certain laws that science alone could discover.9 The idea,
grounded in Enlightenment thought, was to use the steady accumulation of
knowledge to liberate humanity from its past. Such a scientific domination of
nature promised freedom from the social problems of the past and promised
to rationalize the social forms of the future by making them scientific.98
The modernization of science, however, especially the biological
sciences, presented another, more reactionary face, specifically an obsession
with degeneration. Degeneration was a perceived threat of the later
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that was triggered by the realization
that living processes were bound by the second law of thermodynamics, the
so-called law of entropy." What were perhaps the greatest discoveries of
physics in the nineteenth century--the notion that energy cannot be destroyed
and the qualification that it can be lost to heat and therefore lost to use--led to
the assumption of an inevitable universal decline, a descent into exhaustion
as the energy of the universe finally declined past the point where it could be
harnessed.'" Attributed to a variety of causes, including and especially
homosexuality and the changes in women's roles, the "race" (and by that







scientists meant the north-western European race) actually devolved under
the impact of modernity.1'0 Degeneration was an evolutionary step
backwards.
The most prominent, and indeed the most pessimistic, proclaimer of
degeneration was Max Nordau, a fin-de-siecle journalist and critic. Nordau
both biology and culture and despaired as the final years of the nineteenth
century wound down. Both seemed to indicate the decline of the races of the
West.'02 Indeed, Nordau was not alone in this rather gloomy prediction, as
the terminal years of the century suggested a diseased and exhausted culture
winding down at long last.103 Nordau stated that "in our days there have
arisen in more highly developed minds vague qualms of a Dusk of the
Nations, in which all suns and stars are gradually waning, and mankind and
all its institutions and creations is perishing in the midst of a dying world."'04
Degeneration had an explosive impact on Western bourgeois culture; it was
something that everyone read.' 0 In Degeneration (1895) Nordau discussed
the decline and fall of virtually every major nineteenth-century cultural
producer from the fields of art and literature. Everyone from the Pre-
Raphaelites, Leo Tolstoy, and Richard Wagner to Heinrik Ibsen, Friedrich
Nietzsche, and Emile Zola all exhibited some symptom of degeneration of
one kind or another, and Nordau charged them with dragging Western
culture into the sewers."'0 To Nordau, however, the worst aspect of fin-de-
siecle degeneration was sexual degeneration. Nordau, who imagined himself
as a sort of mad-doctor to Western culture, discarded his "physician's"
objectivity when he discussed sexuality, one of the tacit subjects of his book.l07
The 'sexual psychopathology' of the degenerate cultural producers constituted
'the single greatest factor in determining the popularity and success of
unhealthy art.'1" Nordau argued that the public, already weakened by








modern life, easily fell prey to the sexual degenerates masquerading as artists
and writers. Nordau foresaw a future in which "men dress as women and
women as men, one of his worst personal nightmares."109
The modern world constituted the chief cause of degeneration;
Degeneration detailed the symptoms it displayed. Commentators concerned
with degeneration such as Nordau and others argued that the transition to a
fragmented, urban modern society caused significant morphological,
psychological (the sexual instinct), and racial warping. Morgan, for example,
implicitly commented on degeneration when he suggested that one of the
possible applications of the new science of heredity was the amelioration of
"the physical deterioration of the race, that may take place under the
abnormal conditions of a complex and protracted social life," one of the most
critical indictments of modern life10 Krafft-Ebing believed that the demands
of modern civilization on the nervous system led to the rise in mental
disturbances that he observed."' August Forel argued something similar.
Urban society was made up of numerous groups with little interaction among
them (atoms in the void), and these circumstances favor the increase of "vice
and depravity." The frenzied pace of urban life produced a "restless and
unnatural existence." People left their jobs in 'unhealthy' factories to engage
in "the most repugnant sexual excesses. The rapacity, frivolity, and luxury of
society lead to alcoholism, poverty, promiscuity, and prostitution.""2 Nordau
himself similarly attributed degeneration to modern, urban living, blaming
steam and electricity."3 Steam and electricity, along with the industrial order
they facilitated, were totemic of modernity."' Nordau painted a picture of the
modern city straight out of the most horrifying dystopia. The modern
urbanite breathed polluted air, ate stale, adulterated food, and lived in a state







of perpetual nervous agitation. Nordau compared city life to life in a malarial
swamp because residents suffered the same vitiation and degeneration."5
Degeneration was thus located in the body, and this biologizing of
degeneration served a very important role in Western culture. The situating
of the social and cultural dislocations of modernity, including the New
Woman and Inverted Man, in the body and its health or lack of it, opened the
door to the prospect, however dim, of scientific analysis and control. It
provided a focal point for otherwise rather ephemeral cultural
disorientation."6 Aberrantly sexed degenerate bodies furnished biologists
with excellent locations to situate the degenerative effects of modernity and
provided living examples of the dangers inherent in crossing 'sexual' (i.e.,
'cultural') boundaries. Androgyny, gynandromorphy, hermaphroditism, and

intersexuality (all different ways of describing bodies that displayed both
female and male characteristics) were included under the rubric of
degeneration. By locating degeneration in the body, biology offered a renewed
sense of certainty and situatedness. A cultural crisis of sexuality was
articulated as a biological science of sex determination and control. This
science voiced the fears of Western culture and attempted to engineer a
remedy. Western culture responded to the supposed degeneration of the
New Woman and the Inverted Man by attempting to discover the system
(and biologists sought a single, unitary system) whereby sex was determined
in an effort to control the sex and sexuality of bodies. Locating concerns about
changing sexual roles, shifting gender identification, and the violation of the
borders between the male and the female in the body offered some biologists
an opportunity to control or remediate these problems, an opportunity
afforded no other group of cultural producers.







The Sex Problem and the Biology of Sexual Anxiety
In both the United States and Germany, regardless of the specific
differences of the reactions to the perceptions of sexual disorder (the subject of
subsequent chapters), Western culture turned towards the natural sciences to
quell the disturbances."1 In fact, before the fin de siecle, certain biologists had
begun to take notice of sex on biological grounds, and work on the so-called
sex problem was well advanced by the turn of the century."8 The timing of
scientific interest in sex determination with contemporary anxiety about
changing definitions of masculinity and femininity was not coincidental. Just
as biology by the fin de siecle discovered that sex, through the production of
variation, was a means to ends other than increase, culture discovered that
sexuality meant more than bearing children. This dissociation had enormous
consequences in that it provided the biological background for the sexual
anarchy."' And just as the traditional bourgeois definitions of femininity
and masculinity had been a source of stability rendered unstable, these
biologists realized with the elucidation of the role of chromosomes in sex
determination (see Chapter 2, below) that sex was actually a source of endless
variety and instability on the biological level as well.'20 Cells, like psyches,
seethed with sex.
Certain biologists were quite interested in the sex problem. Morgan
lectured on sex determination and, of all the Hitchcock Lectures that Morgan
gave to the Department of Genetics at the University of California in 1916,
only his speech on sex determination has been preserved, indicating that it
might have been regarded as being of particular interest, either to Morgan or
to whomever inherited his papers.'2 E. B. Wilson, a friend and colleague of
Morgan at both Bryn Mawr and Columbia University and one of the
cytologists who proved the role of a so-called "accessory chromosome" in sex







determination, wrote extensively on the sex problem, considering both the
scientific minutiae of his own research and the larger synthetic picture.122
Goldschmidt, too, commented often on the problematic nature of sex.123
Leonard Doncaster, a prominent British biologist, summarized the matter
neatly and made the connection between sex determination and
considerations of human sexual problems explicit, when he stated that

the question, 'will it be a boy or a girl,' raises one of the most widely
discussed problems of biology, that of the cause% which determine
whether any individual shall be male or female, and it suggests the still
deeper question, 'why should there be male and female sex at all?'124

Part biological query and part expression of cultural anxiety, this question is
simply another way of asking, "What does sex mean?" The present work
contends that while the work on sex determination performed by biologists
was on one level performed with the intention of understanding the
biological basis of sexuality, on other levels it was concerned with sex in
precisely those ways that early twentieth-century bourgeois culture found in
to be a problematic source of anxiety. While biology labored successfully for
centuries without understanding the precise biological mechanisms
underlying sex, late nineteenth and early twentieth-century bourgeois culture
in the United States and Germany faced acute crises of gender and sexuality
that made the resolution of the enigmatic nature of sex critical.
The biological aspects of the sex problem, then, involved two principle
questions."2 The first dealt with the mechanism which, at a certain moment,
forced development to take one of two different streams, and the second
involved the material differences between the individuals in those
streams.126 Oscar Riddle (1877-1968), who worked on the physiological basis of
sex, stated that the sex problem involved both the origin and the nature of







sexuality and its bifurcation into two varieties of individuals.127 Thus it was
sexual dimorphism--the division of species into females and males--that
proved the most troubling. However Doncaster argued in 1914 that while the
existence of two distinct sexes and their occurrence in relatively equal
numbers were important, they did not constitute all of the sex problem.
Hermaphroditism and other instances of bodies that followed neither one
stream nor the other were also important, as was parthenogenesis, the
limitation of a species to one of the two developmental streams.128 In fact, it
was those organisms that did not fit into either category that Goldschmidt and
others argued were crucial to the sex problem precisely because of their
ambiguity.29 Gynandromorphs, bodies that were neither female nor male
but somehow both, represented the breakdown of a near-universal sexual
dimorphism and echoed contemporary concerns in the larger cultural milieu.
Various aspects of bourgeois culture came to regard sex as the deepest
secret of life and the general substratum of existence.30 Many biologists
certainly viewed life in this manner. Doncaster viewed sex as something that
ramifiedd into almost every field of biology."'3' Shosabura Watase, a Japanese
biologist who worked at the University of Chicago during the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries, noted that "the distinction of sex is probably the
most nearly universal single attribute or property of organized beings."'32 He
argued that

the phenomena of sex-differentiation extend through the whole
organization, including both the 'germinal' and the 'personal' parts of
the organism. The organism is either a male or a female, not by the
difference of 'primary sexual characters' alone, but by the difference
which saturates the whole of its structure.'33

Sex was the discriminating biological factor and it constituted the central
organizing feature of a body. Similarly, William Bateson (1861-1926), the








British biologist who, for all intents and purposes, created Mendelism, argued
that the influence of sex on the body constituted the most important means of
solving the sex problem,4' while biologist John Beard noted upwards of five
hundred theories of sex in his own contribution to the count.'35 When Beard
indicated that the "prelude to every developmental history. .. is the
determination of sex," he indicated that the instant of sex determination was
the single most significant event in the life of an organism.136 Furthermore,
T. H. Montgomery (1873-1912), a cytologist who contributed to the discovery
of the role of an "accessory chromosome" to the determination of sex,
maintained that not only did the germ cells themselves carry sex factors, but
themselves possessed sexuality regardless of those factors, so that an ovum
was female and a sperm was male.'3 Montgomery and other biologists
viewed sexual dimorphism as an integral characteristic of even cells, a
fundamental organizing metaphor of life.
These and other biologists accordingly contributed to the cultural
discourse on the sex problem through perspectives such as those expressed
above. For example, Walter Wilcox (b. 1869), who reported on the "crisis" of
fertility afflicting Americans of European descent (see Chapter 3, below),
Calvin Bridges (1889-1938), a student and colleague of Morgan, and Raymond
Pearl (1879-1940), a biologist with strong interests in eugenics and public
health, all spoke on aspects of the "crisis of fertility" at the Sixth International
Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference, held in New York City in
1925.138 Similarly, several prominent biologists, including E. M. East,
Goldschmidt, Julian Huxley, and Pearl, spoke at the World Population
Conference organized by birth control advocate Margaret Sanger (1883-1966)
in 1927.'9 Goldschmidt, for his part, lamented in a radio address (which he
later published in a journal devoted to eugenics) the fact that non-scientists







persisted in formulating sex-determination theories, although by the very
forum he fueled the fire of popular interest.40 The sex problem, then,
represented nothing less than one of the most fundamental problem facing
biology at the beginning of the twentieth century."'
A Single Sexual System
The biologists who worked on sex determination, influenced perhaps
by positivistic beliefs in the unity of knowledge, regardless of nationality or
experimental orientation, expected to find a single solution to the sex
problem, a unitary explanation for the incredible variety of sexual possibilities
they saw in nature. Goldschmidt argued that a theory of sex determination
had to explain not only the mechanics of sex determination and sexual
dimorphism, but also gynandromorphy, intersexuality, parthenogenesis, and
the alternation of generations.'42 However, Morgan stated that

the immediate problem of sex determination resolves itself into a
study of the conditions that in each species regulate the development
of the one or the other sex. It seems not improbably that this
regulation is different in different species, and that, therefore, it is futile
to search for any principle of sex determination that is universal for all
species with separate sexes.143

Yet in his own work, Morgan sought such a universal explanation. For
example, in his 1909 paper, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex
Determination in Phylloxerans and Aphids," Morgan reviewed the results of
the most significant work in the field, from mosses to insects and attempted
to derived the solution to the sex problem. Morgan dealt with the very
different sorts of experimental evidence as if they ought to be equivalent.'4 In
a letter to Hans Driesch (1867-1941), Morgan discounted the chromosomal
theories of sex determination that certain cytologists, specifically C. E.
McClung and Wilson, had formulated on the basis that different organisms








displayed different chromosomal mechanisms.'45 Whereas McClung
supposed that cells with the accessory chromosome produced females,
Wilson's work showed that the accessory chromosome produced males.'6
The fact that Morgan and many others saw Wilson's work as a contradiction
of McClung's a priori supposition indicates a not unwarranted assumption
that a single sex determining scheme should have existed."7
It is possible that all of the various theories of sex determination,
which were reviewed up to 1903 by Morgan and 1911 by Wilson, reflected an
effort to impose a variety of viewpoints on the same set of data. Each
interpretation was made because its predecessors had failed to account for the
variety of sexual systems."48 German scientists, such as Carl Correns (1864-
1933) and Goldschmidt, likewise sought to produce a single universal theory
of sex that included cytological, developmental, and evolutionary
perspectives.'49 In one of his earliest considerations of the sex problem,
Goldschmidt compared the various theories and models of sex determination
with the implicit understanding that when the sex problem is solved, these
will be seen to operate by identical mechanisms.'50 Similarly, Goldschmidt
used his work on intersexuality to explain human homosexuality, and argued
that the phenomena of sex were fundamentally the same."' In fact, much of
Goldschmidt's work, especially his extensions of it, was predicated on the
notion that there was a single model of sex determination.'52
Many of the biologists who worked on sex determination thus sought
to do more than impose a conceptual unity on a very fragmented natural
world. They also sought on some level to impose order on a fragmenting
understanding of sexuality as a cultural phenomenon. This stemmed from
the idea that culture could be ordered along scientific lines and that science
acted as an articulator of social norms. At the fin de sibcle, many American







biologists, as with so many members of the educated bourgeoisie, placed
science at the pinnacle of their value system, trusting no other form of
knowledge.'53 Biology came to be the absolute to which these scientists could
appeal to for guidance to proper social behavior.'5 Historians classify middle-
class culture in the United States at the turn of the century as 'Progressive.'
Science played an increasingly important role in late nineteenth and early
twentieth-century culture, becoming a source of metaphor and explanatory
images which served to explain or justify contemporary cultural values.'s5
Progressivism was accordingly predicated on such an informative role of
science, specifically on the use of science to solve social problems. Expertise
and scientific inquiry constituted the means by which social problems might
be solved. Reform as the result of inquiry benefited from the faith of most
Americans in science, but also the belief that science was free from
partisanship and ideological agendas.'56
It was in such a context that Morgan and others could claim and put
absolute faith in a trope of scientific disinterest. Just as in the England of
Robert Boyle, only the one who was free of all entanglements could speak the
truth and produce matters of fact. This involved the creation of a truly
neutral space through rhetoric and belief.'7 This space must not be viewed as
an expediency on the part of the biologists concerned. Rather, scientific
neutrality was a genuine and necessary belief on the part of late nineteenth
and early twentieth-century bourgeois culture. Morgan, for example, by
believing science to be separate from culture, 8 was in fact deeply embedded
in and permeated by his culture. From that value-neutral space, scientists
like Morgan could legitimately address cultural problems without ever
explicitly doing so. This is not to state that Progressivism and, by extension,
the scientists and science that fueled it, were by any means characterized by








any radical reform program. They were not. Progressivism, despite
occasionally radical-sounding rhetoric, was a tool of Protestant, native-born
Americans who were often of Puritan stock and who felt their position and
cultural hegemony threatened by the changes associated with modernity and
modernization, including industrialization, urbanization, and the associated
tides of immigration.1" Progressivism, with its scientific backing, was a
sometimes uneasy amalgam of reform and conservative, if not reactionary,
impulses.160
German culture, too, whether Wilhelmine or Weimar, was similarly
"interventionist" in matters of culture. In Germany at the fin de siecle, a

heritage of idealism which drew from Romantic (naturphilosophisch) and
Kantian idealist traditions combined with a distrust of the effects of
modernization. This inspired leading biologists to use biology to guide
cultural development.'6 Indeed, the natural sciences assumed a major role
in the modernization of Germany and its transformation from an agrarian to
a modern industrialist-capitalist order.162 In fact, science was constitutive of
the identity of the Bildungsbiirgertum, the cultivated middle class, and was a
means of its cultural expression.'63 After World War One, science became
even more important to German culture. The years after World War One
were not easy on the German people, and according to Curt Stern (1902-1981),
a former student and life-long friend of Goldschmidt, scientific achievement
(the older, positive science) could provide a rare island of stability in the
turbulent Weimar cultural milieu. Such a faith in science provided
consolation and hope.'6
Throughout the United States and Germany various people, especially
certain women and homosexual men, began to challenge extant cultural
roles, and naturally enough, middle-class men, who hoped to preserve the








status quo, employed a variety of medical and biological arguments to

rationalize 'traditional' definitions of sex and gender.'65 While the various

cultural producers used a scientific methodology to interpret nature, their
perceptions and interpretations were culturally mediated. Science was
nothing without the perception of nature and the interpretation of data, and
the actual questions a scientist asked may have been biased, just as the

questions presumed certain premises.'66 This was precisely what happened
with sex determination at the turn of the century. Arguments drawn from
biology became metaphors for culture and were used to control virtually
every aspect of a modernizing world. As the metaphoric nature of the
arguments gradually faded from view, they left the word to actually constitute
the thing.'" Putatively pure scientific ideas were easily shaped by the needs of
bourgeois culture to rationalize the extant cultural definitions of sexuality
and to "biologize" the argument.'6
If, as some scholars argue, the heart of modernity is fragmentation,169
then in some ways, sex determination may have represented a pre-modern
manifestation of biology that sought to bring order out of perceived chaos,
rather than a science that broke unity into diversity. The position of sex
determination within the context of fin-de-siecle concerns about sex and
gender was thus somewhat contradictory. While on the one hand, sex
determination was a science that worked against certain cultural trends to
stave off the uncertainty of the times, on the other hand, it also helped to
belie the claims of the middle classes to the singleness of mind or purpose
that characterized earlier generations. The era spanning the turn of the
century until after World War One was an uncertain one, with conflicting
trends and impulses, and some of the sciences reflected this divided nature.







The Biologization of Culture
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the
twentieth, many of those opposed to changes in the definitions of femininity

and masculinity resorted to scientific arguments to buttress their contention
that men and women must stay irrevocably distinct. The scientific arguments
for the cultural division of labor that the idea of the separate spheres
represented were wide-spread throughout the West as the contention that
women's emancipation meant men's enslavement.170 The decline of the
ideology of the separate spheres was not without impact on Western
scientists, many of whom were middle- and upper-middle class men, and
most of whom had been raised in this bipolar world. Some scientists, then,
particularly certain biologists, rallied to the defense of the natural order of
society as they perceived it.171 The idea of manliness was a requisite for
bourgeois society, and the roles of the sexes had to be clearly demarcated in
order for the concept to have any validity. The distinctions between
masculinity and femininity were perpetually reaffirmed as imperatives of the
modern age.'2 These biologists contributed to this effort by promulgating
biologically-based definitions of 'maleness' and 'femaleness' in an effort to
define organically a cultural construct that they perceived to be in jeopardy.
Macrocosm and microcosm: the reduction of culture to biology

The biologists interested in sex determination reduced the sexual
division of labor that was implicit in the ideology of the separate spheres
ultimately to the level of gametes and from there gave it all the sanction that
biology could muster for the social and cultural order. This "biologizing" of
the relations between men and women was hardly native to the nineteenth
century, but it did assume a new scientific veracity during the later
nineteenth century. Notions of the biological inferiority of women in the







West dated back into classical antiquity with the idea that women were
imperfectly formed men, the fact of which is reflected in the appearance of the
female reproductive track as an inverted image of the male.'73 Throughout
the history of science and gender in Western culture, such biological
explanations have wielded immense authority, and certain biologists
invoked this authority in the later nineteenth century as the social and sexual
settlement between men and women changed."7
William Keith Brooks (1848-1908), Doktorvater to not only Morgan but
also to Wilson and to other figures of import in American biology,'75
promulgated one such biological theory of culture. Brooks, an excellent
morphologist, studied under Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) and Alexander Agassiz
(1835-1910) at Harvard University, where he was educated in the nineteenth-
century naturalist tradition.76 After earning his Ph.D. degree at Harvard,
Brooks took a position at Johns Hopkins and remained there for the rest of
his life.'77 Historian of biology Jane Maienschein notes that Brooks was not so
much an experimenter as an observer of the natural world, which he
attempted to interpret logically. Brooks accordingly saw too many things to be
satisfied with separating out one aspect of a phenomenon to study in
isolation, preferring to take a longer, more interpretive view.'78 Interested in
philosophy at least as much as natural history,'79 and concerned with the
changing roles, duties, and actions of women, Brooks sought once and for all
the explain what biology had to say about women.'s8
In an article entitled, "The Condition of Women From a Zoological
Point of View," (1879) Brooks began his consideration of the sex problem by
examining the present physical form of male and female bodies and then
from there extrapolating their proper functions, both biological and cultural.
Brooks argued that if there is a fundamental difference in the "sociological







influences" of the two sexes, then perforce there had to be a biological
explanation. Recognizing the "insignificance of the merely animal difference
between the sexes, as compared with their intellectual and moral influence, it
is none the less true that the origin of the latter is to be found in the
former."181 Yet Brooks reduced these "intellectual and moral influences" to
the lowest possible level, that of the sperm and egg. His consideration of
women from a zoological point of view was minutely concerned with
gametes. Brooks elaborated his consideration of the woman question with an
examination of the structure, constitution, and function of the male and
female gametes. The egg, in Brooks' view, was incapable of "perfect
development" until it had been fertilized, because only under the influence
of the male-provided gamete did the egg do anything.'"' The egg was
essentially a food depot with little active role, "nothing but one of the cells of
the body, which may, when acted upon by the male element, develop into a
new organism."18 In fact, the egg was only the material medium in which
the "law of heredity" operated.'" Brooks displayed a real belief in the
superiority of the male gamete. Brooks thought that it alone was active,
while the female-supplied gamete displayed qualities remarkably like those
expected of bourgeois women.
Throughout his consideration of the condition of women from a
zoological point of view, Brooks made an interesting series of comparisons,
each of which moved from the microcosmic world to the macrocosmic world.
At each step, science moved closer to supporting the cultural status quo. He
began with the eggs,'18 which were almost useless save as silos and as media
for the "law of heredity." The male element, in contrast, was the vehicle for
the equally vague "law of variation." At the heart of Brooks' argument rested
the facts of nature: The female-supplied gamete was conservative while the







male-supplied gamete was progressive and variable. From this Brooks
generalized up the phylogenetic ladder. In plants and lower animals, for
example, Brooks held that females tended not to change much, while males
varied. Thus the lower animals reflected the gametic state. Brooks slid up
the chain of being to humans, all the while eulogizing the harmony between
organism and environment. Moving from gametes to bodies, Brooks argued
that since the female (human) body was entrusted with all that has been
gained by the race, then the female mind constituted "a storehouse filled with
the instincts, habits, intuitions, and laws of conduct" that humanity had
accrued.186 Likewise if the male (human) body, being variable, represented
evolution, then the male mind "must have the power of extending
experience over new fields, and, by comparison and generalization, of
discovering new laws of nature."'87 In an age of science, that last quality
represented the ultimate power, and men were its sole possessors. He stated:
"Men excel in judgment, women in common sense."188
Brooks then moved from gametes to bodies to minds. The mind-body
dualism, long present in Western thought, appeared to have vanished from
Brooks's work. Instead of each body consisting of uneasy alliance of mind and
body, males were characterized by mind, while females by body. Yet, if one
followed Brooks's own logic, all characteristics of all levels of males and
females above the cellular level were at best accidental properties derived
from the rudimentary characteristics of gametes. However, the "especial and
peculiar functions of the male mind" and, one presumes the female mind (if
she has one), and their relation to establish cultural roles are the main point
of the essay. At each step, Brooks made significant elisions as he ascended to
the next level he saw in the living world. There was no real reason why the
characteristics of sperm and eggs should have determined the qualities of







human minds save that Brooks wanted or needed them to. Brooks buttressed

his culture with biology. His argument is worth quoting at length.

The study of he growth of civilization shows that human
advancement has been accompanied by a slow but constant
improvement in the condition of women, as compared with men, and
that it may be very accurately measured by this standard... If there is...
[a]... fundamental difference in the sociological influence of the sexes,
its origin must be sought in the physiological differences between
them... At the present time, however, there is a growing tendency to
regard the relations of the sexes as due in great part to male selfishness;
and while the substantial correctness of our view of the differences
between the male and female character is acknowledged, its origin is
attributed to the "subjection" of women by men. In this paper I have
attempted to present reasons, which I believe are new, for regarding the
differences as natural and of the greatest importance to the race.'9


These were not the ramblings of a half-mad peddler of pseudo-science,
but the considered position of a professor at The Johns Hopkins University
and one of the foremost zoologists of his generation. Biologists like Brooks
genuinely viewed the social settlement between the sexes, the idea that men
worked and women preserved the sanctity of the home, as something
mandated in the cells.190 To late nineteenth-century biologists, evolution,
which had only reduced the "work" that women did, had made Western
women's lives supremely easy. They had but one task, while the toil of men
was without end. To demand anything else was worse then folly. It ran
counter to the demands of biological necessity."' Equal rights, then, entailed
a step backwards in terms of evolutionary progress, and individual rights
were subsidiary to the rights of the species. Equal rights were "regressive"
because they attempted to undo the dimorphism effected by human
evolution.192







Summary
The era of the fin de siecle was one of acute anxiety for the middle
classes of Western culture. One of the greatest sources of unease and
insecurity, and one that had the greatest possibilities for Western culture, was
the transition to modernity. Modernity affected many areas of bourgeois
culture, including the arts and letters, the sciences, and even the perception of
the physical world. The middle classes found modernity to be so threatening
because it promised to erode so many of the fundamental aspects of bourgeois
life, such as the belief in progress or the belief in ontological continuity,
whether physical matter or sexual relations. One area in particular that was
threatened by the transition to the modern world was that of the relations
between men and women and the concomitant definitions of femininity and
masculinity. Much of the relationship between middle-class men and
women was predicated on the notion of different spheres of activity for the
sexes. The boundaries between these realms, once hard and fast, had begun to
erode at the fin de sickle. Two new sexual personae, the New Woman and
the Inverted Man, embodied these changes and sparked a reassessment of the
relations between the sexes. These figures, by eroding the differences between
men and women suggested that modernity heralded sexual anarchy. Because
of the tendency in both American Progressive culture and the German
Wilhelmine and Weimar cultures to address social and cultural issues in
scientific terms, biologists were in a unique position to address the threatened
changes. Beginning with concerns about the erosion of the walls between the
spheres and racial and sexual degeneration, biologists gradually "biologized"
culture. That is, they cast cultural problems, specifically changing relations
between the sexes, in biological terms. Seeking a single causal mechanism for
sex and sexuality throughout all the taxa, biologists ranging from





68

experimental animal breeders to cytologists and embryologists investigated
the biological bases of sex and sexual difference. Biological research, however,
quickly pointed out the particulate nature of heredity and the fragmented,
atomistic nature of sex.








Notes


' Max Nordau, Degeneration, Reprinted from the English-language edition of 1895 published
by D. Appleton & Co. ed. (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1968), p. 1.
2David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society
and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1984), p.
214.
SNordau, Degeneration, p. 2.
SOswald Spengler, "The Decline of the West," in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton
Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of California Press,
1994), p. 359.
SIbid., p. 359.
6Detlev Peukert, The Weimar Republic: The Crisis of Classical Modernity (New York: Hill
and Wang, 1987), pp. xiii-xiv.
'Ibid., p. xiv.
SThe end of modernity and the rise of post-modernity are the subject of some debate. David
Harvey dates the end of modernity to the late twentieth century, starting with the "official"
death of Modem architecture on 15 July 1972 [David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity:
An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1989),
p. 39]. Harvey notes that concurrent developments in the intellectual world, exemplified by
the work of Foucault and Lyotard, spelled the end of the Enlightenment goal of the unity of
knowledge and the liberation of humanity (Harvey, Postmodernity, pp. 44-45). On the other
hand, Stephen Toulmin argues that modernity can be salvaged through the reconciliation of
science and humanism [Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 180, by humanizing the science that led to the
death camps and the atomic bomb and by restoring the philosophical to the scientific (pp. 200-
201). However, William Everdell, author of a recent study of modernity, argues that
modernity never really ended and is, in fact, only just entering a period of crisis [William R.
Everdell, The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 36]. Bruno Latour, though, argues that Western culture
was never Modern to begin with (Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 10-12]. The present project by and large follows the notion
of cultural modernity, which saw the modem world as one of fragmentation and discontinuity
and characterized by the disorientations that many people experienced in the West by the turn
of the twentieth century.
9Toulmin, Cosmopolis, p.5.
SHarvey, Postmodernity, p. 12.
"Peukert, Weimar Republic, p. 164.
12 Everdell, Moderns, p. 347.
'3 Ibid., p. 351.
1 Ibid, p. 201.
SIbid., p. 351.
6 Ibid., pp. 352-354.
7 Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967), p. 14.










' Blackbourn and Eley, Peculiarities, p. 216.
* Harvey, Postmodernity, p. 25.
2 Christoph Asendorf, Batteries of Life: On the History of Things and Their Perception in
Modernity, trans. Don Reneau (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp. 4-5.
21AugustForel, The Sexual Question: A Scientific, Psychological, Hygienic and Sociological
Study, trans. C. F. Marshall (New York: Physicians and Surgeons Books Co., 1925), p. 328.
22 Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York:
Penguin Books, 1982), p. 15.
23 Wiebe, Order, p. 12.
2Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 1: Education of the Senses
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 62.
"Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), p. 5.
SPeter G. Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1986), pp. 99-100.
" Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-1990 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), p. 39.
a Gay, Education, p. 50.
" Ute Frevert, Women in German History: From Bourgeois Emancipation to Sexual Liberation
(New York: Berg, 1988), p. 176.
SIbid., p. 176.
3 Modris Eksteins, The Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
(Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989) p. 133.
Peukert Weimar Republic, p. 178.
" Stefan Zweig, "The Monotonization of the World," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., pp.
398-399.
Ibid., p. 399.
" Adolf Halfeld, "America and the New Objectivity," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., p.
408; Gay, Education, p. 5.
6 Ostwald, "Moral History," p. 77.
3 Hans Ostwald, "A Moral History of the Inflation," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., p. 77.
SFulbrook, Divided, p. 40.
SIbid., p. 40.
SHans Goldschmidt, from an undated and privately circulated autobiographical manuscript
that I managed to acquire. American dances were evidently quite threatening. Historian
Modris Eksteins notes that the turkey-trot and the tango were all the rage in urban Germany
immediately before World War One, much to the horror of the conservative Wilhelmine
establishment. Clergy, the civil service, and government ministers all denounced what they
regarded as lewd public displays, and editorial pages were full of condemnatory commentary.
According to Eksteins, a Prussian officer was killed by a general over the question of the
propriety of the turkey-trot, and Kaiser Wilhelm himself attempted to ban the officers of his
army and navy from dancing the new steps, at least when in uniform (Rights of Spring, pp. 38-










39).
"Ibid.
I Lawrence Birken, Consuming Desire: Sexual Science and the Emergence of a Culture of
Abundance, 1871-1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 27.
3 Ibid., p. 34.
SRita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ,1995),
pp. 61-62.
"Ibid., p. 61.
SIbid., p. 61.
%Ibid., p. 67.
4 Ibid., p. 62.
"Ben Agger, Gender, Culture, and Power: Toward a Feminist Postmodern Critical Theory
(Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), p. 43.
0 Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities
(London: Routledge, 1985), p. 74.
5 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 15.
"Ibid., p. 15.
J See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in
the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 159, 272-273 n.
124. See also George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual
Norms in Modern Europe (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), pp. 16-20. Susan
Kingsley Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1987), p. 90, also deals with the subject.
M Asendorf, Batteries, p. 119. See also Gay, Education, pp. 25-44.
"Ibid., p. 119.
* Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 3: The Cultivation of Hatred
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 291.
5 Helen Haste, The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes the
Difference (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 3.
' Ludmilla Jordanova, "Natural Facts: A Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality," in
Nature, Culture, Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormick and Marilyn Strathern (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1980), pp. 43-44.
" Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800(London:
Longman, 1981), p. 81.
' Fraser Harrison, The Dark Angel: Aspects of Victorian Sexuality (London: Sheldon Press,
1977), p. 5.
" Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, p. 23.
62 Showalter, Anarchy, pp. 6-7.
6Mosse, Nationalism, p. 9.









SShowalter, Anarchy, p. 8. See also Gay, Education, p. 53.
5 Annelise Mauge, I'ldentiti masculine en crise au tournant du siecle (Paris: Editions Puvage,
1987), p. 59.
" Atina Grossmann, "The New Woman, the New Family, and the Rationalization of Sexuality:
The Sex Reform Movement in Germany, 1928-1933" (Doctoral Dissertation, Rutgers University,
1984), p. 40.
67 Isabel V. Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918 (Cambridge, UK Cambridge
University Press, 1982), p. 135.
" Vern L. Bullough, Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research (New York: Basic
Books, 1994), p. 92. See also Chauncey 1994.
"Mosse, Nationalism, p. 136.
" Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and
Women (New York and London: Mitchell Kennerley, 1912), p. 56.
"7GeorgeChauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay
Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 132.
" Historian Alice Dreger makes a similar point in her forthcoming book, Hermaphrodites and
the Medical Invention of Sex (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 26.
73The literature on the crisis of masculinity affecting bourgeois men and the fin de siecle is vast.
The references that follow are intended to give an overview, rather than an exhaustive list.
See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the
United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Victoria Bissell Brown,
"The Fear of Feminization: Los Angeles High School in the Progressive Era," Feminist Studies
16 (1990): 493-518; George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the
Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994); BramDijkstra, Idols
of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil at the Fin-de-Sicle (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1986); Joe L. Dubbert, "Progressivism and the Masculinity Crisis," in The American Man,
ed. Elizabeth H. Pleck and Joseph H. Pleck (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1930), 303-
320; Leonard L. Duroche, "Men Fearing Men: On the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Modern
Homophobia," Men's Studies Review 8 (1991): 3-7; Peter G. Filene, Him/Her/Self Sex Roles
in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); John C. Fout, "Sexual
Politics in Wilhelmine Germany: The Male Gender Crisis, Moral Purity, and Homophobia," in
Forbidden History: The State, Society, and the Regulation of Sexuality in Modern Europe, ed.
John C. Fout (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 252-292; Ludmilla Jordanova, Sexual
Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine Between the Eighteenth and Twentieth
Centuries (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989); Michael Kimmel, "Men's Responses
to Feminism at the Turn of the Century," Gender and Society 1 (1987): 261-283; Sally Ledger and
Scott McCracken, eds., Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995); Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing
Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press); E. Anthony
Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the
Modern Era (New York: Basic Books, 1993); Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and
Culture at the Fin de Sicle (New York: Penguin Books, 1990).
" See Showalter, Anarchy.
" Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906).
"See Chauncey, Gay New York.
" Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks, "The Hermaphrodite and the Orders of Nature:









Sexual Ambiguity in Early Modem France," in Premodern Sexualities, ed. Louise Fradenburg
and Carla Freccero (New York: Routledge, 199), pp. 117-136.
"See Gay, Cultivation.
" See Filene, Him/Her/Self.
' See Carpenter, Intermediate.
" See Showalter, Anarchy.
I See William Keith Brooks, "The Condition of Women from a Zoological Point of View,"
Popular Science Monthly 15 (1879): 145-155, 347-356. See also Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur
Thomson, The Evolution of Sex (London: Walter Scott, 1890), and Clarence E. McClung, "The
Accessory Chromosome-Sex Determinant?," Biological Bulletin 3 (1902): 43-84. See also
Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920).
' As cited Sally Ledger, "The New Woman and the Crisis of Victorianism," in Cultural Politics
at the Fin de Sicle, ed. Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1995), pp. 22-44. The poem appeared originally in Punch, 27 April 1895, p.
203.
"As cited in Carol Pateman, "The Disorder of Women': Women, Love, and the Sense of Justice,"
Ethics 91 (1980): 20-34., p. 20.
SWeeks, Discontents, pp. 137-138.
"Pateman, "Disorder," p. 21.
8 Weeks, Discontents, pp. 15-16.
A As cited in Showalter, Anarchy, p. 3.
"Joe L. Dubbert, "Progressivism and the Masculinity Crisis," in The American Man, ed.
Elizabeth H. Pleck and Joseph H. Pleck (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980), p. 310.
0 Filene, Him/Her/Self, p. 98.
" Ibid., pp. 98-99. See also Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885
(Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1957)., p. 497. Cosmopolitan magazine, for example, from
1912 to 1918, was dominated by the discussion of sex.
2 Hugo Bettauer, "The Erotic Revolution," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds, p. 699.
SStephen Kern, Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body (Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merril, 1975), p. 93.
" As cited in Paul Weindling, Health, Race, and German Politics Between National
Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 368.
"CornelieUsbome, The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany: Women's Reproductive
Rights and Responsibilities (London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 89.
"T.J.JacksonLears, No Place of Grace: Anti-Modernism and the Transformation of American
Culture, 1880-1920 (New York: Pantheon, 1981), p. 20.
'Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary
Biology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. 14, 200-203.
" Harvey, Postmodernity, p. 12.
"AnsonRabinbach, The Human Motor Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), p. 3.










'"Ibid., pp. 3-4.
I Brooks, "Condition," pp. 354-356; Geddes and Thomson, Evolution, pp. 267-277; Carpenter,
Intermediate, p. 22. See also Russett, pp. 131-132; Grossmann, "New Woman," p. 54; Weindling,
Health, Race, and German Politics, p. 105; Hull, Entourage, p. 135.
" This was the theme of Nordau's book, with the state of culture indicating a high degree of
physical degeneration. Spengler touched on the theme, as well.
m Showalter, Anarchy, p. 1.
1 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 2.
"John Higham, "The Reorientation of American Culture in the 1890s," in Writing American
History, ed. John Higham (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1970), p. 92.
Nordau's book infiltrated contemporary literature, as exemplified by Saki's character
Reginald, himself a nonpareil of weary sophistication. Reginald, a wan upper-bourgeois
cultural critic, read the book at a weekend house-party. Saki (H. H. Munro), "Reginald on
Tariffs," in The Complete Saki (New York: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 31.
* Nordau, Degeneration, pp. 15-33.
' Ibid., pp. 538-539. Nordau (p. 13) noted that "Vice looks to Sodom and Lesbos, to Bluebeard's
castle and the servant's hall of the 'divine Marquis de Sade's Justine, for its embodiments."
Sexual deviance, whether homosexuality, sadomasochism, or lust-murder, was all the same.
" As cited in R. B. Kershner, Jr., "Degeneration: The Explanatory Nightmare," Georgia
Review 40(1986): 436.
" Ibid., p. 436.
" Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Human Heredity and Genetics," p. 18. Undated speech, Thomas Hunt
Morgan Papers, Archives of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
n' Harry Oosterhuis, "Richard von Krafft-Ebing's 'Step-children of Nature': Psychiatry and
the Making of Homosexual Identity," in Science and Homosexualities, ed. Vernon A. Rosario
(New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 71.
12 Forel, Sexual Question, p. 328.
"3 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 37. See also Mosse, Nationalism, p. 136.
"'Asendorf, Batteries, p. 153, 163. See Chapter 7, especially pp. 155-156, "Polarity and Sexual
Attraction." Asendorf discusses a drawing by Wilhelm Kaulbach entitled "The Production of
Steam" (ca. 1859) that makes the connection between industrial Modernization and sex quite
clear. Steam is a winged demon that results from the rape of a nymph (symbolizing nature) by
Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge (symbolizing iron and industrialization).
"' Nordau, Degeneration, p. 35.
"' Eric L. Santer, My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of
Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 8.
"~ Frevert, Women, p. 131.
'" John Farley, Gametes and Spores: Ideas about Sexual Reproduction, 1750-1914 (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 188.
"' Ibid., p. 207.
'0 Ibid., pp. 188-189.
11 Thomas Hunt Morgan, Hitchcock Lecture 19 April 1916, Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers,










Archives of the California Institutes of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
12 See, for example, Edmund Beecher Wilson, "The Sex Chromosomes," Archiv fir
mikroskopische Anatomie 77 (1911): 249-271 for a consideration of the synthetic picture.
"1 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexualitat und menschliches Zwittertum," Deutsche
medizinische Wochenschriften 57 (1931): 1288-1292, especially p. 2. This article makes the
connection between the biological work on sex determination and considerations of human sexual
problems explicit, although the present work argues that the connection was implicit in much
of the work on sex determination.
12 Leonard Doncaster, The Determination of Sex (Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press,
1914), p. 1.
1' Richard Goldschmidt, "The Determination of Sex," Nature 107 (1921): 780. Aside from a very
brief mention in 1917, this is article contains the first explicit statement about what, precisely,
constitutes the sex problem. Before this, biological works both American and German merely
referred to the "sex problem" with no definition of what it was or why sex was problematic.
That it was left undefined for so long suggests that it was "tacit knowledge," something that
everyone "knew."
2" Ibid., p. 780.
127 Oscar Riddle, "Metabolism and the Newer Aspects of the Sex Problem, Part 1." Undated
speech, Oscar Riddle Papers, APS, pp. 1-3. While Part 1 is undated, Part 2 is dated ca. 1926-
1927.
"1 Doncaster, Determination, pp. 5-6.
' Richard Goldschmidt, "Ober die Vererbung der sekundaren Geschlechtscharaktere,"
Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft fiir Morphologie und Physiologie in Miinchen 27(1911): 118.
"0 Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, p. 12.
31 Doncaster, Determination, p. vi.
1~ S. Watas6, "On the Phenomena of Sex Determination," Journal of Morphology 6 (1892): 492.
13 Ibid., pp. 492-493.
1 William Bateson, Mendel's Principles of Heredity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 1909), p. 164. For Bateson's role in the rise of Mendelism, see William B. Provine, The
Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics, ed. Allen G. Debus, Chicago History of Science and
Medicine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
13 John Beard, "The Determination of Sex in Animal Development," Zoologische Jahrbiicher,
Abteilung fir Anatomie und Ontogenie der Thiere 16 (1902): 703-765., p. 708.
136 Ibid, p. 704.
' Thomas H. Montgomery, "Are Particular Chromosomes Sex Determinants?," Biological
Bulletin 19 (1910): 1-17., p. 9. For Montgomery's role in the discovery of the role of the accessory
chromosome, see Thomas H. Montgomery, "A Study of the Chromosomes of the Germ Cells of
Metazoa," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 20 (n. s.) (1901): 154-236.
13 Pamphlet, "6th International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference," Raymond
Pearl Papers, APS. For Wilcox's contribution to the furor over the decline of (white) American
fecundity, see Walter F. Wilcox, "The Proportion of Children in the United States," Popular
Science Monthly 67 (1905): 762-763.
" Margaret Sanger to Raymond Pearl, 1 February 1927, Raymond Pearl Papers, APS.









'" Richard Goldschmidt, "Die Bestimmung des Geschlechts und ihre Kontrolle," Eugenik2
(1931): 26.
'1 Forel, Sexual Question, p. 3. See also M. M. Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis
Blanchard, Taboo and Genetics: A Study of the Biological, Sociological, and Psychological
Foundations of the Family (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., Ltd, 1921), pp. 13-14.
11 Richard Goldschmidt, "La th6orie de la determination du sexe," Scientia 43(1928): 59.
"Thomas Hunt Morgan, Experimental Zoology (New York: Macmillan, 1907), pp. 423424.
"Thomas Hunt Morgan, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex Determination in
Phylloxerans and Aphids," Journal of Experimental Zoology 7 (1909): 239-359. See especially
pp. 306-348.
' Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905, pp. 1-2, Morgan-Driesch
Correspondence, APS.
"o Morgan to Driesch, 23 October 1905, p. 1. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
t" See Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Recent Theories in Regards to the Determination of Sex," Popular
Science Monthly 64 (1903): 97-116. In this paper, which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3,
below, Morgan compares all of the various sex determination schemes ca. 1903. In many cases,
Morgan dismissed or discounted various theories on the grounds that they were mutually
contradictory, although based on empirical evidence.
'8 See Ibid. See also Edmund Beecher Wilson, "The Sex Chromosomes," Archiv fir
mikroskopische Anatomie 77 (1911): 249-271.
" Margaret Somosi Saha, "Carl Correns and an Alternative Approach to Genetics: The Study
of Heredity in Germany Between 1880 and 1930" (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State
University, 1984), pp. 198-199.
10 Richard Goldschmidt, "Das Problem der Geschlechtsbestimmung," Die Umschau 14 (1910):
202.
' Goldschmidt, "biologischen Grundlagen," p. 7.
1n See especially Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination,
trans. William J. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923). In this work, Goldschmidt extended his own
work, which was limited to insects, to cover as much of the living world as reproduced sexually.
'5 Kenneth Ludmerer, Genetics and American Society (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1971), p. 37.
" Ibid., p. 38.
SCharles Rosenberg, No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), p. 1.
1 Ibid., pp. 12-13.
' See Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century
England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994) and Shapin and Simon Schaffer,
Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbies, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1985) for discussions of the production of matters of fact and the spaces in
which they can exist.
" Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1978), p. 21.
'" Ludmerer, Genetics, pp. 31-32.










'6 Donald Pickens, Eugenics and the Progressives (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press,
1968), p. 102.
61 Paul Weindling, Darwinism and Social Darwinism in Imperial Germany: The contribution of
the Cell Biologist Oscar Hertoig (1849-1922) (Stuttgart and New York: n. p., 1991), p. 17.
'" Ibid, p. 22.
'" Ibid., p. 22.
'6 Curt Stern, "Richard Benedict Goldschmidt, 1878-1958," Biographical Memoirs of the
National Academy of Sciences 39 (1967): 141-192.
11 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg and Charles Rosenberg, "The Female Animal: Medical and
Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America," Journal of
American History 60(1973): 333.
" Bleier, Science, p. 4.
'6"Rosenberg, Gods, p. 7. See also Scott L. Montgomery, The Scientific Voice, ed. Steve Fuller,
The Conduct of Science Series (New York: The Guilford Press, 1996).
* Ibid., p. 26.
1' Everdell, Moderns, p. 117.
0 Gay, Education, p. 208.
" Chauncey, Gay New York, p. 121. See also Rabinbach, Motor, p. 16, and Helen Longino,
Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1990), p. 163.
'"Mosse, Nationalism, p. 24.
"Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 4, 25-27, 63-64.
"1 Smith-Rosenberg and Rosenberg, "Female Animal," p. 333. See also Russett 1989, Bleier 1984,
Fausto-Sterling 1985, Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Society Writes Biology/Biology Constructs
Gender," Daedalus 116 (1987): 61-76. and Evelyn Fox Keller, "The Gender/Science System: Or,
Is Sex to Gender as Nature is to Science?," Hypa tia 2 (1987): 37-49.
15 See Jane Maienschein, Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880-1915 (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) for Brooks' influence on American biology through his
students, E. B. Wilson, E. G. Conklin, T. H. Morgan, and R. G. Harrison.
1* Allen, Morgan, pp. 36-37.
" Ibid. p. 37.
1n Maienschein, Traditions, p. 43.
'" Ibid., pp. 29, 43-44, 45.
6" Brooks, "Condition."
[" Ibid., pp. 145-146.
Ibid., p. 148.
M Ibid, p. 148.
'" Ibid., p. 150.
" Ibid., p. 148.





78



[" Ibid., p. 154.
" Ibid., p. 154.
m Ibid., p. 155.
1"Ibid., pp. 145, 354.
1~Geddesand Thomson, Evolution, p. 267. "What was decided among the prehistorical
Protozoa cannot be annulled by Act of Parliament."
.. Ibid., p. 269.
1' Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920), p. vi.













CHAPTER 2
CYTOLOGY, MENDELISM, AND SEX DETERMINATION

Introduction to the Biological Aspects of the Sex Problem

Biologists sought a single system to explain the determination of sex.
The greatest evidence of this was that certain biologists such as Morgan,
Goldschmidt, and others compared sex determination in radically different
organisms in the hopes of deriving a single solution to the sex problem. The
realization that the wide variety of different organisms, which spanned the
living world, would provide very different solutions came only gradually,
and then only after the advent of genetics rendered the question irrelevant.
Instead of the simple unitary system biologists in the United States and
Germany sought, biologists faced considerable difficulties in ascertaining
what, specifically, determined sex. Thus biologists, unable to determine easily
the sexing process, faced a bewildering array of possibilities that appeared to
some to suggest sexual anarchy in the animal and plant kingdoms. Rather
than the straightforward system that many expected to find, there seemed to
be as many forms of sex, mechanisms for the determination of sex, and,
consequently, theories of sex determination and inheritance as there were
kinds of animals and plants. The efforts of biologists represent various
attempts to uncover the mechanism (more correctly, mechanisms) behind
the regularities they observed on the level of sexed and sexualized bodies,
such as the inheritance of secondary sex characteristics (sexual dimorphism),
the inexplicably equal or nearly equal numbers of males and females, the role







of the environment in the determination of sex, including the role of
nutrition in sex determination, the relation of parthenogenesis to "normal"
sex determination, the point at which sex determination actually occurred in
the developing organism, and, increasingly through the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, the causal mechanisms behind and the significance
of an ever-growing array of aberrantly sexed bodies like hermaphrodites and
gynandromorphs.
Understanding the sex problem necessitates an examination of the
biological bases of the conclusions that certain biologists drew about gender.
Because the present work concerns itself with the significance of sex
determination, with the fact that numerous biologists in many countries
sought to determine sex (and sexuality), and because the history of the
working-out of the details is a well- and often-told story in the history of
biology, the present narrative presents only some of the work involved; only
the main lines of research--cytology (the study of cell formation, structure,
and function of cells) and Mendelism--will be examined. Although the
primary argument of the present work is that the scientific efforts to
understand the biological basis of sex also represent an effort to understand
and hence control the biological basis of sexuality and other cultural
manifestations of sex through certain mechanical technologies, the present
chapter concentrates on the scientific aspects of the argument.
The "new" experimental biology was at the heart of the thinking of
many American and German biologists who worked on the sex problem.
According to historian of biology Garland Allen, there were significant
differences between nineteenth- and twentieth-century biology. Whereas
nineteenth-century biology had been characterized by observation-based and
highly speculative morphological studies, biology at the fin de siecle was







marked by increasing reliance on experimentation, what Allen referred to as
the "revolt from morphology."' Much of the younger generation of biologists
expressed a certain dissatisfaction with the methodologies and conclusions of
their teachers, and lacked their interest in phylogenetic problems, the
expression of which tended to involve the construction of elaborate and
speculative maps of relationships between various groups of organisms.
Many of these younger biologists believed that the essentially descriptive
approach of nineteenth-century natural history prevented biology from
assuming the status of a "true" science such as physics or chemistry. This
new generation accordingly turned to the quantitative and experimental
methods and approaches of the physical sciences.2
Allen notes that it was not so much the subject matter as the ways in
which an older generation approached it that Morgan, Wilson, Goldschmidt,
Correns, and others found untenable. The descriptive tradition against which
they rebelled included many areas of the biological sciences, such as
taxonomy, paleontology, embryology, histology, anatomy, and cytology.3
However, the new biology also developed many of these areas considerably.
The new biology was not characterized by a change in theory, or even a
technological change involving new instruments or animals. Instead, the
new biology involved what historian of biology Jane Maienschein
characterized as a "subtle and profound change in the epistemic setting" in
which these younger biologists practiced their science. Conclusions about the
causes and nature of life faced what proponents of the new biology regarded
as higher, more rigorous standards of proof that were based on demonstrable
and reproducible phenomena. It was an epistemological shift of the first
order.4







The emphasis on the methods and epistemology of the physical
sciences brought physiology to a new prominence within the biological
sciences. Accordingly the physiology that many of the practitioners of the
new biology looked to at the fin de siecle was a mechanistic and reductionistic
physiology, especially as it was practiced in Germany. Many of this younger
generation of fin-de-siecle biologists studied in Germany, and were
accordingly influenced by the mid nineteenth-century materialist
physiologists of the Berlin school, such as Hermann von Helmholz (1821-
1894), Carl Ludwig (1816-1895), Ernst Briicke (1819-1892), and Emil Du Bois-
Reymond (1818-1894). The new biology pushed the study of heredity and
development from the realm of description into the realm of
experimentation.5 In the area of heredity in particular, the new experimental
biology was quite closely connected to the development of a Mendelian
approach. The rediscovery (or recovery) of Gregor Mendel's original paper of
1866 by Hugo de Vries (1848-1935), Carl Correns, and Erich von Tschermak
(1871-1962) furnished important new ideas about the nature of heredity, and
reinforced the materialist and atomistic approach of much later nineteenth-
century speculation about heredity, such as de Vries's mutationstheorie.6
Cytology: The Accessory Chromosomes and Sex Determination
August Weismann and the Separation of Germ Cells from Somatic Cells
It was in cytology that many important aspects of work on sex
determination--work that brought out the atomistic nature of sex--was
performed. One important insight was the German biologist August
Weismann's largely conceptual distinction between somatic cells and germ
cells, between the cells of the body and those cells that produced gametes,
constituted one important contribution towards the solution of the sex
problem. Weismann (1834-1914), although a staunch Darwinian and







proponent of evolution by natural selection,7 formulated this theory in an
attempt to deny once and for all the efficacy of the inheritance of acquired
characteristics. Nonetheless this distinction also held profound implications
for the study of the heredity of sex. Weismann observed that in certain
organisms the germ cells, which would in the organism's future give rise to
the gametes, were sequestered early in development and thus taken out of the
sequence of cells that gave rise to the body. Weismann noted that these cells
were some of the earliest cells to result from the union of egg with sperm.
These cells remained apart, quiescent until the organism in question reached
sexual maturity. This observation led Weismann in 1885 to his theory of the
continuity of the germ cells, which held that the germ plasm was held
separate from the body's structural cells from the beginning so that nothing
that happened to the body had an impact upon them.8 Thus seventy years
after Lamarck proposed his own model of evolution by the inheritance of
acquired traits, Weismann challenged this doctrine, postulating that the germ
cells alone were responsible for heredity, and were neither produced by the
cells of the body nor affected by its experiences.9
To Weismann's thinking, the germ cells were immortal--only the body
was subject to decline and decay. Each generation handed to the next its germ
plasm uncorrupted by the exigencies of life. What was called "the body,"
female or male, constituted a husk; its sole function was to support and
transmit its germ plasm.10 In his efforts to demonstrate the irrelevancy of the
body to heredity, Weismann conducted an experiment in which he surgically
separated over twenty generations of mice from their tails and found no
tendency of the mice to be born without tails." His work was experimental,
or at least subject to empirical verification, and fitted in with the
experimental trends and developments in biological theory and practice.







Weismann's work was important precisely because it limited the influence of
the environment on heredity. By bracketing such environmental influence
out of consideration, Weismann's work made a chromosome theory of
heredity--in which physical traits were passed in large part or entirely by
chromosomes--much more plausible, or at least subject to experimental
validation.
The Cytologists
The relationship between chromosomes and sex, or between
chromosomes and any physical trait, however, was not at all apparent during
the late nineteenth century; it stabilized in the early years of the twentieth
century. In fact, part of the significance of the chromosome theory of heredity
consisted of demonstrating precisely that relationship. The discovery of a
relationship between chromosomes and specific physical characteristics like
sex was the result of several workers' efforts. Thus the German cytologist H.
Henking's observation in 1891 that an unpaired chromosome during
spermatogenesis in the insect group Pyrrhocoris went into one of two
different kinds of sperm was not immediately connected to sex determination
in a definitive manner.' Henking noted that during certain phases of
meiosis unequal numbers of chromosomes migrated towards opposite poles
of the cell about to split. This observation stood in contradiction to what
cytologists knew about chromosomes, namely that during duplication and
division they exist in identical pairs called homologues. Yet Henking had
apparently discovered an anomalous unpaired chromosome. Rather than the
eleven chromosomes typically associated with Pyrrhocoris, Henking saw that
some cells possessed eleven chromosomes plus a dark-staining body."
Henking posited that this anomalous body was indeed a chromosome,
although he labeled it with an "X" to indicate a degree of uncertainty. This







may be the origin of the custom of designating the so-called sex chromosomes
as an "X" chromosome. In fact, Henking demonstrated that two kinds of
sperm were formed, one containing the usual eleven chromosomes and the
other containing ten and the dark staining X-element." Henking did not
associate this X-element, which he suspected to be chromosomal in nature,
with sex determination.'5
A few years later in 1901, however, another cytologist, Thomas
Montgomery, cleared up Henking's uncertainty and demonstrated that this
mysterious X-element was indeed a chromosome.16 Montgomery noted that
in certain stages of chromosomal replication maternal and paternal
chromosomes united such that each chromosome consisted of paired
maternal and paternal contributions. Montgomery observed that this X-
element behaved in a manner similar to that of "real" chromosomes.
Montgomery also extended Henking's observations to the Hemipteran order
of insects, thus demonstrating that Henking's observation of an unpaired
chromosome was not an aberration limited to a particular group but was in
fact characteristic of many more forms.7 E. B. Wilson, however, himself a
top-ranked cytologist, cautioned that this was more a surmise than a firm
conclusion."
The observations of the cytologist Clarence E. McClung (1870-1946) in
1902 lent further weight to Henking's observations. In 1902, McClung noticed
an unpaired deep-staining chromosome-like element similar to that observed
by Henking and by Montgomery, which he named this element the "accessory
chromosome."" McClung, drawing on his own observations and those of
others, including those of Henking and Montgomery, surmised that the
correlation of the unequal distribution of the accessory chromosome to two
different types of sperm to the distribution of the sexes into two groups of







approximately equal size may not have been coincidental. McClung reasoned
that owing to this unequal distribution of the accessory chromosome, there
were two qualitatively different types of spermatozoa formed. It followed,
then, that fertilization by these two sperm would have produced qualitatively
different individuals in approximately equal numbers. Given that the only
quality that divided the members of a given species into two groups was that
of sex, McClung concluded that the accessory chromosome was in fact
responsible for the determination of sex.20
Mendelism in a Pea-Shell
In 1900, and nearly simultaneously, three botanists, a Dutch, a German,
and an Austrian, recovered the conclusions of the Czech monk Gregor
Mendel (1822-1884) on the hybridization and breeding of plants." Although
Mendel published his results and conclusions in 1866, the scientific
community of the later nineteenth century largely ignored them until 1900,
when biologists reinterpreted them in such as way as to have a profound
impact on the study of heredity in the twentieth century. Although Mendel
himself sought laws to define the conditions under which speciation might
occur through hybridization, the botanists who recovered his work
interpreted it differently.22 These biologists regarded Mendel's work as
something that answered or explained many of the problems of heredity that
had been discovered in the intervening time between Mendel's era and their
own. They interpreted it as the cornerstone of a particulate theory of
inheritance buttressed by experimentation, and one that expressed two
fundamental laws of heredity, one of which dealt with the segregation of
genes under single-gene systems and the other under multiple-gene
systems.23 Mendel's "laws," like all such natural laws, were really just
generalizations drawn from observations. Mendel performed literally tens of




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THE SEX PROBLEM: THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, RICHARD
GOLDSCHMIDT, AND THE QUESTION OF SEX AND GENDER IN THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY
By
CHRISTOPHER SCOTT WHISTON KOEHLER
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1998

Copyright 1998
by
Christopher Scott Whiston Koehler

This dissertation is dedicated in part to my parents, Paul B. Koehler and Roberta
W. Koehler, who encouraged me and fostered a love of learning that has led to
the present work.
This dissertation is also dedicated to my partner, Burch R. Bryant, Jr., without
whose support and love I never could have completed it.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A project as lengthy and as complicated as a doctoral dissertation is never
solely an individual effort, and it is with real pleasure and no little gratitude that
I acknowledge the numerous people who helped me in one way or another.
I would like to thank my partner, Burch R. Bryant, Jr., who tolerated the
intrusion of a complicated project into our household. There were many times
that I either ignored him or my responsibilities to work on some aspect of the
project. He was also more than understanding about my absences, mental and
physical. He endured it all with love and patience.
I could neither have started nor completed my dissertation without the
help of my dissertation advisor, Professor Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis. Her
enthusiasm for my work from the very beginning was a source of inspiration and
comfort, and she always seemed to know when I was in need of moral support.
When my work began to take me in directions other than either of us expected,
Betty encouraged me where others might have tried to head me off. Her
assistance, whether in navigating the science-studies literature or the tangled
path of grant writing, was crucial. Likewise, Professor Geoffrey Giles guided me
through the twists and turns of German history and the history of sexuality with
good cheer and was an early advocate of a project that combined the history of
German biology with the history of sexuality. He also provided help with
IV

translating sometimes peculiar German concepts into coherent English. His
advice and vast knowledge made working with German archival sources as easy
as possible, and his enthusiasm for Berlin was quite contagious. I am also
grateful for the advice, training, and (occasionally) sympathy that the other
members of my committee gave me. Professor Frederick Gregory introduced me
to the range and subtleties of German science from the Enlightenment onwards,
and, when I took his Science and Enlightenment course with the notion of
challenging the Enlightenment project, managed to convert me. He was an able
mentor and a sympathetic advisor. Professor Robert Hatch introduced me to the
history of the history of science and reminded me of why the decision between
Early Modem and Modern science was a difficult one for me to make. Professor
H. Jane Brockmann welcomed me into her zoology courses on evolution and
ethology, and welcomed the different perspectives 1 brought with me.
Individually and as a group, the members of my committee made my work
much simpler.
I would also like to thank the many people who commented on this
project in various stages, or who otherwise contributed their help. Professor
Michael Dietrich of the History and Philosophy of Science Program at the
University of California, Davis, has been no end of help, starting with
encouraging me as an undergraduate. It was he who introduced me to Richard
Goldschmidt and the problems of German genetics as a beginning graduate
student under his tutelage, and later suggested the comparative dimension
between American and German approaches to sex determination. Professor
v

Dietrich opened his collection of Goldschmidt's articles and reprints to me, and
secured office space and photocopying privileges for me with the HPS program
during a summer visit. He has also read various drafts and never stinted his
encouragement. So far, he has not seemed to mind sharing. Professor Sue V.
Rosser of the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research at the University
of Florida read my dissertation at various stages and made many helpful
suggestions. Professor Jane Maienschein and Professor Garland Allen both
commented on the project during its early stages. Professor Charles Woolf of
the Department of Zoology of Arizona State University shared his personal
recollections of Goldschmidt and provided initial encouragement. Professor
Marsha Richmond, who wrote her own dissertation on Goldschmidt and sex
determination, was also encouraging.
Mark Lesney, my friend and fellow graduate student at the University of
Florida, helped me in many ways through his conversation and his comments on
my work. Our discussions about the nature of history and about the cultural
study of scientific knowledge helped to clarify my own thinking on the subjects.
If we could have gotten our debates onto paper during the time I stayed with
him while researching at the Library of Congress I suspect that we both would
have had much stronger "methods" sections in our dissertations.
Other members of the Department of History at the University of Florida
contributed, as well. Professor Carol Lansing opened my eyes to the
applicability of historiography to the history of science. It was in her class that I
first began to work with the ideas and concepts that ultimately formed the core
vi

of this dissertation. Because of that course, I look at the history of biology in a
new light. Betty Convine, first the graduate secretary and later secretary to the
department chair, mothered all the graduate students, and kept me especially out
of trouble.
This project depended on the help of numerous librarians and archivists,
and it is thus with gratitude that I acknowledge their assistance. The long-
suffering Interlibrary Loan staff of the University of Florida Libraries located
virtually all of my obscure and often incomplete requests with speed and good
humor. Beth Carroll-Horrocks and Rita Dockery of the Library of the American
Philosophical Society steered me through the vast APS collections in the history
of genetics and evolution and brought numerous sources to my attention.
Bonnie Ludt of the Archives of the California Institute of Technology steered me
through the Morgan and Sturtevant Papers, while Raymond Stokes of the
Bancroft Library helped with the Goldschmidt Papers and filled photocopy
requests from across the country. Kristel Weligen of the Bibliothek und Archiv
zur Geschichte der Max Planck Gesellschaft in Berlin was most helpful, as were
the people whose names I could never quite catch at the Staatsbibliothek zu
Berlin (Unter den Linden), the Humboldt Universitátsbibliothek, the Geheimes
Staatsarchiv Preufiischer Kulturbesitz, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the
Bayerische Hauptstaatsarchiv, and the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitatsarchiv.
They made working in a German-speaking country almost easy and met me
more than halfway. I would also like to thank Professor Erwin Haeberle of the
vii

Archiv für Sexualwissenschaft, Robert-Koch-Institut, for opening his archives
and for his conversation and encouragement.
I would also like to thank various other people for their encouragement.
My parents, Paul and Roberta Koehler, always listened when I had difficulties
and encouraged me when I grew discouraged. My in-laws, Burch and Marie
Bryant, always welcomed me and provided a needed respite on many occasions .
Noel Rosales and Vic Spain were always interested in my progress and even
cared about my topic. Katherine Bell and Tracy Miller commiserated when the
going got rough and were pleased when it got easy. Andrew Frank and Lisa
Tendrich Frank were always game for dinners out and, as members of my
graduate school cohort, kept me grounded in what was important: friends and
good conversation.
As in the beginning, so in the end: thanks to Burch R. Bryant, Jr., the sine
qua non of this dissertation.
viii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT xiii
INTRODUCTION: READING THE SEX PROBLEM 1
Bourgeois Biologists at the Fin de Siécle 4
Thomas Hunt Morgan 7
Richard Goldschmidt 9
Sources 10
Methodology 12
Conceptual Distance and the Histories of Biology and Sex 12
Historical Theory 17
Organization 22
Notes 26
CHAPTER 1. ‘ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR’: MODERNITY,
BOURGEOIS ANXIETY, AND THE SEX PROBLEM 29
The Fin de Siécle 29
Modernity 31
Discontinuity 32
Urbanization 34
Amerikcmisierung. The United States, Germany, and Modernity 35
A Consuming Desire 38
Public and Private Modernity 40
Modem Sexual Personae 42
The Crisis of Masculinity 44
A New Reflexivity 45
The Sex Problem 47
Science and Modernity 49
ix

The Sex Problem and the Biology of Cultural Anxiety 53
A Single Sexual System 57
The Biologization of Culture 62
Summary 67
Notes 69
CHAPTER 2. THE BIOLOGY OF SEX DETERMINATION 79
Introduction to the Biological Aspects of the Sex Problem 79
Cytology: The Accessory Chromosomes and Sex Determination 82
August Weismann and
the Separation of German Cells from Somatic Cells 82
The Cytologists 84
Mendelism in a Pea-Shell 86
Mendelism and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity 89
Opposition to Mendelian Interpretations of a Chromosome Theory of
Heredity and Sex 101
Preformation and Epigenesis 102
Speculation Run Wild 103
Other Problems with the Chromosome Theory of Sex 104
Cytoplasmic Inheritance 105
Balance Theories of Sex Determination: “The Enemy Within” and the
Cultural Implications of a Scientific Theory 109
Summary 117
Notes 118
CHAPTER 3. THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, SEX DETERMINATION, AND
THE NEW WOMAN 124
New Sexual Personae and the Sex Problem 124
The Lord of Misrule:
The New Woman and the Subversion of Bourgeois Femininity 126
The Education of Women 131
Biology in the United States:
Thomas Hunt Morgan, the Education of Women,
and the Sex Problem 138
Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Determination of Sex 142
Sex Determination at the Fin de Siécle 144
Morgan’s Theories of Sex Determination and Sexual Aberration 157
Morgan and Parthenogenesis 163
Sex Determination and Middle-Class Anxiety About Sex and Gender 169
x

Notes
173
CHAPTER 4 RICHARD GOLDSCHMIDT, INTERSEXUALITY, AND
HOMOSEUALITY IN GERMANY 183
Sexual Inversion and Male Anxiety 183
The Birth of the Invert 184
A Note on Lesbians 186
Germany: The Crisis of Fertility and a Place in the Sun 187
Under Siege: Sexual Inversion and Germany 189
A Note on the ‘Tolerance’ of Weimar-Era Berlin 192
Sexualwissenschaft: Germany and the Science of Sex 195
Richard Goldschmidt and the Determination of Sex 199
Before the Intersexes: Goldschmidt’s Early Views of Sex Determination 202
Die Weibchenmcmnchen . The First Intersexes 212
Sexological Influences on Goldschmidt and
the Extra-Scientific Origins of the Intersex Concept 226
Summary 229
Notes 231
CHAPTER 5. FROM SEX DETERMINATION TO GENETICS: THE
‘DELICATE PARTICLE LOGIC’ OF SEX AND THE MECHANICAL
TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION 240
Introduction 240
Genetics From Sex Determination 244
Morgan, Sex Determination, and Genetics 248
Goldschmidt, Sex Determination, and Genetics 260
Heredity/Development in Goldschmidt’s Thought 261
Separate Genetical Sciences 264
Heredity and Control 268
Summary: Genetics, Modernity, and Control 273
Notes 275
CONCLUSION WORDS AND THINGS: THE DISCURSIVE
TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION 283
Introduction 283
Policing the Borders: Biologists, the Discursive Technologies
of Sex Determination, and the Borders of Sex and Gender 284
xi

The Will to Know 287
Sex and Truth: Naming, Normalizing, Controlling 303
Discursive Technologies: Taxonomies of Sexual Aberration
and the Calculus of Perversion 305
Sexology: Taxonomies of Human Sexuality 305
Sexology and the Mathematization of Sex and Sexuality 307
Biologists and Discursive Technologies of Sex Determination 310
Biologists and the Mathematical Nature of Sex 317
Conclusion: Biology and the Normalization of Sex 320
Notes 331
BIBLIOGRAPHY 338
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 391
xii

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE SEX PROBLEM: THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, RICHARD
GOLDSCHMIDT AND THE QUESTION OF SEX AND GENDER IN THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY
By
Christopher Scott Whiston Koehler
May 1998
Chair: Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis
Major Department: History
Biologists made extensive investigations into the biological basis of sex
towards the end of the nineteenth and during the early decades of the
twentieth centuries. Concerned with such phenomena as the nearly equal
ratio between the sexes and the basis of sexual dimorphism, biologists
attempted to discover through a variety of means the exact moment when sex
was determined. This was one aspect of the so-called sex problem.
Sex determination constituted a major focus of the experimental study
of heredity and was a science in its own right. Nonetheless, historians have
focused on it only to the extent that it contributed to the development of
genetics. While genetics made crucial contributions to twentieth-century
biology, this approach obscures the extent to which the experimental study of
heredity was consumed by concerns about sex and its biological basis.

At the same time, the era historians refer to as the "fin de siécle," sex
presented similar problems to middle-class society in western Europe and
North America as part of the adjustment of bourgeois culture to Modernity.
This was another aspect of the so-called sex problem. The bourgeoisie was
predicated on the separation of men and women into public and private
spheres of activity and influence, and this separation by the fin-de-siécle was
increasingly fragile. Two types of people, feminist women and homosexual
men, threatened the bourgeois understanding of sex and gender by crossing
the borders between the two spheres.
This dissertation argues that the coincidence of such intense interest on
the part of biologists in sex determination with cultural anxieties about the
definition of sex and gender was not accidental. Focusing on the work of the
American biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan and the German geneticist Richard
Goldschmidt, this dissertation examines the ways in which culture and
science interacted to produce an understanding of sex and gender and argues
that sex determination constituted an effort to control and limit the changes
which occurred to the middle-class understanding of sex.
xiv

INTRODUCTION
READING THE SEX PROBLEM:
BIOLOGY AS CULTURE, CULTURE AS TEXT
Nature is the shape in which the man of higher Cultures synthesizes
and interprets the immediate impressions of his senses. History is that from
which his imagination seeks comprehension of the living existence with a
deeper reality.
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2 volumes, (London: G. Allen,
1922), p. 8.
What was the meaning of sex? This question lay at the heart of the so-
called "sex problem," a problem that many biologists sought to solve at the
end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth.
It was this question about the meaning of sex that motivated biological work
on sex determination in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Beginning in the later nineteenth century, biologists became ever more
interested in the processes and implications of sex determination, and by the
beginning of the twentieth century much of the work of some of the most
prominent biologists was devoted to the determination and control of sex,
especially among those interested in questions of heredity.1
The language used in many articles, as well as in speeches and lectures,
by these early twentieth-century biologists confused and conflated sex and
sexuality. This confusion and ambiguity centered on the phrase the sex
problem, and ramified outward to many terms dealing with biological sex,
sexuality, and gender roles.2 The sex problem was defined perhaps once or
only a few times in over thirty years of work on sex determination;3 it was
1

2
simply assumed that all who read it knew what the phrase meant. Did the
"sex problem" refer to sex determination, sexual dimorphism, the roles of
gametes in fertilization, to the control of sex, to the mystery of the nearly
equal sex ratio in most sexually reproducing species, to the existence of sexual
variants like gynandromorphy and intersexuality, or even human sexual
variants?4 The answer was, "Yes." These were all part of the sex problem, and,
with perhaps one exception, which sense of the phrase was intended was
never explicitly stated.
Biologists, however, were not the only ones confronting a perceived
sex problem; the sex problem referred to more than biology. The varied
approaches to the determination of biological sex mirrored a similarly varied
concern about the cultural meanings of sex and sexuality on the part of
various societies in many Western countries. The later nineteenth century,
and especially the early twentieth century witnessed many changes in the
transition to modernity, but the ones which posed the greatest cause for alarm
within the traditional, male-dominated bourgeois order were those that
related to changes in traditional sex and gender roles, as well as to changes in
traditional conceptualizations of sexuality. While to some, sexuality
represented the emancipation of humanity from the strictures of the past, to
others, particularly conservative commentators, sexuality contained within it
the destruction of Western culture.5 Two sorts figures, both of whom
traduced the accepted bourgeois definitions of appropriate feminine and
masculine behavior, were of particular concern to the middle classes. One
was the "New Woman," the woman who left the domestic sphere allotted to
her by bourgeois culture to demand a more active, public role in middle-class
culture, and the other was the homosexual or "Inverted Man," who by virtue
of being perceived to have given up the "man's" sexual role was thought to

3
have forsaken the masculine realm for the feminine. These two sexual
personae together caused anxiety in middle-class men about the status and
nature of masculinity. Taken together, these changes characteristic of
modernity embodied in these personae seemed to created a climate of great
concern over matters of sex and gender. The New Woman and the Inverted
Man appeared to some to conspire to create the belief that somehow,
modernity had created sexual anarchy.
It is the intention of this project to demonstrate that these two
seemingly disparate yet parallel narratives, sex determination and crises of
sexual identity, were, in fact, manifestations of the same phenomenon: a
cultural preoccupation with matters of sex, gender, and sexuality. Located
between science and culture, sex determination reflected both cultural
concerns and biological expectations. This dissertation maintains that sex
determination was the scientific effort to control and order aspects of life that
had apparently moved beyond all control or understanding. Sex
determination, then, was concerned with making the changing definitions of
gender more comprehensible, rule-like, and orderly at precisely the same
moment as the old assurances of traditional sexual roles were breaking down
in the face of modernization. Sex determination sought to make science, and
hence culture, more exact and rigorous, and, reflecting cultural
preoccupations, sought to reify sexuality Through this historical examination,
this dissertation will look not only at specific programs of sex determination
and how sex determination led to genetics, but will also examine the role of
science in the shaping of a cultural response to the threat posed by the New
Woman and the Inverted Man. This dissertation will also suggest some
implications of the biological categorization of gender.

4
Boureeois Biologists at the Fin de Siecle
Work on sex determination advanced rapidly in the 1890s with the
work of the cytologist H. Henking, who first noticed the presence of an
"accessory chromosome," which N. M. Stevens (1861-1912) and E. B. Wilson
(1856-1939) independently connected to sex determination in 1905-06. The
period between 1900 and 1930 witnessed the greatest work by biologists on the
sex problem. Before this period, sex determination was the province of many
areas of biology, while after the province of medically oriented sexologists.
This dissertation focuses, then, on the period in which fears of changes
expressed by men (and it was usually, though not always, men) ran the
deepest and when the work on the biological basis of sex was at its most
intense.
Although biologists in many countries tried to solve the problem of
sex, such work was concentrated primarily in the United States and Germany.
While Lucien Cuénot in France and F. A. E. Crew and Leonard Doncaster in
Great Britain worked on sex determination, there is little evidence suggesting
that these countries supported the concentrated, virtually institutionalized
effort to understand the biological basis of sex that the United States and
Germany did. The present project takes as its subject the bourgeoisie in the
United States and Germany, both because most biologists were members of
the middle classes, and because the middle class itself had particular attitudes
towards sex, the body, and science. While the middle classes have been
regarded as those that introduced the repression of the body to the West, they
in fact applied the techniques of the body (medicine, pedagogy, and biology,
for example, as well as an ethos of self-control) to themselves through the
process of class differentiation from the upper classes and the working classes:

5
The health of the body and its sexuality became the hallmark of the
bourgeoisie, as well as the source of its identity.6
The present project focuses on middle-class male biologists who were,
more than any other segment of the population, in a position to marshal the
most powerful resources of Western culture to deal with a perceived threat
that was thought to have organic origins. To begin with, it was men's
attitudes and perceptions that precipitated a crisis of masculine sexual
identity. Many of the historical actors involved with the narrative of sex
determination were men, although there were notable exceptions, and
science, including academic biology, was run by and for men. In fact, it may be
that much of this cultural narrative about controlling sexual anarchy was
about silencing the New Woman and the Inverted Man, about re-establishing
or re-emphasizing traditional bourgeois definitions of femininity and
masculinity.
This project consequently focuses its attention on two of the most
significant biologists in the United States and Germany who attempted to
solve the sex problem, and then compares the work of these biologists with
that of their colleagues and associates. This project will examine the work on
sex determination of Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866-1945) in the United States
and Richard Benedict Goldschmidt (1878-1958) in Germany to assess and
explain the meaning of sex determination. Both biologists worked extensively
on sex determination in the early decades of the twentieth century, and both
scientists contributed, not incidentally, to the developing science of genetics,
which was inextricably linked to the work on the determination of sex. Both
Morgan and Goldschmidt were pioneers in the field of genetics, and both had
early interests in sex determination. They were, however, to develop
significant differences in their ideas on the nature of sex, as well as on the

6
modes of genic action in relation to sex. Morgan fitted into what Maienschein
called the developmentalist approach, which saw sex as something which
unfolded in accordance with individual physiological processes.7 Vet as work
on hereditary concerns developed, and as Morgan's work on genetics began to
contribute to a convergence of Mendelian and chromosomal approaches, his
views changed. By 1911 Morgan saw sex determination as a nuclear process.8
Similarly, Goldschmidt's theory of sex determination rested upon the action
of the genes, as was thus ultimately nuclear in nature. This later led to a
science of physiology and development—physiological genetics—that
depended upon the action of the genes.
Primary among the questions raised by sex determination and
addressed by Morgan, Goldschmidt, and others was the nature of the
relationship between the hereditary material and the eventual form of the
organism. How does a single pair of alleles, to use anachronistic terminology,
have such profound consequences for the developing organism? This was a
question that interested both Morgan and Goldschmidt. The divergent
answers to this question contributed to the eventual split between the
Morgan school and the proponents of the evolutionary synthesis on the one
hand and Goldschmidt on the other, fact, there are grounds for the argument
that the interest in sex determination, both scientific and cultural, led directly
to the rise and eventual adoption of Mendelism and classical genetics. Given
the dramatic difference that arose in the 1930s between the Morgan school
and Goldschmidt, a comparison of their views in this crucial area should
reveal the importance to concerns about sex and gender to the formation of
modern biology.
For the sake of comparison and to provide scientific and institutional
context, this project also will assess related work on sex determination,

7
notably the work of William E. Castle (1867-1962), Wilson, Stevens, Carl
Correns (1864-1933), and others. This project is not, however, intended in any
way to be biographical. Both Morgan and Goldschmidt have sufficient
biographical or autobiographical materials devoted to them, as well as
numerous articles and other works that elucidate to varying degrees their
scientific work. Nonetheless, short biographical sketches are presented below.
Thomas Hunt Morgan
Morgan was born in 1866 to a patrician family in Lexington, Kentucky.
Like many biologists, Morgan displayed an early interest in nature and in
collecting various aspects of it. Historian of biology and Morgan biographer
Garland Allen notes that however much Morgan's scientific work focused on
laboratory biology, Morgan always enjoyed natural history.9 Morgan attended
the State College of Kentucky at Lexington, followed by graduate study at
Johns Hopkins University under the biologist William Keith Brooks.
Morgan was evidently always a congenial and pleasant person, and despite
his family background not particularly aloof or class-conscious.10 Well-
traveled, Morgan made many trips to Europe and was interested in classical
painting, sculpture, and literature.11 He maintained a life-long interest in
music, and Morgan and his wife regularly attended concerts.12 He was always
financially generous and on more than one occasion made up for shortfalls in
his students' fellowships.13 In fact, it was Morgan who paid the two
thousands dollars (in 1919) bond to secure Goldschmidt's release from an
internment camp to which he had been relegated as an enemy alien.14 After
graduate school, Morgan worked first at Bryn Mawr and then later at
Columbia University (and eventually at the California Institute of
Technology).

8
Morgan is reputed to have advocated a certain elevation from
contemporary political and cultural struggles, operating, according to Allen,
on the principle that scientists best served their country by concentrating on
science and avoiding political entanglements. He evidently regarded the
activism of some of his students with a jaundiced eye.15 This would seem to
render him ill-suited to a project such as this, which depends on situating the
biologist and the science securely within their contemporary context.
Evidence exists, however, that is at slight variance with the public persona
that Morgan projected. Otto Mohr (1886-1967), a post-doctoral student of
Morgan's and a life-long friend, wrote to Goldschmidt about Morgan's
perspectives about Mohr's recent work on genetics, which included a section
dealing with human applications of the science. Mohr wrote,
Morgan's remarks on my last chapter may interest you. It reads/runs
as follows: 'The final chapter, dealing with the bearings of genetics on
human affairs, takes an unusually sane and unbiased attitude towards
such controversial subjects as sterilization, birth control, racial crossing,
environment versus heredity. . ." You know Morgan well enough to
realize that this was more than I expected, since Morgan is very afraid
of committing himself in connection with such topics.16
This did not mean that Morgan did not think about such topics, only that he
preferred not to take public positions. Indeed, Morgan not only thought about
such topics, but on occasion spoke about them publicly. Morgan and the
American biologist C. B. Davenport considered writing a joint paper on the
subject of war and eugenics during World War One, although there is no
evidence that they ever completed the project.17 Morgan also addressed a
group of sociologists on "the relation of modern theories of heredity to the
State."18 Morgan was cognizant of the implications of the study of heredity,
even if he would not always, or even ever, take a public position. Despite this

9
reticence (or perhaps because of it), Morgan was a figure of no little interest
culturally, as well as biologically.
Richard Goldschmidt
Richard Goldschmidt's position vis-á-vis his culture is easier to
ascertain, thanks in part to Goldschmidt himself. In several retrospective
essays, as well as an autobiography that virtually ignored his scientific work,
Goldschmidt endlessly examined himself and his life. Goldschmidt
descended from an ancient Jewish family, a proud heritage that nonetheless
proved difficult in Germany after the institution of the National Socialist
government in 1933. When the Nazis came to power they published a poster
bearing his family tree to show how this family, which Goldschmidt traced
back to sixteenth-century Frankfurt, had set out to conquer the world, or at
least Germany (the Goldschmidts were related to many of the world's great
banking and industrial families).19 Goldschmidt was painfully aware that his
Jewish heritage marked him as a perpetual outsider in German culture,
despite the contributions he and other such acculturated Jewish Germans had
made to German culture.20 This awareness of his status as outsider remained
with him all his life and may have contributed to his aloof personality.
Goldschmidt was born on 12 April 1878 to Solomon Goldschmidt and
Emma Fliirscheim in Frankfurt am Main. His parents were prosperous,
though by no means wealthy, bourgeois. It was a comfortable life,
surrounded by family and servants.21 Goldschmidt noted, however, that in
such bourgeois families, children were more pets than anything else, and as a
result, no-one seemed interested in his mind.22 Although it was a good life,
Goldschmidt felt that his home life was "too bourgeois—conservative,
parsimonious, but without a cultured style, the enjoyment of literature and
arts, or those small but highly important refinements that make up the

10
difference between comfortable living and cultured living."23 Nonetheless,
Goldschmidt was highly cultured, described by his friends as a "man of very
broad knowledge and culture and. . .especial competence in the field of
Oriental ceramics and life."24
Goldschmidt was educated in the humanistic traditions of the
Gymnasium and the Bildungsbilrgertum, or cultivated middle class. This
humanistic school included nine years of Latin and French, and six years of
Greek, as well as numerous history and mathematics courses. Goldschmidt
stated that
The Gymnasium graduates [that I taught] were brought up practically
without sciences, [but they] understood science much better than the
graduates from modern schools based upon mathematics and science. I
realized. . . that secondary schools are more successful if they do not
impart practical knowledge, useful later in life, but teach the
impressionable young mind to work, to think clearly.25
Of direct significance to his scientific formation was the Senckenberg Society
in his hometown of Frankfurt, in which Goldschmidt's interests in the
natural world were encouraged and cultivated.26 After the Gymnasium,
Goldschmidt attended university at Heidelberg, pushed into the medical
faculty by his parents, who were not optimistic about their son's chances to
earn a living as a zoologist in the climate of the German universities during
the Wilhelmine era.27 After working at the University of Munich,
Goldschmidt was called to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology in Berlin,
where he worked until he fled Germany in 1936.
Sources
To fulfill its goal, the present project relies on the writings of and about
many early twentieth-century biologists. Some of the primary sources
constitute the printed and published works of Morgan, Goldschmidt, and

11
biologists such as Correns, Castle, Wilson, Stevens, and others on the subject
of sex determination. Other primary sources for this project include
unpublished archival material, such as speeches on the sex problem, notes,
and letters. The scientific papers and books provide the primary material that
is to be subjected to a close critical reading. It is in these sources, for example,
that one finds the greatest ambiguity in the language of sex and sexuality, as
well as the most suggestive use of metaphor, simile, and word choice.
Scientific sources reveal a great deal about attitudes toward sexuality, even
given the reticence of many scientists, such as Morgan, to comment about
such matters. If science and culture are assumed to be at least partly the same
thing, then contemporary debates about changing sex and gender roles or
fears about homosexuality become clearer, even in scientific texts. These
papers are so rich with possibilities for analysis precisely because the authors
often claimed value-neutrality for them.
Other important sources include related contemporary works from
other branches of knowledge. These scientific and "para-scientific" works help
to reveal the debate over changing sex and gender expectations, both through
explicit reference and the sorts of implicit discussion mentioned above. For
this project, material from contemporary debates about the role of women in
society and culture, which were often tied to their "role" in biology and
nature, and the material from sexology will be important primary sources.
Likewise, the literature on degeneration, which spanned all areas of cultural
production, plays an important role, because many of the changes detailed by
the present project were couched in terms of degeneration as a biological
problem.
Given the emphasis of the project on the influence of gender and
sexuality on biology, original materials relating to the study of sexuality might

12
shed some light on the subject. However, much of the material on the study
of sex represents the emergence of sex research, particularly sexuality research,
from biology and its concomitant adoption by medicine, whereas this project
is interested specifically in the work of biologists as biologists on sex, rather
than in the work of biologists as sexologists. The primary focus of the project
is on the lives and work of various biologists, and not on assorted sexologists
per se. Furthermore, there is little evidence that Morgan, Goldschmidt, or any
of the other biologists whose work is to be explored, read, or even had access
to, primary sexological literature. So while Alfred Kinsey, somewhat like
Goldschmidt, was a zoologist who considered human sexuality, he did so for
reasons much different from those that motivated Goldschmidt.28 Thus
while the Kinsey Records at Indiana may contain relevant documents from
the period after this study, they were not examined. Likewise, while
Hirschfeld certainly had an enormous collection of data, his Institute, with
most of its records, was destroyed by the Nazis. But although Goldschmidt
lived in Berlin at the height of the Institute's visibility and was aware of
Hirschfeld's work, there is no indication that he ever entered, let alone
examined the records on sex and sexuality.
Methodology
Conceptual Distance and the Histories of Biology and Sex
Although it might not appear so at first glance, the history of science
and the history of sexuality can profitably inform one another, especially in
the context of the fin de siécle. One reason for this is that biology participated
in the definition of sexuality and gender roles; the life sciences at the fin de
siécle were permeated with sexual imagery.29 At the fin de siécle, the era in
which the West became recognizably modern, questions of sex and identity
were reconceptualized and incorporated into scientific discourse.30 The sexual

13
element has been implicit in the modern project from the beginning, both in
attitudes between the sexes and in human attitudes towards natural order.31
This project lies at that cross-roads between the history of the life sciences
(specifically the study of heredity) and the history of sexuality, because
discussions about biological nature and causation were not objective
explanations, but rather were part of a discourse of naturalness and
degeneration, emancipation and enslavement.32 What counted as "natural"
or "degenerate" was culturally and historically mediated.
Scientists worried about these issues, and did so well into the twentieth
century. Yet a history of sex determination that ignores the contemporary
crisis of sexuality tells perhaps only half of the story. This confluence of
biology and culture suggests what historian Stephen Kern terms a
"conceptual distance."33 It is a way of bridging the gaps between fragmentary
and disparate historical sources by juxtaposing seemingly disparate
phenomena, such as the sex problem in biology and contemporary concerns
about changing gender roles. Kern suggests that the thinking of widely
disparate fields, when they arrive at similar generalizations, may reveal
something of the Zeitgeist of a particular place and time. When biologists
and other cultural producers like writers or artists fretted about the dis-order
of sex, there may well have been something dis-ordered, from their
perspective, about it.
One interesting example of the confluence of the history of sexuality
with the history of science was Otto Weininger (1880-1903) and his book, Sex
and Character (1903; English-language edition, 1906). Weininger was a
Viennese Jewish intellectual who published a virulently anti-Semitic and
misogynist work and then committed suicide not long after.34 Sex and
Character was one of those mediocre books that nonetheless had a wide

14
impact, and it is thus difficult to over-estimate its influence on culture in
general. It became a best-seller almost overnight by virtue of the fact that it
seemed to express the anxieties about sex that many members of the
bourgeoisie had been feeling.35 As historian Richard Evans observes, "it was
huge, turgid and absurd, but it went through eleven editions by 1909."36
Sex and Character was by no means a scientific text; it had no
significant impact on the scientific world of the fin-de-siécle West.37
Nonetheless, Weininger used the language of science to articulate
contemporary fears and prejudices about sex and modernity.38 Weininger
argued that the sexual impulse was not limited to the sex organs, but was
generalized throughout the body. Humans were furthermore innately
bisexual, and even adult humans retained a vestige of this condition
it can be shown that however distinctly unisexual an adult plant,
animal or human being may be, there is always a certain persistence of
the bisexual character, never a complete disappearance of the characters
of the undeveloped sex. Sexual differentiation, in fact, is never
complete. All the peculiarities of the male sex may be present in the
female in some form, however weakly developed; and so also the
sexual characteristics of the woman persist in the man.39
Reflecting contemporary anxiety about the crumbling distinctions between
the genders, Weininger argued that "in the widest treatment of most living
things, a blunt separation of them into males or females no longer suffices for
the known facts."40
Since a physical examination could not be counted on to reveal the
true natures of men and women, Weininger turned to science to differentiate
between them.41 Noting that chemistry had laws that described the behavior
of the atoms of an ideal gas, Weininger crafted mathematical formulae to
describe the sexual and romantic behavior and composition of ideal men and
women. These formulae described the balance between the feminine and

15
masculine elements of any given person.42 For what Weininger termed a
"true sexual union" to occur, the proposed couple had to add up to a complete
female and male. That is, the amount of the feminine essence in a man had
to complement the amount of masculine essence in a woman.43 Weininger
went so far as to craft a formula to describe the strength of the sexual
attraction between any two people, taking into account such variables as race,
class, age, health, and other such considerations.44 Weininger attempted to
define scientifically the subjective qualities of true femininity and
masculinity, and so to establish mathematically his culture's belief in sex as
something that occurred between a man and a woman, regardless of the
genders involved.
Homosexuality (what was referred to at the fin de siécle as sexual
inversion), which appeared to hold unique horrors for the German-speaking
world, was similarly susceptible to such "scientific" treatment. Inverts were
simply those men and women in whom the amounts of the essence of the
"opposite" sex were very nearly equal. Weininger argued that "individuals
[exist] in whom there is as much maleness and femaleness, or indeed who,
although reckoned men, may contain an excess of femaleness, or as women
and yet be more male than female."45 These inverts, however, were not all of
a kind, but rather constituted a continuum between two polar sexes (poles
that no one ever really reached).46 Weininger's system represented an
attempt to define in an authoritative manner (hence his use of science)
something his culture found to be highly threatening.
Weininger, however, was no biologist. Yet biologists certainly
expressed concerns similar to Weininger's. In 1895, just a few years before
Weininger's work was published, James Weir, Jr., published a jeremiad
against the evils of female emancipation in, of all places, The American

16
Naturalist. Like so many at the turn of the century, Weir associated the
extension of the franchise to women, which seemed to symbolize the
intrusion of women into the public, masculine realm, with rule by women,
what Weir castigated as "matriarchy."47 That is, if women voted, they would
perforce dominate everything, and lead to the decline of the race.
A return to matriarchy at the present time would be distinctly, and
emphatically, and essentially retrograde in every particular. The right
to vote carries with it the right to hold office, and, if women are
granted the privilege of suffrage, they must be given the right to
govern.48
What Weir called a privilege was, at that time, at least according to the
Constitution, a right theoretically possessed by all citizens. Yet if women
voted (and naturally from there, they would try to take over), it would lead to
the deterioration of the race and of bourgeois culture. Women seemed to
carry the possibility for cultural decay within them.
Worse than suffrage, however, was feminism. Comparing feminism
to the "retrogressive" doctrines of communism and nihilism, Weir argued
that they were all "degenerate beliefs."49 He claimed that
woman of to-day, who believes in and inculcates the doctrines of
matriarchy, doctrines which have been, as far as the civilized world is
concerned, thrown aside and abandoned these many hundred years, is
as much the victim of psychic atavism. . . [as the neurasthenic].50
Weir was obviously horrified by the so-called New Woman (see chapter 3,
below), part of a cadre of educated bourgeois women who sought life in the
heretofore masculine world of work and politics. These New Women were
held by some, including scientists, to be mentally degenerate. This pernicious
feminism, however, led to sex reversal ("viraginity") and lesbianism in
women.

17
Viraginity has many phases. We see a mild form of it in the tom-boy
who abandons her dolls and female companions for the marbles and
masculine sports of her boy acquaintances. In the loud-talking, long-
stepping, slang-using young woman we see another form, while the
square shouldered, stolid, cold, unemotional, unfeminine android (for
she has the normal human form, without the normal human psychos)
is another. The most aggravated form is that known as homo¬
sexuality. . . Another form of viraginity is technically gynandry, and
may be defined as follows: A victim of gynandry not only has the
feelings and desires of a man, but also the skeletal form, features, voice,
etc.51
Weir's most revealing comment was his parenthetic note about the
constitution of the "unfeminine android." Although the physical description
of this woman was that of the ideal man, the description of her psyche,
presumably also masculinized, was not referred to as "manly" but as
"inhuman." Weir equated a lack of femininity as bourgeois culture defined it
at the fin de siécle with a lack of humanity. A cold, "unfeminine" woman
was not "unwomanly" or "manly" but "inhuman." To Weir and the editors
of The American Naturalist, the New Woman not only demonstrated a high
degree of degeneracy, she carried it with her like a plague, so that the
matriarchy that she planned to institute would drag all of bourgeois culture
down with it.52
Both Weininger and Weir, who approached the sex problem from
different perspectives, arrived at similar conclusions. According to the
notion of conceptual distance, when commentators from divergent areas,
such as biology and a semi-popular consideration of sex, reached similar
conclusions, there may have been something to those generalizations.
Historical Theory
This project will attempt to evaluate this conceptual distance through
which a science, specifically sex determination, expressed certain cultural
preoccupations. Much of it will consist of tracing out the connections between

18
words and ideas and their relations to biological and cultural phenomena in
relevant biological texts. This project of "deeper meanings" necessitates the
use of a comparative methodology-attention to the details of language-and
the subsequent analysis of power/knowledge relations.
This dissertation depends on a close reading of texts both biological and
cultural, although that distinction is somewhat artificial. Intellectual history,
from which the history of science has so often drawn, has tended to view
language as a stable set of references and narrative as something that conveys
fixed and determinant meanings. However, according to certain post¬
structuralist critics, including Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel
Foucault, language could not be relied upon to convey fixed meaning.
Language, instead of a stable system of signs, was a play of unintended
transformations and represented economy of differences in perception that
made the world (from the human perspective) rather than reflected it.53
Likewise, narrative was similarly problematic for the post-structuralists
because of its reliance on words. Historians have always assumed that an
historical narrative contained a fixed meaning, that of the historian or that of
the historical subject. This notion of narrative, however, was destroyed by
the notion that no relationship of word to thing existed; there were only
words, which proliferated rapidly.54 Because narratives were constructed of
words, they, like words themselves, generated multiple meanings.55
Science at the beginning of the twentieth century (and at the end, for
that matter), however, was made up of language that was taken to be an
essential reflector of the natural world, and language-based narratives were
taken to reflect the truth of the natural world. Science depended on texts that
were written by individuals (or small groups) of subjects and that were
focused on the intent of the authorial subject. Methodologically, the history

19
of science has tended to adopt this stance. This was absolutely necessary when
the historian attempted to understand the science of past eras, and thus the
history of science relied on the subject and the text to a degree perhaps greater
than other forms of history. To certain analyses, however, especially to
analyses of scientific texts for content other than the explicitly "scientific," the
text-a constellation of subject and object bound together and permeated by
discourse—contained more than what it was intended to convey. Taken at
"face value," the journal articles, books, and documents that constitute the
sources of the sex problem were rather technical expressions of biological
esotérica. When read within a larger context, these texts assumed real
meaning for the culture that produced them. It was on this level that the
question shifted from "how did this audience understand the determination
of sex?" to "what work did this do for the culture in which it was produced?"
In this shift, the biological details and assumptions assumed a broader
meaning.
The present project thus depends on language to link together
seemingly disparate subjects, specifically the history of biology and the history
of sexuality, through the idea of the conceptual distance. It does this through
attention to the language of biological and sexual writing. Such a literary read
of a variety of sources can avoid the question of the validity of a given text, in
favor of taking it as a witness to certain events, as is implied in the concept of
conceptual distance.56 Instead of worrying about the objectivity of the
biologist, the purity of the biology, and the isolation of the biologists from
culture, this language-based approach assumes from the beginning that
science and culture are part of the same thing and that both constitute human
experience. The object of inquiry becomes how the author of the text went
about producing the meanings contained within it. In this manner, because

20
the common reality shared by interlocutors cannot be transferred to author
and reader, and because reference and representation are problematic actions
(due to the putative lack of connections between words and things), the text is
severed from authorial intent.57 The author fades thus from view along with
his or her intentions, and the text then can suggest possibilities for wider
cultural meanings.58 Thus biological texts dealing with making the organic
bases of femininity and masculinity can become barometers of cultural
anxiety.
Biological texts at the fin de siécle were cultural texts, as well. As
historical evidence, virtually all texts are equally permeated with ideological
elements or philosophical commitments. These commitments reveal a great
deal about the climate that the texts were written in. As historian Hayden
White suggests, any text or artifact can reveal something of the cultural
milieu of its time and place of production.59 Through a broader, more
ecumenical use of a text than is customary in the history of science—assuming
that science and culture are the same—questions of causation can assume a
different aspect. Science is neither internally autonomous nor externally
determined. By looking at a "text" as what historian Dominick La Capra
terms a "situated use of language marked by an interaction between mutually
implicated but contestatory tendencies," the question of the internal and the
external becomes meaningless.60 The distinction between what is inside and
what is outside becomes meaningless as nothing is seen as purely internal or
purely external to texts. The question becomes one of interactions between
language and the world.61
Just as a comparison of language sheds light on the cultural aspects of
sex determination as represented in scientific discourse, so too can an
examination of power/knowledge relations in the discourse of sex

21
determination illuminate other levels of the cultural meaning of sex, gender,
and sexuality in early twentieth-century culture. This sort of method of
historical investigation tries to determine who holds positions of authority,
tries to define the forms that authority takes, and tries to see who and what
constitutes the subjects of that authority. Some of the work of the French
historian and philosopher Michel Foucault, especially his analysis of
power/knowledge relations,62 and his analysis of sexuality in the West,63 has
particular relevance to the history of science, particularly the history of sex
determination. Cultural history, inasmuch as it represents a discipline’
rather than a set of analytical tools, holds the realm of scientific investigation
to be one of the primary domains of power and knowledge, whereby
knowledge of nature becomes power over nature, and thus the scientific
investigation of sex and gender can be seen as an aspect of controlling the
sexuality of bodies. The scientific work on sex determination, which began to
increase dramatically in breadth and comprehensiveness in the nineteenth
century, represents an example of an institutional "will to know," to learn as
much as possible about the human body.
A power/ knowledge analysis can allow the historian to ask questions
that tend to remain unanswered in histories of genetics. For instance, an
analysis of power/knowledge relations can elucidate the work that sex
determination did for early twentieth-century culture by asking who was
determining and defining, thereby reifying the normal and the aberrant, and
who and what was subject to these definitions. Such an inquiry brings into
greater relief just exactly what the subject matter was and what it represented,
the hidden "who" behind the sex problem. In many cases, workers like
Morgan and Goldschmidt looked at gynandromorphic or intersexual bodies.
Yet these genetic and/or morphological anomalies are comparatively rare (at

22
least until scientists like Goldschmidt and others began to breed for them).
Rather than take the work at face value, a power/knowledge analysis looks
beneath the surface of the scientific discourse to see how it operates and to see
how it goes about making cultural meaning out of fairly rare phenomena.
Organization
This dissertation is organized along comparative lines, and it discusses
culture and then biology to demonstrate the lack of strict separation between
the two. Chapter 1 examines the cultural background for the investigation of
sex common to both the United States and Germany, highlighting those areas
in which German experience with modernization differed from the
American. Chapter 1 also examines the ways in which American and
German culture attempted to address various problems, specifically
problematic changes to definitions of gender, through science.
Chapter 2 picks up the biological background to the sex problem,
and examines in detail the cytological background for the research, performed
predominantly by American and German biologists, that led to an
understanding of the chromosomal basis for differences between men and
women. Chapter 2 also examines the Mendelian contribution towards an
understanding of sex and then addresses the very real barriers that existed to
the synthesis between cytology and Mendelism, a synthesis that not only
"solved" (on one level) the sex problem but also led to the formation of
genetics. Chapter 2 considers some of the theories of sex that opposed
Mendelism and some theories of sex that, while quite Mendelian, were not
"correct," and how these theories were particularly evocative of cultural
anxieties about changing definitions of sex and gender.
Chapter 3 examines the first of the troubling sexual personae,
specifically the New Woman in the United States, and makes connections

23
between the New Woman and the blurring of boundaries between the sexes
by virtue of her education. At this same time, when the academic world was
not only becoming more open to women scholars but also subject to attack for
"defeminizing" women (educated middle-class women had significantly
fewer children than those who did not attend college), the geneticist Morgan
began work on sex determination in parthenogenetic forms. Chapter 3
concludes by examining Morgan's status as arbiter of some of these cultural
and sexual changes.
Chapter 4 details the implications of the second troubling persona,
the Inverted Man, for Imperial and Weimar Germany. In Weimar Germany,
Goldschmidt formulated a theory of sex determination and inheritance,
which he eventually extended throughout the animal kingdom. From 1916 to
1931, he included human homosexuality under the rubric of intersexuality,
suggesting a confluence of interests.
Chapter 5 explores the formation of classical genetics out of work on
sex determination, particularly as it grew out of Morgan's discovery of a sex-
linked mutation that proved the validity of the chromosome theory of
inheritance. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 together examine the mechanical
technologies of sex determination.
The Conclusion explores the discursive technologies of sex
determination, the ways in which words and language contributed to the
definition of gender, and highlights the importance of language in the
discourse of sex determination. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz,
paraphrasing Max Weber, claims that if man is an animal suspended in webs
of significance that he himself has spun, culture constitutes those webs.64
Historian William Bouwsma argues that those webs are spun with the help
of language, because it is with language that humans order the mass of

24
information provided by the natural world.65 Through language, which is
shifting and without fixed meaning, humans order the chaotic, organize
nature into categories and make it useful.66
Nature is one such conceptual category that humans create to order
sensory impressions. It is, however, often thought to be the one category with
the least distance between perception and reality, and taken to be
unconstrained by language. Because science is fundamentally dependent on
language, and language is so historically contingent, the concept of science as
the next step away from undifferentiated nature is historically contingent,
too. If the dream of modernity since the Enlightenment has been the creation
of a social and cultural order that was as orderly and rational as the
Newtonian world—what historian Stephen Toulmin refers to as the
Cosmopolis—then that orderly rational world was in and of itself an
imposition on nature, a reflection of Western culture.67
The order of nature, like all representations, was and is a story that the
West has told about itself. It has been extraordinarily successful in its
manipulations of the natural world, but it is still an imposition from
without. Nature does not recognize the divisions and categories that are
imposed upon it. Toulmin suggests that the emotional, particularly its
ultimate somatic embodiment in the guise of the sexual, has been carefully
bracketed out of the Cosmopolis, the modern relation of the cultural and the
natural.68 The West perceived the sexual as irrational, and this ran counter to
the explicit agenda of the creation of a human culture that fitted into exact
and rational "natural" categories. Sex determination, in trying to "scientifize"
sex, represented the belated attempt to fit the sexual (literally the
polymorphous perverse) into the exact rational categories of Newtonian
nature. At the particular historical juncture of the fin de siécle, sex was seen

25
as not only fundamentally disordered, but also disordering, a source of
contagious chaos. Sex determination was how a certain group of cultural
producers, specifically biologists, sought to organize the chaos.

26
Notes
1 W. E. Castle to C. B. Davenport, 16 October 1906, C. B. Davenport Papers, Library of the
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.
2 Historian Alice Dreger notes that the late twentieth century draws distinctions between sex
(an anatomical category), gender (social identification), and sexuality (sexual desires and acts)
However, until at least the late nineteenth century, these distinctions did not exist. As Dreger
points out, the characteristics were conventionally associated with one another (p. 49). See
Alice Dreger, "Hermaphrodites in Love: The Truth of the Gonads," in Science and
Homosexualities, ed. Vernon A. Rosario (New York: Routledge, 1997), 46-66.
3 Richard Goldschmidt, "Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm
Gesellschaft zur Fórderung der Wissenschaften zu ihrem 10. Jáhrigen Jubilaum, ed. C. Neuberg
(Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921), 90-95.
4 The general term for a body that combined both female and male elements under pathological
conditions was gynandromorphy, although humans so afflicted were also designated as
androgynes. Hermaphrodites combined the sexes normally.
5 Cornelie Usbome, The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany: Women's Reproductive
Rights and Duties (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 70.
6 Biddy Martin, "Feminism, Criticism, and Foucault," New German Critique 27 (1982): 8.
7 See Jane Maienschein, "What Determines Sex? A Study of Converging Approaches, 1880-
1916," Isis 75 (1984): 457-480.
8 Ibid.
9 Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1978), pp. 10-11.
10 Ibid., pp. 14-15.
11 Ibid., p. 20.
12 Ibid., p. 21.
13 Ibid., pp. 16-17.
14 Richard Goldschmidt, In and Out of the Ivory Tower: The Autobiography of Richard
Goldschmidt (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), p. 180.
15 Allen, Morgan, pp. 21, 207-208.
16 Otto Mohr to Richard Goldschmidt, 6 February 1935, p. 1. Richard Goldschmidt Papers, The
Bancroft Library, the University of California, Berkeley, CA.
17 Morgan to C. B. Davenport, 13 April 1917; Davenport to Morgan, 19 Aril 1917; Morgan to
Davenport, 9 May 1917, Davenport Papers, APS.
18 Morgan to Hans Driesch, 27 November 1907, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
19 Goldschmidt, Tower, pp. 4-5. The Nazi propaganda poster, on which Richard Goldschmidt's
name appears near the bottom, can be found between p. 274 and p. 275.
20 Ibid., p. 7.
21 Ibid., p. 5.
22 Ibid., p. 6.

27
23 Ibid., p. 36.
24 L. C. Dunn to L. Farrand, 11 October 1935. L. C. Dunn Papers, APS.
25 Goldschmidt, Tower, pp. 11-13.
26 Ibid., pp. 29-30.
27 Ibid., p. 39.
28 James H. Jones, Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life (New York: W. W. Norton &
Company, 1997).
29 Ludmilla Jordanova, "Natural Facts: A Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality," in
Nature, Culture, Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormick and Marilyn Strathern (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 42.
30 Chandak Sengoopta, "Science, Sexuality, and Culture in the Fin de Siecle: Otto Weininger as
Baedeker," History of Science 20 (1992): 256.
31 Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1990), p. 134.
32 Rainer Herrn, "On the History of Biological Theories of Homosexuality," in Sex, Cells, and
Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference, ed. John P. De Ceceo and David Allen
Parker (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, 1995), p. 32.
33 Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1983), p. 7.
34 Sengoopta, "Science," p. 249.
35 Ibid., p. 249; Helen Haste, The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes
the Difference (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 95.
^Richard J. Evans, The Feminist Movement in Germany, 1894-1933 (Beverly Hills: Sage
Publications, 1976), p. 183.
37 Sengoopta, "Science," p. 249.
38 Weininger's book in fact deals with both sex and race in the face of modernity, although the
racial element is excluded from the present project. According to Rita Felski, Weininger
portrayed modernity as synonymous not with the sovereignty of the masculine, but with the
advancement of feminization. Felski, Gender of Modernity, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1995), pp. 46-47.
39 Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906), p. 5.
40 Ibid., p. 5.
41 The scientific tropes in Weininger's work will be discussed in the Conclusion following
Chapter 5, below.
42 Weininger, Sex, pp. 7-8.
43 Ibid., p. 29.
44 Ibid., pp. 37-38.
45 Ibid., p. 47.
46 Ibid., pp. 7, 45.
47 James Weir, "The Effect of Female Suffrage on Posterity," American Naturalist 29 (1895):

28
815-821.
“Ibid., p. 818.
* Ibid., p. 818.
50 Ibid., pp. 818-819.
51 Ibid., p. 820.
52 Ibid., pp. 822-824.
53 David Harlan, "Intellectual History and the Return of Literature," The American Historical
Review 94 (1988): 596.
54 Ibid., p. 582.
55 Ibid., pp. 582-583.
56 Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 192.
57 Harlan, "Intellectual History," p. 587
58 Ibid., p. 587.
w White, Content, p. 187.
60 Dominick La Capra, "Rethinking Intellectual History and Reading Texts," History and
Theory 19 (1980): 247.
61 Ibid., p. 247.
62 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, trans. Alan
Sheridan-Smith (New York: Random House, Inc., 1970); Foucault 1977 Power/Knowledge:
Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, ed. by Colin Gordon (New York: Random
House, Inc., 1977).
63 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 2: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley.
(New York: Random House, Inc., 1978).
64 Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 5.
65 William Bouwsma, "Intellectual History in the 1980s: From the History of Ideas to the
History of Meaning," in The New History and Beyond: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, ed.
Theodore K. Rabb and Robert I. Rothenberg (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), 289-
290.
66 Ibid., pp. 289-290.
67SeeToulmin, Cosmopolis.
68 Ibid., pp. 134-135.

CHAPTER 1
'ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR':
MODERNITY, BOURGEOIS ANXIETY, AND THE SEX PROBLEM
ANGEL: Forsake the Open Road:
Neither Mix nor Intermarry: Let Deep Roots Grow:
If you do not MINGLE you will Cease to Progress:
Seek not to Fathom the World and its Delicate Particle Logic:
You cannot Understand, You can only Destroy,
You do not Advance, You only Trample
PRIOR: We can't just stop. We're not rocks—progress, migration, motion is
.. . Modernity.
Tony Kushner,
"Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika"
Act II, Scene 2; Act V, Scene 5
To be modern is to be part of a universe in which, as Marx said, "all
that is solid melts into air."
Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of
Modernity (New York: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 15.
The Fin de Siécle
The general cultural environment at the end of the nineteenth
century, at least for such producers of middle-class Western culture as some
writers, artists, scientists, and social critics, was one of profound pessimism.
This was the era of the fin de siécle, the period stretching from approximately
1890 until after World War One. Although he characterized the sentiment
defined by the phrase "fin de siécle" as originally French and expressive of an
originally French feeling, Max Nordau (1849-1923), a prophet of cultural
29

30
degeneration and despair, observed before World War One that the
expression was found in most of the "civilized" languages of the West by the
end of the nineteenth century. Nordau opined that its near-universal
adoption indicated that it fulfilled a need.1 Though particularly acute during
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the sentiment was not new
to the bourgeois culture of western Europe and North America. In fact, as
historians David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley observe, cultural pessimism
actually characterizes bourgeois societies in general, and Western culture at
the fin de siécle was no exception.2 The bourgeoisie regarded any change or
deviation from its cultural ideals as a turn for the worse. That the
bourgeoisie never achieved these ideals only further heightened the
pessimism. An age of progress accordingly lived in perpetual fear of decline.
The sensitive and astute at first, and then increasing numbers of other
observers, noticed this decline, which Nordau characterized as "a compound
of feverish restlessness and blunted discouragement. . . The prevalent feeling
is that of immanent perdition and extinction."3 Both confession and
complaint, the fin de siécle evoked the feelings of a jaded, weary culture,
bored with itself and helpless in the face of inevitable decay.
Immediately after the war, Oswald Spengler summarized this middle-
class pessimism best in Per Untergane des Abendlandes (Twilight of the
Evening Lands) (1918). Suggesting that cultures, like organisms, possessed
definite life spans, Spengler proclaimed that the West had reached the end of
its natural span. Spengler stated that
Each culture has its own new possibilities of self-expression which
arise, ripen, decay, and never return. There is not one sculpture, one
painting, one mathematics, one physics, but many, each in its deepest
essence different from the others, each limited in duration and self-
contained.4

31
Western culture (Kultur) by the fin de siécle had declined to a mere
civilization (Zivilisation). Civilizations, in Spengler's view, constituted the
"inevitable destiny" of cultures, and were
the most external and artificial states of which a species of developed
humanity is capable. They are a conclusion, the thing-become
succeeding the thing-becoming, death following life, rigidity following
expansion. .. They are an end, irrevocable, yet by inward necessity
reached.5
Before the West lay only the void of extinction, as inevitable in Western
culture as the senescence and death that awaited all life forms.
Modernity
One of the greatest sources of fin-de-siécle anxiety, and one that linked
all the seemingly disparate causes for concern together to unify them, was the
final transition of nineteenth-century bourgeois culture to the "modern
condition." While modernity after the Renaissance often implied
progressive rationality and cohesion, by the end of the nineteenth century, it
had also become associated with less positive traits. Historian Detlev Peukert
notes that while the concept of "modernity" derived from the history of art
and architecture, it nonetheless proves useful in describing the character of
the fin de siécle and early twentieth century.6 Developments on a number of
cultural fronts at the turn of the century, including in science, technology, the
arts, and intellectual life—all of which are constitutive of the form of life
extant at the end of the twentieth century—were affected by the modern
condition.7 The beginning of modernity is notoriously difficult to date with
any precision.8 Stephen Toulmin, in fact, has observed that whereas some
date the origin of modernity to Gutenberg's invention of moveable type
printing in 1436, the pronouncement of Luther's theses in 1520, or to the end
of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, others date the origin of the modern

32
condition to the late nineteenth century with the publication of Sigmund
Freud's (1856-1939) Interpretation of Dreams (1895) and the development of
the "Modern style" in the arts.9 Still others, however, place the start of
something called "modernity" firmly within the Enlightenment project of
the liberation of humanity through the accumulation of knowledge.10 On
the other hand, Peukert argues that many of the characteristics of what
historians term "modernity" were in place by the fin de siécle or immediately
prior to World War One at the latest. Thus the era of "classical modernity"
consisted of the period from the 1890s to the 1930s.11 The present project
follows Peukert's periodization, focusing on the years from 1900-1930 as the
height and twilight of the modern era, and, as this dissertation argues, not
coincidentally, the years of greatest activity by geneticists on the
determination of sex.
Discontinuity
One characteristic of modernity, and one that William Everdell, author
of The First Moderns (1997), argues is among its chief constituents, is the
notion of ontological discontinuity.12 That is, much of modern thought
across a host of disciplines depended on discontinuity and a lack of smooth
transition between apparently disparate phenomena. This idea contributed to
the sense of anxiety and foreboding that afflicted the bourgeoisie at the turn of
the century. If, as Everdell argues, the fully realized modern world of the
twentieth century can be thought of as "digital," than the world-view of the
middle classes during the nineteenth century was "analog," that is, the
bourgeoisie perceived the world to be continuous and singular, while
modernity implied a discontinuous and fragment cosmos.13
One thing above all became clear to certain observers of the mental
world of the bourgeoisie at the fin de siécle: Their mental world had run

33
down. The singleness of mind that the bourgeoisie had sought during the
nineteenth century, and that science would ultimately render untenable, was
in the twentieth century to die entirely.14 The goal of intellectual life in the
nineteenth century was unity, but the reality of the twentieth century
promised fragmentation and discontinuity. Where nineteenth-century
sciences depended on evolution, fields, and Etitwicklung, twentieth-century
sciences would reveal the gene and the quantum, and the digital notion of
atoms (in the wider sense of discrete, bounded entities) in the void.15 The
twentieth-century world (at least the world of certain cultural elites) came to
be defined by the discrete. For example, mathematics insisted on the notion
of "space" between numbers, just as modem culture insisted that all things
were discontinuous and separable. Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1916) applied
this notion to the molecules of a gas, and crafted statistical statements of their
behavior. Max Planck (1858-1947) derived the quantum of energy from
Boltzmann's work, and within two generations, the continuous physics of the
nineteenth century, emblematized by James Clerk Maxwell's (1831-1879)
electromagnetic field theory, had been rendered discontinuous and, in
Werner Heisenberg's approach, at least, linked to particles. The arts displayed
a similar switch from continuity as the pointillism of the painter Georges
Seurat (1859-1891), which depicted the world as a myriad of tiny dots that
coalesced into a coherent whole, replaced the Renaissance technique of
imperceptible shading from one color to another. Likewise, Santiago Ramón
y Cajal (1852-1934) resolved the gray matter of the brain into billions of
discrete neurons, which communicated in a manner reminiscent of
Boltzmann's colliding gas molecules, and Freud constituted the human mind
from the fragments of human experience, a discontinuous entity made of the
conscious and the unconscious. In 1900, Hugo de Vries (1848-1935) proposed

34
the concept of the gene to account for the whole number ratios he discovered
in hereditary phenomena.16 The wholeness of the nineteenth-century world
thus appeared to members of various cultural elites to disintegrate into an
infinite number of fragmented images at the beginning of the twentieth
century.
Urbanization
From the middle of the nineteenth century on, modernity was very
much an urban phenomenon. Cities appeared to many observers to be
something of an alien world, and lurid stories taught the residents of smaller
towns that cities were not to be trusted.17 The bourgeoisie itself was
somewhat ambivalent towards the cities that it had created and that had, in a
sense, created it. While cities were the physical locations of middle-class
wealth, power, and dominance over nature, they also harbored social
disorder, crime, poverty, and disease.18 Modernity arose along side the
tremendous growth of cities in western Europe and North America due to
migration from rural areas, and resulted from the need to confront the
psychological, social, technological, political, and other cultural problems
attendant upon the major shifts of population.19
The large city, or the metropolis, inseparable from industrialization,
became the locus of new modes of perception as human contacts were both
multiplied and robbed of any form of continuity by the teeming masses of the
cities.20 The sexologist August Forel (1848-1931) voiced this concern when he
observed that the society of urban areas was made up of many social circles,
each of which had little to do with the others. Forel thought that this only
encouraged "vice and depravity. . . producing] a restless and unnatural
existence."21 To be modern was thus to find oneself in an environment that
promised adventure, transformation, and power at the same time that it

35
threatened the destruction of the familiar patterns of life. Modernity cut
across all boundaries of geography, ethnicity, sex, class, and ideology. So
while modernity in a sense unified the West, it was what literary critic
Marshall Berman termed a "unity of disunity, a maelstrom of perpetual
disintegration and renewal. . . To be modern is to be part of a universe in
which, as Karl Marx (1818-1883) said, 'all that is solid melts into air."'22 The
loss of continuity of experience in the midst of the multitude provoked a
disorienting reaction.
Amerikanisierung: The United States, Germany, and Modernity
The modern experience had made inroads in the United States by the
end of the nineteenth century. Industrialization, mechanization,
urbanization, and immigration swept America at the turn of the century to
create a nation recognizably modern.23 Although Europeans dating back at
least to Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) had branded America as 'modern,'
America only became such at the end of the nineteenth century.24 Much of
this anxiety associated with modernity concerned the morals of the country.
Just as America on the eve of the twentieth century was believed, if not
always in a positive sense, to be more modern than western Europe, it was
also thought to be more Victorian.25 Reformers, reacting to the moral threats
of modernity, demanded a purity that most Americans had never really
practiced. In so doing, however, they sought to reinforce traditional sexual
values and definitions of femininity and masculinity. This threat mounted
at the fin de siécle, sparking a veritable witch-hunt.26
Modernity made similar inroads in Germany, especially between 1900
and 1930, for which the United States served as the explicit model. While the
name of the Weimar republic was synonymous with modernity, not all of
German modern culture was a product of the Weimar era itself. In fact, in

36
Germany, modernity constituted a cultural epoch stretching from the turn of
the century to the early 1930s.27 Like many countries in western Europe and
North America experiencing modernity, German cities experienced
unprecedented growth. Grosstadte, cities of more than 100, 000 inhabitants,
grew from 8 in 1871 to 48 in 1910, a six-fold increase.28 In 1910, 21. 9 per cent
of the German population lived in cities of 100, 000 or more inhabitants,
while by 1933, more than 30 per cent did so. More importantly, only about
one-third of the population could be described as 'rural.'29 With cities came
both a brilliant display of wealth and learning, as well as misery, poverty,
rising crime, suicide, and abortion rates.30 Of all the German states, Prussia,
with its capital city of Berlin, was the most modern, because it displayed the
ruptures and discontinuities of modern life.31
The modernization of the United States and Germany occurred not in
isolation from one another, but in fact constituted an asymmetric dialogue.
German cultural critics worried about Amerikanisierung, or
"Americanization," an insidious cultural imperialism that symbolized
unfettered modernity.32 America constituted the béte-noire of the culturally
conservative, at once the source of all degeneracy and the omnipotent threat
to Kultur. One such observer remarked that "historians of the future will
one day mark the page following the great European war as the beginning of
the conquest of Europe by America."33 The real danger, though, was not so
much the economic dependence that American assistance packages created or
even the possibility of mere political colonization, but instead a spiritual
peril. The true danger to Europe was American "boredom," a quality that
rose from the essences of American life. American boredom was restless,
nervous, and aggressive, outrunning itself and seeking anesthesia in
sensation. American boredom constantly created new diversions, such as

37
radio or cinema, to quiet its racing senses as part of its "rabid frenzy of eternal
flight from time."34 As with so many of the changes that some members of
the bourgeoisie on both sides of the Atlantic found threatening (urbanization,
industrialization, changes in the definitions of gender roles), the United
States rushed in where other countries, angelic or decidedly less so, feared to
tread. America represented to Germany Western bourgeois culture at its
purest, an image of the middle-class future awaiting it.35
The perceived "decadence" of the modern era was striking, and
modernity accordingly received a mixed reception in Germany after World
War One. The author of a cultural history of the inflationary period
summarized the utter chaos and lack of moral guidance well when he
described the period as a "hellish carnival" characterized by
plunderings and riots, demonstrations and confrontations, profiteering
and smuggling, agonizing hunger and gluttonous feasts, sudden
impoverishment and rapid enrichment, debauched, maniacal dancing,
the horrifying misery of children, naked dances, currency conjurers,
hoarders of real value, amusement ecstasy-indulgence, materialist
worldviews and religious decline, flourishing occultism and
clairvoyance-gambling passion, speculation frenzy, an epidemic of
divorce, women's independence, the early maturity of youth.36
All the moorings of German life had been cast loose by the war and its
aftermath. Among those were sex and sexuality, which escaped all fetters, as
"an ecstasy of eroticism cast the world into chaos. Many things that otherwise
took place in secret appeared openly in the bright light of the public stage."37
An influx of new cultural forms (conservatives of the right found American
jazz music especially alarming) and the perception of moral laxity, especially
in Berlin, struck many as evidence of the decay of Kultur.38 Germans, linking
political change to the cultural "decline," held the Weimar Republic itself
responsible for the decadence and the crisis of the private world of the

38
bourgeoisie, and for the inroads that superficial Zivilisation made into the
formerly pure German Kultur.39 As youth like Hans Goldschmidt
(Goldschmidt's son) danced to sound of "Yes, We Have no Bananas" and
danced the Charleston and the "Edgar Slide" on his father's priceless Chinese
rugs (Edgar was a school friend of Hans's who consented to be dragged around
on the rugs "fanny down and legs up" in order to "de-Charlestonize" them),40
members of the cultivated middle classes fulminated against precisely such
decadence and worried that the world, or at least their world, was coming to
an end. Richard Goldschmidt certainly did, "blowing his top" when he saw
the damage to the rugs.41 In a sense, that world already had ended. While no
doubt containing elements of generational conflict and difference, Hans
Goldschmidt's dancing on his father's carpets can be read as a metaphor, as
the children of Germany's Kulturtrager, the guardians and preservers of the
humanistic traditions, trampled the very thing their parents worked so hard
to preserve in the face of modernity.
A Consuming Desire
Another characteristic of modernity, and one that held great
significance for a history of sex determination, was the change in mentalité
associated with the shift from a society of production to a culture of
consumption. Although the late nineteenth-century changes in capitalism
were intrinsically significant from an economic point of view, they also
effected profound changes in Western culture. Although the Enlightenment
model of economics that informed industrialization emphasized production
and property, it had begun to decline by the fin de siécle.42 The autonomous
individual, upon whom industrial capitalism had been based and who had
been characterized by his property, was by the turn of the century
characterized by his desire for goods, which was fulfilled through

39
consumption.43 This change indicated a profound shift in the world-view of
the Western bourgeoisie, and one that led to the eroticization of objects and
the objectification of desire. This new emphasis on consumption and desire
cut across the distinction between the public and the private, one of the
constituent distinctions of the bourgeoisie. Cultural historian Rita Felski
argues that the modern department store, such as the one depicted in Emile
Zola's Au bonheur des dames (The Ladies' Paradise) (1883), which made the
connection between shopping and the erotic, created a public space that
catered to women and allowed the public world of commerce and trade to
invade the domestic sphere through women.44 This sexualization of
modernity was synonymous with its demonization. To some members of the
bourgeoisie, the belief that Western culture had repressed erotic drives
through an ideology of restraint was jeopardized by the primacy of desire and
sexualized representations in the rise of the modern consumption-based
economy.45 Concomitant with this was the realization that consumer
demand did not passively reflect economic imperatives, but was instead
susceptible to the influence of a number of factors, including gender.
Significantly, the consumer was quite often depicted as a women.46 Because
of the domestic, non-laboring role demanded of bourgeois women, shopping
came to be seen as a leisure activity, and the department store, perhaps the
greatest innovation of modern consumerism, came to market not just goods,
but an aesthetic model that blurred the distinctions between classes and sexes.
The department store, the "ladies' paradise," sold not just goods, but the very
act of consumption, and turned the act of purchasing into a sensual
experience.47 The modern became associated with a pessimistic vision of
feminine sexuality that had been seduced by a consumer culture. Rather than
the rational and progressive society dominated by a masculine public sphere,

40
modernity exemplified an advancing feminine irrationality based on the
satisfaction of manufactured desires.48
Public and Private Modernity
The sexually problematic nature of modernity lay at the center of the
study of sex, including its biological basis, at the fin de siécle and early
twentieth century. In fact, modernity threatened the bourgeoisie by blurring
the distinction between the public and the private worlds upon which the
bourgeoisie was predicated. Accordingly, the relations between and among
the sexes that the separation of the public and private worlds entailed had by
1900 metamorphosed into a hotbed of politicism, negotiation, and wrangling.
This is hardly surprising, as the most political venues were those that appear
to be the least political—the domestic realm and sexuality.49 Changing
economic and social conditions led to a struggle for control and definition in
the relations between the genders. Sexuality became a battleground not only
because it was the locus of many of the changes associated with modernity,
but also because it became what historian Jeffrey Weeks termed a 'surrogate
medium' through which other concerns were articulated.50
The exact locus of shifting assumptions, the space between the
boundaries of the political and the sexual constituted the space of ideological
formation.51 Sexuality, like any ideology, depended on mutual definition.
What counted as sexuality was not only variable and political, but also
historically contingent.52 It was this historically contingent space that various
men and women at the fin de siécle rendered untenable by their refusal to
consent to mutual definition. For a relatively long time, relations between
the sexes in the middle classes had been fixed by custom and that most
powerful of bourgeois forces, propriety. Men went out into the political,
sexual world and women maintained a pure, clean, sanctified self and home,

41
a retreat from the venality and cupidity of the world of men.53 Modernity
implied the intrusion of the private through the sexual into the public.
This was the ideology of the separate spheres of the bourgeoisie. The
nineteenth century, the century of the bourgeoisie, was the century that saw
the final separation of the private world from the public world concomitant
with the formation of the bourgeoisie as a distinct class.54 The public sphere-
the world of men—was separated by an uncrossable divide from the private
world of the family, the domain of women. Historian Christoph Asendorf
argues that the distinction was, to a very real extent, actually constitutive of
the bourgeoisie.55 The notion of the spheres was a crucial one, for on it was
predicated the more or less absolute distinction between a set of binary pairs
that coordinated with one another: male/female and public/private. These
were political, social, and moral precepts that constituted the foundations of
bourgeois culture.56 In fact, the very moral code that was so important to
middle-class culture depended on these pairs, as well as the distinctions
between public/private, society/ family, work/leisure, and
promiscuity/restraint.57 These patterns of social organization, in reality the
"building blocks" of the middle-class world, mapped onto one another and
reflected a particular set of attitudes towards sex and sexuality.58 The sexual
danger of the public sphere opposed the purity and decency of the domestic,
just as the corruption and decay of the urban environment confronted the
"naturalness" of the family.59 These provided the basis for the fundamental
notion of "man/ woman." As this system began to break down under the
weight of its own internal contradictions, sex determination, cultural and
biological, grew more and more important. As the social values on which
middle-class society depended came under harsh scrutiny, and as the iron
separation between the public and private realms began to falter, attitudes

42
towards sex and gender, so confident earlier in the Victorian century, gave
way to a sense of anxiety and foreboding.60
Modem Sexual Personae
The fin de siécle, in fact, witnessed major upheavals in the rush
towards modernity as the separate cultural spheres of Victorian society began
to move together in some people, who literally embodied these changes.
What seemed to be happening in response to these changes—rapid
urbanization, industrialization, the decline of traditional social relations—
was a continuous conflict over the definition of appropriate and acceptable
sexual behavior.61 Some middle-class women (the New Women), aided and
abetted by certain men (homosexuals, or Inverted Men), threatened to bring
down the entire social settlement of previous generations. What many
referred to as "the woman question," really a subset or iteration of a larger
problem of sex and sexuality, challenged the traditional institutions of work,
marriage and family. Historian Elaine Showalter argues that to many men of
the fin de siécle "women appeared to be agents of an alien world," one that
evoked anger and confusion, while to women, men appeared as the
defenders of an "indefensible order."62 In a context of change, such as that
witnessed during the fin de siécle, this posed a serious threat. As historian
George Mosse claims, the effort to control sexuality constituted a part of that
larger discourse of control aimed at mitigating the effects of modernization.63
Sexualities and gender roles were in flux and both tormented segments of the
bourgeoisie with visions of dissolution.64
The continuing modernization of the bourgeoisie at the fin de siécle
and the concomitant decline of the ideology of the separate spheres created
two sexual personae, the New Woman and the Inverted Man. The New
Woman, the woman who deliberately left the private sphere of the domestic

43
world for the masculine public sphere of education and employment, was
fundamentally a product of modernity.65 This New Woman, who was
supposed to represent the comforts of home and family in a traditional sense,
instead brought the "perils" of modernity into the home, further collapsing
the distinctions between the spheres.66
Likewise the male homosexual, or the Inverted Man, was both a
product of bourgeois modernity and a threat to bourgeois definitions of
masculinity. Beginning in the 1890s, there was a fear that sexual inversion
was on the rise, especially among the "better" classes of society, and that this
increasing homosexuality presaged decline and degeneration. Historian
Isabel Hull notes that this was part of the general climate of pessimism of the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries associated with modernity.67
The Inverted Man was further linked to modernity through the rapid growth
of cities and the concomitant disruption of traditional patterns of communal
life.68 The sexologist Iwan Bloch thought that the 'vibrations of modernity'
caused homosexuality.69 Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), himself an early
twentieth-century advocate for homosexual emancipation, noted that many
assumed homosexuality to indicate a state of mental or psychological decay,
and the sexologist and psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902)
associated homosexuality with neurosis and an hereditary neuropathische
Belastung (neuropathic disease). However, Carpenter argued that there were
few people in modern life who could be declared entirely sane.70 The
Inverted Man, who was really part of a third sex, neither male nor female,
was himself an emblem of modernity and a corporeal indicator of its harmful
effects.71

44
The Crisis of Masculinity
The figures of the New Woman and the Inverted Man posed a distinct
challenge to accepted conceptions of the roles and actions appropriate for the
sexes, the one by crossing the borders from the feminine to the masculine
sphere, the other by acting in a sexual manner antithetical to traditional
bourgeois notions of manhood, and in a sense crossing the sexual borders in
the opposite direction.72 The existence of both personae cast doubt on the
comfortable world of the middle class and rendered the established gender
norms increasingly untenable. Both provoked a similar reaction from
heterosexual middle-class men, viz., a crisis of masculinity.73 The crisis of
masculinity stemmed, at least in part, from bourgeois men themselves, and
was generated from the stresses and tensions produced by the disparity
between the inflexible gender roles they expected and the fluid reality they
experienced. By the fin de siécle the system of patriarchy predicated on the
relegation of women to the private sphere was under attack from all sides by
those who challenged the assumptions that permitted the dominance of
middle-class heterosexual males in Western culture.74
If some men doubted and feared women, they also found themselves
doubting each other, too. Otto Weininger raised the specter of homosexuality
in male friendship when he declared that
there is no friendship between men that has not an element of
sexuality in it, however little accentuated it may be, and however
painful the idea of the sexual element would be. . . Much of the
affection, protection, and nepotism between men is due to the presence
of unsuspected sexual compatibility.75
This inherent inversion threatened the masculine sense of the self by
suggesting to men that they might not, indeed, be "all man." Certain middle-
class men were hostile towards the Inverted Man because they perceived real

45
threats to the gender relations at the turn of the century as the New Woman
whittled away at what they regarded as their manly prerogatives and rights.76
This can be seen in changing views of the hermaphrodite, the embodiment of
sexual ambiguity: Hermaphrodites caused the greatest concern at times of
acute male anxiety about sex and gender roles, about the boundaries and
distances between the sexes.77 The hermaphrodite (or gynandromorph, or
intersex), not coincidentally, played an immense role in the work on the sex
problem, which suggests a connection between the two.
A New Reflexivitv
At the root of the crisis of masculinity lay a dialectical relationship
between the definition of the masculine and feminine roles in culture, and
even between the biological sexes that often, but not always, mapped onto
those roles. Peter Gay summarized them succinctly: Man was active,
vigorous, assertive, intellectual, the warrior on the battlefield of life; woman
was passive, retiring, domestic, healing, the keeper of the home.78 New
Women and Inverted Men caused great concern perhaps less because of
whatever feelings they inspired in and of themselves, but because of what the
implications of these personae caused middle-class men to think about
themselves. Changes in sex roles were so threatening precisely because these
changes made it difficult to "be a man." The bourgeois notion of true
masculinity suffered assault on many fronts, from work and the notions of
success, to family structure and sexuality. These changes in women's roles,
embodied by the New Woman, and the changes in the definitions of
manhood, embodied by the Inverted Man, represent what historian Peter
Filene termed not only a "battle of the sexes, but also a psychic civil war."79
The changes in sex roles and expectations forced middle-class men to change
their mental view of the world.

46
This growing sense of novelty in masculinity, of the renegotiation of
sex and gender roles, and the attendant crisis of masculine identity they
engendered, were observed by contemporaries and witnesses to the
turbulence. Edward Carpenter observed in 1912 that "in later years (and since
the arrival of the New Woman among us) many things in the relation of
men and women have altered." The growing sense of equality in cultural
roles and expectations, such as university education, suffrage, athleticism,
that Carpenter observed had brought about a "rapprochement" between men
and women. If the modern woman was just a bit more 'masculine' than her
predecessors, the modern man was just a bit more sensitive and artistic,
though "by no means effeminate."80 Carpenter claimed that not only had
men and women achieved a certain parity, but also that the borders between
what had been the masculine and the feminine were no longer all that
distinct.
Although he did not use the term, Carpenter described the birth of a
New Man to accompany the New Woman. Showalter points out that while
some bourgeois men focused increasing attention on "the woman question,"
the New Woman and the Inverted Man raised "the man question."81 Was
there a New Man? To a certain extent, Carpenter and others were somewhat
optimistic when they expressed the idea that the New Man existed and was
the New Woman's willing play-mate. This New Man was exactly what lay at
the root of the crisis of masculinity. The qualities that Carpenter ascribed to
the New Man were precisely those qualities that scientific authorities often
used to define women biologically.82 The New Man had quite a bit of the
womanly about him, so the creation of the New Man appeared to involve
what many middle-class heterosexual men feared most: feminization and
the loss of traditional masculine identity. An example of this concern was

47
articulated by a contemporary to Oscar Wilde's trials for homosexuality, an
event that shocked the West. It was part of a diatribe against "sexomania"
and was written by "An Angry Old Buffer":
When Adam delved and Eve span
No one need ask which was the man.
Bicycling, football, scarce human,
All wonder now, 'Which is the woman?'
But now a new fear my bosom vexes;
Tomorrow there may be no sexes!
Unless, as end to all the pother,
Each one in fact becomes the other."83
The poem expressed the basic fear of the traditional bourgeois that the
changes in sex and gender roles, which seemed to imply women acting as
men and men as women, presaged an actual reversal of the sexes. Men were
afraid that they would be turned into women.
The Sex Problem
The new sexual personae and the crisis of masculinity they sparked led
to a "sex problem" in middle-class society. A belief in the essential
subversiveness of sex was relatively old in the West. Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778), linking sex to the 'subversiveness of women,' the Other of
Western sexual discourse, declared that "'never has a people perished from
an excess of wine; all perish from the disorder of women.'"84 At the fin de
siécle, Sigmund Freud articulated this thought when he described an
unconscious life seething with sex, a sexual world that was not the bipolar
world of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, but a world wherein the
distinctions between the two sexes were diffuse and increasingly arbitrary.85
It was only with the advent of the modern world that that subversiveness
came to represent a widespread problem.86 The moral values that supposedly
radical individuals fought at the beginning of the twentieth century were

48
precariously hegemonic at best and there was no 'golden age' of sexual
propriety.87 Sex was always unstable, and at no time more so than the fin de
siécle. The very precarious nature of this hegemony, however, explained the
vociferousness with which the sexual status quo was defended. The novelist
George Gissing (1857-1903) named the fin de siécle a time of "'sexual
anarchy.'"88
This climate of anarchy was perceived in both the United States and
Germany. By 1900, tensions between American men and women had grown
considerably, threatening the traditional definitions of masculinity and
femininity.89 A newspaper editor proclaimed in 1913 that sexuality was
running rampant: "Sex o'clock had struck America."90 Social critics saw an
erotic revolution. Between 1905-1909 and 1910-1914, for example, the number
of articles in American periodical literature dealing with issues of sexuality
doubled, and more than 90 per cent were hostile towards the changes.91
Sexual anarchy had come to America; the situation in Germany was the
same. Just as American commentators decried the changes, their
contemporaries in Germany lamented the same "erotic revolution."92 By
1918, the end of World War One, some observers perceived that the old
moral order had broken down past the point which it could be repaired.
German historian and moralist Bruno Grabinski lamented the corruption of
Germany. He blamed emancipation movements such as those of women and
homosexuals (among others), decrying the "moral syphilis" that attacked
Germany and lamented the unfettered "sexualism."93 This concern
sometimes reached hysterical heights, as when pastor and pamphleteer
Ludwig Hoppe of Berlin wrote a scathing attack which denounced changes in
morality as "'sexual bolshevism.'"94 The concept of "sexual crisis" became one
of the central metaphors of German modernity.95

49
Science and Modernity
Science played an integral part in the experience of modernization,
both in helping to define the modern experience itself and in providing a
vocabulary for the articulation of anti-modern sentiment, including the
reaction to changing sexual standards. On the one hand, science at the fin de
siécle was characterized by what historian T. J. Jackson Lears described as a
species of positivism.96 This positivism—no doubt derivative of Comtean
positivism—was not so much the systematic positivism of the Vienna Circle
but rather a cultural tendency shared by educated Europeans and Americans.
It took the form of a belief that the universe, including and especially human
Ufe, operated by certain laws that science alone could discover.97 The idea,
grounded in Enlightenment thought, was to use the steady accumulation of
knowledge to liberate humanity from its past. Such a scientific domination of
nature promised freedom from the social problems of the past and promised
to rationalize the social forms of the future by making them scientific.98
The modernization of science, however, especially the biological
sciences, presented another, more reactionary face, specifically an obsession
with degeneration. Degeneration was a perceived threat of the later
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that was triggered by the realization
that living processes were bound by the second law of thermodynamics, the
so-called law of entropy.99 What were perhaps the greatest discoveries of
physics in the nineteenth century—the notion that energy cannot be destroyed
and the quaUfication that it can be lost to heat and therefore lost to use—led to
the assumption of an inevitable universal decline, a descent into exhaustion
as the energy of the universe finally declined past the point where it could be
harnessed.100 Attributed to a variety of causes, including and especially
homosexuality and the changes in women's roles, the "race" (and by that

50
scientists meant the north-western European race) actually devolved under
the impact of modernity.101 Degeneration was an evolutionary step
backwards.
The most prominent, and indeed the most pessimistic, proclaimer of
degeneration was Max Nordau, a fin-de-siécle journalist and critic. Nordau
both biology and culture and despaired as the final years of the nineteenth
century wound down. Both seemed to indicate the decline of the races of the
West.102 Indeed, Nordau was not alone in this rather gloomy prediction, as
the terminal years of the century suggested a diseased and exhausted culture
winding down at long last.103 Nordau stated that "in our days there have
arisen in more highly developed minds vague qualms of a Dusk of the
Nations, in which all suns and stars are gradually waning, and mankind and
all its institutions and creations is perishing in the midst of a dying world."104
Degeneration had an explosive impact on Western bourgeois culture; it was
something that everyone read.105 In Degeneration (1895) Nordau discussed
the decline and fall of virtually every major nineteenth-century cultural
producer from the fields of art and literature. Everyone from the Pre-
Raphaelites, Leo Tolstoy, and Richard Wagner to Heinrik Ibsen, Friedrich
Nietzsche, and Emile Zola all exhibited some symptom of degeneration of
one kind or another, and Nordau charged them with dragging Western
culture into the sewers.106 To Nordau, however, the worst aspect of fin-de-
siécle degeneration was sexual degeneration. Nordau, who imagined himself
as a sort of mad-doctor to Western culture, discarded his "physician's"
objectivity when he discussed sexuality, one of the tacit subjects of his book.107
The 'sexual psychopathology' of the degenerate cultural producers constituted
'the single greatest factor in determining the popularity and success of
unhealthy art.'108 Nordau argued that the public, already weakened by

51
modern life, easily fell prey to the sexual degenerates masquerading as artists
and writers. Nordau foresaw a future in which "men dress as women and
women as men, one of his worst personal nightmares."109
The modern world constituted the chief cause of degeneration;
Degeneration detailed the symptoms it displayed. Commentators concerned
with degeneration such as Nordau and others argued that the transition to a
fragmented, urban modern society caused significant morphological,
psychological (the sexual instinct), and racial warping. Morgan, for example,
implicitly commented on degeneration when he suggested that one of the
possible applications of the new science of heredity was the amelioration of
"the physical deterioration of the race, that may take place under the
abnormal conditions of a complex and protracted social life," one of the most
critical indictments of modern Ufe110 Krafft-Ebing believed that the demands
of modern civilization on the nervous system led to the rise in mental
disturbances that he observed.111 August Forel argued something similar.
Urban society was made up of numerous groups with little interaction among
them (atoms in the void), and these circumstances favor the increase of "vice
and depravity." The frenzied pace of urban life produced a "restless and
unnatural existence." People left their jobs in 'unhealthy' factories to engage
in "the most repugnant sexual excesses. The rapacity, frivolity, and luxury of
society lead to alcoholism, poverty, promiscuity, and prostitution."112 Nordau
himself similarly attributed degeneration to modern, urban living, blaming
steam and electricity.113 Steam and electricity, along with the industrial order
they facilitated, were totemic of modernity.114 Nordau painted a picture of the
modem city straight out of the most horrifying dystopia. The modern
urbanite breathed polluted air, ate stale, adulterated food, and lived in a state

52
of perpetual nervous agitation. Nordau compared city life to life in a malarial
swamp because residents suffered the same vitiation and degeneration.115
Degeneration was thus located in the body, and this biologizing of
degeneration served a very important role in Western culture. The situating
of the social and cultural dislocations of modernity, including the New
Woman and Inverted Man, in the body and its health or lack of it, opened the
door to the prospect, however dim, of scientific analysis and control. It
provided a focal point for otherwise rather ephemeral cultural
disorientation.116 Aberrantly sexed degenerate bodies furnished biologists
with excellent locations to situate the degenerative effects of modernity and
provided living examples of the dangers inherent in crossing 'sexual' (i.e.,
'cultural') boundaries. Androgyny, gynandromorphy, hermaphroditism, and
intersexuality (all different ways of describing bodies that displayed both
female and male characteristics) were included under the rubric of
degeneration. By locating degeneration in the body, biology offered a renewed
sense of certainty and situatedness. A cultural crisis of sexuality was
articulated as a biological science of sex determination and control. This
science voiced the fears of Western culture and attempted to engineer a
remedy. Western culture responded to the supposed degeneration of the
New Woman and the Inverted Man by attempting to discover the system
(and biologists sought a single, unitary system) whereby sex was determined
in an effort to control the sex and sexuality of bodies. Locating concerns about
changing sexual roles, shifting gender identification, and the violation of the
borders between the male and the female in the body offered some biologists
an opportunity to control or remediate these problems, an opportunity
afforded no other group of cultural producers.

53
The Sex Problem and the Biology of Sexual Anxiety
In both the United States and Germany, regardless of the specific
differences of the reactions to the perceptions of sexual disorder (the subject of
subsequent chapters), Western culture turned towards the natural sciences to
quell the disturbances.117 In fact, before the fin de siécle, certain biologists had
begun to take notice of sex on biological grounds, and work on the so-called
sex problem was well advanced by the turn of the century.118 The timing of
scientific interest in sex determination with contemporary anxiety about
changing definitions of masculinity and femininity was not coincidental. Just
as biology by the fin de siécle discovered that sex, through the production of
variation, was a means to ends other than increase, culture discovered that
sexuality meant more than bearing children. This dissociation had enormous
consequences in that it provided the biological background for the sexual
anarchy.119 And just as the traditional bourgeois definitions of femininity
and masculinity had been a source of stability rendered unstable, these
biologists realized with the elucidation of the role of chromosomes in sex
determination (see Chapter 2, below) that sex was actually a source of endless
variety and instability on the biological level as well.120 Cells, like psyches,
seethed with sex.
Certain biologists were quite interested in the sex problem. Morgan
lectured on sex determination and, of all the Hitchcock Lectures that Morgan
gave to the Department of Genetics at the University of California in 1916,
only his speech on sex determination has been preserved, indicating that it
might have been regarded as being of particular interest, either to Morgan or
to whomever inherited his papers.121 E. B. Wilson, a friend and colleague of
Morgan at both Bryn Mawr and Columbia University and one of the
cytologists who proved the role of a so-called "accessory chromosome" in sex

54
determination, wrote extensively on the sex problem, considering both the
scientific minutiae of his own research and the larger synthetic picture.122
Goldschmidt, too, commented often on the problematic nature of sex.123
Leonard Doncaster, a prominent British biologist, summarized the matter
neatly and made the connection between sex determination and
considerations of human sexual problems explicit, when he stated that
the question, 'will it be a boy or a girl,' raises one of the most widely
discussed problems of biology, that of the causes which determine
whether any individual shall be male or female, and it suggests the still
deeper question, 'why should there be male and female sex at all?'124
Part biological query and part expression of cultural anxiety, this question is
simply another way of asking, "What does sex mean?" The present work
contends that while the work on sex determination performed by biologists
was on one level performed with the intention of understanding the
biological basis of sexuality, on other levels it was concerned with sex in
precisely those ways that early twentieth-century bourgeois culture found in
to be a problematic source of anxiety. While biology labored successfully for
centuries without understanding the precise biological mechanisms
underlying sex, late nineteenth and early twentieth-century bourgeois culture
in the United States and Germany faced acute crises of gender and sexuality
that made the resolution of the enigmatic nature of sex critical.
The biological aspects of the sex problem, then, involved two principle
questions.126 The first dealt with the mechanism which, at a certain moment,
forced development to take one of two different streams, and the second
involved the material differences between the individuals in those
streams.126 Oscar Riddle (1877-1968), who worked on the physiological basis of
sex, stated that the sex problem involved both the origin and the nature of

55
sexuality and its bifurcation into two varieties of individuals.127 Thus it was
sexual dimorphism—the division of species into females and males—that
proved the most troubling. However Doncaster argued in 1914 that while the
existence of two distinct sexes and their occurrence in relatively equal
numbers were important, they did not constitute all of the sex problem.
Hermaphroditism and other instances of bodies that followed neither one
stream nor the other were also important, as was parthenogenesis, the
limitation of a species to one of the two developmental streams.128 In fact, it
was those organisms that did not fit into either category that Goldschmidt and
others argued were crucial to the sex problem precisely because of their
ambiguity.129 Gynandromorphs, bodies that were neither female nor male
but somehow both, represented the breakdown of a near-universal sexual
dimorphism and echoed contemporary concerns in the larger cultural milieu.
Various aspects of bourgeois culture came to regard sex as the deepest
secret of life and the general substratum of existence.130 Many biologists
certainly viewed life in this manner. Doncaster viewed sex as something that
"ramified into almost every field of biology."131 Shosabura Watase, a Japanese
biologist who worked at the University of Chicago during the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries, noted that "the distinction of sex is probably the
most nearly universal single attribute or property of organized beings."132 He
argued that
the phenomena of sex-differentiation extend through the whole
organization, including both the 'germinal' and the 'personal' parts of
the organism. The organism is either a male or a female, not by the
difference of 'primary sexual characters' alone, but by the difference
which saturates the whole of its structure.133
Sex was the discriminating biological factor and it constituted the central
organizing feature of a body. Similarly, William Bateson (1861-1926), the

56
British biologist who, for all intents and purposes, created Mendelism, argued
that the influence of sex on the body constituted the most important means of
solving the sex problem,134 while biologist John Beard noted upwards of five
hundred theories of sex in his own contribution to the count.135 When Beard
indicated that the "prelude to every developmental history. . . is the
determination of sex," he indicated that the instant of sex determination was
the single most significant event in the life of an organism.136 Furthermore,
T. H. Montgomery (1873-1912), a cytologist who contributed to the discovery
of the role of an "accessory chromosome" to the determination of sex,
maintained that not only did the germ cells themselves carry sex factors, but
themselves possessed sexuality regardless of those factors, so that an ovum
was female and a sperm was male.137 Montgomery and other biologists
viewed sexual dimorphism as an integral characteristic of even cells, a
fundamental organizing metaphor of life.
These and other biologists accordingly contributed to the cultural
discourse on the sex problem through perspectives such as those expressed
above. For example, Walter Wilcox (b. 1869), who reported on the "crisis" of
fertility afflicting Americans of European descent (see Chapter 3, below),
Calvin Bridges (1889-1938), a student and colleague of Morgan, and Raymond
Pearl (1879-1940), a biologist with strong interests in eugenics and public
health, all spoke on aspects of the "crisis of fertility" at the Sixth International
Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference, held in New York City in
1925.138 Similarly, several prominent biologists, including E. M. East,
Goldschmidt, Julian Huxley, and Pearl, spoke at the World Population
Conference organized by birth control advocate Margaret Sanger (1883-1966)
in 1927.139 Goldschmidt, for his part, lamented in a radio address (which he
later published in a journal devoted to eugenics) the fact that non-scientists

57
persisted in formulating sex-determination theories, although by the very
forum he fueled the fire of popular interest.140 The sex problem, then,
represented nothing less than one of the most fundamental problem facing
biology at the beginning of the twentieth century.141
A Single Sexual System
The biologists who worked on sex determination, influenced perhaps
by positivistic beliefs in the unity of knowledge, regardless of nationality or
experimental orientation, expected to find a single solution to the sex
problem, a unitary explanation for the incredible variety of sexual possibilities
they saw in nature. Goldschmidt argued that a theory of sex determination
had to explain not only the mechanics of sex determination and sexual
dimorphism, but also gynandromorphy, intersexuality, parthenogenesis, and
the alternation of generations.142 However, Morgan stated that
the immediate problem of sex determination resolves itself into a
study of the conditions that in each species regulate the development
of the one or the other sex. It seems not improbably that this
regulation is different in different species, and that, therefore, it is futile
to search for any principle of sex determination that is universal for all
species with separate sexes.143
Yet in his own work, Morgan sought such a universal explanation. For
example, in his 1909 paper, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex
Determination in Phylloxerans and Aphids," Morgan reviewed the results of
the most significant work in the field, from mosses to insects and attempted
to derived the solution to the sex problem. Morgan dealt with the very
different sorts of experimental evidence as if they ought to be equivalent.144 In
a letter to Hans Driesch (1867-1941), Morgan discounted the chromosomal
theories of sex determination that certain cytologists, specifically C. E.
McClung and Wilson, had formulated on the basis that different organisms

58
displayed different chromosomal mechanisms.145 Whereas McClung
supposed that cells with the accessory chromosome produced females,
Wilson's work showed that the accessory chromosome produced males.146
The fact that Morgan and many others saw Wilson's work as a contradiction
of McClung's a priori supposition indicates a not unwarranted assumption
that a single sex determining scheme should have existed.147
It is possible that all of the various theories of sex determination,
which were reviewed up to 1903 by Morgan and 1911 by Wilson, reflected an
effort to impose a variety of viewpoints on the same set of data. Each
interpretation was made because its predecessors had failed to account for the
variety of sexual systems.148 German scientists, such as Carl Correns (1864-
1933) and Goldschmidt, likewise sought to produce a single universal theory
of sex that included cytological, developmental, and evolutionary
perspectives.149 In one of his earliest considerations of the sex problem,
Goldschmidt compared the various theories and models of sex determination
with the implicit understanding that when the sex problem is solved, these
will be seen to operate by identical mechanisms.150 Similarly, Goldschmidt
used his work on intersexuality to explain human homosexuality, and argued
that the phenomena of sex were fundamentally the same.151 In fact, much of
Goldschmidt's work, especially his extensions of it, was predicated on the
notion that there was a single model of sex determination.152
Many of the biologists who worked on sex determination thus sought
to do more than impose a conceptual unity on a very fragmented natural
world. They also sought on some level to impose order on a fragmenting
understanding of sexuality as a cultural phenomenon. This stemmed from
the idea that culture could be ordered along scientific lines and that science
acted as an articulator of social norms. At the fin de siécle, many American

59
biologists, as with so many members of the educated bourgeoisie, placed
science at the pinnacle of their value system, trusting no other form of
knowledge.153 Biology came to be the absolute to which these scientists could
appeal to for guidance to proper social behavior.154 Historians classify middle-
class culture in the United States at the turn of the century as 'Progressive.'
Science played an increasingly important role in late nineteenth and early
twentieth-century culture, becoming a source of metaphor and explanatory
images which served to explain or justify contemporary cultural values.155
Progressivism was accordingly predicated on such an informative role of
science, specifically on the use of science to solve social problems. Expertise
and scientific inquiry constituted the means by which social problems might
be solved. Reform as the result of inquiry benefited from the faith of most
Americans in science, but also the belief that science was free from
partisanship and ideological agendas.156
It was in such a context that Morgan and others could claim and put
absolute faith in a trope of scientific disinterest. Just as in the England of
Robert Boyle, only the one who was free of all entanglements could speak the
truth and produce matters of fact. This involved the creation of a truly
neutral space through rhetoric and belief.157 This space must not be viewed as
an expediency on the part of the biologists concerned. Rather, scientific
neutrality was a genuine and necessary belief on the part of late nineteenth
and early twentieth-century bourgeois culture. Morgan, for example, by
believing science to be separate from culture,158 was in fact deeply embedded
in and permeated by his culture. From that value-neutral space, scientists
like Morgan could legitimately address cultural problems without ever
explicitly doing so. This is not to state that Progressivism and, by extension,
the scientists and science that fueled it, were by any means characterized by

60
any radical reform program. They were not. Progressivism, despite
occasionally radical-sounding rhetoric, was a tool of Protestant, native-born
Americans who were often of Puritan stock and who felt their position and
cultural hegemony threatened by the changes associated with modernity and
modernization, including industrialization, urbanization, and the associated
tides of immigration.159 Progressivism, with its scientific backing, was a
sometimes uneasy amalgam of reform and conservative, if not reactionary,
impulses.160
German culture, too, whether Wilhelmine or Weimar, was similarly
"interventionist" in matters of culture. In Germany at the fin de siécle, a
heritage of idealism which drew from Romantic (naturphilosophisch ) and
Kantian idealist traditions combined with a distrust of the effects of
modernization. This inspired leading biologists to use biology to guide
cultural development.161 Indeed, the natural sciences assumed a major role
in the modernization of Germany and its transformation from an agrarian to
a modern industrialist-capitalist order.162 In fact, science was constitutive of
the identity of the Bildungsbiirgertum, the cultivated middle class, and was a
means of its cultural expression.163 After World War One, science became
even more important to German culture. The years after World War One
were not easy on the German people, and according to Curt Stern (1902-1981),
a former student and life-long friend of Goldschmidt, scientific achievement
(the older, positive science) could provide a rare island of stability in the
turbulent Weimar cultural milieu. Such a faith in science provided
consolation and hope.164
Throughout the United States and Germany various people, especially
certain women and homosexual men, began to challenge extant cultural
roles, and naturally enough, middle-class men, who hoped to preserve the

61
status quo, employed a variety of medical and biological arguments to
rationalize 'traditional' definitions of sex and gender.165 While the various
cultural producers used a scientific methodology to interpret nature, their
perceptions and interpretations were culturally mediated. Science was
nothing without the perception of nature and the interpretation of data, and
the actual questions a scientist asked may have been biased, just as the
questions presumed certain premises.166 This was precisely what happened
with sex determination at the turn of the century. Arguments drawn from
biology became metaphors for culture and were used to control virtually
every aspect of a modernizing world. As the metaphoric nature of the
arguments gradually faded from view, they left the word to actually constitute
the thing.167 Putatively pure scientific ideas were easily shaped by the needs of
bourgeois culture to rationalize the extant cultural definitions of sexuality
and to "biologize" the argument.168
If, as some scholars argue, the heart of modernity is fragmentation,169
then in some ways, sex determination may have represented a pre-modern
manifestation of biology that sought to bring order out of perceived chaos,
rather than a science that broke unity into diversity. The position of sex
determination within the context of fin-de-siécle concerns about sex and
gender was thus somewhat contradictory. While on the one hand, sex
determination was a science that worked against certain cultural trends to
stave off the uncertainty of the times, on the other hand, it also helped to
belie the claims of the middle classes to the singleness of mind or purpose
that characterized earlier generations. The era spanning the turn of the
century until after World War One was an uncertain one, with conflicting
trends and impulses, and some of the sciences reflected this divided nature.

62
The Bioloeization of Culture
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the
twentieth, many of those opposed to changes in the definitions of femininity
and masculinity resorted to scientific arguments to buttress their contention
that men and women must stay irrevocably distinct. The scientific arguments
for the cultural division of labor that the idea of the separate spheres
represented were wide-spread throughout the West as the contention that
women's emancipation meant men's enslavement.170 The decline of the
ideology of the separate spheres was not without impact on Western
scientists, many of whom were middle- and upper-middle class men, and
most of whom had been raised in this bipolar world. Some scientists, then,
particularly certain biologists, rallied to the defense of the natural order of
society as they perceived it.171 The idea of manliness was a requisite for
bourgeois society, and the roles of the sexes had to be clearly demarcated in
order for the concept to have any validity. The distinctions between
masculinity and femininity were perpetually reaffirmed as imperatives of the
modern age.172 These biologists contributed to this effort by promulgating
biologically-based definitions of 'maleness' and 'femaleness' in an effort to
define organically a cultural construct that they perceived to be in jeopardy.
Macrocosm and microcosm: the reduction of culture to biology
The biologists interested in sex determination reduced the sexual
division of labor that was implicit in the ideology of the separate spheres
ultimately to the level of gametes and from there gave it all the sanction that
biology could muster for the social and cultural order. This "biologizing" of
the relations between men and women was hardly native to the nineteenth
century, but it did assume a new scientific veracity during the later
nineteenth century. Notions of the biological inferiority of women in the

63
West dated back into classical antiquity with the idea that women were
imperfectly formed men, the fact of which is reflected in the appearance of the
female reproductive track as an inverted image of the male.173 Throughout
the history of science and gender in Western culture, such biological
explanations have wielded immense authority, and certain biologists
invoked this authority in the later nineteenth century as the social and sexual
settlement between men and women changed.174
William Keith Brooks (1848-1908), Doktorvater to not only Morgan but
also to Wilson and to other figures of import in American biology,175
promulgated one such biological theory of culture. Brooks, an excellent
morphologist, studied under Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) and Alexander Agassiz
(1835-1910) at Harvard University, where he was educated in the nineteenth-
century naturalist tradition.176 After earning his Ph.D. degree at Harvard,
Brooks took a position at Johns Hopkins and remained there for the rest of
his life.177 Historian of biology Jane Maienschein notes that Brooks was not so
much an experimenter as an observer of the natural world, which he
attempted to interpret logically. Brooks accordingly saw too many things to be
satisfied with separating out one aspect of a phenomenon to study in
isolation, preferring to take a longer, more interpretive view.178 Interested in
philosophy at least as much as natural history,179 and concerned with the
changing roles, duties, and actions of women, Brooks sought once and for all
the explain what biology had to say about women.180
In an article entitled, 'The Condition of Women From a Zoological
Point of View," (1879) Brooks began his consideration of the sex problem by
examining the present physical form of male and female bodies and then
from there extrapolating their proper functions, both biological and cultural.
Brooks argued that if there is a fundamental difference in the "sociological

64
influences" of the two sexes, then perforce there had to be a biological
explanation. Recognizing the "insignificance of the merely animal difference
between the sexes, as compared with their intellectual and moral influence, it
is none the less true that the origin of the latter is to be found in the
former."181 Yet Brooks reduced these "intellectual and moral influences" to
the lowest possible level, that of the sperm and egg. His consideration of
women from a zoological point of view was minutely concerned with
gametes. Brooks elaborated his consideration of the woman question with an
examination of the structure, constitution, and function of the male and
female gametes. The egg, in Brooks' view, was incapable of "perfect
development" until it had been fertilized, because only under the influence
of the male-provided gamete did the egg do anything.182 The egg was
essentially a food depot with little active role, "nothing but one of the cells of
the body, which may, when acted upon by the male element, develop into a
new organism."183 In fact, the egg was only the material medium in which
the "law of heredity" operated.184 Brooks displayed a real belief in the
superiority of the male gamete. Brooks thought that it alone was active,
while the female-supplied gamete displayed qualities remarkably like those
expected of bourgeois women.
Throughout his consideration of the condition of women from a
zoological point of view, Brooks made an interesting series of comparisons,
each of which moved from the microcosmic world to the macrocosmic world.
At each step, science moved closer to supporting the cultural status quo. He
began with the eggs,185 which were almost useless save as silos and as media
for the "law of heredity." The male element, in contrast, was the vehicle for
the equally vague "law of variation." At the heart of Brooks' argument rested
the facts of nature: The female-supplied gamete was conservative while the

65
male-supplied gamete was progressive and variable. From this Brooks
generalized up the phylogenetic ladder. In plants and lower animals, for
example, Brooks held that females tended not to change much, while males
varied. Thus the lower animals reflected the gametic state. Brooks slid up
the chain of being to humans, all the while eulogizing the harmony between
organism and environment. Moving from gametes to bodies, Brooks argued
that since the female (human) body was entrusted with all that has been
gained by the race, then the female mind constituted "a storehouse filled with
the instincts, habits, intuitions, and laws of conduct" that humanity had
accrued.186 Likewise if the male (human) body, being variable, represented
evolution, then the male mind "must have the power of extending
experience over new fields, and, by comparison and generalization, of
discovering new laws of nature."187 In an age of science, that last quality
represented the ultimate power, and men were its sole possessors. He stated:
"Men excel in judgment, women in common sense.''188
Brooks then moved from gametes to bodies to minds. The mind-body
dualism, long present in Western thought, appeared to have vanished from
Brooks's work. Instead of each body consisting of uneasy alliance of mind and
body, males were characterized by mind, while females by body. Yet, if one
followed Brooks's own logic, all characteristics of all levels of males and
females above the cellular level were at best accidental properties derived
from the rudimentary characteristics of gametes. However, the "especial and
peculiar functions of the male mind" and, one presumes the female mind (if
she has one), and their relation to establish cultural roles are the main point
of the essay. At each step, Brooks made significant elisions as he ascended to
the next level he saw in the living world. There was no real reason why the
characteristics of sperm and eggs should have determined the qualities of

66
human minds save that Brooks wanted or needed them to. Brooks buttressed
his culture with biology. His argument is worth quoting at length.
The study of he growth of civilization shows that human
advancement has been accompanied by a slow but constant
improvement in the condition of women, as compared with men, and
that it may be very accurately measured by this standard... If there is...
[a]. . . fundamental difference in the sociological influence of the sexes,
its origin must be sought in the physiological differences between
them. . . At the present time, however, there is a growing tendency to
regard the relations of the sexes as due in great part to male selfishness;
and while the substantial correctness of our view of the differences
between the male and female character is acknowledged, its origin is
attributed to the "subjection" of women by men. In this paper I have
attempted to present reasons, which I believe are new, for regarding the
differences as natural and of the greatest importance to the race.189
These were not the ramblings of a half-mad peddler of pseudo-science,
but the considered position of a professor at The Johns Hopkins University
and one of the foremost zoologists of his generation. Biologists like Brooks
genuinely viewed the social settlement between the sexes, the idea that men
worked and women preserved the sanctity of the home, as something
mandated in the cells.190 To late nineteenth-century biologists, evolution,
which had only reduced the "work" that women did, had made Western
women's lives supremely easy. They had but one task, while the toil of men
was without end. To demand anything else was worse then folly. It ran
counter to the demands of biological necessity.191 Equal rights, then, entailed
a step backwards in terms of evolutionary progress, and individual rights
were subsidiary to the rights of the species. Equal rights were "regressive"
because they attempted to undo the dimorphism effected by human
evolution.192

67
Summary
The era of the fin de siécle was one of acute anxiety for the middle
classes of Western culture. One of the greatest sources of unease and
insecurity, and one that had the greatest possibilities for Western culture, was
the transition to modernity. Modernity affected many areas of bourgeois
culture, including the arts and letters, the sciences, and even the perception of
the physical world. The middle classes found modernity to be so threatening
because it promised to erode so many of the fundamental aspects of bourgeois
life, such as the belief in progress or the belief in ontological continuity,
whether physical matter or sexual relations. One area in particular that was
threatened by the transition to the modern world was that of the relations
between men and women and the concomitant definitions of femininity and
masculinity. Much of the relationship between middle-class men and
women was predicated on the notion of different spheres of activity for the
sexes. The boundaries between these realms, once hard and fast, had begun to
erode at the fin de siécle. Two new sexual personae, the New Woman and
the Inverted Man, embodied these changes and sparked a reassessment of the
relations between the sexes. These figures, by eroding the differences between
men and women suggested that modernity heralded sexual anarchy. Because
of the tendency in both American Progressive culture and the German
Wilhelmine and Weimar cultures to address social and cultural issues in
scientific terms, biologists were in a unique position to address the threatened
changes. Beginning with concerns about the erosion of the walls between the
spheres and racial and sexual degeneration, biologists gradually "biologized"
culture. That is, they cast cultural problems, specifically changing relations
between the sexes, in biological terms. Seeking a single causal mechanism for
sex and sexuality throughout all the taxa, biologists ranging from

68
experimental animal breeders to cytologists and embryologists investigated
the biological bases of sex and sexual difference. Biological research, however,
quickly pointed out the particulate nature of heredity and the fragmented,
atomistic nature of sex.

69
Notes
11Max Nordau, Degeneration, Reprinted from the English-language edition of 1895 published
by D. Appleton & Co. ed. (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1968), p. 1.
2 David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society
and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1984), p.
214.
3 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 2.
4 Oswald Spengler, 'The Decline of the West," in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton
Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of California Press,
1994), p. 359.
5 Ibid., p. 359.
6Detlev Peukert, The Weimar Republic: The Crisis of Classical Modernity (New York: Hill
and Wang, 1987), pp. xiii-xiv.
7Ibid., p. xiv.
8 The end of modernity and the rise of post-modernity are the subject of some debate. David
Harvey dates the end of modernity to the late twentieth century, starting with the "official"
death of Modern architecture on 15 July 1972 [David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity:
An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1989),
p. 39]. Harvey notes that concurrent developments in the intellectual world, exemplified by
the work of Foucault and Lyotard, spelled the end of the Enlightenment goal of the unity of
knowledge and the liberation of humanity (Harvey, Postmodernity, pp. 44-45). On the other
hand, Stephen Toulmin argues that modernity can be salvaged through the reconciliation of
science and humanism [Stephen Toulmin, Cosmopo/j's: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 180], by humanizing the science that led to the
death camps and the atomic bomb and by restoring the philosophical to the scientific (pp. 200-
201). However, William Everdell, author of a recent study of modernity, argues that
modernity never really ended and is, in fact, only just entering a period of crisis [William R.
Everdell, The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 36]. Bruno Latour, though, argues that Western culture
was never Modern to begin with (Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 10-12]. The present project by and large follows the notion
of cultural modernity, which saw the modern world as one of fragmentation and discontinuity
and characterized by the disorientations that many people experienced in the West by the turn
of the twentieth century.
’Toulmin, Cosmopolis, p.5.
10 Harvey, Postmodernity, p. 12.
11 Peukert, Weimar Republic, p. 164.
12 Everdell, Moderns, p. 347.
13 Ibid., p. 351.
14 Ibid., p. 201.
15 Ibid., p. 351.
16 Ibid., pp. 352-354.
17 Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967), p. 14.

70
18Blackbourn and Eley, Peculiarities, p. 216.
19 Harvey, Postmodernity, p. 25.
20 Christoph Asendorf, Batteries of Life: On the History of Things and Their Perception in
Modernity, trans. Don Reneau (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp. 4-5.
21 August Forel, The Sexual Question: A Scientific, Psychological, Hygienic and Sociological
Study, trans. C. F. Marshall (New York: Physicians and Surgeons Books Co., 1925), p. 328.
22 Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York:
Penguin Books, 1982), p. 15.
23 Wiebe, Order, p. 12.
24 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 1: Education of the Senses
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 62.
25 Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), p. 5.
26 Peter G. Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1986), pp. 99-100.
27 Mary Fulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-1990 (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), p. 39.
28 Gay, Education, p. 50.
29 Ute Frevert, Women in German History: From Bourgeois Emancipation to Sexual Liberation
(New York: Berg, 1988), p. 176.
30 Ibid., p. 176.
31 Modris Eksteins, The Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
(Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989) p. 133.
32 Peukert Weimar Republic, p. 178.
33 Stefan Zweig, 'The Monotonization of the World," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., pp.
398-399.
34 Ibid., p. 399.
35 Adolf Halfeld, "America and the New Objectivity," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., p.
408; Gay, Education, p. 5.
36 Ostwald, "Moral History," p. 77.
37 Hans Ostwald, "A Moral History of the Inflation," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., p. 77.
38 Fulbrook, Divided, p. 40.
39 Ibid., p. 40.
40 Hans Goldschmidt, from an undated and privately circulated autobiographical manuscript
that I managed to acquire. American dances were evidently quite threatening. Historian
Modris Eksteins notes that the turkey-trot and the tango were all the rage in urban Germany
immediately before World War One, much to the horror of the conservative Wilhelmine
establishment. Clergy, the civil service, and government ministers all denounced what they
regarded as lewd public displays, and editorial pages were full of condemnatory commentary.
According to Eksteins, a Prussian officer was killed by a general over the question of the
propriety of the turkey-trot, and Kaiser Wilhelm himself attempted to ban the officers of his
army and navy from dancing the new steps, at least when in uniform (Rights of Spring, pp. 38-

71
39).
41Ibid.
42 Lawrence Birken, Consuming Desire: Sexual Science and the Emergence of a Culture of
Abundance, 1871-1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 27.
43 Ibid., p. 34.
44 Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ,1995),
pp. 61-62.
45 Ibid., p. 61.
46 Ibid., p. 61.
47Ibid., p. 67.
48 Ibid., p. 62.
49 Ben Agger, Gender, Culture, and Power: Toward a Feminist Postmodern Critical Theory
(Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), p. 43.
50 Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities
(London: Routledge, 1985), p. 74.
51 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 15.
52 Ibid., p. 15.
53 See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in
the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 159, 272-273 n.
124. See also George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual
Norms in Modern Europe (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), pp. 16-20. Susan
Kingsley Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1987), p. 90, also deals with the subject.
54 Asendorf, Batteries, p. 119. See also Gay, Education, pp. 25-44.
55 Ibid., p. 119.
56 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 3: The Cultivation of Hatred
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 291.
57 Helen Haste, The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes the
Difference (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 3.
58 Ludmilla Jordanova, "Natural Facts: A Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality," in
Nature, Culture, Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormick and Marilyn Strathern (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1980), pp. 43-44.
59 Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800(London:
Longman, 1981), p. 81.
60 Fraser Harrison, The Dark Angel: Aspects of Victorian Sexuality (London: Sheldon Press,
1977), p. 5.
61 Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, p. 23.
62 Show alter, Anarchy, pp. 6-7.
63Mosse,Nationalism, p. 9.

72
64 Showalter, Anarchy, p. 8. See also Gay, Education, p. 53.
65 Annelise Mauge, l'ldentité masculine en crise au tournant du siecle (Paris: Editions Puvage,
1987), p. 59.
66 Atina Grossmann, "The New Woman, the New Family, and the Rationalization of Sexuality:
The Sex Reform Movement in Germany, 1928-1933" (Doctoral Dissertation, Rutgers University,
1984), p. 40.
67 Isabel V. Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1982), p. 135.
68 Vern L. Bullough, Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research (New York: Basic
Books, 1994), p. 92. See also Chauncey 1994.
69Mosse, Nationalism, p. 136.
70 Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and
Women (New York and London: Mitchell Kennerley, 1912), p. 56.
71 George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay
Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 132.
72 Historian Alice Dreger makes a similar point in her forthcoming book, Hermaphrodites and
the Medical Invention of Sex (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 26.
73 The literature on the crisis of masculinity affecting bourgeois men and the fin de siécle is vast.
The references that follow are intended to give an overview, rather than an exhaustive list.
See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the
United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Victoria Bissell Brown,
'The Fear of Feminization: Los Angeles High School in the Progressive Era," Feminist Studies
16(1990): 493-518; George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the
Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Bram Dijkstra, Idols
of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil at the Fin-de-Siecle (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1986); Joe L. Dubbert, "Progressivism and the Masculinity Crisis," in The American Man,
ed. Elizabeth H. Pleck and Joseph H. Pleck (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1930), 303-
320; Leonard L. Duroche, "Men Fearing Men: On the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Modern
Homophobia," Men's Studies Review 8(1991): 3-7; Peter G. Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles
in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); John C. Fout, "Sexual
Politics in Wilhelmine Germany: The Male Gender Crisis, Moral Purity, and Homophobia," in
Forbidden History: The State, Society, and the Regulation of Sexuality in Modern Europe, ed.
John C. Fout (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 252-292; Ludmilla Jordanova, Sexual
Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine Between the Eighteenth and Twentieth
Centuries (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989); Michael Kimmel, "Men's Responses
to Feminism at the Turn of the Century," Gender and Society 1 (1987): 261-283; Sally Ledger and
Scott McCracken, eds., Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995); Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing
Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press); E. Anthony
Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the
Modern Era (New York: Basic Books, 1993); Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and
Culture at the Fin de Siecle (New York: Penguin Books, 1990).
74 See Showalter, Anarchy.
75 Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906).
76See Chauncey, Gay New York.
77 Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks, 'The Hermaphrodite and the Orders of Nature:

73
Sexual Ambiguity in Early Modern France," in Premodern Sexualities, ed. Louise Fradenburg
and Carla Freccero (New York: Routledge, 19%), pp. 117-136.
78 See Gay, Cultivation.
79 See Filene, Him/Her/Self.
80 See Carpenter, Intermediate.
81 See Showalter, Anarchy.
82 See William Keith Brooks, 'The Condition of Women from a Zoological Point of View,"
Popular Science Monthly 15 (1879): 145-155, 347-356. See also Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur
Thomson, The Evolution of Sex (London: Walter Scott, 1890), and Clarence E. McClung, "The
Accessory Chromosome-Sex Determinant?," Biological Bulletin 3 (1902): 43-84 . See also
Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920).
83 As cited Sally Ledger, 'The New Woman and the Crisis of Victorianism," in Cultural Politics
at the Fin de Siecle, ed. Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1995), pp. 22-44. The poem appeared originally in Punch, 27 April 1895, p.
203.
MAs cited in Carol Pateman, "The Disorder of Women': Women, Love, and the Sense of Justice,"
Ethics 91 (1980): 20-34., p. 20.
85 Weeks, Discontents, pp. 137-138.
86 Pateman, "Disorder," p. 21.
87 Weeks, Discontents, pp. 15-16.
88 As cited in Showalter, Anarchy, p. 3.
89 Joe L. Dubbert, "Progressivism and the Masculinity Crisis," in The American Man, ed.
Elizabeth H. Pleck and Joseph H. Pleck (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980), p. 310.
90 Filene, Him/Her/Self p. 98.
91 Ibid., pp. 98-99. See also Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885
(Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1957)., p. 497. Cosmopolitan magazine, for example, from
1912 to 1918, was dominated by the discussion of sex.
92 Hugo Bettauer, 'The Erotic Revolution," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., p. 699.
93 Stephen Kern, Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body (Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merril, 1975), p. 93.
94 As cited in Paul Weindling, Health, Race, and German Politics Between National
Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 368.
95Comelie Usbome, The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany: Women's Reproductive
Rights and Responsibilities (London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 89.
96T. J. Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace: Anti-Modernism and the Transformation of American
Culture, 1880-1920 (New York: Pantheon, 1981), p. 20.
’’Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary
Biology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19%), pp. 14, 200-203.
98 Harvey, Postmodernity, p. 12.
99 Anson Rabinbach, The Human Motor Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), p. 3.

74
‘“Ibid., pp. 3-4.
101 Brooks, "Condition," pp. 354-356; Geddes and Thomson, Evolution, pp. 267-277; Carpenter,
Intermediate, p. 22. See also Russett, pp. 131-132; Grossmann, "New Woman," p. 54; Weindling,
Health, Race, and German Politics, p. 105; Hull, Entourage, p. 135.
102 This was the theme of Nordau's book, with the state of culture indicating a high degree of
physical degeneration. Spengler touched on the theme, as well.
103 Showalter, Anarchy, p. 1.
104 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 2.
105 John Higham, 'The Reorientation of American Culture in the 1890s," in Writing American
History, ed. John Higham (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1970), p. 92.
Nordau's book infiltrated contemporary literature, as exemplified by Saki's character
Reginald, himself a nonpareil of weary sophistication. Reginald, a wan upper-bourgeois
cultural critic, read the book at a weekend house-party. Saki (H. H. Munro), "Reginald on
Tariffs," in The Complete Saki (New York: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 31.
106 Nordau, Degeneration, pp. 15-33.
107 Ibid., pp. 538-539. Nordau (p. 13) noted that "Vice looks to Sodom and Lesbos, to Bluebeard's
castle and the servant's hall of the 'divine Marquis de Sade's Justine, for its embodiments."
Sexual deviance, whether homosexuality, sadomasochism, or lust-murder, was all the same.
108 As cited in R. B. Kershner, Jr., "Degeneration: The Explanatory Nightmare," Georgia
Review 40 (1986): 436.
109 Ibid., p. 436.
110 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Human Heredity and Genetics," p. 18. Undated speech, Thomas Hunt
Morgan Papers, Archives of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
111 Harry Oosterhuis, "Richard von Krafft-Ebing's 'Step-children of Nature': Psychiatry and
the Making of Homosexual Identity," in Science and Homosexualities, ed. Vernon A. Rosario
(New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 71.
112 Forel, Sexual Question, p. 328.
113 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 37. See also Mosse, Nationalism, p. 136.
114 Asendorf, Batteries, p. 153,163. See Chapter 7, especially pp. 155-156, "Polarity and Sexual
Attraction." Asendorf discusses a drawing by Wilhelm Kaulbach entitled 'The Production of
Steam" (ca. 1859) that makes the connection between industrial Modernization and sex quite
clear. Steam is a winged demon that results from the rape of a nymph (symbolizing nature) by
Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge (symbolizing iron and industrialization).
115 Nordau, Degeneration, p. 35.
116 Eric L. Santer, My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of
Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19%), p. 8.
117 Frevert, Women, p. 131.
118 John Farley, Gametes and Spores: Ideas about Sexual Reproduction, 1750-1914 (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 188.
119 Ibid., p. 207.
120 Ibid., pp. 188-189.
121 Thomas Hunt Morgan, Hitchcock Lecture 19 April 1916, Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers,

75
Archives of the California Institutes of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
122 See, for example, Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'The Sex Chromosomes," Archiv für
mikroskopische Anatotnie 77 (1911): 249-271 for a consideration of the synthetic picture.
123 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexualitat und menschliches Zwittertum," Deutsche
medizinische Wochenschriften 57 (1931): 1288-1292, especially p. 2. This article makes the
connection between the biological work on sex determination and considerations of human sexual
problems explicit, although the present work argues that the connection was implicit in much
of the work on sex determination.
124 Leonard Doncaster, The Determination of Sex (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,
1914), p. 1.
125 Richard Goldschmidt, 'The Determination of Sex," Nature 107 (1921): 780. Aside from a very
brief mention in 1917, this is article contains the first explicit statement about what, precisely,
constitutes the sex problem. Before this, biological works both American and German merely
referred to the "sex problem" with no definition of what it was or why sex was problematic.
That it was left undefined for so long suggests that it was "tacit knowledge," something that
eveiyone "knew."
126 Ibid., p. 780.
127 Oscar Riddle, "Metabolism and the Newer Aspects of the Sex Problem, Part 1." Undated
speech, Oscar Riddle Papers, APS, pp. 1-3. While Part 1 is undated, Part 2 is dated ca. 1926-
1927.
128 Doncaster, Determination, pp. 5-6.
129 Richard Goldschmidt, "Über die Vererbung der sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere,"
Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft fiir Morphologie und Physiologie in München 27 (1911): 118.
130 Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society, p. 12.
131 Doncaster, Determination, p. vi.
132 S. Watasé, "On the Phenomena of Sex Determination," Journal of Morphology 6 (1892): 492.
133 Ibid., pp. 492-493.
134 William Bateson, Mendel's Principles of Heredity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 1909), p. 164. For Bateson's role in the rise of Mendelism, see William B. Provine, The
Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics, ed. Allen G. Debus, Chicago History of Science and
Medicine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
135 John Beard, 'The Determination of Sex in Animal Development," Zoologische Jahrbücher,
Abteilung fur Anatomie und Ontogenie der Thiere 16 (1902): 703-765., p. 708.
136 Ibid., p. 704.
137 Thomas H. Montgomery, "Are Particular Chromosomes Sex Determinants?," Biological
Bulletin 19 (1910): 1-17., p. 9. For Montgomery's role in the discovery of the role of the accessory
chromosome, see Thomas H. Montgomery, "A Study of the Chromosomes of the Germ Cells of
Metazoa," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 20 (n. s.) (1901): 154-236.
138 Pamphlet, "6th International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference," Raymond
Pearl Papers, APS. For Wilcox's contribution to the furor over the decline of (white) American
fecundity, see Walter F. Wilcox, "The Proportion of Children in the United States," Popular
Science Monthly 67 (1905): 762-763.
139 Margaret Sanger to Raymond Pearl, 1 February 1927, Raymond Pearl Papers, APS.

76
140 Richard Goldschmidt, "Die Bestimmung des Geschlechts und ihre Kontrolle," Eugenikl
(1931): 26.
141 Forel, Sexual Question, p. 3. See also M. M. Knight, Iva Lowther Peters, and Phyllis
Blanchard, Taboo and Genetics: A Study of the Biological, Sociological, and Psychological
Foundations of the Family (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., Ltd., 1921), pp. 13-14.
142 Richard Goldschmidt, "La théorie de la détermination du sexe," Scientia 43 (1928): 59.
143Thomas Hunt Morgan, Experimental Zoology (New York: Macmillan, 1907), pp. 423-424.
144 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex Determination in
Phylloxerans and Aphids," Journal of Experimental Zoology 7 (1909): 239-359. See especially
pp. 306-348.
145 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905, pp. 1-2, Morgan-Driesch
Correspondence, APS.
146 Morgan to Driesch, 23 October 1905, p. 1. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
147 See Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Recent Theories in Regards to the Determination of Sex," Popular
Science Monthly 64 (1903): 97-116. In this paper, which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3,
below, Morgan compares all of the various sex determination schemes ca. 1903. In many cases,
Morgan dismissed or discounted various theories on the grounds that they were mutually
contradictory, although based on empirical evidence.
148 See Ibid. See also Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'The Sex Chromosomes," Archiv fur
mikroskopische Anatomie 77 (1911): 249-271.
149 Margaret Somosi Saha, "Carl Correns and an Alternative Approach to Genetics: The Study
of Heredity in Germany Between 1880 and 1930" (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State
University, 1984), pp. 198-199.
150 Richard Goldschmidt, "Das Problem der Geschlechtsbestimmung," Die Umschau 14 (1910):
202.
151 Goldschmidt, "biologischen Grundlagen," p. 7.
152 See especially Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination,
trans. William ]. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923). In this work, Goldschmidt extended his own
work, which was limited to insects, to cover as much of the living world as reproduced sexually.
153 Kenneth Ludmerer, Genetics and American Society (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1971), p. 37.
154 Ibid., p. 38.
155 Charles Rosenberg, No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), p. 1.
156 Ibid., pp. 12-13.
157 See Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century
England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994) and Shapin and Simon Schaffer,
Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbies, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1985) for discussions of the production of matters of fact and the spaces in
which they can exist.
158 Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1978), p. 21.
159 Ludmerer, Genetics, pp. 31-32.

77
160 Donald Pickens, Eugenics and the Progressives (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press,
1968), p. 102.
161 Paul Weindling, Darwinism and Social Darwinism in Imperial Germany: The contribution of
the Cell Biologist Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922) (Stuttgart and New York: n. p., 1991), p. 17.
162 Ibid., p. 22.
163 Ibid., p. 22.
164 Curt Stem, "Richard Benedict Goldschmidt, 1878-1958," Biographical Memoirs of the
National Academy of Sciences 39 (1967): 141-192.
165 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg and Charles Rosenberg, 'The Female Animal: Medical and
Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America," Journal of
American History 60 (1973): 333.
166 Bleier, Science, p. 4.
167 Rosenberg, Gods, p. 7. See also Scott L. Montgomery, The Scientific Voice, ed. Steve Fuller,
The Conduct of Science Series (New York: The Guilford Press, 1996).
168 Ibid., p. 26.
169 Everdell, Moderns, p. 117.
170 Gay, Education, p. 208.
171 Chauncey, Gay New York, p. 121. See also Rabinbach, Motor, p. 16, and Helen Longino,
Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1990), p. 163.
172 Mosse,Nationalism, p. 24.
173 Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 4, 25-27, 63-64.
174 Smith-Rosenberg and Rosenberg, "Female Animal," p. 333. See also Russett 1989, Bleier 1984,
Fausto-Sterling 1985, Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Society Writes Biology/Biology Constructs
Gender," Daedalus 116 (1987): 61-76. and Evelyn Fox Keller, 'The Gender/Science System: Or,
Is Sex to Gender as Nature is to Science?," Hypatia 2 (1987): 37-49.
175 See Jane Maienschein, Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880-1915 (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) for Brooks' influence on American biology through his
students, E. B. Wilson, E. G. Conklin, T. H. Morgan, and R. G. Harrison.
176 Allen, Morgan, pp. 36-37.
177 Ibid. p. 37.
178 Maienschein, Traditions, p. 43.
179 Ibid., pp. 29, 43-44, 45.
180 Brooks, "Condition."
181 Ibid., pp. 145-146.
182 Ibid., p. 148.
183 Ibid., p. 148.
184 Ibid., p. 150.
185 Ibid., p. 148.

78
186 Ibid., p. 154.
187 Ibid., p. 154.
188 Ibid., p. 155.
189Ibid., pp. 145, 354.
190Geddes and Thomson, Evolution, p. 267. "What was decided among the prehistórica!
Protozoa cannot be annulled by Act of Parliament."
191 Ibid., p. 269.
192 Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920), p. vi.

CHAPTER 2
CYTOLOGY, MENDELISM, AND SEX DETERMINATION
Introduction to the Biological Aspects of the Sex Problem
Biologists sought a single system to explain the determination of sex.
The greatest evidence of this was that certain biologists such as Morgan,
Goldschmidt, and others compared sex determination in radically different
organisms in the hopes of deriving a single solution to the sex problem. The
realization that the wide variety of different organisms, which spanned the
living world, would provide very different solutions came only gradually,
and then only after the advent of genetics rendered the question irrelevant.
Instead of the simple unitary system biologists in the United States and
Germany sought, biologists faced considerable difficulties in ascertaining
what, specifically, determined sex. Thus biologists, unable to determine easily
the sexing process, faced a bewildering array of possibilities that appeared to
some to suggest sexual anarchy in the animal and plant kingdoms. Rather
than the straightforward system that many expected to find, there seemed to
be as many forms of sex, mechanisms for the determination of sex, and,
consequently, theories of sex determination and inheritance as there were
kinds of animals and plants. The efforts of biologists represent various
attempts to uncover the mechanism (more correctly, mechanisms) behind
the regularities they observed on the level of sexed and sexualized bodies,
such as the inheritance of secondary sex characteristics (sexual dimorphism),
the inexplicably equal or nearly equal numbers of males and females, the role
79

80
of the environment in the determination of sex, including the role of
nutrition in sex determination, the relation of parthenogenesis to "normal"
sex determination, the point at which sex determination actually occurred in
the developing organism, and, increasingly through the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, the causal mechanisms behind and the significance
of an ever-growing array of aberrantly sexed bodies like hermaphrodites and
gynandromorphs.
Understanding the sex problem necessitates an examination of the
biological bases of the conclusions that certain biologists drew about gender.
Because the present work concerns itself with the significance of sex
determination, with the fact that numerous biologists in many countries
sought to determine sex (and sexuality), and because the history of the
working-out of the details is a well- and often-told story in the history of
biology, the present narrative presents only some of the work involved; only
the main lines of research-cytology (the study of cell formation, structure,
and function of cells) and Mendelism—will be examined. Although the
primary argument of the present work is that the scientific efforts to
understand the biological basis of sex also represent an effort to understand
and hence control the biological basis of sexuality and other cultural
manifestations of sex through certain mechanical technologies, the present
chapter concentrates on the scientific aspects of the argument.
The "new" experimental biology was at the heart of the thinking of
many American and German biologists who worked on the sex problem.
According to historian of biology Garland Allen, there were significant
differences between nineteenth- and twentieth-century biology. Whereas
nineteenth-century biology had been characterized by observation-based and
highly speculative morphological studies, biology at the fin de siécle was

81
marked by increasing reliance on experimentation, what Allen referred to as
the "revolt from morphology."1 Much of the younger generation of biologists
expressed a certain dissatisfaction with the methodologies and conclusions of
their teachers, and lacked their interest in phylogenetic problems, the
expression of which tended to involve the construction of elaborate and
speculative maps of relationships between various groups of organisms.
Many of these younger biologists believed that the essentially descriptive
approach of nineteenth-century natural history prevented biology from
assuming the status of a "true" science such as physics or chemistry. This
new generation accordingly turned to the quantitative and experimental
methods and approaches of the physical sciences.2
Allen notes that it was not so much the subject matter as the ways in
which an older generation approached it that Morgan, Wilson, Goldschmidt,
Correns, and others found untenable. The descriptive tradition against which
they rebelled included many areas of the biological sciences, such as
taxonomy, paleontology, embryology, histology, anatomy, and cytology.3
However, the new biology also developed many of these areas considerably.
The new biology was not characterized by a change in theory, or even a
technological change involving new instruments or animals. Instead, the
new biology involved what historian of biology Jane Maienschein
characterized as a "subtle and profound change in the epistemic setting" in
which these younger biologists practiced their science. Conclusions about the
causes and nature of life faced what proponents of the new biology regarded
as higher, more rigorous standards of proof that were based on demonstrable
and reproducible phenomena. It was an epistemological shift of the first
order.4

82
The emphasis on the methods and epistemology of the physical
sciences brought physiology to a new prominence within the biological
sciences. Accordingly the physiology that many of the practitioners of the
new biology looked to at the fin de siécle was a mechanistic and reductionistic
physiology, especially as it was practiced in Germany. Many of this younger
generation of fin-de-siécle biologists studied in Germany, and were
accordingly influenced by the mid nineteenth-century materialist
physiologists of the Berlin school, such as Hermann von Helmholz (1821-
1894), Carl Ludwig (1816-1895), Ernst Briicke (1819-1892), and Emil Du Bois-
Reymond (1818-1894). The new biology pushed the study of heredity and
development from the realm of description into the realm of
experimentation.5 In the area of heredity in particular, the new experimental
biology was quite closely connected to the development of a Mendelian
approach. The rediscovery (or recovery) of Gregor Mendel's original paper of
1866 by Hugo de Vries (1848-1935), Carl Correns, and Erich von Tschermak
(1871-1962) furnished important new ideas about the nature of heredity, and
reinforced the materialist and atomistic approach of much later nineteenth-
century speculation about heredity, such as de Vries's mutationstheorie.6
Cytology: The Accessory Chromosomes and Sex Determination
August Weismann and the Separation of Germ Cells from Somatic Cells
It was in cytology that many important aspects of work on sex
determination-work that brought out the atomistic nature of sex—was
performed. One important insight was the German biologist August
Weismann's largely conceptual distinction between somatic cells and germ
cells, between the cells of the body and those cells that produced gametes,
constituted one important contribution towards the solution of the sex
problem. Weismann (1834-1914), although a staunch Darwinian and

83
proponent of evolution by natural selection,7 formulated this theory in an
attempt to deny once and for all the efficacy of the inheritance of acquired
characteristics. Nonetheless this distinction also held profound implications
for the study of the heredity of sex. Weismann observed that in certain
organisms the germ cells, which would in the organism's future give rise to
the gametes, were sequestered early in development and thus taken out of the
sequence of cells that gave rise to the body. Weismann noted that these cells
were some of the earliest cells to result from the union of egg with sperm.
These cells remained apart, quiescent until the organism in question reached
sexual maturity. This observation led Weismann in 1885 to his theory of the
continuity of the germ cells, which held that the germ plasm was held
separate from the body's structural cells from the beginning so that nothing
that happened to the body had an impact upon them.8 Thus seventy years
after Lamarck proposed his own model of evolution by the inheritance of
acquired traits, Weismann challenged this doctrine, postulating that the germ
cells alone were responsible for heredity, and were neither produced by the
cells of the body nor affected by its experiences.9
To Weismann's thinking, the germ cells were immortal—only the body
was subject to decline and decay. Each generation handed to the next its germ
plasm uncorrupted by the exigencies of life. What was called "the body,"
female or male, constituted a husk; its sole function was to support and
transmit its germ plasm.10 In his efforts to demonstrate the irrelevancy of the
body to heredity, Weismann conducted an experiment in which he surgically
separated over twenty generations of mice from their tails and found no
tendency of the mice to be born without tails.11 His work was experimental,
or at least subject to empirical verification, and fitted in with the
experimental trends and developments in biological theory and practice.

84
Weismann's work was important precisely because it limited the influence of
the environment on heredity. By bracketing such environmental influence
out of consideration, Weismann's work made a chromosome theory of
heredity—in which physical traits were passed in large part or entirely by
chromosomes-much more plausible, or at least subject to experimental
validation.
The Cvtologists
The relationship between chromosomes and sex, or between
chromosomes and any physical trait, however, was not at all apparent during
the late nineteenth century; it stabilized in the early years of the twentieth
century. In fact, part of the significance of the chromosome theory of heredity
consisted of demonstrating precisely that relationship. The discovery of a
relationship between chromosomes and specific physical characteristics like
sex was the result of several workers' efforts. Thus the German cytologist H.
Henking's observation in 1891 that an unpaired chromosome during
spermatogenesis in the insect group Pyrrhocoris went into one of two
different kinds of sperm was not immediately connected to sex determination
in a definitive manner.12 Henking noted that during certain phases of
meiosis unequal numbers of chromosomes migrated towards opposite poles
of the cell about to split. This observation stood in contradiction to what
cytologists knew about chromosomes, namely that during duplication and
division they exist in identical pairs called homologues. Yet Henking had
apparently discovered an anomalous unpaired chromosome. Rather than the
eleven chromosomes typically associated with Pyrrhocoris, Henking saw that
some cells possessed eleven chromosomes plus a dark-staining body.13
Henking posited that this anomalous body was indeed a chromosome,
although he labeled it with an "X" to indicate a degree of uncertainty. This

85
may be the origin of the custom of designating the so-called sex chromosomes
as an "X" chromosome. In fact, Henking demonstrated that two kinds of
sperm were formed, one containing the usual eleven chromosomes and the
other containing ten and the dark staining X-element.14 Henking did not
associate this X-element, which he suspected to be chromosomal in nature,
with sex determination.15
A few years later in 1901, however, another cytologist, Thomas
Montgomery, cleared up Henking's uncertainty and demonstrated that this
mysterious X-element was indeed a chromosome.16 Montgomery noted that
in certain stages of chromosomal replication maternal and paternal
chromosomes united such that each chromosome consisted of paired
maternal and paternal contributions. Montgomery observed that this X-
element behaved in a manner similar to that of "real" chromosomes.
Montgomery also extended Henking's observations to the Hemipteran order
of insects, thus demonstrating that Henking's observation of an unpaired
chromosome was not an aberration limited to a particular group but was in
fact characteristic of many more forms.17 E. B. Wilson, however, himself a
top-ranked cytologist, cautioned that this was more a surmise than a firm
conclusion.18
The observations of the cytologist Clarence E. McClung (1870-1946) in
1902 lent further weight to Henking's observations. In 1902, McClung noticed
an unpaired deep-staining chromosome-like element similar to that observed
by Henking and by Montgomery, which he named this element the "accessory
chromosome.''19 McClung, drawing on his own observations and those of
others, including those of Henking and Montgomery, surmised that the
correlation of the unequal distribution of the accessory chromosome to two
different types of sperm to the distribution of the sexes into two groups of

86
approximately equal size may not have been coincidental. McClung reasoned
that owing to this unequal distribution of the accessory chromosome, there
were two qualitatively different types of spermatozoa formed. It followed,
then, that fertilization by these two sperm would have produced qualitatively
different individuals in approximately equal numbers. Given that the only
quality that divided the members of a given species into two groups was that
of sex, McClung concluded that the accessory chromosome was in fact
responsible for the determination of sex.20
Mendelism in a Pea-Shell
In 1900, and nearly simultaneously, three botanists, a Dutch, a German,
and an Austrian, recovered the conclusions of the Czech monk Gregor
Mendel (1822-1884) on the hybridization and breeding of plants.21 Although
Mendel published his results and conclusions in 1866, the scientific
community of the later nineteenth century largely ignored them until 1900,
when biologists reinterpreted them in such as way as to have a profound
impact on the study of heredity in the twentieth century. Although Mendel
himself sought laws to define the conditions under which speciation might
occur through hybridization, the botanists who recovered his work
interpreted it differently.22 These biologists regarded Mendel's work as
something that answered or explained many of the problems of heredity that
had been discovered in the intervening time between Mendel's era and their
own. They interpreted it as the cornerstone of a particulate theory of
inheritance buttressed by experimentation, and one that expressed two
fundamental laws of heredity, one of which dealt with the segregation of
genes under single-gene systems and the other under multiple-gene
systems.23 Mendel's "laws," like all such natural laws, were really just
generalizations drawn from observations. Mendel performed literally tens of

87
thousands of cross-breeding experiments using pea-plants and then analyzed
the results statistically.24 While there is some controversy over these results,
owing to an allegedly too-perfect adherence to the laws of probability,25 from
them Mendel derived his laws about the behavior of hereditary traits.
Stated concisely, Mendel's first law held that in the germ cells of hybrid
forms there was a free separation of the hereditary elements derived from the
parents without regard to which parent supplied them.26 An example will
make this clear. Mendel bred a pea plant from a race with yellow seeds to one
that bore green seeds. The offspring that constituted this first generation all
produced yellow seeds. When these hybrid plants were bred to each other,
Mendel found that in this second generation the plants produced yellow and
green seeds in the proportion of three to one. The meaning of this ratio
emerged in the third generation when Mendel crossed each plant of the
second generation with itself, a uniquely botanical form of inbreeding. The
plants producing green seeds bred true, producing only green seeds. The
yellow-seeded plants of this generation, however, bore both yellow and green
seeds. Some of these yellow bearers in turn produced only yellow seeds, while
others produced yellow and green seeds in the three-to-one proportion of the
first generation. Mendel demonstrated that the ratio of three yellow seeds to
one green one was, in fact, made of one pure yellow, two yellow-green
hybrids, and one pure green.27
From these empirical data Mendel concluded that if the original
yellow-bearing parent carried some factor that made it yellow, and if the
original green-bearing parent carried something that made it green, the
offspring that constituted the first generation should have contained both of
these things. If in both being present one "factor" dominated the other, then
the plants that were the first generation would have been of one color, in this

88
case yellow. This involved the concepts of dominance and recessiveness,
whereby a possessed trait was not necessarily expressed if another trait
covered it or obscured its action. Mendel posited that in the germ cells of the
first generation the factors for the two colors separated so that the germ cells
made gametes with either yellow- or green-bearing gametes in equal
number.28 Which factor derived from which parent was immaterial. This was
the principle of the separation of genes. Thus when the first generation (each
individual had one yellow and one green factor) was inbred, it produced
individual with two yellow factors, one each of yellow and green, or two
green factors. These factors, or genes, even those masked by the dominant
action of another factor, did not change or meld together; there was no
"yellowish green" pea produced.
Mendel's second law was that of the independent assortment of genes,
and described the heredity of two or more pairs of factors. Mendel
demonstrated this with more pea plants. Mendel bred plants that produced
yellow and round seeds with plants that produced green and wrinkled peas.
Each seed possessed both a color trait and a texture trait. The plants of the first
generation produced only yellow, round seeds.29 When these plants were bred
amongst themselves, the results were rather more complicated. The plants of
this second generation produced four kinds of seeds: yellow-round, yellow-
wrinkled, green-round, and green-wrinkled in a proportion of nine to three
to three to one. If one of the original parents produced gametes that contained
only yellow and round "factors" and the other only green and wrinkled
"factors," all plants of the first generation would be hybrids for both traits.
When Mendel inbred these plants they produced offspring that made the
array of seeds described above. Each plant of this hybrid first generation
produced yellow-round, yellow-wrinkled, green-round, and green-wrinkled

89
gametes. Mendel found that owing to the randomness of fertilization under
natural conditions, any color trait could combine with any texture trait to
produce any of the sixteen possible combinations of gametes.30 The important
result was that there was an independent assortment of the traits for the
original factors, regardless of which other traits they first appeared with in the
parental generation.
Although the biologists who investigated the bases of these laws after
their recovery in 1900 by and large tried to prove their validity in a number of
organisms, they also found exceptions. These exceptions proved to be rather
important, particularly instances of the linkage on the chromosome of factors
for seemingly unrelated traits. Morgan found one such, that of the white¬
eyed male fruit flies,31 which proved to be an exception to the second law, and
was thus forced to drop his objections to both the chromosome theory of
heredity (the notion that chromosomes controlled heredity) and a Mendelian
interpretation of sex determination. From this exception Morgan and his
students eventually crafted what is now known as transmission, or classical,
genetics.32 Nonetheless, regardless of whatever future utility or even celebrity
awaited the resurrected theories, many biologists, such as the embryologists
who studied heredity remained ambivalent, if not actually opposed, to
Mendelian interpretations of heredity. There was little or nothing beyond the
suggestive to recommend the Mendelian laws to the study of heredity and sex
determination. However other biologists, especially cytologists, picked up
Mendelism, as this description of the reshuffling of heredity traits came to be
called, and applied it to their own work with chromosomes.
Mendelism and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity
Given the results of not only Mendel's experiments but also those of
the botanists Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns, as well those of the animal

90
breeder and geneticist William Castle, there was a marked tendency to apply
Mendelian laws to experimental results in certain areas of biological
investigation. Not only did the increased interest in heredity and the
increased pace of research produce vast quantities of new information, but
after 1900, that information, as well as the cytological discoveries about the
nature and function of the chromosomes, acquired new significance. The
thought that Mendelian laws could be a natural consequent of the
chromosomal nature of heredity occurred more or less independently to a
number of investigators.33 In cytology and in relation to chromosomes, and to
a chromosomal theory of heredity couched in Mendelian terms, this
produced several problems. To begin with, Mendelian factors, whatever they
consisted of in reality, were constant throughout the life of the organism.
That is, although no one had ever seen or observed a Mendelian factor, there
was extensive empirical evidence for their existence and continuity, such as
the appearance of traits in one generation and subsequent disappearance for
several generations only to reappear apparently unchanged generations
later.34 Likewise, extensive empirical evidence sufficed to demonstrate
convincingly that each Mendelian trait was independent of other Mendelian
traits (at least until the phenomenon of linkage was discovered and proved),
as exemplified by Mendel's law of independent assortment.35 But this
evidence for a Mendelian view of heredity consisted largely of observation,
not the experimentation deemed so important for the future of biology.
The chromosome theory of heredity, however, offered not even these
empirical assurances. To begin with, chromosomes appeared to have the
disturbing habit of disappearing from view during various phases of a cell's
life cycle. To the biologists of the fin de siécle, chromosomes were, for all
intents and purposes, invisible between episodes of cell division because,

91
given the chemical and mechanical technology available to fin-de-siecle
microscopists, cytologists could not always see the chromosomes. There was
accordingly no proof of the continuity of the chromosome from generation to
generation. While a chromosome theory of heredity required that the
chromosomes remain integral through the life of the organism, there was no
proof that they did not dissolve and reform de novo, as some critics charged,
at each reproductive event.36 At other times, the stained nucleus appeared to
lack the vividly colored bodies, and showed only lightly staining granules or
thread-like structures. The notion that chromosomes remained integral was
based on inference only.37 Then there was also the fact that homologous
chromosomes paired up after duplication. Cytologists could see that these
chromosomes were heavily intertwined, but could not prove that they
maintained their individuality. It was thus difficult for both the cytologists
and for the critics of a chromosomal theory of heredity to see just exactly how
the ephemeral and relatively indistinguishable chromosomes could carry
discrete, unchanging Mendelian traits or factors.
Solutions to these apparent contradictions between cytology and
Mendelism came from German and American biologists working
independently, Theodor Boveri (1862-1915) and Walter Sutton (1877-1915).
Their work, performed separately but interpreted together by other students
of heredity, gave credence to the notion that chromosomes possessed physical
individuality and continuity in some manner consistent with Mendelism.38
Biologists had to address two problems before chromosomes could be held to
play an important role in heredity. These were the question of continuity (did
the chromosomes remain integral during the times when they were
invisible?) and the question of individuality (could certain definite
chromosomes be consistently linked to certain physical characteristics?). The

92
hypotheses formulated independently by Boveri and Sutton answered
precisely these questions and paved the way for a productive synthesis of the
chromosome theory of heredity with Mendelian laws of heredity.
Interestingly enough, it was in the area of sex determination that the
chromosome theory of heredity and Mendelism first worked in concert to
provide a viable theory of inheritance.
The question of continuity was crucial to chromosome theory of
heredity because in order for the chromosomes to control heredity they had to
be present throughout the entire life of the cell. The question of continuity
hinged on both the behavior of chromosomes during replication and the
question of whether or not the daughter cells produced had any direct
connection to the original chromosomes of the parent cell.39 This crucial
question is exactly what was proved through direct cytological evidence.
Sutton concluded from his work with the grasshopper Brachystola that a
chromosome existed only by virtue of its direct descent from a pre-existing
chromosome.40 The details of the natural history of the cell demonstrated that
chromosomes were definite, well characterized things which showed marked
idiosyncratic characteristics of behavior, and which persisted from one
generation to the next without interruption and without the loss of their
specific characteristics. The phenomena that Sutton described in such detail,
the unity of the chromosomes during the synaptic stage of replication and
their subsequent distribution to the gametes, were the visible expression of a
temporary association of the paired homologous chromosomes, a
preliminary association prior to their distribution to the gametes as hereditary
characters.41 Thus Sutton proved that chromosomes were individually
recognizable and that chromosomes with the same characteristics of size,
shape, coloring (actually, the extent to which they took up coloring) recurred

93
at every cell division.42 Sutton's work furthermore demonstrated that during
cell division like chromosomes pair and then separate.43 This led to the
conclusion that the chromosome set of an individual organism consisted of
sets of pairs of chromosomes, one of which derived from the female-
provided gamete and the other from the male-provided gamete.44
The question of the individuality of the chromosomes was addressed
by both Boveri and Sutton through experiments. The idea of the
individuality of the chromosomes referred to the notion that a particular
chromosome controlled a given physical characteristic or set of characteristics.
Sutton's thoughts on the matter were decidedly suppositious. Having
concluded that chromosomes possessed a certain morphological
individuality—that they consistently assumed characteristic shapes—Sutton
wondered if they might not also have possessed a similar physiological
individuality and thus represented different series or groups of qualities.
Admitting the a priori nature of his speculations, Sutton concluded that it
was rather unlikely that so pronounced a morphological individuality failed
to correlate to an equally distinct and more fundamental difference, of which
the morphological distinctions were just expressions.45 He based this
conclusion on the fact that cells, and ultimately bodies, containing accessory
chromosomes possess quite different developmental possibilities than those
that lack it, i. e., maleness.46
Where Sutton speculated on the question of chromosomal
individuality, Boveri proved the matter through an elegant series of
experiments. Boveri demonstrated experimentally that a definite
combination of chromosomes was necessary for an organism to complete
development, which suggested strongly, if it did not prove, that particular
chromosomes stood in definite relation to given physical traits or groups of

94
traits.47 By forcing the fertilization of sea-urchin eggs by more than one
sperm, Boveri was able to chart the course of development under anomalous
chromosomal conditions. The different regions of the cytoplasm, each with
chromosomal content ranging from the fully normal (united egg and sperm
pronuclei) to the abnormal (various numbers of sperm pronuclei), displayed
unlimited developmental variability ranging from the normal to
"abnormalities of the highest degree.''48 Boveri concluded that it was not just
a definite number of chromosomes that is necessary for normal
development, but a definite combination of chromosomes that is essential for
normal development. Thus Boveri thought that individual chromosomes
must have possessed different qualities.49 It was not the mere presence or
absence of certain numbers of chromosomes, but the presence of specific and
distinct chromosomes that was important for development, chromosomes
that corresponded to, and perhaps in some way influenced the development
of, specific physical characteristics.
The implications of the Sutton-Boveri Hypothesis, as these conclusions
were soon branded, for a Mendelian interpretation of the chromosome theory
of heredity were immediately apparent, most of all to Sutton and to his
teacher, Wilson. Sutton, in fact, interpreted his results at the time in a
Mendelian manner.50 Sutton in 1902 noted that, based on his observations of
Brachystola, maternal and paternal chromosomes of the same morphological
appearance came together and then separated, each ending up in a separate
gamete. Sutton felt that this likely constituted the physical explanation of
Mendelian heredity.51 Sutton also noted that since the position of any paired
maternal and paternal chromosomes during synapsis around the center of
the cell was a matter of chance and its position irrespective of that of other
such pairs, there was a large number of possible combinations.52 Each such

95
pair of traits assorted—one to each new cell or gamete—independently of other
such pairs, as was observed by Mendel almost forty years before. It was this
possibility that suggested to Sutton that chromosome theory accorded with
the empirical Mendelian rules of heredity.53
Likewise, the implications for this consonance of chromosome theory
and Mendelism for an explanation of sex determination were not lost on
American cytologists. Sutton, for example, immediately recognized the
applicability of his work to questions of the role and function of the accessory
chromosome. He noted that the primordial sperm cells of Brachystola, the
insect upon which he experimented and the cells of which he observed, had
an odd number of chromosomes, one of which was obviously the accessory.
He also observed that it occurred in exactly half the spermatozoa.54 Sutton
argued that since there appeared to be just one kind of ovum in regards to
chromosome complement, and two kinds of sperm, that the differing
number of chromosomes in a fertilized egg depended upon which sort of
sperm fertilized it, one with or one without the accessory chromosome.
Sutton had observed an odd number of chromosomes in male cells and eggs
that gave rise to males, and an even number of chromosomes in female cells
and eggs that gave rise to females, and from this concluded that his results
confirmed McClung's original suggestion that the accessory chromosome
acted in the determination of sex.55
N. M. Stevens. E. B. Wilson, and the Accessory Chromosome
Nettie Stevens and the accessory chromosome
A few years later in 1905-06, other cytologists, Nettie M. Stevens and
Wilson being the most notable for their independent and nearly
simultaneous proving of the role of the accessory chromosome, quickly
seized upon the implications of the so-called Sutton-Boveri hypothesis for sex

96
determination. Stevens felt that whatever her work on the determination of
sex actually proved, it brought together a great deal of evidence in favor of the
"morphological and physiological individuality of the chromosomes" as
advocated by the Sutton-Boveri hypothesis.56 Wilson, for his part, endorsed
the connection between sex determination and the Sutton-Boveri hypothesis
even more strongly. He argued that the Sutton-Boveri hypothesis provided
strong impetus to the treatment of the chromosome theory of heredity from
the standpoint of the recently rediscovered Mendelian principles. From this
synthesis came the most likely route to prove that the chromosomes,
particularly the accessory chromosomes, provide some sort of causal
mechanism for the heredity and production of sex.57 In Wilson's view there
was little question that, in some insect orders, particular pairs of
chromosomes "have a special and constant relation" to sex determination.
There was thus strong evidence that a definite material basis exists for a
treatment of sex as if it were among the Mendelian phenomena.58
By 1906, Stevens was sure that sex was determined in the egg, but was
unsure of the precise mechanism.59 For Stevens, sex was determined inside
of a cell, rather than imposed by external factors such as the environment or
by prenatal nutrition. Like McClung and Sutton before her, Stevens noticed
chromosomal differences between the somatic cells of certain male and
female insects. However, where the sex-determination scheme of the
animals used by other cytologists displayed uneven numbers of
chromosomes between the sexes (males odd, females even), the beetles of the
genus Tenebrio that Stevens studied had equal numbers of chromosomes.
The difference lay in the chromosomes themselves. One pair of
chromosomes, unlike all other chromosomes, were not identical; in the
male, the twentieth pair of chromosomes consisted of one large and one

97
small chromosome to the female's two large chromosomes. So rather than
sex determination by an "accessory" chromosome, which implicated a
quantitative difference in chromosomes between the sexes in sex
determination, Stevens discovered a sexual system in which a chromosome
pair of definite qualitative difference were implicated in sex determination.
In fact, Stevens found as part of her research as she traced out the fertilization
and development of Tenebrio cells that it was the spermatozoa containing
that small chromosome that produced males.60 This provided even stronger
evidence not only for the Sutton-Boveri hypothesis and chromosomal
individuality, but also the notion that certain chromosomes correlated to
specific physical and physiological characteristics. From subsequent studies
between 1906-1909 Stevens concluded that the determination of sex is closely
connected to fertilization. She wrote that
it is evident that only those eggs fertilized by spermatozoa containing
the odd or the larger of an uneven pair of heterochromosomes can
develop into females, and the males must be the result of fertilization
by spermatozoa which contain either no heterochromosome or the
smaller of an unequal pair.61
Where McClung and Sutton attributed the power to make males to the
accessory chromosome, Stevens attributed the power of female determination
to the accessory chromosome. Her work seemed to refute the work of other
cytologists, a not unusual occurrence. In fact, many cytologists found results
that, at first glance, appeared to contradict much of the work of other
cytologists on the chromosome theory of heredity. This difficulty constituted
a formidable barrier to the acceptance of the chromosome theory of heredity
and of sex determination, and the issue was not satisfactorily resolved until
after the advent of classical genetics in the 1910s.

98
Stevens and Wilson, the one a student and the other a colleague of
Morgan, very nearly simultaneously proved McClung's suggestion that the
accessory chromosome was the sex determinant in 1906. Wilson, however, is
usually credited by historians of biology with priority, either explicitly, or
implicitly by their pleading for the complexity of the case.62 Another tactic on
the part of historians is to present the matter as something that Wilson had to
confirm, this in spite of Wilson's use of an animal characterized by a different
sex-determination system from that used by Stevens and one that was much
less common.63 Lastly, historians often chalk the matter of priority up to
simultaneity.64 These all have the effect of denying a woman credit for a
difficult accomplishment in an academic environment dominated by men at
a time when the presence of women at institutions of higher education was
neither totally accepted nor entirely welcome.65
Stevens was quick to see the possibilities of McClung's suggestion, and
faster to exploit them. In Morgan's letter of 19 November 1903 to the
Carnegie Institution in support of Stevens' application for a grant, he makes it
clear that it was Stevens, the junior research partner, who wanted to
investigate sex determination by chromosomes, while Morgan himself was
still considering environmental factors.66 Furthermore, Wilson at this time
(prior to 1905) was not entirely ready to accept chromosomes as the absolute
determiners of sex. In fact, in the 1900 (second) edition of The Cell. Wilson
stated that "Sex as such is not inherited. What is inherited is the capacity to
develop into either males or females, the actual result being determined by
the combined effect of conditions external to the primordial germ cell."67
This statement remained in print as late as the 1919 edition,68 long after
Wilson endorsed the Sutton-Boveri hypothesis and sex determination by
chromosomes. Finally Wilson may not have arrived at his own conclusions

99
about the nature of sex determination and the accessory chromosome until
after reading Steven' own work on the matter.69 In 1939, long after Stevens'
untimely death, the biologist R. G. Harrison (1870-1959), in response to an
inquiry by Morgan, wrote that Stevens had submitted the critical manuscript
for publication one day earlier than Wilson, stating that priority would seem
to belong to Stevens. In his response, Morgan stated that "Credit, if priority is
worthwhile, for definitely establishing the sex determining mechanism"
belongs to "Miss" Stevens.70
E. B. Wilson and the accessory chromosome
For all of that, Wilson was one of the greatest cytologists of the
twentieth century, and one who had numerous contacts with both the
chromosomal theory of inheritance and its Mendelian interpretation.
Wilson was a strong proponent of the chromosomal theory of inheritance,
while other prominent biologists, such as Morgan, criticized and rejected it
(see below). Sutton was a graduate student under Wilson's direction when he
pointed out how well his observations of the chromosomes in Brachystola
illustrated Mendelian rules. Wilson was also in close contact with Boveri,
perhaps the one person above all others who did the most to demonstrate
that chromosomes carried the material basis of heredity.71 Wilson was no
stranger to either chromosomes and the chromosome theory of heredity or to
a Mendelian interpretation of heredity.
Wilson was aware of Stevens' work and thus was in a good position to
realize that there may not be just one, but actually two, chromosomal systems
implicated in the determination of sex. This constituted one of the chief
objections to the chromosomal theory of heredity, and one that opponents of
both that theory and of Mendelism would exploit. Wilson's observations,
especially when compared to and combined with those of other researchers

100
like Stevens, demonstrated that some genera of insects, but not all, were
marked by a dimorphism of the spermatozoa, both containing the same
number of chromosomes, but one form containing a smaller chromosome
than the other, while other genera, also marked by spermatic dimorphism,
produced sperm with different numbers of chromosomes.72 In spite of these
morphological differences, the rather cautious Wilson speculated that there
was a definite connection of some kind between these chromosome and sex
determination in animals, although at least as of 1905 he was unwilling to
attribute to them the power of sex determination directly.73 Wilson publicly
cautioned restraint because correlation was not causation. Just because the
accessory chromosome or the heterochromosome were implicated in sex
determination, however closely, did not mean that they did the actual
determining of sex. Privately, however, Wilson was rather optimistic about
both the sex chromosomes and Mendelism, and expressed the feeling that
cytology was just at the beginning of "an almost indefinite vista of new
results."74
Wilson continued to observe and experiment and, probably under the
influence of Castle's work (1903), by 1907 arrived provisionally at the
conclusion that some sort of selective fertilization occurred. That is, based on
the idea that there were male- and female-determining sperm, Wilson
thought that there may also have been eggs with similar characteristics. In
order to obtain male or female bodies, some sort of sperm selection would
have had to have occurred.75 Wilson maintained this cautious stance, which
was wholly justified by observation and experiment, until 1910.76 By 1911
Wilson dropped his final reservations to calling the accessory chromosome
and the heterochromosomes "sex chromosomes," in spite of the fact that the
exact causal mechanism was unknown.77

101
Opposition to Mendelian Interpretations of a Chromosome Theory of
Heredity and Sex
The criticism of the chromosome theory of heredity and Mendelism
was almost immediate and often quite accurate. Important critics included
biologists on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Morgan in the United States
and Correns in Germany, who himself played no small role in the recovery of
Mendelism from obscurity. Morgan tended to object to the entire project on
methodological, theoretical, and substantive grounds while Correns simply
did not think either was enough to explain something as complicated as
heredity. In general, Morgan thought that the cytologists had, perhaps
needlessly, complicated questions of heredity and sex with these quests for
locating both within the chromosomes.78 Morgan and others, though, raised
some specific and rather pointed questions which they felt had not been
adequately resolved.79
To begin with, Morgan, who possessed a strong interest in
experimental embryology, objected to any theory of heredity that separated
heredity from development, either conceptually or practically.80 The
chromosome theory of heredity appeared to do just that. Nowhere in their
research and speculation had the cytologists and Mendelians posited a
mechanism whereby chromosomes could produce a body. As late as 1910
Morgan believed that the problem of the transmission of traits from
generation to generation and the expression of those traits were inseparable,
and he refused to accept any theory that did so, saying "We have come to look
upon the problem of heredity as identical with the problem of
development."81 Chromosomal and Mendelian interpretations begged the
more important question of how heredity functioned in development.

102
Ironically enough, Morgan's own work in genetics would shortly force him to
make just such a conceptual and practical separation.
Preformation and Epigenesis
Perhaps of even greater importance to an embryologist like Morgan,
such a chromosomal theory of inheritance appeared to represent a
repackaging of the doctrine of preformation. An ancient doctrine,
preformationism maintained that the individual organism was 'pre-formed'
inside either the egg or the sperm (depending on which of the two schools of
preformationism one adhered to). Biologists held that the gamete contained
a miniature model of the adult organism, "preformed" in all its features.
Thus the future organs and structures needed only to "unfold" during
development. Of necessity, the germ plasm contained all subsequent
generations preformed within it, body within body, like a series of nesting
boxes.82 During the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most
embryologists adhered to an opposing doctrine, that of epigenesis. 83
Epigeneticists maintained that the structures of the body arose through new
formation, rather than some sort of invisible pre-formation.84 Development
was a qualitative appearance from undifferentiated plasm, not quantitative
growth of already extant parts. To Morgan and other embryologists positing
the efficacy of material factors in the transmission of heredity from
generation to generation hearkened back to the notion of a pre-formed
character within the germ. Preformation suggested to the epigenetically-
inclined that somehow a Mendelian 'factor' or a chromosome contained the
trait assigned to it and that development constituted the unfolding of that
mature trait.85 It mattered little if there were one particle—a perfectly formed
miniature adult—or five or ten or one hundred particles. It was still
preformationism.

103
Speculation Run Wild
As objectionable as those characteristics of a Mendelian chromosome
theory were to some, however, such a theory of heredity had even worse
qualities to its opponents' way of thinking. One such quality was the
immense amount of speculative thinking that biologists like Morgan
perceived. Indeed, the "new" experimental biology was predicated on
moving away from precisely that kind of speculation. In discussing Wilson's
recent work and publications on the determination of sex Morgan
commented that Wilson was "indulging" in generalities, presumably with
insufficient experimental evidence.86 Sutton, for example, in his
consideration of the applicability of Mendelism to his work, did just that.
Thus one criticism of a Mendelian chromosome theory was the tendency to
invent factors as needed, often more factors than there are numbers of
chromosomes. Sutton reasoned that since there was, in his view, a definite
relation between chromosomes and unit characters, that a chromosome must
carry more than one such character. Otherwise an organism could have only
as many traits as chromosomes.87 This was rather limiting, because even the
simplest organisms were known to possess a relatively high number of
characteristics compared to the number of chromosomes. Since the number
of chromosomes was small compared to the number of traits or characteristics
in even the most simple of organisms, one would have expected large
numbers of traits to be inherited en masse, but this was rarely observed.
Likewise, speculation was also necessary to explain the inheritance of traits
that did not appear in tidy binary relationships, such as Mendel's round or
wrinkled, green or yellow, peas. Morgan pointed out that many observed
traits failed to follow an "either/or" pattern, and these posed a real problem to
Mendelian explanations of chromosomal behavior.88 It was exactly this

104
propagation of 'factors/ though, that Morgan had in mind when he
complained:
In the modern interpretation of Mendelism, facts are being
transformed into factors at a rapid rate. If one factor will not explain
the facts, then two are invoked; if two prove insufficient, three will
sometimes work out. The superior jugglery sometimes necessary to
account for the results are often so excellently explained because the
explanation was invented to explain them and then, presto! explain
the facts by the very factors that we invented to account for them.89
Other Problems With The Chromosome Theory of Sex
As if all of that were not sufficient to check the spread of Mendelism
and call a chromosomal interpretation of heredity into doubt, there were
internal contradictions within the chromosome theory of heredity to contend
with. Where Henking and Sutton (among others) had seen accessory
chromosomes, Stevens had found paired chromosomes of disparate size and
appearance. Wilson had found both systems. In a scientific establishment
that expected to find a single sexual system for the determination of sex (and
there was no real reason to hypothesize anything else) there appeared to be at
least two sexual systems and probably more. Where one biologist found a
lack of a chromosome produced a female, another found that a large, though
paired, chromosome did the same thing. The contradiction was not lost on
Morgan, who commented on the absurdity of the whole situation.
As to chromosomes, I am in the thick of it here. Wilson's recent
discovery that in certain bugs the spermatozoon that has the extra
chromosome makes a female every time, and the one without makes a
male (exactly the reverse of McClung's supposition) makes it look at
first sight as though the chromosomes were the thing? But work it
through as he has done and you will find that it lands you in an
absurdity.90

105
Then, too, chromosome number were rather inconsistent for something
hypothesized to be so important. Closely related groups demonstrated
different numbers of chromosomes, while divergent forms showed the same
number.91 To compound the problem, no one, not even Morgan who was
working with insects at the time, had even come close to explaining sex
determination in groups like the aphids and phylloxerans, which
demonstrated a sort of parthenogenesis, producing males and breeding
sexually only occasionally, or groups like the Hymenopteran order of insects,
which displayed what would be called haplodiploidy. The chromosome
theory of heredity, especially as it applied to the determination of sex, could
not solve the sex problem.
Cytoplasmic Inheritance
Given these complications, it is no real wonder that conceptualizations
of heredity that rivaled the chromosome theory continued virtually
unchecked well into the era of classical genetics in the 1910s and 1920s. One
such rival that found much support both in the United States and in
Germany (though more so in the latter) was cytoplasmic inheritance.
Cytoplasmic inheritance was predicated on the notion that the cytoplasm of
the cell was responsible either for more (or for more fundamental) properties
of heredity than the nucleus.92 Given the credence given to epigenesis by
embryologists and others, belief in the efficacy of cytoplasmic inheritance was
widespread because observation and experiment demonstrated time and
again that the cytoplasm of an ovum possessed a complex internal structure
that seemed to dominate the events of early development.93
One German biologist who put stock in cytoplasmic inheritance was
Carl Correns. Unlike the early Mendelians in the United Kingdom,94 for
instance, neither Correns nor, for that matter, many other Germans, equated

106
the study of heredity with the working out of the implications of Mendel's
laws for heredity or development.95 That is, Germans tended to view
Mendel's laws as descriptions, rather than as causal explanations. This is one
reason why Morgan's theories of transmission genetics, based heavily on
Mendelism by the inter-war period, did not receive the acclaim in Germany
that they did in the United States.96 The reasons for this lack of interest are
legion,97 but the fact remains that cytoplasmic inheritance continued to
provide viable alternatives to strictly Mendelian forms of inheritance.98
Cytoplasmic inheritance, to Correns's way of thinking, held great promise for
future research, perhaps coming eventually to encompass sex determination,
cytology, development, and evolution.99 This is something that Mendelism
could not do. Correns developed a view of heredity that took both
cytoplasmic inheritance and Mendelism into account. He located Mendelian
factors in the nucleus of a cell, specifically in or on the chromosomes, and
posited some mechanism located in the cytoplasm to control the
chromosomes.100
From the beginning of the Mendelian era Correns sought to
demonstrate both Mendelian and cytoplasmic heredity. A botanist, Correns
worked with the 4-O'clock plant, Mirabilis jalapa, which exhibited a
variegated chlorophyll pattern. Some plants displayed green pigmentation,
some were variegated, and others were white. Through controlled cross
breeding, Correns discovered that the color always followed that of egg donor.
Correns was unsure whether this effect was localized in the chloroplasts or
the cytoplasm, but he inclined towards the cytoplasm. This hypothesis
depended on only the male-donated pronucleus being transferred during
fertilization and not the relatively insignificant amounts of spermatic
cytoplasm. Correns only presented indirect evidence for this assumption.101

107
Correns's work demonstrated that important aspects of plant heredity were
inherited cytoplasmically and challenged the "nuclear monopoly.''102
Americans, too, put stock in cytoplasmic inheritance, some well into
the 1910s. Morgan himself was one such scientist who advocated cytoplasmic
views of heredity, being an epigeneticist, at least for a time. Morgan was
interested initially in Wilson's early results and conclusions regarding the
chromosome theory of heredity and its application to sex determination. In
fact, he was staggered by the implications. However, after having considered
the matter, including some of the problems with the chromosome theory
delineated above, Morgan came down on the side of cytoplasmic inheritance,
and dismissed the chromosome theory as inadequate to explain the heredity
of sex. Morgan wrote, "I argue that the protoplasm may account for the
results [of sex determination experiments]. On this assumption we can work
out to a logical conclusions [sic] the results of our experiments on the
ctenophore egg."103 Morgan would later change his mind, but other
American biologists, particularly botanists, continued to advocate cytoplasmic
inheritance until the 1930s and beyond.104
Jacques Loeb in 1916, arguing from the standpoint of
Entivicklungsmechanik (developmental mechanics) and experimental
embryology, felt that the cytoplasm of the egg constituted the future embryo
(the material cause, as it were), while Mendelian factors or chromosomes
impressed individual and specific characteristics (the formal cause) upon the
developing organism. Citing Boveri's experiments with the polyspermic
fertilization of sea urchins, experiments that did much to prove that
chromosomes control specific physical characteristics, Loeb observed that
early development in the sea urchin is independent of nuclear control.

108
Extending these possibilities, Loeb posited that generic and even species-level
characteristics were cytoplasmically controlled.105
While the final, definitive answer, if such there could be, to the
question of the determination of sex in all its complexity and ramifications,
would have to wait for the Morgan school of genetics at Columbia University,
it may be instructive to consider what was finally determined about
Mendelism, chromosomes, and sex determination. In 1911 the ever-cautious
Wilson considered the matter and reached a conclusion in print. Wilson felt
that experimental evidence was at last sufficient to warrant the claim that sex
determination was truly a form of chromosomal heredity, the cytological facts
of the matter providing a good basis for its analysis.106 Mendel suggested as
much 50 years before, and the same view was developed by many in the early
twentieth century. Citing especially the work of Castle and Correns, and that
of other geneticists like William Bateson, Wilson argued that it was a virtual
certainty that the heredity of sex was closely analogous to what was known as
a Mendelian back-cross.107
In the example from Mendel's pea plants above, one possible cross that
was not carried out illustrates this point. In this hypothetical cross, the plants
of the first generation that carried the "factors" for both yellow and green
seeds would have been bred back to the parental plant that bore only green
seeds, the homozygous recessive parent. In this back cross, half of the
resultant progeny would have carried only green seeds (homozygous
recessive condition) and the other half would bear only yellow seeds (though
in the heterozygous condition, meaning having both yellow and green
factors). As the studies of Stevens and Wilson on the sex chromosomes of
beetles proved, one sex was heterozygous for a sex determining factor in all
animals studied (that assumes that an animal possessing an unpaired

109
accessory chromosome represents a case of heterozygosity of sorts). Animals
were eventually sorted into two groups based on their sex determination
scheme: The XY group for those animals displaying two heterochromosomes
(those studied by Stevens) and the XO group for those animals displaying an
unpaired accessory chromosome (those studied by Wilson).108 Thus in the XY
group a male was designated XY and a female XX (presuming the male was
heterozygous for sex, that is, possesses two different Mendelian factors).
Crossing them yielded equal numbers of offspring. The facts also showed that
in some of these cases, the heterozygous sex (that possessing two different sex
determining factors) was the female (such as in Goldschmidt's Lymantria
moths), in others the male (Drosophila, humans).109
Balance Theories of Sex Determination: 'The Enemy Within"
and the Cultural Implications of a Scientific Theory
The Mendelian interpretation of sex inheritance described above,
wherein dimorphous sex was inherited as if it were an example of a back
cross, was not the only possible Mendelian interpretation. In fact, another
Mendelian interpretation was perhaps even more likely. As above, certain
cytologists established that two classes of dimorphic sperm existed: 1) a class
characterized by one sort having an accessory and the other lacking it, and 2) a
class characterized by equal numbers of chromosomes but one pair differing
somewhat from the rest. But what, some students of heredity wondered, if
eggs were similarly differentiated? What would become of sex
determination? Many biologists explored the implications of these
possibilities, or their logical consequences, including Morgan and
Goldschmidt. Two such schemes, that of the animal breeder William E.
Castle, and that of the botanist Carl Correns, bear further examination. These
"balance" theories of sex determination, so-called because of the posited

110
balance between female and male factors necessary for fertilization and
normal sexual development, not only satisfied the demands of Mendelism
but also articulated certain contemporary concerns about sexuality and gender
of Western culture at the fin de siécle and early twentieth century.
Castle, based at Harvard College's Bussey Institute from 1897 until 1936,
was an early American Mendelian and animal breeder, who had actually been
interested in questions of heredity even before the recovery of Mendel's work
in 1900. The central goal of his research beginning in the 1890s and
continuing throughout the era of Mendelism and classical genetics was the
elucidation of the mechanism whereby sex was determined. Soon after the
recovery in 1900 of Mendel's laws, Castle proposed that sex differences were
inherited like any other Mendelian trait.110 Since every individual received
one copy of a trait from the mother and one copy from the father, Castle
assumed that all individuals were heterozygous for sex. During fertilization,
"female" eggs could only be fertilized by "male" sperm and vice versa, thus
preserving the ability of future generations to give rise to either sex.
Naturally the trait for maleness was dominant to femaleness.111 Castle
argued, however, that all animals and plants were potential hermaphrodites,
containing as they did the traits for both sexes. Under ordinary circumstances,
a given individual developed only the one sex or the other, the other sex
remaining quiescent.112 While anyone with the least shred of biological
knowledge recognized that most higher, that is, flowering, plants were
hermaphroditic, the argument that each animal (more to the point, each
human animal) was hermaphroditic was considerably more surprising. Castle
argued that in dioecious animals the male character was sometimes
dominant to the female, sometimes balanced with the female character, and
sometimes recessive to it.113 In spite of theoretical assurances that maleness

Ill
dominated femaleness, empirical evidence from the social world seemed to
present a different story.
Contemporary to this, and not at all coincidental to it, the old cultural
assurances of a private female sphere balanced by a public male sphere had
begun to collapse. The distinction between dominant maleness and
submissive femaleness was no longer quite as distinct as it had been, even in
Germany where the women's movement was more cautious and
conservative and later forming than similar movements in either the United
States. Western culture displayed signs of the rising conflict of values.
Science, long the highest articulator of the Victorian values of progress and
advance, began to reveal that the separation of the spheres, long the mainstay
of bourgeois culture in North America and Europe, really had no biological
basis, in spite of the arguments of various scientific writers.114 Women were
leaving the domestic sphere in ever-increasing numbers, demanding the
right to work outside the home, to be educated, and to vote and participate in
the cultural and civic life of the country (whichever country) on more than
an advisory capacity. In a very real sense, there was a struggle between the
sexes, often covert and seldom articulated, but a struggle nonetheless. Castle's
Mendelian sex determination scheme gave voice to this struggle. According
to Castle, in a sexually dimorphic species,
the male and female characters meet anew in a struggle for supremacy
at each fertilization. Sometimes one, sometimes the other dominates
in the zygote, the vanquished character becoming recessive.
Exceptionally, as in the occasional hermaphrodite, the fight is
indecisive, and neither combatant is supreme.115
Castle's language and choice of metaphor was both striking and revealing.
Sex determination was the result of a pitched battle between sex-traits, each
identified with a gender, one of which was "vanquished" from the field.

112
While there was little biological justification or rationale for such a
metaphor, after all, it was not as if the sexes annihilated one another, there
was abundant cultural impetus for reducing a struggle between men and
women to its lowest biological denominator, and one that was, in fact, subject
to certain rules. The disorder of sex, as embodied in the sex "problem," could
be ordered and regulated through a pair of rules as mathematical and simple
as Newton's laws of motion or the laws of thermodynamics.
Castle's scheme furthermore held the not-so-implicit threat of
hermaphroditism, of a body being the result of an indecisive "battle." Castle
felt that the odd hermaphrodite every now and then confirmed his theory of
sex determination, because each individual was a potential hermaphrodite to
begin with.116 The hermaphrodite was the reassuring exception that proved
the rule. With both genders in each body, one could never be sure just how
manly a man one was, nor could one ever really be certain that something
would not trigger a reassessment of the balance. Contemporary to this
interest in a sexual balance were the ever-present voices denouncing cultural
and organic degeneration.117 In Victorian ideology, aspects of which lasted
well into the twentieth century, the greater the dimorphism, the more
evolved the species.118 Yet Castle's model of sex determination hinted that
the sexual distinction necessary was in jeopardy at every fertilization, and
implied that the race might, in fact, have been degenerating.119 The potential
hermaphroditism did not help, as the dominant conceptualization of
homosexuality at that time held that such people were neither man nor
woman, but somehow part of each.120 Homosexuals were a third sex, the (dis)
equilibrium between the other two. Just as the demands of women to leave
the domestic sphere, the growing homosexual communities in various urban

113
areas represented to bourgeois culture that male and female were out of
balance.121
Castle's view was not universally embraced by his contemporaries,
based on his eventual retraction in 1909, though there was no more and no
less reason to either accept or reject it on strictly scientific grounds than there
was any other Mendelian interpretation of sex. In fact, in 1909, Castle
emphatically recanted his earlier theory, saying that the sexes did not, in fact,
result from balanced Mendelian traits, and that sex was, in and of itself, a trait
that was balanced with the absence of a sexual factor.122 With Castle's 1909
reinterpretation of a Mendelian view of sex, sex determination belonged to
the male.123 Power and strength once again rested with the male, as it
constituted the sexual base line. By this time the notion that sperm was the
sex-determiner was widely accepted, so that a female could only arise through
a male's intervention. Although this system lacked the explanatory power of
his previous system for such anomalous systems like parthenogenesis
(extremely vigorous female factors124), it was more reassuring.
Interestingly enough, Castle's view of 1903 did not fade with his 1909
retraction. In the 4th (1930) edition of his book, Mendel's Principles of
Heredity. William Bateson, the biologist who coined the term "genetics"
among other contributions, stated that the explanatory power of Castle's
suggestion of 1903 was not to be denied and thought that selective
fertilization between balanced male and female factors may well have been
the answer to the problem of sex determination.125 As late as 1930, then, a
reputable and knowledgeable geneticist still publicized Castle's original
suggestion as to the determination of sex, in spite of Castle's own retraction.
If the specific scientific content of a theory was wrong, or at least out of date,
and that theory was still validated by the support of so eminent a scientist as

114
Bateson, then the interpretation and resonances of that theory must still have
performed some useful work. There was something about an hypothesized
balance between maleness and femaleness that expressed some sort of truth
that may have satisfied Western culture.
Carl Correns, at roughly the same time, developed ideas similar to
those of Castle (1903), and perhaps for similar reasons. Correns was
convinced that in spite of their utility in describing the interaction of simple
traits the Mendelian principles were too simplistic and too mechanistic to
explain something as complex as sex. He began to dilate upon the simple
Mendelian explanation of sex determination and eventually hit on the
notion that the germ cells receive the factors for both sexes. In both sexes the
same factors exist, and through a differential activation one sort or the other
produces sex.126 This was similar to other Mendelian ideas of sex
determination, especially to Castle's, and expressed the idea that both sexes
were contained within each body. This made the process of sex
determination, whatever controls the expression of the one sex or the other,
rather significant. It also made the sexing process rather more indeterminate
and much less regular. As with Castle, there was a degree of uncertainty
associated with Correns's sex determining model as to why one sex or the
other would have been expressed.
Correns worked around this difficulty by working out a theory of
dominance and recessiveness in regards to sex. He sought to make not just
sex determination, but biology in general, more susceptible to the techniques
and rules of physics and chemistry. Whereas other Mendelians, typically
those of the Anglo-American schools, tended to view dominance and
recessiveness as polar phenomena, as something that existed in a binary,
"either/or" condition, Correns emphasized that dominance and recessiveness

115
were the end-points of a continuum of expression. There was no absolute
distinction between the two.127 This is precisely what others, such as
Goldschmidt or the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, argued about human
sexuality.128 Correns, like Goldschmidt, was active in Germany during the
final years of the German empire and the chaotic Weimar era. At this same
time a rich discourse on the nature and meaning of the ambiguously sexed
and gendered flourished in Germany, with attention focused increasingly on
those cases where neither maleness nor femaleness dominated physical or
psychological makeup. Sex and sexuality were seen as phenomena that
existed on a continuum, just as dominance and recessiveness. While
"simple" cases of somatic hermaphroditism were regarded as examples of
indeterminate dominance between male and female factors by biologists and
physicians, more complicated 'behavioral" phenomena like human
homosexuality were, too. This suggested a parallel to many observers.
Uncovering the rules of dominance and recessiveness along one continuum
was thought to have offered the possibility of shedding light on the rules that
governed sex and sexuality, a continuum that many in Western culture saw
as fundamentally dis-ordered at the fin de siécle.
Some biologists were so interested in sex and sexuality because gender
and sexuality were themselves topics of concern. Theories of heredity which
define the transmission of heredity and, more importantly, that seemed to
offer a means of understanding the complex suite of phenomena that
constituted the sex problem, in terms of laws and particles along the lines of
those found in physics and chemistry would have found ready welcome in
Western culture. Physics and chemistry constituted the models of what a
science was, and there was strong contextual pressure to make sex orderly and
law-like. Mendel's name may have been invoked to settle a priority

116
dispute,129 but it is also possible that the science of heredity had reinvented
Mendel's laws because it had to, in order to make sex and sexuality as orderly
and regular as possible. It would have been a means to stop the anarchy.
Western culture at the fin de siécle, which tended to see things in polar
terms, looked at sex and sexuality in precisely such a binary way. More and
more evidence from science, the ultimate arbiter of truth in the later
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and from other areas of cultural
production, came to light which question the comfortable certainty of "men
are men, women are women, and never the twain shall meet." Women,
though, were no longer content to be as they had been previously defined.
More and more bourgeois women left the stifling security of the domestic
sphere for market, the university, the world of civic affairs and politics.
These were women who were, from a certain point of view, becoming
"men," or at least what a dominant segment of society deemed "manly."
Furthermore, and quite related to this matter of women, with the new
century came the realization that heterosexuality was balanced by
homosexuality, and that there were numerous shades and gradations
between.130 Concomitant with this awareness of, and then fear of, male
sexuality that did not fit the accepted definitions, came the growing awareness
and fear of the strength of women's sexual appetites and the ability and
willingness of women to 'usurp' the arena of male privilege. Just as biology
initially regarded sex as a polar phenomenon, most saw sexuality in the same
way. One was either man or woman, public or private, sexual or sexed. And
just as culture became aware that the divisions between the members of these
and other, related, pairs that map onto these, biology, specifically the study of
heredity, became aware that the biological basis for all of these was eroding
under the onslaught of theories (or even just suggestions) of those like Castle

117
and Correns, Morgan and Goldschmidt even as these biologists may have
themselves striven to hold the line. The biology may itself have been a
symptom of the anxiety engendered by change. Sex and sexuality had become
the enemy within each body, and it was science that revealed that threat as it
tried to contain it.
Summary
Towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning years of
the twentieth century, younger biologists in the United States and Germany
turned to a new experimental approach in the biological sciences. Among
these biologists were cytologists, who hypothesized that chromosomes
controlled heredity and that one ambiguous chromosome, the so-called
"accessory" chromosome, controlled the heredity of sex. After the recovery of
Mendel's laws of inheritance, which accounted for sex in a somewhat
different manner, there was much interest in reconciling the two views of the
heredity of sex. Although there was strong opposition in some quarters to a
synthesis of the chromosome theory of heredity and Mendelism, this
synthesis steadily gained ground through the first decade of the twentieth
century, particularly in the United States. There were, however, several
different "Mendelian" theories of sex inheritance, including those—perhaps at
first more obviously Mendelian-that viewed sex determination as a battle
between sexualized gametes. These theories appeared to mirror
contemporary concerns about the changing roles of middle-class women,
specifically women's education and other phenomena that threatened to
remove women from the domestic world.

118
Notes
I See Garland Allen, Life Science in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1975).
Garland Allen, "T. H. Morgan and the Emergence of a New American Biology," Quarterly
Review of Biology 44 (1969): 168. See also Allen, "T. H. Morgan and the Emergence of a New
American Biology," Quarterly Review of Biology 44 (1969): 113-139, and Allen, "Naturalists
and Experimentalists: The Genotype and Phenotype," Studies in the History of Biology 3
(1979): 179-209.
3 Ibid., p. 169.
4 Jane Maienschein, Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880-1915 (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 113-114. Maienschein explains the shift in biology at the
end of the nineteenth century not in terms of a revolt, but a more gradual change that opposes
Allen's "revolt from morphology."
5 Allen, Life Science, p. 19.
6 Hugo de Vries, 'The Law of Segregation of Hybrids," in The Origin of Genetics: A Mendel
Source Book, ed. Curt Stern and Eva R. Sherwood (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company
1966), p. 117. See also Allen, Life Science, pp. 41-42.
7 Throughout the later nineteenth century, Darwin steadily elaborated a theory of the
inheritance of acquired characters (the provisional hypothesis of pangenesis) in response to
perhaps the greatest weakness of his theory. Darwin could furnish no mechanism through
which heredity functioned, and so resorted to neo-Lamarckian inheritance.
8 Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance
(Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1982), p. 700.
9 Thomas Hunt Morgan. "Human Heredity," p. 4. Undated speech. Thomas Hunt Morgan
Papers, California Institute of Technology Archives, Pasadena, CA.
10 Morgan, Heredity, pp. 16-17. The congruence between Weismann's views and those expressed
by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene is quite marked.
II A. H. Sturtevant, A History of Genetics (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 18.
12L.C.Dunn,A Short History of Genetics: The Development of Some of the Main Lines of
Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965), p. 105.
13 H. Henking, "Untersuchung über die ersten Entwicklungsvorgánge in den Eiem der Insekten II.
Ãœber Spermatogenese und deren Beziehung zur Entwicklung bei Pyrrhocoris apterus,"
Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftliche Zoologie 51 (1891): 705.
14 Ibid., p. 706.
15 Mayr, Growth, p. 751.
16 Thomas Hunt Morgan. "Lecture IV," p. 10. Undated lecture. Morgan Papers, Cal Tech.
Although this document is undated, it is clearly titled "Lecture IV." In Box 5 of the Morgan
Papers at Cal Tech, in a numberless file of reprinted broadsides from the University of
California, Department of Genetics Collection at the American Philosophical Society,
Philadelphia, PA, there is a page advertising Morgan's Hitchcock Lectures at UC Berkeley in
1916. Lecture IV, on sex determination, is dated 19 April 1916.
17 Clarence E. McClung, "Notes on the Accessory Chromosome," Anatomischer Anzeiger 20
(1901): 220.

119
18 Edmund Beecher Wilson, "Mendel’s Principles of Heredity and the Maturation of Germ
Cells," Science 16 (1902): 991-993., p. 992.
19McClung, "Chromosome," p. 221.
20 Ibid., p. 225.
21 Vitezslav Orel, Gregor Mendel: The First Geneticist (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996),
pp. 282-289. See also Allen, Life Science; Mayr, Growth; and Sturtevant, History.
22 Alain F. Coreos and Floyd V. Monaghan, eds., Gregor Mendel's Experiments on Plant Hybrids:
A Guided Study, Masterworks of Discovery: Guided Studies of Great Texts in Science (New
Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), p. 59.,
23 Ibid., p. xv.
24 Mayr, Growth, p. 711.
25 R. A. Fisher, "Has Mendel's Work Been Rediscovered?" in Stern and Sherwood, eds., pp. 146-
147, especially 164-167; Sewall Wright, "Mendel's Ratios," in Stern and Sherwood, eds., pp.
173-175. See also Sturtevant, History, pp. 12-16 for a discussion, including subsequent twentieth-
century analysis of Mendel's data and an absolution from any wrongdoing.
“Morgan,Heredity, p. 75.
27Gregor Mendel, "Experiments on Plant Hybrids," in Stern and Sherwood, eds., pp. 10-11. See
also Morgan, Heredity, pp. 75-77.
“Morgan, Heredity, p. 77.
29Mendel, "Experiments," p. 17. See also Morgan, Heredity, p. 85.
^id., p. 20. See also Morgan, Heredity, pp. 85-88.
31 See, for instance, Thomas Hunt Morgan, 'The Method of Inheritance of Two Sex-Linked
Characters in the Same Animal," Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and
Medicine 8 (1910): 17-19.
32 See Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1978), Allen, Life Science; Robert Kohler, Lords of the Fly: Drosophila Genetics and the
Experimental Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
33 Mayr, Growth, p. 747.
34 Ibid., p. 747.
35 See Ibid., 749.
36 Ibid., p. 748.
37 Ibid., p. 747.
38 Jane Maienschein, "Heredity/Development in the United States circa 1900," History and
Philosophy of the Life Sciences 9 (1987): 89.
39Dunn, Short History, p. 109.
40 Walter S. Sutton, "On the Morphology of the Chromosome Group in Brachystola magna,"
Biological Bulletin 4 (1902): 36.
41 Edmund Beecher Wilson, "Studies on Chromosomes 2: The Paired Microchromosomes,
Idiochromosomes, and Heterochromosomes in Hemiptera," Journal of Experimental Zoology 2
(1905): 541.

120
42 Sutton, "Chromosome," pp. 24,28-30.
43 Ibid., pp. 33-34.
44 Edmund Beecher Wilson, "Mendel's Principles of Heredity and the Maturation of Germ
Cells," Science 16 (1902): 992.
45 Sutton, "Chromosome," p. 36.
46 Sutton, "Chromosome," pp. 36-37.
47 Wilson, "Mendel's," p. 992.
48 Theodor Boveri, "On Multipolar Mitosis as a Means of Analysis of the Cell Nucleus," in
Foundations of Experimental Embryology, ed. B. H. Willier and Jane Oppenheimer (Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Incorporated, 1964), p. 80.
49 Ibid., p. 84.
50 Wilson, "Mendel's," p. 992.
51 Sutton, "Chromosome," p. 39.
52 Walter S. Sutton, 'The Chromosomes in Heredity," Biological Bulletin 4 (1903): 233-234.
53 Ibid., p. 235.
54 Sutton, "Chromosome," p. 35.
55 Ibid, pp. 35-36; Sutton, "Heredity," p. 248.
56 Nettie M. Stevens, Studies in Spermatogenesis, Part II: A Comparative Study of the
Heterochromosomes in Certain Species of Coleóptera, Hemiptera, and Lepidoptera, with
Especial Reference to Sex Determination, vol. 36, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Publications (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1906), p. 56.
57 Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'The Biological Significance of Sex: Sex-Determination in Relation
to Fertilization and Parthenogenesis," Science 25 (1907): 377.
58 Ibid., p. 377.
59 Nettie M. Stevens, "A Study of the Germ Cells of Aphis rosae and Aphis oenetherae," Journal
of Experimental Zoology 2 (1905): 328.
60 Stevens, Spermatogenesis, p. 13.
61 Nettie M. Stevens, "Further Studies of the Chromosomes of the Coleóptera," Journal of
Experimental Zoology 6 (1909): 111-112.
62Dunn, Short History, pp. 106-118.
63 Stephen G. Brush, "Nettie M. Stevens and the Discovery of Sex Determination by
Chromosomes," Isis 69 (1978): 167. See also Maienschein, "Heredity/Development," pp. 90-91,
and Sturtevant, History, pp. 40, 41.
64 Mayr, Growth, p. 751.
65 For example, although Stevens had a Ph.D. degree of her own, neither Morgan nor Wilson nor
anyone else ever referred to her (or to any other woman Ph.D.) as anything other than Miss
Stevens. She was never "Dr. Stevens," nor was she called solely by her family name. While
this may have indicated a level of respect, it also indicated a distinction between men and
women that did not obtain between men in the laboratory.
66 Brush, "Stevens," p. 166.

121
67 As cited in Ibid., p. 165.
68 Ibid., p. 165.
69 Edmund Beecher Wilson, "Studies on Chromosomes 1: The Behavior of the Idiochromosomes
in Hemiptera," Journal of Experimental Zoology 2 (1905): 403.
70 R. G. Harrison to Thomas Hunt Morgan, 14 September 1939, Thomas Hunt Morgan to R. G.
Harrison, 18 September 1939. R. G. Harrison Papers, Yale University Library and Archives,
New Haven, CT.
71 Nils Roll-Hansen, "Drosophila Genetics: A Reductionist Research Program," Journal of the
History of Biology 11 (1978): 166.
72 Wilson, "Chromosomes 1," pp. 394-395.
73 Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'The Chromosomes in Relation to the Determination of Sex in
Insects," Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 3 (1906): 22.
74 E. B. Wilson to C. B. Davenport, 10 November 1905. C. B. Davenport Papers, Library of the
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.
75 Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'The Biological Significance of Sex: Sex-Determination in Relation
to Fertilization and Parthenogenesis," Science 25 (1907): 376.
76 Edmund Beecher Wilson, "Selective Fertilization and the Relation of the Chromosomes to
Sex-Production," Science 32 (1910): 243.
77Edmund Beecher Wilson, 'TheSex Chromosomes," Archiv fiir mikroskopische Anatomie77
(1911): 249 note 1.
78 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 27 November 1907. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
APS.
79 Alice Levine Baxter, "Edmund Beecher Wilson and the Problem of Development: From the
Germ Layer Theory to the Chromosome Theory of Inheritance" (Doctoral Dissertation, Yale
University, 1974), pp. 312-313.
80 Ibid., p. 312.
81 As cited in Baxter, "Wilson," p. 312.
82 Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thomson, The Evolution of Sex (London: Walter Scott, 1890), p.
84.
83 Jane Maienschein, "What Determines Sex? A Study of Converging Approaches, 1880-1916,"
Isis 75 (1984): 458.
84Geddes and Thomson, Evolution, p. 82.
85 Allen, Life Science, p. 54.
86 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
APS.
87 Sutton, "Heredity," p. 240.
88 Baxter, "Wilson," pp. 312-313.
89 As cited in Allen, Life Science, pp. 53-54.
90 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905, p. 1. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
APS. Original emphasis.

122
91 Baxter, "Wilson," pp. 312-313.
92 Jan Sapp, Beyond the Gene: Cytoplasmic Inheritance and the Struggle for Authority in
Genetics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. xi, 8-9.
93 Ibid., pp. 3, 7-8.
94See William B. Provine, The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1971).
95 Margaret Somosi Saha, "Carl Correns and an Alternative Approach to Genetics: The Study of
Heredity in Germany Between 1880 and 1930" (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State
University, 1984), p. 165.
96 Sapp, Beyond; Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1978). See also Jonathan Harwood, 'The Reception of Morgan's
Chromosome Theory in Germany: Interwar Debate Over Cytoplasmic Inheritance," Medizin
historisches Journal 19 (1984): 3-32, and Jonathan Harwood, Styles of Scientific Thought: The
German Genetics Community 1900-1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
^See Jonathan Harwood, Styles of Scientific Thought: The German Genetics Community 1900-
1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
98 Ibid., pp. 61-84.
99 Saha, "Correns," p. 187.
100 Carl Correns, "Die Ergebnisse der neuesten Bastardforschungen für die Vererbungslehre," in
Carl Correns: Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Vererbungswissenschaft aus periodischen
Schriften, 1899-1924, ed. Fritz von Wettstein (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1924 (1901)), p. 280.
101 Harwood, Styles, p. 64.
102Sapp, Beyond, pp. 56, 60.
103 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905, p. 2. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
APS. Original emphasis.
104Sapp, Beyond, pp. 54-55.
105 Jacques Loeb, The Organism as a Whole (New York: Putnam, 1916)., p. 8.
106 Wilson, "Sex Chromosomes," p. 259.
107 Ibid., pp. 259-260.
108Morgan, "Lecture IV," page 11.
109 Wilson, "Sex Chromosomes," p. 260.
110 L. C. Dunn to R. C. Cleland, 22 April 1955, L. C. Dunn Papers, APS.
111 John Farley, Gametes and Spores: Ideas about Sexual Reproduction, 1750-1914 (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 219.
112 William E. Castle, 'The Heredity of Sex," Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology
at Harvard College 40 (1903): 194.
113 Ibid., p. 194.
114 See, for example, William Keith Brooks, 'The Condition of Women from a Zoological Point
of View," Popular Science Monthly 15 (1879): 145-155,347-356; Geddes and Thomson, Evolution;
and James Weir, 'The Effect of Female Suffrage on Posterity," American Naturalist 29 (1895):
815-821.

123
115 Castle, "Heredity," p. 1%.
116 Ibid., p. 197.
117 See R. B. Kershner, Jr., "Degeneration: The Explanatory Nightmare," Georgia Review 40
(1986): 416-444, and Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of
Womanhood (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)..
118 See Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in
the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), Ludmilla
Jordanova, Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the Eighteenth
and Twentieth Centuries (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), Thomas Laqueur,
Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1990), and Russett, Sexual Science.
119 Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920), p. 76,
and Geddes and Thomson, Evolution, pp. 269-270
120 Clyde Griffen, "Reconstructing Masculinity from the Evangelical Revival to the Waning of
Progressivism: A Speculative Synthesis," in Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of
Masculinity, ed. Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1990), pp. 202-203.
121 See George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay
Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994); John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman,
Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper & Row, 1988);
Magnus Hirschfeld, Berlins Drittes Geschlecht (Berlin: Hermann Seemann Nachfolger, 1905);
and Xavier Mayne, The Intersexes: A History of Semisexualism (Reprinted New York: Arno
Press, 1975 from the privately published 1908 original).
122 William E. Castle, "A Mendelian View of Sex and Heredity," Science 29 (1909): 395-3%.
123 Ibid., p. 398.
124 Castle, "Heredity," p. 1%.
125 William Bateson, Mendel's Principles of Heredity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 1909), pp. 194-195.
126 Saha, "Correns," p. 153.
127 Ibid., pp. 159-160.
128 See Chapter 4, "The Inverted Man," for a full discussion of these scientific and cultural
theories.
129 Jan Sapp, 'The Nine Lives of Gregor Mendel," in Experimental Inquiries: Historical,
Philosophical, and Social Studies of Experimentation, ed. Homer Le Grand (Dordrecht: Kluwer
Academic Publishers, 1990), 137-166., pp. 142-144. On p. 146, however, Sapp does not deny the
"priority dispute" hypothesis for the rediscovery of Mendel, only the reduction of the
rediscovery to it alone.
130 Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 206.

CHAPTER 3
THOMAS HUNT MORGAN, SEX DETERMINATION,
AND THE NEW WOMAN
New Sexual Personae and the Sex Problem
The rampant confusion surrounding the sex problem, and the
constellation of concerns about the impact of modernity on the definitions of
femininity and masculinity involving science and culture, bedeviled both
biologists and other cultural producers. Writers, artists, and aesthetes tried to
make sense of the sexual anarchy they perceived. In so doing they voiced the
same concerns as biologists, not only about the fin de siécle but also about
sexual anarchy. As noted above, Max Nordau categorized this anxiety and
fear as degeneration in his book, Degeneration (1895), establishing the title as
a label for his diagnosis of cultural decline. Central to his judgment was what
he termed "interregnum," a state of suspension between one cultural rule
and another.1 In this period of doubt and despair, all the values and identities
of Western culture had lost their credibility, and hence their ability to
structure the lives of people and societies.2 This interregnum was
characterized by the tide of sexual anarchy that adherents of the traditional
roles of men and women perceived to be rising up to drown the West.3 The
New Woman and the Inverted Man represented two notable modern
personae who refused to continue the traditional male and female roles of
the bourgeoisie. The definitions of masculinity and femininity that
characterized the settlement between the sexes held no meaning for these
personae, casting them into interregnum. Bourgeois concerns about
124

125
modernity and its alterations of sex and gender roles crystallized around the
figures of the New Woman and the Inverted Man and the threats they posed
to traditional sexuality.4
These figures were linked in the minds of most contemporary
observers. The origins, activities, and behavior of the New Woman and
Inverted Man, especially as portrayed in the media, demonstrated their close,
perhaps morbidly close, relationship.5 Both raised unsettling questions about
the future of sex and sexuality. Aspects of fin-de-siécle culture in the West
linked the New Woman and the Inverted Man discursively, and for this
reason the reception of the New Woman by the bourgeoisie was connected to
that of the Inverted Man, especially after the trial of Oscar Wilde in the 1890s
(see Chapter 4 below).6
What linked these two figures was the fact that both challenged
accepted sexual codes. Some conservative critics regarded the loosening of
sexual controls represented by the New Woman and the Inverted Man as a
threat to the bonds of state and culture, bonds based on the division of labor
between the sexes.7 This perceived threat stemmed from the fact that it was
during this era that changes in gender roles reached the greatest peak, and
women made the greatest headway in breaking out of the domestic sphere to
which bourgeois culture relegated them. By the early twentieth century,
certain women had made great strides in the realms of education,
employment, and the right to participate in civic Ufe, all of which moved
them deeper into the public sphere. These incursions into the public sphere,
in turn, were thought to lead to inversion, as women 'usurped' male
privilege and subjected men to their sexual appetites.8 Furthermore, at least
in Germany, a certain consonance existed between the women's movement
and the homosexual emancipation movement which only strengthened the

126
connections between the New Woman and the Inverted Man.9 Thus the
growing visibility of a homosexual subculture in urban areas also challenged
the orthodox ideology of the family.
Taken together, these two personae did not bode well for the changes
implicit in modernity.10 The discourse surrounding the New Woman and
the Inverted Man, including an extensive scientific discourse, eventually
converged to articulate the apprehensions of Western bourgeois culture.
Although both were of some concern to Western culture in the United States
and Germany, they were not problematic to the same extent in the two
countries. In fact, some American biologists tended to worry about changes in
the roles of women and the attendant changes in the definition of femininity,
while some German biologists explored the biological meaning of (male)
homosexuality and the problems it posed for masculinity. This and the
subsequent chapter will examine these apprehensions and the manner in
which scientific discourse about these two troubling figures shaped responses
to the sex problem. The present chapter focuses on the New Woman and the
response by biologists within the United States to changing definitions of
femininity and masculinity, while the next examines the Inverted Man and
the responses of German biologists.11
The Lord of Misrule: The New Woman and the Subversion
of Bourgeois Femininity
In 1901 Caroline Ticknor described the imaginary meeting between a
"Steel-Engraving Lady," a paragon of Victorian femininity, and a "Gibson
Girl," the American New Woman incarnate.12 Though metaphorical, this
meeting described very real people. Where the Steel-Engraving Lady was
languidly invalid, and bound to the domestic sphere, the Gibson Girl was
tanned, athletic, educated, and employed outside the home. Where the Steel-

127
Engraving Lady occupied a sphere entirely different from that of men, the
New Woman was ostensibly the equal of her brothers.13 The term "New
Woman," according to historian Carol Smith-Rosenberg, referred to a cohort
of middle- and upper-middle class women born between the era lasting from
the 1850s until the early 1900s.14 These women, who included figures as
diverse as author Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), feminist Charlotte Perkins
Gilman (b. 1860), and social worker Jane Addams (1860-1935), were ambitious,
educated, and often single, all of which shocked real-life steel-engraving
ladies and the men who sought to marry them, and all of which placed them
firmly beyond women's traditional sphere.
By the early twentieth century, these New Women had established
niches in the educated professions and within the reform-oriented
organizations and governmental agencies of the Progressive Era. Asserting
their right to a place in the public sphere, these women demanded the
privileges reserved to middle-class men under bourgeois ideology, and they
represented the end of the steel-engraving lady.15 If the steel-engraving lady
held to her allotted place, the New Woman burst forth from the domestic
sphere to assume a much more public role. The epithet described a general
condition of discontent—opponents called it "rebellion"—among middle-class
women throughout Western culture at the beginning of the new century.16
However, most women in all likelihood were not New Women, although
the New Woman constituted the new ideal by which middle-class women of
the modern age judged their behavior.17 In fact, to a certain extent, the
persona of the New Woman was a projection on the part of men uneasy with
the changes modernity wrought in the meaning of femininity and
masculinity.18 The New Woman, in this view, was an icon, symbolizing the
destruction of the boundaries between the sexes and their separate spheres.19

128
The New Woman should have been the jewel of her gilded age. She
was intelligent, motivated, and from the "right" social strata. Yet she was
feared and reviled, vilified for her on the whole successful demand for access
to independent status.20 The Victorian middle-class woman was supposed to
be a "lady," while the New Woman was just that, a "woman."21 In forsaking
the private and domestic sphere that her culture expected of her, the New
Woman forfeited the courtesies extended to the so-called weaker sex.22 It was
this distinction, lady versus woman, that inspired many in the middle classes
to lament the passing of the lady, she who kept her place. The New Woman
exercised no such restraint. She sought male prerogatives, and more
traditional middle-class men resented her for it. No longer content with
social invalidism, the New Woman adopted a demeanor and manner that
many observers thought too masculine.23
Historian of feminism Nancy Cott argues that the New Woman was
frankly threatening to large number of bourgeois because of the connotations
of the so-called feminism that she represented. Joining the Latin root femina
to the frankly modern concept of an "-ism", the term feminism inspired
confusion.24 In fact, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word
feminism used in such a manner first occurred in 1892, and so was new to the
fin de siécle. Observers were thus unsure of the status of men vis-á-vis this
new "ism," and were confused as to whether it was a movement men could
join, or whether these New Women threatened men with feminization.25
The New Woman represented something new, and perhaps something
threatening: changed gender roles and the possibility of the conversion of
men into women and society into something "womanish."26 Many members
of the middle classes, thinking in terms of separate roles for men and women,
imagined men being forced into women's roles. They were unable to grasp

129
the essential notion of the New Woman as something entirely new, resorting
to nightmare visions of carnivalesque inversion. The New Woman was the
Lord of Misrule.
The medieval notion of the inversion of carnival illustrates
metaphorically the unique fear of modernity that the New Woman
engendered in the bourgeois cultures of the United States and Germany.27
Carnival inverted traditional cultural and social customs and hierarchies.
Servants dressed above their stations, while the gentry went slumming, as it
were. Men were timid, women bold. Chaos and mayhem became the rule of
the day, over-turning, or at least setting aside, civil and canon law.28 Over it
all presided the Lord of Misrule, the king of the carnival. In medieval
Europe, the carnival came to an end as Ash Wednesday imposed a new order
of rule and severity. Carnival was the exception that proved—literally—the
rule.29 At the fin de siécle, however, no Lenten solemnity waited safely
beyond the next sunrise; there was no guarantee that the social order would
ever be restored. Instead, masculine bourgeois culture faced the horrifying
prospect of a nightmare modern carnival without end, and the eternal rule of
the ultimate Lord of Misrule and symbol of the world turned upside down:
the New Woman. As historian Elaine Showalter observed, the New Woman
instituted an inverted social and sexual order and thus threatened the entire
bourgeois world.30
The New Woman threatened the traditional balance between the sexes
with dissolution, and signified social disintegration and the break-up of the
cultural boundaries that had been so carefully erected during the course of the
nineteenth century.31 To critics of the changes in gender roles the New
Woman heralded modernity and the notion of a brave new world in the
offing.32 In fact, the changes that created a space for the New Woman to exist

130
were themselves constituent of modernity. The New Woman was thus no
artificial construct, designed to oppose the existing relations between men and
women, but "organically bound up with the economic and cultural
developments" of the fin de siécle.33 The image of the New Woman took
root in new definitions of private and public life, in new conceptualizations
of sex roles, and in transformations of love and marriage, long the mainstays
of bourgeois culture.34 The New Woman worked in rationalized public
spaces, and rationalized domestic spaces.35 The New Woman regulated her
fertility and sexual life, and in so doing brought about a more 'rational'—that
slogan of the modern era—cultural order. The New Woman was studied by
sociologists and psychologists and accordingly transformed into data-sets,
becoming in the process a cultural symbol, a living emblem of the changes in
bourgeois life.36 Thus women, who were supposed to represent the comforts
of home and the sanctity of the family, instead introduced the logic of the
modern order into the domestic sphere.
One way in which certain women introduced the logic of the modern
order into the formerly sacrosanct private world of the bourgeoisie was by
demanding an education, specifically a university education. According to
historian Carol Smith-Rosenberg, in the United States image of the New
Woman represented particularly the expectation of middle- and upper-
middle class women to a university education, and perhaps more
threateningly, towards some sort of sexual self-expression. The prospect of
such an education and, even more terrifying a prospect, such a sexuality,
however, challenged male supremacy in all the realms of cultural expression.
Opponents in the United States viewed the New Woman as an anarchic
figure who threatened to turn American society on its head. Journalists
described this New Woman in the vocabulary of rebellion and insurrection, a

131
figure who had "ranged herself perversely with the forces of cultural
anarchism and decay."37
The Education of Women
Accordingly, a university education constituted one of the major
characteristics of the New Woman, and one that made her threatening to the
traditional social order of the middle classes from whence she came. In fact,
to the New Woman and to her contemporaries, education was the most
salient characteristic of the New Woman. The New Woman resented the
restriction placed by society on a woman's options, and so viewed education
as an opportunity for fulfillment and for an autonomous role outside the
domestic sphere.38 Education violated every bourgeois norm by teaching
women to succeed at a career, indeed to place careers above marriage, instead
of teaching women to succeed at home. It was precisely this that made the
education of women so threatening, for it placed women outside of all
recognized female roles and spheres of influence. As with many of the other
characteristics of the New Woman, education involved trespassing into the
public, masculine sphere.
The woman seeking an education faced an array of biological and
medical arguments against her flight from the domestic sphere. The most
general reason to exclude women from higher education held that education
somehow made women less "lady-like." Education, particularly university
education, was the cradle of culture in a Hellenophilic age, and culture was a
masculine realm.39 Women in education trespassed into a masculine world,
and in so doing not only crossed the border between the male and the female
but between nature and culture, as well. In 1907 the British Medical Journal,
for example, quoting an American physician, noted that '"It is not merely her
mind that is unsexed, but her body loses much of that special charm that

132
attracts men. In America the college woman when she does marry is often
barren."'40 'Special charms/ however, existed only in the eye of the beholder.
One interpretation of this 'unsexing/ then, could be that rather than
education unsexing the mind and body of a woman, a man's changed
perception of a woman unsexed her, i. e., the woman had not changed, but
men saw her differently.
A similar theme in the discourse of biological arguments against the
education of women was that it in some way contributed to the unsexing—
from a heterosexual male point of view—of women. Contemporaries of these
educated women argued that higher education unsexed women by turning
them away from their "feminine aspirations and graces to masculine hopes
and demeanor."41 In fact, women were warned that if they did not cease the
drive for higher education they would become, literally or figuratively,
men.42 Whether organically or metaphorically, the women of Bryn Mawr,
Vassar, Radcliffe, Wellesley, and other women's colleges stood in danger of
becoming "masculine," because higher education caused sex reversal in
women. Furthermore, this fear of sex reversal was not always limited to the
abstract world of gender systems and sex roles. It often had very real sexual
implications. To begin with, the college world had always been sexual,
whether at women's colleges when male professors married women students,
as in the case of the geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan and his wife, or at
coeducational schools with coeducational sexual tensions.43 The sexuality of
women within a male context, however, was the least of the critics' worries,
because there were definite suggestions that the higher education of women
led to lesbianism.44
The connections appeared clear enough to worried observers. One
astounding survey in the 1920s revealed that one-third of the married

133
alumnae and up to one-half of unmarried alumnae of women's educational
institutions had at some time entered into an intense emotional relationship
with another woman, and that for one-half of each group, the relationship
involved physical contact (the figures were somewhat lower for women
attending coeducational institutions).45 However, when the respondents
were divided by age group, the incidences of academic homosexuality
followed a gradual but steady upward trend, reaching a peak among women
born in the 1890s.46 The "lesbian menace" stalking the campuses of the
United States therefore peaked during the 1910s. A little lesbianism went a
long way in the nightmare scenarios entertained by critics of women's
education.
More insidious, however, and harder to fight, were the arguments that
women were biologically unfit for education. Education, it was thought,
interfered with the biological "function" of women on a fundamental level
because women needed all their "vital energy" for pregnancy and the raising
of children. Brain work required a great deal of that vital energy, and thus
was the province of men, as thinking consumed as much energy as giving
birth to a child. Reproducing the male/female, culture/nature dichotomies,
men produced in the world of culture while women reproduced in the
natural world. All of women's vital energy was channeled towards this goal.
Nature made women incapable of serious thought or intellectual work,
because it would diminish the finite supply of energy, energy that was needed
for women's "true" function, having babies.47 In the energetic economy of
nineteenth-century scientism, in which biological functions such as
reproduction were assigned energy values or costs, women's expenditures of
energy on reproduction were more important to the species than whatever
trifles their brains might produce. Women were expected to expend their

134
energy for the good of the race, sacrificing any claims to intellectual life.
Women had no right to self-fulfillment that could stand against the claims of
society to their wombs.48 This view of women as "a simple creature of
instinct, the fertile soil of humanity, the ripe fruit of nature" and as
"brainless," whether because they lacked brains or were forbidden to use
them, came to be seen by many middle-class men as a scientific fact by the fin-
se-siécle.49 At this time, a time contemporaries regarded as a "crisis of
fertility," when middle-class reproductive rates plummeted (a drop connected
in the minds of many contemporary observers with the education of
women), biologists and physicians became especially concerned that women
keep to their biological place.50
The Crisis of Fertility and the Education of Women in the United States
The numbers of women attending universities in the United States
sky-rocketed at the end of the nineteenth century, at least when compared
with previous generations. Some 85, 000 women matriculated in colleges and
universities by 1900; by 1920, the numbers reached a quarter of a million. In
fact, the number of women graduates soon rivaled the number of male
graduates. Women constituted just seventeen per cent of all college
graduates in 1900; in 1920, they had climbed to forty per cent.51 In fact, the
number of women as a percentage of the total student population climbed
steadily from after the Civil War until the 1940s.52 Nonetheless, as late as
1940, women constituted only fifteen percent of Ph.Ds, indicating clearly that
women scholars were not the threat they appeared to be, at least
numerically.53
Women intellectuals, perhaps the ultimate product of women's higher
education, were perceived to be especially dangerous to the bourgeois order.54
To begin with, they did not marry. They could not. Many colleges and

135
universities would not allow married women to remain on the faculty (those
that did often had nepotism rules that served to exclude women whose
husbands taught there).55 That a woman could place the life of the mind
above the life of the body was virtually unthinkable, even though educated
men had been doing so for centuries. Yet a woman had to think about it, and
that very action removed her from her traditional world.
A woman intellectual in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries was well aware of the opposition she faced, and the widespread
cultural values she traduced. Not only had the woman intellectual escaped
the domestic sphere, she helped other women to do the same by virtue of the
fact that she could only be a woman intellectual in the first place at one of the
(relatively) new women's colleges. Given the outcry against the extremely
low reproductive rates of educated women, higher education for women, and
all who were party to it, were held accountable for the removal of these
women from the reproducing population.56 Education, therefore, placed the
New Woman in the world of men.
The presence of women in heretofore masculine worlds like that of the
universities produced many reactions. One of the greatest of these reactions
constituted a real source of anxiety at the fin de siécle, and it lasted well into
the twentieth century, concerned the New Woman rather intimately. This
was the so-called crisis of fertility, and it was more or less endemic
throughout North American and western Europe.57 In general, the crisis of
fertility focused new and unfriendly attention on the activities of women,
and tended to concentrate on women's claims to education. In the United
States, it was not the fecundity of all women that caused such concern, but
only that of certain women. In fact, it was thought that immigrant women
were having far too many children as it was. Rather, the fecundity of Euro-

136
American women of the middle and upper-middle classes caused a great deal
of concern to observers. The trend towards reduced family size characterized
such families throughout the nineteenth century. In 1800, a married couple
had an average of just over seven children. By 1825, that rate had fallen to
just under six children, and by 1850, the rate had decline further to an average
of 5.4 children. By 1880, European-descended families had an average of only
slightly over four children. Life expectancies for the middle classes increased
throughout the century, however, and childbearing accordingly came to
occupy a proportionally smaller part of a woman's total life.58
From the perspective of the bourgeoisie at the turn of the century, the
figures represented a horrifying decline, as the "best" sort of Americans bore
the least number of children. The slide in Euro-American fertility continued
into the twentieth century. According to the 1900 census, the contemporary
generation of women had had even fewer children than the already low
numbers of the previous generation.59 For each 1000 women of child-bearing
age, there were 474 children under five years of age in 1900, compared to 634
children a generation before. Furthermore, white native-born women had
fewer children than white immigrant women, 462 children under five years
per 1000 women compared to 710 children.60 The better educated bourgeois
women had the least numbers of children of any demographic group, an
average of two.61 Most American marriages remained intact around the turn
of the century, that is, they did not end in divorce, but they produced far fewer
children. At a time when population experts advised families to produce
four children at a minimum, the majority of women—especially the younger
ones (the ones most likely to be "New Women")—stopped with four or
fewer.62 Thus immigrants, besides entering the United States in record large
numbers at the turn of the century, also out-bred native-born women of

137
north-west European descent. Given the general climate of racism prevalent
in middle-class circles at the time, the figures staggered observers.
When such concerned observers, who tended to be male, looked to
assign blame for the decline of the white race, educated women often fell
within their cross-hairs. In fact, critics most commonly attributed the decline
in fertility directly to the higher education of women. The causal link
appeared clear enough, given the low rates of marriage and fecundity of
alumnae of women's universities and colleges.63 In fact, it was announced in
1895 that fully half of the graduates of such women's institutions remained
unmarried.64 At a time when a full eighty percent of American women
married, the fact that the overwhelming majority of women exposed to
higher education remained unmarried and—according to the ideology of the
time—without children, caused real alarm. In fact, the public took this
"spinster explosion" very seriously and blamed women's school for the
problem. College-educated women had an alarming average of only 1.7
children.65 Thus while the immigrants were doing more than their share of
reproducing, the most privileged classes of Americans shirked their biological
and patriotic duty. Although correlation did not imply causation, the statistics
appeared to speak for themselves.
It was not just the women that delayed marriage and produced fewer
children, however. Even college-educated men delayed marriage and family,
and when they did marry it was not often to similarly-educated women.66
There seemed to be an indisputable link between education and lower
numbers of children. Like the decline in fecundity for the population at large,
the birthrate of the educated decreased throughout the nineteenth century.
For example, those men who graduated before 1810 had an average of five
and a half children, while those that graduated between 1875 and 1879 had

138
only slightly under two.67 The rates of marriage and childbirth for graduates
of the women's schools were similarly discouraging. For Bryn Mawr
alumnae who graduated between 1889 and 1908, over half remained
unmarried.68 Only after 1910 did more alumnae marry than not.69 Of those
alumnae who did marry in the classes to 1909—less than half—the majority
had only two or three children, or none at all.70 It did not take long for
opponents of the education of women to make the connection between the
threat of population decline among the middle and upper-middle classes and
the New Woman.
Bioloev in the United States: Thomas Hunt Morgan, the Education of
Women, and the Sex Problem
Historian Lillian Faderman notes that in 1895, just as higher education
for women truly came into its own in the United States, there was a great hue
and cry from the American public when a study revealed that the majority of
the alumnae of the women's schools failed to marry and reproduce. At a
time when public opinion dictated that each European woman of the middle
classes bear at least three children to perpetuate the Republic (as above,
population experts advocated even more children), higher education for
women and all those connected to it were held responsible for the failure of
educated women in their "patriotic duty."71
Thomas Hunt Morgan, a biology professor first at a women's college
and then at a co-educational institution, was perforce caught up intimately in
this debate simply by virtue of his institutional position.72 Morgan taught at
Bryn Mawr from 1891-1904 and at Columbia University from 1904 until his
departure to head the new Biology Department at The California Institute of
Technology in 1928.73 He began to teach at Columbia slightly more than a
decade after it first admitted women to graduate study on an occasional basis

139
(1891), while women were regularly admitted to graduate study only after
Barnard College relinquished all graduate education to Columbia (1900) just
four years prior to Morgan's arrival.74 The women in the vanguard of change
at Columbia were hardly greeted with open arms, and the fact that in 1906,
just two years after Morgan started at Columbia, women constituted half of
the (graduate) student body in the liberal arts and one-third of the other
disciplines, including the scientific ones, was cause for alarm.75 The sex
problem-the changing roles of women in American culture (in which
education played no small role) and the concomitant change in masculine
roles—also had important biological components, components that Morgan
examined. Just as cultural critics noted the disturbance of the balance between
female and male roles within the bourgeois world, Morgan and other
biologists studied the biological consequences of an upset balance between
femininity and masculinity.
Interestingly enough, even though Morgan's own research into the sex
problem—a perhaps too-obvious connection to questions of women's
university education—did not commence until several years after he left Bryn
Mawr, a series of letters between Morgan and his friend, the biologist German
Hans Driesch (1867-1941), reveals the tensions Morgan felt at the time about
working at a women's college. For instance, Morgan regarded himself as stuck
in the "backwoods of America"76 while at Bryn Mawr, and admonished
Driesch to "write what you are doing and what you are thinking. Pity me in
the wilds of my country surrounded by ladies and wild Indians."77 Though
only thirty-five when he began teaching at Bryn Mawr, Morgan took a
somewhat paternalistic attitude towards the women he taught and
supervised. One occasion he accused Driesch, humorously, of "teaching 'my
ladies' bad habits."78 He often referred to these women as "'my ladies'" or as

140
"girls", and these words were always in quotation marks.79 This indicates a
degree of uncertainty or ambivalence towards the legitimacy of the claims of
his women students to the status of "lady," or the propriety of their presence
in a laboratory. This was a time when American society was not at all sure
that women should go to university, nor that biology (specifically animal
biology) constituted an appropriate subject for women.80 Morgan once
remarked to Driesch that, while teaching a particularly opaque theory of
Driesch's, which he himself did not entirely understand, that he
boiled it down and gave it in two lectures. There were some places I
did not understand but that was your fault. I put on a bold face and
went right through it. But believe me it is not good stuff for 'ladies'.81
Morgan used this diminutive repeatedly in his private correspondence.
Teaching them was perhaps not his highest priority, although according to
biographer Garland Allen, the president of Bryn Mawr, M. Carey Thomas,
remarked on Morgan's interest in his students and his success in teaching.82
In one rather intriguing letter to Driesch, Morgan revealed a great deal
about his place in the debate surrounding the education of women,
particularly in the sciences. Morgan wrote that a paper he had written was in
a "beastly snarl." "But what can you expect with 75 girls to attend to!''83
Morgan, switching to German, continued,
Aber sie sind sehr nette 'Ladies', schade muss sie ihre Schónheit
verheimlichen sollten, wenn zu lernen ein bifichen Biologie.
Vielleicht Du kommen hieriiber einmal die zu studieren wie
Abnormalitat [unclear] nicht?84
While the possibility exists that Morgan switched into German because he did
not want Driesch to misunderstand him, Driesch had no troubles with either
the rest of that particular English-language letter, or any other written by
Morgan. It may have stemmed from the same impulse that prompted people

141
in other contexts to discuss matters of sex in Latin: the urge to conceal what
was being said, or in some other way to distance it from ordinary discourse.
Morgan's students may have been very nice "ladies," but they still had to hide
their beauty to study biology. Not only were the "girls" getting in the way of
Morgan's work, but they were a little abnormal. While it is possible he
regretted the circumstances that made women choose between what their
culture demanded, symbolized by beauty, and their own intellectual
development, it is also possible, and more likely, given the context and
contemporary American culture, that Morgan felt biology was no place for a
"lady." Its study by women resulted in abnormality (Abnormalitat).
The attitudes of the middle classes to the education of their women
were ambivalent at best.85 Even the relatively progressive, like Morgan, were
prepared to enforce society's dictates about what women could or could not
do. Morgan, for example, would allow women, regardless of scientific ability,
to work in his laboratory only so long as they remained childless.86 Before the
time when biological laboratories routinely used noxious chemicals and well
before the awareness that such environmental factors could cause birth
defects, the only reason to exclude women from work would appear to be
cultural. Similarly, Morgan's wife, the former Lilian V. Sampson (1870-1952),
whom he met while teaching at Bryn Mawr, though a skilled biologist in her
own right, quit work to raise their children.87 Women faced a similar
exclusion from the laboratory. Of the nine women who majored in cytology
or genetics at Columbia University during Morgan's tenure there (1904-1928),
historian Margaret Rossiter calculates that only one was included in the
genetic wok of the so-called fly room. Rossiter notes that Morgan's years at
Bryn Mawr evidently did not make him a feminist.88

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Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Determination of Sex
Thomas Hunt Morgan began his sex determination work early in the
twentieth century, publishing his first paper on the subject in 1903."
Following this critical review of the state of the field, he assayed an
interpretation of gynandromorphy—a condition in which an individual
displayed both male and female features-in the bee, an interpretation he
would elaborate on and continue to hold until well into the 1910s, when the
work on Drosophila provided an alternative interpretation to sexually
aberrant forms. Beginning in 1906, Morgan worked with aphids and
phylloxerans, trying to provide an explanation for their complicated
parthenogenetic life cycle. Morgan demonstrated that this life cycle, which
seemed so anomalous and so incompatible with the chromosome theory of
sex determination and heredity, actually supported such a theory. In fact,
according to A. H. Sturtevant (1891-1971), one of Morgan's students and a life¬
long colleague, Morgan demonstrated the basic compatibility of phylloxeran
parthenogenesis and the chromosomal theory at a time when many biologists
questioned the validity of the chromosome theory.90 The importance of the
phylloxeran work, perhaps Morgan's greatest original contribution to the sex
problem, lies not so much in its proof of the chromosome theory, but in that
it showed how much larger concerns of the sex problem could be treated
within a chromosomal framework.91
Morgan's training was not in cytology, but in embryology, although the
two had not diverged to that great an extent by the later nineteenth century.92
He began his training in descriptive embryology and morphology at Johns
Hopkins University under William Keith Brooks, some of whose work is
discussed above (see Chapter 1), and in fact Morgan taught morphological
subjects at Bryn Mawr during the first decade or so of his professional career.93

143
Despite this early morphological and embryological bent, Allen suggests that
Morgan gravitated towards the experimental physiologists and their
experimental approach.94 In his biography of Jacques Loeb, historian Philip
Pauly notes that although the desire to control life was as old as human
civilization, many biologists at the fin de siécle and early twentieth century
were especially interested in controlling natural processes.95 Such
intervention was, in fact, of primary importance to developmental mechanics
because of the insight such manipulations could bring to the causes of
complex phenomena.96 Thus Morgan's interests quickly grew to encompass
the "new" experimental biology that developed around
Entwicklungsmechanik, or "developmental mechanics."
Entwicklungsmechanik constituted an important thread running
throughout much of Morgan's work.97 In 1885, Wilhelm Roux (1850-1924), a
German biologist, first used the term "developmental mechanics," and
defined it as the study of the "causal morphology" of the organism.98 Morgan
noted that Roux used Entwicklungsmechanik not only in a physical sense,
but also in a philosophical sense. Thus Entwicklungsmechanik proposed to
study the series of changes that a developing organism undergoes, as well as
the mechanical causes of these changes.99 Morgan argued that knowledge of
the successive stages of development was insufficient, and did not constitute
"causal knowledge." It was also necessary to understand how each stage
transformed itself into the next. Entwicklungsmechanik was to study how
the parts of the developing organism moved to form the various layers of
cells, tissue, organs, and systems.100
The mere understanding of cell movements did not itself constitute
"causal knowledge," however.101 It was not enough, for example, to know
that a fertilized egg segmented and to know the resulting ordering of the

144
stages; the experimental biologist also had to ascertain what forces made the
egg segment in the first place.102 Morgan cautioned that a degree of
circumspection was required in positing that a proposed mechanical
explanation constituted the truth. Morgan suggested that only one way
existed to know
what forces or energies are at work during development, and whether
these forces are the same forces known to the chemist and the physicist.
Only by means of well-planned experiments can we expect by isolation
and recombination to discover the forces at work.103
Morgan argued that only by experimentation could biology purge itself of
notions of causation via some sort of entelechy and achieve the status of a
true science along the lines of physics and chemistry. Invoking the history of
science to illustrate his argument, Morgan observed that through the
experimental method "chemistry and physics have made enormous progress;
by means of experiment animal and plant physiology have become more
exact, more profound studies than morphology."104 The reductionistic and
mechanistic approach of the new biology was important to Morgan's thinking
about sex.
Sex Determination at the Fin de Siecle
Assessing the exact character of nature of Morgan's work and thought
on the sex problem and sex determination, however, can be extremely
difficult, despite the connecting thread of Entwicklungsmechatiik, because
Morgan's experimental interests were exceedingly varied. This reflected, in
part, Morgan's character and his general lack of a systematic approach to his
research. This much was noted by historian of science Robert Kohler in a
study of the Drosophila work and the fabled fly-room. Kohler observes that
Morgan, seemingly indefatigable, never specialized on any one topic for long
and was evidently happiest when he had several lines of work under

145
investigation with numerous different experimental animals. Morgan loved
to work with a new experimental system or approach for a time, and then
move on to another. Kohler notes that in the early 1900s, for example,
Morgan had five major lines of research going, including morphological
studies with the marine invertebrate Tubularia, regeneration studies with
various amphibians and fish, investigations in embryology and development
with the eggs of frogs and toads, investigations into Mendelian theories of
heredity with mice, rats, and domestic fowl, and, of course, investigations of
sex determination with plant lice of the genus Phylloxera. The minor lines of
research included the centrifugation of mollusk eggs to generate
chromosomal aberrations, adaptive variation with sparrows, and various
breeding experiments with his colonies of pigeons, guinea pigs, and fowl.105
In fact, throughout his career Morgan worked with over fifty different kinds
of animals and at least one plant.106 As Morgan himself remarked to his
friend Hans Driesch, "I am doing many things as usual, also as badly."107
Sturtevant, in his memoir of Morgan for the National Academy of
Sciences, cited Wilhelm Ostwald (1883-1943), who differentiated between the
"classic" and the '"romantic" personality types among scientists. Romantics
generated ideas "thick and fast," and expressed them quickly before moving
on to the next idea and problem. Classics, on the other hand, tried to perfect
their work, "setting ideas in proper relation to one another and to the
pertinent science as a whole." The romantic effected revolutions while the
classic built science up from fundamentals. Morgan was a romantic.108 Thus
the same characteristics that rendered characterization of Morgan's work
difficult may also have inspired him to take up the sex problem in the first
place. That Morgan had so many different lines of research makes an
examination of them difficult, but the fact that Morgan was interested in

146
numerous subjects may have been what inspired him to begin work on sex
determination in the midst of his morphological studies of egg development.
Kohler argues that Morgan had questions about the work on sex
determination performed by Morgan's colleagues and contemporaries, so he
did the work himself to see what the experiments and the results meant. In
the case of sex determination, Morgan forced himself to "do this painful
cytological work in order to know at first hand what the cytological evidence"
meant.109
This tendency towards polymathy in biology constitutes one reason
why the work of Morgan's contemporaries is so important for an
understanding of Morgan's own work. Morgan's theories of sex
determination were the result of dialogues between his thought and work
and the work of other scientists, either through adaptation or explicit
rejection of their arguments. Sex determination at the fin de siécle reflected
the general foment of the sex problem. Morgan observed this condition
himself, noting that the sex problem had been "examined by the statistician,
argued by philosophers, discussed by the naturalist, and exploited by the
quack. Theories of sex determination have flourished like weeds, and while
perennial, are apt to be like their prototypes, short lived."110 Morgan wrote
that "at the time of Drelincourt some 262 groundless theories of sex had been
suggested," and noted dryly that "since that time there has been no falling off
of interest if the number of new theories proposed is a criterion."111
The biologists interested in the sex problem at the fin de siécle
generally grouped their theories of sex determination into two major
categories, the external and the internal, depending on the causation of sex
determination. Externalists were those biologists who believed that effects of
temperature, food quality and availability, and other environmental

147
conditions determined sex.112 Because it was long believed that the sex of the
developing organism was determined relatively late in gestation, it appeared
that external factors could determine the course of development. Morgan
noted that externally-oriented biologists held many views as to what,
precisely, these external factors consisted of, and long hoped that it might be
possible to regulate artificially the sex of the developing organism.113 Since
the egg itself was thought to be capable of becoming either male or female,
those biologists favoring an external explanation of sex determination
believed that sex was not "merely" inherited. Instead, 'externalists/
Maienschein notes, stressing the efficacy of epigenesis—the doctrine that the
developing organism unfolds gradually—held that sex emerged slowly in
response to environmental cues.114
According to Maienschein, the relative abundance of causes and the
difficulty of testing them dramatized one inherent contradiction of the
externalist theories of sex determination. While many, if not all, of the
biologists whose studies claiming the efficacy of external sex-determining
agents examined populations, these biologists attempted to use those results
to draw conclusions about individual organisms. They thus had no way to
prove that environmental agents had changed any given individual's sex,
only the relative proportion of the sexes over time. In a biological analogue
to the later non-determinacy principle of the physicists, an observer could not
know both the sex of an organism at one time and that it had changed at a
later time. In other words, once a biologist observed the sex of an organism, it
had already been determined. As Maienschein points out, for pragmatic
reasons, if not for other reasons, externalists focused on sex ratios in
populations and attempted to correlate these to observed changes in external

148
conditions.115 Correlation, however, did not prove causation, an important
weakness in external theories of sex determination.
Maud DeWitt Pearl and Raymond Pearl, two biologists who strove to
test the efficacy of external theories at the beginning of the twentieth century,
demonstrated conclusively in 1908 the statistical ambiguity that resulted from
using population studies to draw conclusions about individuals. Drawing on
the published vital statistics of Buénos Aires, Argentina, where for the two
decades previous to their study highly detailed municipal statistics were kept,
the Pearls investigated the correlation between environment—changes in the
ratio of men to women-and changes in sex due to some environmental "sex¬
determining factor," namely racial hybridization.116 They concluded that
there was some evidence of a significantly greater proportion of males in the
offspring resulting from mixed-race matings than from same-race crosses.
The Pearls cautioned, however, that there may be limitations within the
statistical data themselves that would invalidate the conclusions. They also
raised the question of the exact meaning of the sex-determinant factors
implied by their conclusions, advising caution in regards to inferences based
on human populations.117 The Pearls concluded with the same dilemma that
Maienschein observed, namely the problem of proving a definite and
demonstrable causal link between external factors and the determination of
the sex of a given organism. The difficulty of maintaining a causal relation
between "the character of the mating and the sex ratio lies in the lack of
knowledge as to what could be the physiological mechanism by which the
causation was effected."118 Those biologists who espoused external
explanations of sex determination could not answer the simple but
devastating question of "by what mechanism?"

149
Around 1900, biologists such as Morgan noted a sea-change in the
nature of theories proposed in response to the sex problem. Some biologists
had begun to move from positing of external causes to searching for internal
mechanisms responsible for sex determination. This was a response, in part,
to the number of experiments that questioned not only the results, but also
the approaches and methods, of those favoring the external determination of
sex. Hypotheses proposing some form of sex determination internal to the
egg gradually displaced theories which relied on external causal agents.
Morgan found the "internalist" experimental work of the French geneticist
Lucien Cuénot quite rigorous and therefore trustworthy, noting that "one of
the earliest and most important of the recent memoirs that have attempted to
show that the sex of the individual is determined in the egg" belonged to
him.119 Morgan appreciated Cuénot's work because it was highly
experimental and generally free of supposition and metaphysics.120
In 1899 Cuénot reported on a series of experiments in which he
disproved the external determination of sex. Cuénot's first set of experiments
addressed the question of parthenogenesis and what biology of the late
twentieth century termed "haplodiploidy," the condition in which one sex of
a given species had a chromosomal complement double that of the other. He
concluded that a qualitative and quantitative variation in nutrition
determined the alternation of generations—from parthenogenetic to sexual—
that parthenogenetic forms like aphids displayed,121 and that the various male
and female sexual forms produced derived from another form of female.
Cuénot also concluded that the sperm cells in sexually-reproducing
parthenogenetic forms and in haplodiploid forms had a definite influence,
other than priming the egg for development. Lastly, and the most important
from the externalist-internalist argument, Cuénot concluded that the sex of

150
these animals was determined in the egg from the moment of fertilization,
strong evidence for the internal determination of sex.122
Cuénot's second set of experiments dealt with animals that were
"normally" sexual (fécondation obligatoire), such as insects, fish, and birds.
These were animals that had to reproduce sexually in order to reproduce at
all, unlike the aphids, which resorted to sexual reproduction only at certain
times. It was with these experiments with "obligatory" sexuality that Cuénot
disproved external determination of sex. Among the earliest experiments
aimed at the demonstration of the external determination of sex were those
of Gustav Born in 1881 and Emile Yung in 1883 and 1885. Born attempted to
demonstrate that more male frogs than female developed when the fluid
containing the spermatozoa was highly concentrated, but this did not work,
although Morgan did not elaborate on the basis of this hypothesis. Born also
fed tadpoles of the genus Rana a diet rich in plant life and the meat of frogs
and tadpoles in an effort to demonstrate the connection between a plentiful
diet and females. This connection failed to be demonstrated a year later,
however, when it was proven that there were more female frogs than male
under normal conditions. Yung found that female frogs of the genus Rana
were twice as numerous as the males, although Cuénot found the opposite
condition prevailed in other locations.123 Cuénot systematically disproved
many such externalist contentions, including the notion that the proportion
of one sex to the other influenced the sexes of members of future generations,
commenting on the inanity of the idea that the more or less equal ratio of
males to female was related to the environment and stating that the
proportion of the sexes had nothing to do with any ideas of utility for the
species in question, and only with chance.124 Cuénot also dismissed the ideas
that the age of the parents, their access to resources (two ideas which received

151
wide credence and study), or their levels of nutrition determined sex in any
way.125 From these studies Cuénot concluded that humans would never be
able to determine the sex of their children voluntarily.126
From these and other such studies Morgan concluded that in spite of
the numerous statistical claims for the external determination of sex in
humans and other mammals, there was no real evidence that such external
claims were supported by facts. Based on evidence pointing in that direction,
Morgan suggested that sex was most likely determined internally.127 Morgan
stated that
The reaction that has set in against the old view, the sex of the embryo
could be determined at a relatively late stage in development, is no
doubt in the right direction. It has been shown in several cases by
recent discoveries that the sex of the embryo is already determined in
the fertilized egg, and in other cases it appears to be determined even
before fertilization.128
Several biologists working on the sex problem proposed that the egg provided
the locus for the internal determination of sex, which Morgan found
provocative.
It was with these concerns in mind that Morgan began to consider the
problem of sex from an internalist perspective. Although Morgan first
published his considerations of sex determination in 1903, that article was
predominantly a review of the state of the art of heredity. Morgan published
his own thoughts and work on the sex problem beginning in the 1905 article,
"An Alternative Interpretation of Gynandromorphous Insects." In this and
some subsequent articles, he turned to bees to explain the sex problem.
Bees posed marked difficulties for fin-de-siécle work on the sex
problem. Morgan noted that bees displayed three types of individuals, an egg-
laying queen, a caste of sterile female workers, and haploid males which

152
fertilized the eggs that the queen lays. Morgan knew that sex determination
in the bee depended on the fertilization of the egg. If an egg was fertilized, it
produced either a queen or a worker, depending on nourishment given to the
pupa. If the egg was unfertilized, it produced a male. Biologists assumed that
the eggs were all alike, and that fertilization (or lack thereof) determined sex.
However, the chambers in the hive in which the queen laid eggs also differed
by sex, and fin-de-siécle biologists like Morgan interpreted that to mean that
the queen determined the sex of the offspring.129
To prove this contention, Morgan suggested a hybridization
experiment. By introducing a virgin queen bee of Italian stock into a hive
containing workers and males of a German stock, Morgan hypothesized that a
comparison of the race of the workers—which were fertilized—with the race of
the drones-which were not—would decide the matter. As the virgin Italian
queen was fertilized by a German male, all descendent queens and workers
were hybrids since they came from fertilized eggs. The descendent males,
however, were of the same stock as the queen since they derived from
unfertilized eggs. Occasionally, however, males bearing hybrid traits
appeared, meaning that an egg had been fertilized but nonetheless had
produced a male.130 This experiment suggested to Morgan that the sex of the
organism was determined in the egg, rather than by fertilization, and
provided strong evidence for the internal determination of sex. Morgan
stated that
we must suppose that an egg has been fertilized, and despite this fact,
developed into a male. This conclusion may indicate. . . that the sex of
the egg must have been already determined.131
Morgan noted, however, that this experiment was very much like the one
performed by the German naturalist, Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold (1804-

153
1885), although von Siebold's "statements in regards to the racial characters of
the gynandromorph" were obscure.132
According to Morgan, the example of the bees and the other forms
characterized by sex determined in the egg provided strong evidence that sex
determination occurred internally.133 Some early twentieth-century biologists
sought to incorporate the "new" cytological knowledge about dimorphically
different sperm into their theories based on sexually distinct eggs. The
biologist John Beard took up the question of internal fertilization where
Cuénot left it. Beard attempted to bring the question of the differentiation of
the sexes into alignment with the work of cytoiogists like Clarence McClung,
Walter Sutton, and Theodor Boveri (1862-1915) on the origin within the
nucleus of the gametes.
Beard argued that there not only two kinds of eggs, as suggested by the
work on bees and rotifers, but also that there were two kinds of sperm, as
McClung, Sutton, and Boveri proposed. He supposed that the determination
of sex rested within the egg, and that the spermatozoa influence sex little, if at
all, because one of the sperm cells, displaying an anomalous chromosome, or
missing one altogether, had somehow degenerated, leaving only one
functional sperm cell.134 Beard concluded that the four gametes—two kinds
eggs and two kinds of sperm—derived from a state of primeval isogamy. Two
gametes were eventually bound to one sex, two to the other. The gametes of
the female—the two sorts of eggs-possessed different functions from the two
varieties of male gametes, and these gametic differences of structure and
function eventually developed into an inevitable sexual dimorphism. Of the
"twofold gametes of the male" Beard stated that it was rare to find the two
forms simultaneously functional.135 Beard asserted that since it was the egg
and not the sperm that developed into the new organism, the duty of

154
providing for the continuance of the race falls upon the female
Metazoan, or rather upon the germ-cells, of which it is the host. To
carry out this duty the differentiation of the twofold gametes, the male-
and female-eggs, is needful.136
Beard concluded that the powers of sex determination resided in the female.
On purely scientific grounds, Morgan was little convinced by Beard's work,
because Beard, like many of the proponents of external determination of sex,
failed to provide an actual mechanism.137 It was not enough to provide an
explanation of why the gametes may have arisen, hypotheses that Morgan did
not refute, but Beard neglected to say how they had done so, or how they
continued to exert their sex-determining effect.
William Castle offered a similar hypothesis, based on the "new"
Mendelian principles of heredity. Castle argued that the biological notion
that sex was determined externally was fundamentally erroneous, and noted
that evidence had been accumulating to demonstrate that sex was determined
in the germ plasm. Castle suggested that if sex was determined internally in
the germ and was independent of the environment, then sex determination
must take place within one or both of the sexual gametes.138 Castle, arguing
from the examples of both parthenogenesis (aphids, rotifers), wherein the egg
determined sex, and haplodiploidy (bees), wherein an unfertilized egg
produced a male but a fertilized one produced a female, proposed that both
the eggs and the sperm possessed the characters or traits for sex.139 Castle
stated that since sex in "dioecious" animals was inherited according to
Mendel's laws of dominance and segregation, the ordinary animal was "sex
hybrid," possessing the sex-characters of both sexes, one dominant and the
other recessive. Accordingly, each sex could transmit the opposite sex's sex-
character to the next generation.140 Thus all animals (and all plants, too) were
potential hermaphrodites, because they contained the characters of both

155
sexes.141 To insure normal fertilization, and avoid the creation of "double
males" and "double females," a proposition inherent in a Mendelian
formulation such as Castle's, Castle hypothesized on admittedly a priori
grounds that a sperm bearing the character of one sex could only fertilize an
egg bearing the character of the other. Sex was determined by a sort of battle
between the factors.142
Morgan objected to Castle's hypothesis on a number of grounds, one of
which stemmed from a misinterpretation of Castle's important qualification
of the Mendelian theory. Castle posited "inverse fertilization" to avoid the
prospect of "super sexes," that is, individuals homozygotic for one sex factor
or the other. Yet Morgan took Castle's Mendelism at face value. Morgan
argued that if, as Mendelian theory required, the germ cells separated the
male and female elements during gametogenesis, than gametes would be
produced with either male or female traits. Drawing on a more literal
interpretation of Mendelian theory, Morgan postulated that fertilization
should result in three times as many males as females.143 Morgan proposed
this because Mendelism held that one trait always dominated another, and
Morgan chose to view maleness as the dominant trait in his example (a
choice fraught with subconscious implications). Accordingly, the Mendelian
assortment of one homozygote of one variety to two heterozygotes to one
homozygote of the other variety produced three males for every female. That
is, there would be a single "super male," two male-female heterozygotes that
displayed maleness, and a single "super female."144 Morgan thus concluded
that "it appears absurd to attempt to apply Mendel's law to the problem of
sex.''145 Castle, however, formulated his theory precisely to avoid such an
occurrence, so Morgan either did not accept Castle's qualifications of
Mendelism or did not understand them. In fact, many of Morgan's objections

156
to Mendelism stemmed from similar misinterpretations, as with his equation
of Mendelism to preformationism.146 However, Morgan's primary objection
to Castle's theory was similar to his objection to Beard's theory; specifically,
that it "fails to account for the very problem that a theory of sex should
explain, namely, the problem of what it is that determines whether an egg
that contains both potentialities becomes a male or a female."147 Like others,
although he provided a workable description of fertilization, Castle failed to
stipulate a physiological mechanism for sex determination, a clear
requirement of Entwicklungsmechanik. That is, Castle described what
happened without explaining why it happened. To the experimentally-
inclined Morgan, this was little better than the descriptive morphology from
which he sought to distance biology.
From all of this work, in 1903 Morgan drew his own conclusions about
the determination of sex. He tentatively endorsed some form of internal sex
determination. Morgan, always cautious, stated that the "reaction that has
set in against the old view, that the sex of the embryo could be determined at
a relatively late stage in development, is no doubt the right direction."
Morgan cited the experimental evidence (detailed above), which
demonstrated that the sex of the developing organism was "already
determined in the fertilized egg," and in some cases, even before fertilization.
Morgan cautioned, however, against using that last fact to conclude that there
were four separate varieties of gametes, that is, that there were male and
female eggs and sperm.148 Thus Morgan concluded that there were definitely
two kinds of eggs, and that they produced males and females, with and
without fertilization, depending on the species. These eggs, however, were
not male and female in the sense that the factors that ultimately determined
the sex of the embryo were not separated and confined to the appropriate egg.

157
Rather, both elements were present in all kinds of eggs.149 While the theories
of sex determination Morgan reviewed had provided strong evidence for the
internal determination of sex, those theories that posited the separation of
male and female factors within the gametes failed to convince Morgan, who
believed that the egg existed in a balanced state in regards to sex, that there
were male- and female-determining factors.150 Morgan stated that
Our general conclusion is that while recent theories have done good
service in directing attention to the early determination of sex in the
egg, those of them which have attempted to connect this conclusion
with the assumption of the separation of male from female primordia
in the germ-cells have failed to establish their point of view. The egg,
as far as sex is concerned, appears to be in a sort of balanced state.151
Although Morgan disputed some of the conclusions that Beard, Castle, and
others drew, he, like they, viewed all individuals as sex hybrids possessing
both male and female factors that existed in some kind of balance to
determine sex.
Morgan's Theories of Sex Determination and Sexual Aberration
Much of Morgan's published corpus on sex determination and the sex
problem involved "aberrant" sexuality like gynandromorphy and
hermaphroditism, or parthenogenesis. Both of these cases involved the
putative balance between male and female factors. Morgan adhered to the
idea that all bodies contained the potential to produce both sexes; which one
emerged during development depended on some relation of the two.
Morgan stated that "in all species with separate sexes the potentialities of
producing both sexes is present in all eggs and in all sperm; but the
development of the one or the other sex is determined by some unknown
internal relation."152 Male and female factors were related to each other in
some manner, and that relation characterized the determination of sex. Sex

158
determination to Morgan, then, depended on the quantitative relation of the
chromatin relating to its relative activity.153
This interest in sex determination via the appropriate balance between
male and female factors took specific form with a long-running interest in the
problem of gynandromorphy. The gynandromorph, so central to the sex
problem, represented to the fin de siécle the blurring of sexual boundaries.154
Fin-de-siecle biologists like Morgan were fascinated by gynandromorphs and
other aberrantly-sexed bodies. Such gynandromorphs were the living
embodiments of what happened when male and female sex-determining
factors were out of balance. Experiments performed by Theodor Boveri and
by Morgan himself paved the way. In 1888 Boveri, in trying to explain
gynandromorphy in bees, suggested that on certain occasions a sperm cell,
after penetrating the surface of an egg, might be delayed in uniting with the
egg's pronucleus, which might then start to divide. Thus the sperm's
pronucleus might unite with only one of the two or four daughter pronuclei
of the egg. There would thus be two kinds of cells in the developing
organism, those whose nuclei contained both male and female chromosomes
and those whose nuclei contained only female chromosomes. Accordingly,
the body would be both diploid and haploid, which in bees resulted in female
and male somatic features in the same body. Boveri theorized that the
diploid cells would produce male parts of the body, while the haploid cells
would produce female parts.155 Thus one explanation for gynandromorphy
was that of a body wherein the sperm-egg combination determined the sex for
some parts of the body, while the egg alone determined the sex for the rest of
the body.
Morgan's theory of sex determination involving gynandromorphy was
most likely based directly on Boveri's work. Morgan cited this experiment

159
with approval as a good example of Entwicklungsmechanik in 1898156 and
valued it so highly that he translated Boveri's original paper into English that
it might be better absorbed by his English-speaking colleagues in 1893.157
These same experiments, interestingly enough, led to Boveri's conclusions
about the individuality of the chromosomes, an important part of the
chromosome theory of heredity, a theory that Morgan opposed (see Chapter 2,
above). Boveri discovered, in verifying results of Richard and Oskar Hertwig,
that when he agitated the eggs of sea-urchins, the eggs fell apart. Some
fragments contained nuclei, while others did not. Boveri further verified
that both sorts of fragments could be fertilized, nucleated and non-nucleated,
and that both sorts developed, at least to a point. In fact, the non-nucleated
egg-fragments developed into complete larvae just as the nucleated eggs
did.158
In 1905 Morgan proposed a similar theory, this one based on
polyspermy, the fertilization of an egg by more than one sperm. Morgan
suggested that if more than one spermatozoon entered a cell, which had been
observed on occasion, one sperm cell would unite with the egg, while the
others would divide on their own. Thus the sperm-egg combination would
furnish the diploid, female state while the superfluous sperm would create a
haploid, male state.159 Morgan thought that the division of the paired
nucleus would account for the female parts of the developing organism,
while the various dividing unpaired sperm cells gave rise to the male
characters of the rest of the body. Morgan argued that the assumption of
polyspermy was not arbitrary, but actually seemed to be a rather frequent
occurrence, though the unpaired spermatozoa usually fail to develop. Under
rare circumstances, however, Morgan noted that they did fail to develop, and
so produced gynandromorphs. If a gynandromorph developed from a cell in

160
which the sperm had penetrated the egg, but failed to reach the egg's pro¬
nucleus before it split, and instead united with one of the daughter nuclei,
then that body possessed an excess of female factors. Thus a gynandromorph
resulted from an imbalance of male and female sex-determining factors.
Morgan stated that several such cases of "male parthenogenesis" had been
reported in "recent years."160
Accordingly, Morgan hypothesized that anomalous forms of sexuality,
especially gynandromorphy, which involved a relatively random mixture of
male and female factors, were caused by an imbalance of these factors. Morgan
hypothesized that sex was the result of a balance between male and female
chromatin within the nucleus of a cell. Morgan suggested that
it is known in bees and in butterflies that individuals sometimes
appear that are male on one side of the body and female on the other
side. The explanation of this peculiarity may be found in the unusual
way in which the nucleus of the fertilized egg is divided. If, for
instance, all or most of the chromatin brought in by the spermatozoon
should be carried into one of the first formed cells along with half of
the chromatin of the egg-nucleus, then all the cells that descend from
this cell may develop female characters, and all those from the other,
male characters.161
Hermaphroditism resulted from an abnormal division of the nucleus of the
fertilized egg. Thus in the bee, if most or all of the chromatin contained in
the spermatic pro-nucleus ended up in one of the first-formed cells along
with some of the ovular chromatin, then those cells would become "female"
and display female morphological characteristics, while the cells with only
ovular chromatin would develop somatically as males.162 Those cells that
contained more chromatin realized their female potential, while those cells
with less chromatin developed into males.
Morgan's view that the causation of gynandromorphy resulted from an
imbalance of male and female chromosomal material appeared first in 1903,

161
and continued to appear in papers into the era of "classical" genetics, the 1910s
and 1920s. Morgan's explanations and proposed mechanism changed
somewhat with the development of genetics, however. Work done on
Drosophila suggested that gynandromorphs were caused by the elimination
of an X chromosome from an early division of the post-fertilization nuclei. A
rare occurrence, a consequent of a delay in the division of one of the daughter
cells, the X chromosome in one cell failed to reach the nuclear pole during
division and was lost. Thus the embryo developed with two sorts of nuclei,
one carrying two Xs and one with a single X chromosome.163 Although the
specific mechanism differed—failure of chromosomal movement rather than
polyspermic fertilization—the end result was the same. Such cells had an
imbalance in male and female "potentialities." Although his specific
explanations for the phenomenon varied, this proved to be an ongoing
component of Morgan's thinking on sex determination.
While Morgan may not have understood the exact mechanism behind
gynandromorphy, by 1907 he was sure that it depended on the quantitative
behavior of the chromosomes and that it depended on regular, mathematical
interaction, rather than on the operation of blind chance. Chromosomal
behavior susceptible to mathematization could be verified experimentally.
More arcane manners of interaction, however, could not be so mathematized,
making it that much harder to craft a scientific explanation of the sex problem
that was consistent with the principles of Etitwicklungsmechanik.164 Sex
determination may have been internal, but other than an assertion of its
quantitative nature, Morgan had little to go on. This internal sex
determination, however, was physiological rather than morphological, and
constituted no endorsement on Morgan's part of the chromosome theory,
which Morgan objected to because it appeared to him to be a sort of

162
morphological preformationism.165 Morgan viewed the chromosomes not as
the physical bearers and determinants of heredity (a key feature of his later
gene theory), but rather as epiphenomena accompanying inheritance.
Morgan argued that
some internal mechanism exists that determines sex. . . It is misleading
to speak of male and female eggs or sperm in the sense that such eggs
contain only male or female potentialities, for all eggs and sperm
contain both potentialities, and which is realized is determined by
some internal relation that regulates the dominance of one over the
other sex.166
Morgan thought the causes of sex determination should be sought in
physiological relations within the cell, and not in morphological structures
that are handed down from one cell generation to the next, particularly in
regards to sex.167 Morgan argued that
it would obviously go beyond the evidence to assign the determination
of sex to differences in the chromosomes. . . We have in this case
strong evidence in favor of the view that other processes than the
number of chromosomes may initiate changes that ultimately lead to
the production of one or the other kind of individuals.168
Furthermore, Morgan found the chromosome theory of sex determination
entirely too speculative too be credible. Morgan wrote to his friend Driesch
that
As to chromosomes I am in the thick of it here. Wilson's recent
discovery that in certain bugs the spermatozoon that has the extra
chromosome makes a female every time, and the one without it makes
a male (exactly the reverse of McClung's supposition), makes it look at
first sight as though the chromosomes were the thing? But work it
through as he has done and you will find that it lands you in an
absurdity for that same chromosome will be a male determining one in
the following generation. Wilson is going to indulge in generalities
about it. 1 will confess that when he first showed me his results I was
somewhat staggered. . . Now however when it is evident that the
chromosome theory will not even explain the case of sex
determination I feel assured of my position.169

163
Cytological research, such as that done by his friend and colleague E. B.
Wilson and his one-time student Nettie Stevens, rested on the assumption
that the chromosomes were the sole bearers of heredity. Morgan noted that
the changes of the chromosomes through the cell life-cycle attracted much
attention from biologists at the fin de siécle, and that cytologists tended to
refer all questions of inheritance to them.170 In fact, as a contemporary
proponent of the chromosome theory of sex determination noted, Morgan's
attitude towards that theory remained "rather hostile," though his arguments
against it were among the most cogent.171
Morgan and Parthenogenesis
Morgan performed his experiments in the sex problem in order to
verify the results of others or to investigate the validity of his own doubts or
objections.172 In one problematic area, however, Morgan made original
contributions towards comprehending the biological basis of the sex problem.
Morgan studied the parthenogenetic reproduction of aphids and
phylloxerans, two related species, and reported his results from 1908 and 1909.
Biologists had long recognized that the eggs of certain organisms developed
without fertilization, and that this constituted a regular method of
reproduction in these forms. In the spring, a female known as the "stem-
mother" emerged from a fertilized egg. She pierced a hole in a leaf, causing
the cells of the leaf to proliferate and eventually cover her. Within this gall, a
sort of plant-generated shell, the stem mother laid her eggs. The young (all of
which were female) stayed within the gall only to emerge after their final
molt, at which time they migrated elsewhere. Though morphologically
identical, some of these migratory insects contained within them large eggs
and some small eggs. However, all the offspring of a given stem-mother

164
contained one variety of egg or the other. On the leaves of other plants, these
winged female forms laid their large or small eggs. Sexual females emerged
from the larger eggs, grew no larger than they were at the moment of
emergence, contained no feeding mechanisms, and contained a single large
egg. Males emerged sexually mature from the smaller eggs and fertilized the
sexual females. The sexual females deposited their large eggs, which
remained dormant until the next spring, at which time new stem-mothers
hatched to begin the cycle over again. The life cycle of the aphids and
phylloxerans was thus characterized by two parthenogenetic generations and
one sexual.173
Morgan made some unusual discoveries about the reproductive
morphology of these insects, and reported them in 1909. The smaller females,
the ones laying eggs that give rise to males, were virtually indistinguishable
from the males they hatched out. While these dwarf females possessed long
proboscises which the male lacked, and of course lacked testes, they were so
similar to the males that their true nature was uncertain until they were
studied in serial sections.174 The males, too, possessed morphological
peculiarities. Morgan discovered that there were two kinds of sperm
produced by the males, one of which was rudimentary, so that only one kind
actually fertilized eggs (the fertilized eggs produced, in turn, only females). In
fact, Morgan observed that the presumably male-determining spermatozoa
degenerated, thus the females that resulted from fertilization produced both
males and females parthenogenetically.175
Morgan also reported some interesting discoveries about the
mechanisms behind the parthenogenetic reproduction and the alternation of
generations. When the rudimentary sperm cells, the spermatocytes, were
produced, an accessory chromosome passed to only one cell, creating two

165
classes of sperm. As above, one of these degenerated, and only the female-
producing spermatozoa became functional. Thus all fertilized eggs produced
females. Morgan also noted that the production of the male also involved
certain chromosomal peculiarities. When the small egg, the male one,
produced its polar body, all of its chromosomes but one divided. This
undivided chromosome passed whole into the polar body, so that the male-
producing egg had one fewer chromosomes than the female-producing egg.
However, no such changes took place in the large egg, so that the female was
fully diploid.176 Morgan interpreted this to mean that, rather than the loss of
the chromosome determining sex, that loss actually reflected far more subtle
changes in a pre-destined egg.177
As Morgan noted, parthenogenetic eggs were produced in the same
fashion as "regular" eggs in ovaries that possessed the same structures and
morphological characteristics as "regular" ovaries. Morgan saw, however,
certain key differences during meiosis (the successive duplication and then
division of chromosomes during gametogenesis), namely that
parthenogenetic eggs gave off only one polar body, instead of the usual three
found in sexually reproducing organisms.178 As exemplified by the aphids
and phylloxerans Morgan studied, some parthenogenetically reproducing
species also reproduced sexually from time to time, and this constituted one
of the chief mysteries that Morgan investigated. These species produced
males, seemingly at will, which then mated with the females of their
generation, only to produce more parthenogenetic females.
One subject that Morgan found perplexing was the production of the
stem mothers, who are capable of producing either large or small eggs, but
never both together. Morgan wondered, however, what mechanism caused
the stem mothers to make either large or small eggs. There either had to be

166
two varieties of stem mother (ones that produced only one of the two sexes),
or one kind with a "double potentiality" (factors for both sexes). Morgan had
no real answer, but, drawing conclusions from other parthenogenetic forms,
suggested in his 1914 book, Heredity and Sex, that environmental evidence
determined which of the two routes the stem mother took. Morgan noted
that once the route is taken, "the subsequent internal events follow for two
generations a definite order."1” Despite this difficulty, however, Morgan felt
ready to conclude that sex determination was largely an internal affair.
Whatever the conditions were that brought about the transformation in the
stem mother, the change involved the production of both kinds of sexual
forms. The environmental conditions did not determine the sex of male or
female individuals per se, but only brought an end to the cycle of
parthenogenetic reproduction.180 Morgan accordingly differentiated between
the environmental control of sex determination and environmental
influences in sex production. The distinction was perhaps a subtle one, but
nonetheless quite important. The weight of experimental evidence against
the external determination of sex combined with a strong implication of
some internal sex-determining mechanism, a combination that suggested
quite strongly to Morgan that the actual external determination of sex was an
untenable hypothesis.181 Because several orders of insects demonstrated a
chromosomal mechanism that was strongly correlated with sex
determination, Morgan felt bound to accept the possibility that a similar
mechanism operated in aphids and phylloxerans on a priori grounds.
To explain sex determination in these perplexing parthenogenetic
forms, Morgan invoked the quantitative model of sex determination that he
had suggested in connection with gynandromorphy and extended to all
sexually reproducing forms. Morgan emphasized that the male and female

167
"condition," as it were, represented alternative possibilities resident in the
germ plasm, and whichever potential was realized depended on the quantity
of chromatin active. There was no segregation in a Mendelian sense of male
gametes from female gametes. Rather, maleness and femaleness both
represented a fundamental quality of the plasm. Thus there may have been
factors that conditioned or predisposed sex, but were not themselves sex
determinants as physical particles or traits.182 Sex could result from a balance
of male and female "potentialities," the perturbation of which led to
gynandromorphism.183
At this time, Morgan still regarded the notion of factors giving rise to
unit characters—a key tenet of Mendelism—as tantamount to
preformationism. Morgan admitted that his quantitative interpretation of
sex was "only a first rough approximation," but maintained its value because
it was supported by "a large number of observations in which such
quantitative differences" were apparent. Morgan cautioned, however, that
there was nothing in either his theory or the evidence supporting it to suggest
that there were "directly quantitative" rather than quantitative differences
that accompany perhaps "more profound changes."184 Thus so-called
accessory chromosomes, clearly quantitative phenomena insofar as different
sexes possessed differing numbers of them, followed sex or correlated to other
differences with implications for the determination of sex, rather than being
the actual determinants of sex. In other words, Morgan thought that the
quantitative differences he observed, though highly significant, could very
well be epiphenomena of deeper occurrences on the level of cells.185
One area of especial interest to Morgan regarding parthenogenesis was
what he termed artificial parthenogenesis, the mechanical control of sexuality
and development.186 Morgan's interest, as well as the interest of many

168
others, was one of control. Morgan wrote to Driesch about his experiments
with aphids and phylloxerans: "As you know, I am trying to control the
conditions that change the parthenogenetic forms into the sexual males and
females." He even achieved a certain modest success.187 This work was
related to much of the work Morgan pursued at Bryn Mawr in the 1890s,
which involved the production of various developmental responses in
unfertilized eggs. Morgan subjected eggs to a variety of technologies, all very
much part of the Entwicklungsmechanik tradition (many were published in
Roux's Archiv filr Entwicklungsmechanik [Archive for Developmental
Mechanics]) and all intended to reveal the laws of development and the
material causes behind them.188
These studies were connected to Morgan's work on parthenogenesis
not only through the methodology of Entwicklungsmechanik, but also
through the notion of controlling sex. Specifically, parthenogenesis-the
development of an organism from an unfertilized egg—itself may have
suggested the possibility to Morgan because his other attempts to spark the
development of unfertilized eggs had met with a certain success. He noted
that because parthenogenetically engendered organisms were every bit as
healthy as those produced sexually, and that since some parthenogenetic eggs
produced both sexual males and females, artificial intervention into
reproductive processes should have been possible.189 Morgan knew that
whereas sexually-fertilized eggs reduced their chromosomal complement by
half during their manufacture, parthenogenetic eggs had no such need. In
fertilized eggs the half of the chromosomes that were jettisoned with the
polar bodies were made up by the sperm. However, Morgan noted that an
unfertilized sexual egg would develop, even with half of its chromosomes.190

169
Strictly speaking, then, fertilization was a formality. Many techniques
and technologies were developed during the early years of the twentieth
century to circumvent this formality, to cause the development of sexual eggs
artificially. Morgan's friend and colleague at Bryn Mawr, Jacques Loeb, was
the master of these techniques.191 The chief importance of these experiments
in Morgan's estimation was that they threw light on the nature of the
processes that inhibited eggs from developing, and that the resultant
information revealed something about how the sperm actually affected the
egg. Such tampering also opened up "the opportunity to study certain
problems connected with the determination of sex that can be gained in no
other way."192
Sex Determination and Middle-Class Anxiety About
Sex and Gender
Non-biologists who were concerned about the sex problem found, or
interpreted, themes of concern about changing definitions of femininity and
masculinity in Morgan's work, and accentuated them. Evidence exists that
others viewed Morgan as an expert in the determination of sex, including its
ostensibly non-scientific facets, though he himself, in all likelihood, would
have preferred to distance himself from these efforts. The evidence for this
rests in the "1920 Notebook," a notebook in the archival collection of
Morgan's papers at The California Institute of Technology. This notebook
contains a "gold mine" of popular perceptions towards sex determination as a
science and towards the subject of heredity. The documents in Morgan's
notebook include newspaper clippings about the breeding of superior
children and about the impact of wishful thinking upon the sex and aptitudes
of a human fetus; a letter from Arabella Kenealy, author of Feminism and
Sex-Extinction (1920), a quasi-Mendelian argument against feminism; a

170
variety of tracts dealing with the Bible and, in various combinations, with sex,
a so-called sex fluid, genetics, and evolution; and a letter from one R. Clay
Jackson entreating Morgan to allow his experimental animals to rest. Jackson
also included a circular with his letter bearing on it a graph which attempted
to correlate rainfall in Mercer County, Oliio, in 1915 with births in 1916.193
These documents run the gamut from pseudo-scientific appropriations of
contemporary "high" science, as in Kenealy's letter and book, to presumably
anti-scientific misrepresentations of selectively read scientific literature,
including Morgan's own work.
Although Morgan's attitudes toward his non-scientific would-be
correspondents was unequivocal-the title page of the notebook bears the
epigraph 'There is One Born Every Minute,"194 a paraphrasing of P. T.
Barnum's famous maxim—their attitudes towards him were equally clear.
These people, so concerned about matters of sex and gender, regarded Morgan
as the foremost English-language authority on sex, whether it was biological
sex determination and control, or the disabilities that were thought to result
from sex for non-procreative purposes. These letters and documents
demonstrate explicitly that even if scientists saw a hard and fast division
between the science of sex determination and its cultural consequences, the
popular audiences of the writings of these scientists did not. The dividing
line, if even it existed, was not clearly demarcated in the minds of most
people who were interested in sex determination. These were people who
worried about the blurring of gender distinctions, the disruption of
traditional patterns of life, thought, and belief, the increasingly apparent dis¬
ordering of sex and sexuality, and who looked to science to stave off the
anarchy. Kenealy and Jackson, along with a multitude of others, looked to
biologists like Morgan to restore order and to discover the rules that would

171
rein in sex. Even those who appeared to profess a conservative brand of
Christianity turned toward Morgan, as the scientist of Mendelism (by 1920), to
bolster a conservative, perhaps even anti-scientific, position. The 1920
Notebook illustrates the fact that academic biologists did not live, work, or
think in a vacuum. Their work constituted a dialogue with the wider
community, which followed and appropriated the rarefied biology and
interpreted in ways that may have been but extensions and selective
accentuations of the scientists' own thoughts.
Morgan thought that normal sex arose from some sort of relation
between the male and the female, as demonstrated by his hypothesis
concerning gynandromorphy or his quantitative theories of sex
determination,195 relations on the cultural level that had clearly changed
dramatically over the span that Morgan worked on sex determination. Under
a balance theory, anything that tips the balance too far to either side endangers
sex and sexuality, as embodied—literally—in gynandromorphs. Yet "New
Women," including the women he worked with, were daily taking on men's
roles in culture. Morgan's culture (he was born into patrician family in the
Old South)196 was predicated on the notion of a strict balance between the
male and the female, each restricted to separate domains. While Morgan was
able to move beyond that division (after all, Lilian Morgan did work on either
side of child-bearing), social and cultural structures were determined to a
significant degree by a certain dimorphism. These Lords of Misrule (women
acting as men) upset the balance between the male and the female. One finds
this same concern about the balance between the male and the female in early
Mendelian conceptions of sex, for example in Castle (1903).197 The fact that
different, if not opposed, formulations of an answer to the sex problem

172
articulated similar concerns indicates that these scientists had reasons, on one
level or another, for doing this work.
Summary
The New Woman represented the shift of women's roles from the
Victorian pattern to one more characteristically modern. To many observers
this shift implied a blurring of the previously rigid distinctions between the
masculine and the feminine. While the shifting of gender roles between the
men and women of the bourgeoisie (the decline of the separate spheres)
worried or alarmed observers in the United States, the disruption of the
balance between men and women was of significant concern to American
biologists. In the United States significant inroads of women in higher
education and the concomitant race suicide (for so it seemed to critics of
women's education) raised real biological concerns, as exemplified by
Morgan's interests in the balance between female and male factors in the
production of gynandromorphy. While German biologists were similarly
interested in the sexual aberrations that resulted from the perturbation of the
balance between the sexes, they approached the sex problem not from the
aspect of women trespassing into a male sphere, but rather of males
transgressing into the female realm. Where American biologists looked at
the gynandromorph and saw educated women, German biologists saw
homosexual men.

173
Notes
1 Max Nordau, Degeneration. Reprinted from the English-language edition of 1895 originally
published by D. Appelton & Co., Ltd. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968), pp. 5-6.
See also Eric Santer, My Own Private Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19%).
2 Eric L. Santer, My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of Modernity
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 6.
3 See Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy. Gender and Culture and the Fin de Siecle (New York:
Penguin Books, 1990) for a discussion of the "myths, metaphors, images, and representations" of
these concerns, specifically in the realms of literature and art.
4 Annelise Maugue, L'identité masculin en crise au tournant du siecle (Paris: Editions Puvage,
1987), p. 59; Vern L. Bullough, Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research (New York:
Basic Books, 1994), p. 92.
5 Linda Dowling, 'The Decadent and the New Woman," Nineteenth-Century Fiction 33 (1979):
436.
6 Sally Ledger, "The New Woman and the Crisis of Victorianism," in Cultural Politics at the
Fin de Siecle, ed. Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Press, 1995), p. 24.
7 Dowling, "Decadent," p. 438.
8 Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1986). p. 206. See also Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex-
Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920)., pp. 76-77.
9 Charlotte Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology (London: Quartet
Books, 1986), p. 45.
10 See Maugue, L'identité and Bullough, Bedroom.
11 For discussion of the New Woman in Germany, a figure of very real concern to Wilhelmine and
Weimar culture, see Atina Grossmann, 'The New Woman and the Rationalization of Sexuality
in Weimar Germany," in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, ed. Ann Snitow, Christine
Stansell, and Sharon Thompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), 153-171, and Atina
Grossmann, "The New Woman, the New Family, and the Rationalization of Sexuality: The
Sex Reform Movement in Germany, 1928-1933" (Doctoral Dissertation, Rutgers University,
1984)., as well as Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossmann, and Marion Kaplan, eds., When
Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York: Monthly Review
Press, 1989). For contemporary treatments of the New Woman in Germany see Alfred Polgar,
'The Defenseless: A Conversation Between Men," in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed.
Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of California
Press, 1994); Alice Rühle-Gerstel, "Back to the Good Old Days," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg,
eds.; Elsa Herrmann, 'This is the New Woman," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds.;
Anonymous, "Women's Work and the Economic Crisis," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds.;
Hugo Bettauer, "The Erotic Revolution," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., for aspects of the
"woman problem." Similarly, for a discussion of homosexuality, or sexual inversion, in the
United States, see George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the
Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994) for a recent and
highly nuanced study, as well as Allan Bérubé, "Marching to a Different Drummer: Lesbian
and Gay GIs in World War II," in Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past,
ed. Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: Meridian, 1989),
383-394; George Chauncey, Jr., "Christian Brotherhood or Sexual Perversion: Homosexual

174
Identities and the Construction of Sexual Boundaries in the World War I Era," in Duberman,
Vicinus, and Chauncey, eds., 294-317; Eric Garber, "A Spectacle in Color: The Lesbian and Gay
Subculture of Jazz Age Harlem," in Duberman, Vicinus, and Chauncey, eds., 318-331. According
to Chauncey, homosexuality, outside of medical (as opposed to distinctly biological) discourse
did not become an issue within the context of American culture until the 1930s.
12 Steel engraving was an early technique for illustrating printed material. It was limited to just
a few tones, and was contemporary to the Victorian era. Later techniques, in use by the turn of
the century, allowed the use of color in illustrations. Thus the contrast between illustrative
techniques may have stood as a metaphor or heuristic device about changes in middle-class
femininity to fin-de-siécle audiences.
13 Caroline Ticknor, 'The Steel-Engraving Lady and the Gibson Girl," Atlantic Monthly, July
1901,105-108., p. 108.
14Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Discourses of Sexuality and Subjectivity: The New Woman, 1870-
1936," in Duberman, Vicinus, and Chauncey, eds., p. 265.
15 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), p. 176.
16 Michelle Perrot, 'The New Eve and the Old Adam: French Women's Condition at the Turn of
the Century," in Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars, ed. Margaret Randolf
Higgonet, et al. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987), p. 51.
17 Paula Baker, The Domestication of Politics: Women and American Political Society, 1780-
1920," The American Historical Review 89 (1984), p. 644.
18 Ute Frevert, Women in German History: From Bourgeois Emancipation to Sexual Liberation
(New York: Berg, 1988), p. 179.
19 Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken, eds., Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle (Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 5.
20 The late nineteenth-century obsession with vampires and vampirism constitutes one example
of this vilifaction of New Women. Historian Alexandra Warwick notes that many of the late
nineteenth-century literary and artistic vampire were women. Of three major fin-de-siécle
books on vampires, George McDonald's Lilith (1895), Florence Marry at's The Blood of the
Vampire (1897), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1895), it is conspicuous that apart from the count,
all the other vampires were women (Alexandra Warwick, "Vampires and the Empire: Fears
and Fictions of the 1890s," in Ledger and McCracken, eds., p. 203). The vampire represented the
inversion of gender roles, the woman who penetrated men and robbed them of their vitality.
This is one source of the "dreadfulness" of the vampiric New Woman: She revealed the
instability of gender categories. In fact, according to Elaine Showaiter, two of the women
characters in Stoker's tale represented the New Woman. Lucy, for example, represented the
boldness of the New Woman's sexuality. Sought by all men, she wonders "Why can't they let a
girl marry three men, or as many as want her?" (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy, p. 180) The second
image of the New Woman depicts her as a vampire, the hysterical woman whose intellectual
life drain's her family's energy. Women, in the energetic economy of the fin-de-siécle, had a
limited amount of vital energy, and by spending it on thought they robbed their families,
presumably by producing sickly children. Mina, in Stoker's story, represented the intellectual
ambition and achievements of the New Woman. Mina, with the memory and organizational
skills that rival any man's, with her "woman's heart" and a "man's brain," embodied a
suspected psychical inversion of the New Woman. Her femininity was restored only by the
stake the ends her undead life, a metaphoric penetration and rape to restore the balance of the
sexes (Showalter, Sexual Anarchy, pp. 180-181). This image of the New Woman as a vampire
appealed to many contemporaries well into the twentieth century. Early twentieth-century

175
observers like Arabella Kenealy expressed the fear that the "male becomes emasculate when
women invade his domain." (Kenealy. Feminism, p. 249).
21 Elsa Herrmann, 'This is the New Woman," in Kaes, Jay, and Dimendberg, eds., pp. 206-207.
22 Alfred Polgar, 'The Defenseless: A Conversation Between Men," in Kaes, Jay, and
Dimendberg, eds., p. 204. makes this explicit in an imaginary conversation between a father
and son about the changes in women's status that is rather reminiscent of Caroline Tickner's
conversation between the New Woman and the steel-engraving lady. The father, in the face of
his son's treatment of women as women (as opposed to "ladies), laments that his son is blind to
the love of women that prompted men to treat them with deference and that he sees with his
"failing eyes." His son responds, "Father! It is just a passing fog." (Polgar, p. 204).
23 John Higham, 'The Reorientation of American Culture in the 1890s," in Writing American
History, ed. John Higham (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1970), 73-102., p.
82.
24 Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modem Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).,
p. 15.
25 Ibid., p. 15.
26 See Kenealy, Feminism, p. 249, but also chapter IX, 'The Impending Subjection of Man."
27 Carnival as an actual historical phenomenon was limited by and large to Catholic southern
Europe during the middle ages. The use here of the notion of the Lord of Misrule and the
Carnival is for its heuristic value rather than strict historical descriptiveness.
28 Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984),
pp. xvii, 5-7,10, 217-218.
29 Natalie Zemon Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modem France (Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 1975), pp. 102-103. The author of the present study found chapter 4, 'The
Reason of Misrule," and chapter 5, "Women on Top," very suggestive of the position of the New
Woman in Western culture at the fin-de-siécle.
30 Showalter, Sexual Anarchy,, p. 38.
31 Ledger and McCracken, eds., Cultural Politics, p. 5.
32Maugue, L'identité, p. 59.
33 Herrmann, "New Woman," p. 208.
34 Perrot, "New Eve," p. 51.
35 Grossmann, "New Woman, New Family," p. 86.
36 Ibid., p. 2.
37 Dowling, "Decadent," pp. 440-441.
38 Smith-Rosenberg, "Discourses," p. 266.
39 Victoria Bissell Brown, 'The Fear of Feminization: Los Angeles High Schools in the
Progressive Era," Feminist Studies 16 (1990): 493-494.
40 Quoted in Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800
(London: Longman, 1981), p. 43.
41 Helen Horowitz, Alma Mater (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), p. 29.
42 Lillian Faderman, Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendships and Love Between

176
Women from the Renaissance to the Present (New York: Quill, 1981), p. 235.
43 Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place: A History of Changing Ideals and Practices, 1870 to
the Present (New York: Basic Books 1978), pp. 178-179.
44Maugue,L'identité, p. 101.
45 Katherine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty-Two Hundred Women (New York:
Harper, 1929), pp. 262-263, 277-278.
46 Peter Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1986), p. 51.
47 Dijkstra, Idols, p. 169.
48 Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 123. See also Anna Garlin Spencer,
Woman's Share in Social Culture (New York: Mitchell Kennerly, 1912) and Mary K. Sedgwick,
"Some Scientific Aspects of the Woman Suffrage Question," Gunter's Magazine 20 (1901): 333-
344.
49 Dijkstra, Idols, pp. 172-173.
50 Russett, Sexual Science, p. 122.
51 Rothman, Proper, p. 102.
52 Mabel Newcomer, A Century of Higher Education for American Women (New York: Harper &
Row, 1959), p. 26 table 2.
53 Rothman, Proper, p. 107.
54 Perrot, "New Eve," p. 57.
55 Faderman, Surpassing, p. 225.
56 Faderman, Surpassing, p. 227.
57 Chapter 5 contains a discussion of the crisis of fertility in Germany.
58 John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
(New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 58.
59 Louise Michele Newman, Men's Ideas/Women's Realities: Popular Science, 1870-1915 (New
York: Pergamon Press, 1985), p. 105.
60 Walter F. Wilcox, 'The Proportion of Children in the United States," Popular Science
Monthly 67 (1905): 762-763., p. 763.
61 Newman, Men's Ideas, pp. 105-106.
62 Filene, Him/Her/Self, p. 43.
63 Ibid., p. 44.
64 Charles L. Vigue, "Eugenics and the Education of Women in the United States," Journal of
Education Quarterly {Great Britain} 19 (1987): 51.
65 Elaine Kendall, Peculiar Institutions: An Informal History of the Seven Sisters Colleges
(New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1976), p. 28.
66 Ibid., p. 128.
67 Vigue, "Eugenics,", p. 51.

177
68 Roberta Frankfort, Collegiate Women: Domesticity and Careers in Turn-of-the-Century
America (New York: New York University Press, 1977), p. 56 table 4.
69 Ibid., p. 73 table 11.
70 Ibid., p. 57 table 5.
71 Faderman, Surpassing, p. 227.
72 In her book Beyond Separate Spheres: Intellectual Roots of Modern Feminism (New Haven,
CT: Yale University Press, 1982), Rosalind Rosenberg argues that male students at co¬
educational institutions at the fin-de-siécle were definitely different from other middle-class
men by virtue of their having to question their culture's assumptions about sex roles and the
differences in ability between men and women (p. 78). Men at co-educational institutions,
whether students or faculty, existed in a new cultural environment, one in which faced radical
change in the status of women.
73 Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1978), pp. 21, 27, 51.
74 Rosenberg, Beyond Separate Spheres, p. 86.
75 Ibid., p. 87.
76 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 6 December 1896. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.
77 Morgan to Driesch, 29 August 1893, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
78 Morgan to Driesch, 15 April 1896, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
79 for example, Morgan to Driesch, 29 August 1893,24 October 1895,24 February 1896,6 December
1896, 8 January 1897,18 December 1903, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
®°Of all the biological sciences, botany had long been perceived by Western culture as the most
appropriate for women to study. Particularly during the early modern period, specifically the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, botany was a science for women because plants were
perceived as being without the "taint" of sex that rendered the study of animals "indelicate."
Even after 1735, when Carl von Linné published his classification system based explicitly on
the sexuality of plants, botany continued to be a fit pastime for women throughout the
eighteenth century (Londa Schiebinger, The Mind has No Sex? Women in the Origins of
Modern Science [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989], pp. 241-244; Schiebinger,
Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science [Boston: Beacon Press, 1993], p. 203)
This attitude continued into the nineteenth century and the fin-de-siécle period in the United
States. Historian Margaret Rossiter argues that botany was an explicitly "feminine" science
within the divisions of the United States federal agencies, and notes that an article entitled
"Is Botany a Suitable Study for Young Men?" appeared in Science in 1887. In fact, there was a
push within American science to "masculinize" botany and the other life sciences, and this
included excluding women in the name of raising professional standards. Women were excluded
from full membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),
and were often excluded from the discussions of natural history and biology organizations on the
grounds that women would be offended by what Rossiter refers to as the "indelicate remarks"
that might accompany such discussion (Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America:
Struggles and Strategies to 1940 [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982], pp. 61, 76-
77). Of more immediate connection to Morgan and his contemporaries was the attempt, actually
something of a putsch, to displace women from the management of the Woods Hole Marine
Biological Laboratory (MBL). Of the eight original trustees of the MBL, three were women
(Rossiter, Women Scientists, p. 87). However, at the fin de siécle, the users of the lab changed

178
from wealthy gentleman and women naturalists to professional academic biologists such as
Morgan. In 1897, these young Turks ousted the original board and "professionalized" the
practice of biology by excluding the women from experimental animal biology (Rossiter, Women
Scientists, pp. 87-88). Rossiter notes that of the one hundred trustees elected to run the "new"
MBL between 1897 and 1947, only two were women (Rossiter, Women Scientists, p. 88). There
was thus a definite tendency to exclude women from major aspects of biology.
81 Morgan to Driesch, 8 January 1897, p. 2, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS. Original
emphasis.
82 Allen 1978, p. 53.
83 Morgan to Driesch, 24 February 18%, p. 2, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS. Original
emphasis.
84 Morgan to Driesch, 24 February 18%, p. 2, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS. Morgan's
German was rather idiosyncratic. A more grammatically correct way of expressing that
thought might be: "Vielleicht kónntest Du kommen hierüber einmal die zu studieren wie
Abnormalitát nicht?" Translation: "But they are very nice "Ladies;" a pity they should loose
their beauty to study a little biology. Perhaps you'll come over here sometime to study what
abnormality looks like."
85 Smith-Rosenberg, "Discourses of Sexuality," p. 266.
^Thomas Hunt Morgan to Otto Mohr, 16 March 1922. Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, APS.
87 A. H. Sturtevant, "Lilian V. Morgan, 1870-1952." A. H. Sturtevant Papers, Archives of the
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
88 Rossiter, Women Scientists, p. 152 note.
89 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Recent Theories in Regards to the Determination of Sex," Popular
Science Monthly 64 (1903): 97-116.
90 A. H. Sturtevant, 'Thomas Hunt Morgan, 1866-1945," Biographical Memoirs of the National
Academy of Sciences 33 (1959): 289-290.
91 Ibid., pp. 289-290.
92 Jane Maienschein, "What Determines Sex? A Study of Converging Approaches, 1880-1916,"
Jsz's 75 (1984): 467.
93 Allen, Morgan, p. 52.
94 Elof Axel Carlson, The Gene: A Critical History (Philadelphia and London: W. B. Saunders,
1%6), p. 39.
95 Philip Pauly, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 3-5.
96 Wilhelm Roux, 'The Problems, Methods, and Scope of Developmental Mechanics,"
Biological Lectures Delivered at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood's Hole 3(1894):
167.
97 Morgan to Driesch, 8 January 1897, pp. 1-2. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
98 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Developmental Mechanics," Science 7 (1898): 156.
99 Ibid., p. 156.
100 Ibid., p. 157.
101 Ibid., p. 157.

179
102 Ibid., pp. 157-158.
1M Ibid., p. 158.
104 Ibid., p. 158.
105 Robert Kohler, "Drosophila: A Life in the Laboratory," Journal of the History of Biology 6
(1993): 171-192., pp. 288-289.
106 Sturtevant 1959, p. 297.
107 Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence,
APS.
108 Sturtevant 'Thomas Hunt Morgan," p. 286.
109 Kohler, "Drosophila," p. 290. See also Morgan to Driesch, 30 January 1909, Morgan-Driesch
Correspondence, APS.
110 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Sex-Determining Factors in Animals," Science 25 (1907): 382.
111 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Ziegler's Theory of Sex Determination, and an Alternative Point of
View," Science 22 (1905): 839.
m Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Recent Theories in Regards to the Determination of Sex," Popular
Science Monthly 64 (1903): 97. See also Morgan, "Sex-Determining Factors in Animals," Science
25 (1907): 382-384.
113 Morgan, "Recent Theories," pp. 97-99.
114 Maienschein, What Determines Sex?", p. 458.
115 Ibid., pp. 459-460.
116 Maud de Witt Pearl and Raymond Pearl, "On the Relation of Race Crossing to the Sex
Ratio," Biological Bulletin 15 (1908): 195.
117 Ibid., p. 200.
118 Ibid., p. 204 .
119 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 98.
120 Ibid. p. 98.
121 The peculiar life-cycle of certain parthenogenetically-reproducing animals will be discussed
below in connection with Morgan's own work on the subject.
122 Lucien Cuénot, "Sur la détermination du sexe chez les animaux," Bulletin Scientific de France
et de Belgique 32 (1899): 471.
123 Morgan, "Recent Theories," pp. 100-101.
124 Cuénot, "Sur la détermination," p. 507.
125 Ibid., pp. 499-500, 500, 500-503.
126 Ibid., p. 505.
127 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 102.
128 Ibid., p. 114.
129 Ibid., p. 104.
130 Ibid., p. 105.

180
131 Ibid., p. 105.
132 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "An Alternative Interpretation of Gynandromorphous Insects," Science
21 (1905): 634.
133 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 116.
134 Ibid., pp. 105-106.
135 John Beard, 'The Determination of Sex in Animal Development," Zoologische Jahrbücher,
Abteilung für Anatomie und Ontogenie der Thiere 16 (1902): 761.
136 Ibid., pp. 761-762.
137 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 109.
138 William E. Castle, 'The Heredity of Sex," Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology
at Harvard College 40 (1903): 190-191.
139 Ibid., p. 191.
140 Ibid., p. 193.
141 Ibid., p. 194.
142 Ibid., p. 195.
143 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 111.
144 Ibid., p. 111.
145 Ibid., pp. 111-112.
146 See Allen, Morgan, p. 142, and Maienschein 1991, Transforming Traditions, p. 257, and Jane
Maienschein, "Preformation or New Formation~Or Neither Or Both?," in A History of
Embryology, ed. T. J. Horder, J. A. Witkowski, and C. C. Wylie (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1983), 73-108.
147 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 114.
148 Ibid., p. 114.
149 Ibid., p. 114.
150 Ibid., p. 116.
151 Ibid., p. 116.
152 Thomas Hunt Morgan, Experimental Zoology (New York: Macmillan, 1907), pp. 422-423.
153 Ibid., p. 406.
154 George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in
Modern Europe (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), p. 17. See also A. J. L. Busst,
'The Image of the Androgyne in the Nineteenth Century," in Romantic Mythologies, ed. Ian
Fletcher (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1976), 1-95, and Lorraine Daston and Katherine Parks,
'The Hermaphrodite and the Orders of Nature: Sexual Ambiguity in Early Modern France," in
Premodern Sexualities, ed. Louise Fradenburg and Carla Freccero (New York: Routledge, 1996),
117-136.
155 Thomas Hunt Morgan and C. B. Bridges, The Origin of Gynandromorphs, vol. 278, Carnegie
Institution of Washington Publications (Washington, D. C: Carnegie Institution of
Washington, 1919), pp. 4- 5.
156 Morgan, "Developmental Mechanics," p. 158.

181
157Theodor Boveri and Thomas Hunt Morgan, trans., "An Organism Produced Sexually without
Characteristics of the Mother," American Naturalist TJ (1893): 222-232.
158 Ibid., p. 224.
159 Morgan, "Alternative Interpretation," p. 633.
160 Ibid., p. 633.
161 Morgan, "Recent Theories," p. 115. Original emphasis.
162 Ibid., p. 115.
163 Morgan and Bridges, "Origin," p. 5.
164 Morgan, Experimental Zoology, p. 406.
165 Ibid., p. 75. See also, Garland Allen, Life Science in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 54.
166Morgan, Experimental Zoology, pp. 422-423.
167 Nils Roll-Hansen, "Drosophila Genetics: A Reductionist Research Program," Journal of the
History of Biology 11 (1978): 180-181.
168 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex Determination in
Phylloxerans and Aphids," Journal of Experimental Zoology (7): 346.
169 Morgan to Driesch, 23 October 1905, pp. 1-2. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS. Original
emphasis.
170 Morgan, "Ziegler's Theory," p. 839.
171 Thomas H. Montgomery, "Are Particular Chromosomes Sex Determinants?" Biological
Bulletin 19 (1910): 8.
172 Kohler, "Drosophila," pp. 289-290.
173Thomas Hunt Morgan, Heredity and Sex (New York: Columbia University Press, 1914), pp.
178-179.
174 Morgan, "Cytological Study," pp. 277-279.
175 Morgan to Driesch, 20 January 1908, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS, and Morgan 1909,
"Cytological Study," pp. 234-235.
176 Morgan, Heredity and Sex, pp. 180-181.
177 Garland Allen, 'Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Problem of Sex Determination," Proceedings of
the American Philosophical Society 110 (1966): 55.
178 Morgan 1914, Heredity and Sex, pp. 173-174.
179 Ibid., pp. 181-182.
180 Morgan 1909, "Cytological Study," pp. 241-242.
181 Ibid., p. 242.
182 Ibid., p. 337.
183 Ibid., p. 346.
184 Ibid., p. 348.
185 Ibid., p. 348.

182
186 Morgan, Heredity and Sex, pp. 188-193.
187 Morgan to Driesch, 23 October 1905, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
188 See Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Experimental Studies on theTeleost Eggs," Anatomischer
Anzeiger 8 (1893): 803-814; Morgan, "The Production of Artificial Astrospheres," Archiv fiir
Entwicklungsmechanik 3 (1896): 339-361; Morgan, "Studies of the 'Partial' Larvae of
Sphaerechinus," Archiv fiir Entwicklungsmechanik 2(18%): 81-125 and Morgan, "A Study of
Variation in Cleavage," pp. 72-80; Morgan, "Further Studies on the Action of Salt-Solutions on
the Eggs of Arbacia," Archiv fiir Entwicklungsmechanik 10 (1900): 489-524; and Morgan, "Self-
Fertilization Induced by Artificial Means," Journal of Experimental Zoology 1 (1904): 135-178.
189 Morgan, Heredity and Sex, pp. 188-189.
190 Ibid., p. 189.
191 See Philip Pauly's biography of Jacques Loeb, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the
Engineering Ideal in Biology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), for an excellent
account not only of Loeb's interests in the control of life, but also the biological context in which
this was an ideal.
192 Morgan, Heredity and Sex, p. 190.
193 R. Clay Jackson to Morgan, 17 May 1920, in "1920 Notebook." Thomas Hunt Morgan, "1920
Notebook," Box 3, folder 2, Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, The Archives of the California
Institute of Technology, Pasadena California.
194 Morgan, "1920 Notebook," Cal Tech.
195 See, for example, Morgan, "Cytological Study," p. 346.
196 Allen, Morgan, pp. 4-8.
197 See Castle, "Heredity." Castle argued that not only were all sexually reproducing organisms
inherently bisexual, but also that sex was determined through a struggle for dominance between
male and female factors. Because the outcome of this struggle could go either way,
hermaphroditism was an ever-present threat (pp. 194-197).

CHAPTER 4
RICHARD GOLDSCHMIDT, INTERSEXUALITY,
AND HOMOSEXUALITY IN GERMANY
Sexual Inversion and Male Anxiety
The New Woman was not alone in her challenge to the traditional
organization of bourgeois culture. Working along side the New Woman,
though not always with her, was the figure of the sexually "inverted" man,
the homosexual. If the New Woman represented an image of modern
bourgeois womanhood, then the Inverted Man represented to some
bourgeois men what they themselves might become. According to historian
Clyde Griffen, bourgeois culture at the turn of the century viewed
homosexual men as essentially feminine creatures who reversed accepted
masculine sex roles. The various conceptions of the Inverted Man as woman
derived from folk wisdom which held that men who desired other men
somehow wished to be women and were themselves effeminate.1 That
middle-class culture viewed homosexual men in this way is attested to in part
by the fact that partisans of the homosexual emancipation movement argued
that many homosexual men were in fact quite "virile."2 That is, such
partisans of emancipation would not have made that particular argument if it
had not been necessary. In undermining the hard and fast distinctions
between men and women, the sexual invert, almost always male, announced
the decadence and degeneration of modern life. The Inverted Man
183

184
proclaimed the message that masculinity as a stable and self-evident concept
could not be taken for granted.3
The Birth of the Invert
The awareness of homosexuality increased throughout the later
nineteenth century. Although the acts themselves were by no means new to
Western culture, dating back at least to classical antiquity, the meaning
differed from era to era, and it was in the later nineteenth century that
homosexual activity ceased to be an act and came instead to be an integral part
of personal identity. As historian Michel Foucault phrased it, "the
homosexual had become a species."4
This new conception began with a word, a new term around which to
organize new clusters of ideas and associations. In 1869, a Hungarian
physician, Karoly Maria Kertbeny (1824-1882), coined the term 'homosexual.'
As cultural historian Peter Gay notes, it was a linguistic hybrid half Latin and
half Greek.5 Historian Lawrence Birken observes that the German word
Homosexuelle(r) appeared in French as homosexuel(le) only in 1891 and in
English in 1897. Similarly, the German term Heterosexuelle(r) appeared in
English in 1892 and even later in French.6 Birken argues that the concepts
"homosexual" and "heterosexual" implied both the homogenization of sex
implicit in the decline of the separate spheres, which alarmed the bourgeoisie,
and an attempt to halt further slippage.7 The hybrid nature of the word
reflected the hybrid nature that people assumed that inverts possessed. They
were part man and part women, but not really either one. This new linguistic
construct did not crop up in isolation, however, nor does the fact of its
existence explain the concern that the "appearance" of sexual inversion
sparked in Western discourse. The key to understanding, or at least
explaining, that appearance lies in its timing, for homosexuality only became

185
an issue when gender distinctions themselves had become problematic for
the middle classes, as evidenced by the debates about prostitution, the
education of women, the extension of the franchise to women, or,
significantly, the attempt to understand the biology of sex determination.
Homosexuality only became a concern when sexuality became a concern,
because, as historian of sexuality Jeffrey Weeks argues, concern about
homosexuality was often a symptom of larger cultural anxieties.8
The most common view of inversion was that it constituted a sort of
spiritual or mental third sex, a psychic hermaphroditism as described by the
notion of a female soul in a male body or vice versa. Among both male and
female inverts, certain individuals were considered hermaphroditic insofar
as they combined the nature and function of the different sexes, of the sex of
one and psychological attributes of the other.9 Edward Carpenter noted that
"there are distinctions and gradations of Soul-material in relation to Sex-that
the inner psychic affections and affinities shade off and graduate, in a vast
number of instances, most subtly from male to female, and not always in
obvious correspondence with the outer body sex."10
Other experts, however, viewed the hermaphroditism in a more literal
way, so that the Inverted Man was not a psychic hermaphrodite, but a true
somatic and morphological intermediate between male and female bodies.
This really constituted a sort of sexual mosaicism. For example, Carpenter
suggested that in the nervous system might have developed along female
lines while the body along male.11 Otto Weininger, whose posthumous Sex
and Character (1906) represented the summa of fin-de-siécle concerns about
the nature of sex and sexuality and its relation to science, argued that in all
cases of sexual inversion there are indications of the anatomical
characteristics of the so-called opposite sex.12 In fact, the Inverted Man was

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just one point on an entire spectrum of sexuality, whose endpoints were
occupied by "extreme males" with little vestige of femininity and "extreme
females" with few traces of the masculine. In human beings there existed all
sorts of intermediates between the male and the female.13
It was in this way the Inverted Man posed the greatest threat to
masculine self-identity. Some biologists suggested that all bodies harbored
aspects of both sexes (or at least the hereditary factors of both sexes) and the
sex of the body was thought to be labile for a large part of gestation.14
Accordingly, the notion of a third sex, or, more accurately, of "third sexes,"
was both reassuring and subtly horrifying. The third sex was not invented by
the fin de siécle anxiety about shifting notions of sex and gender, but those
shifts made the third sex a much more alarming figure, one that was
supposed to mark the boundaries between male and female behavior.15
Historian George Chauncey, Jr. argues that the Inverted Man became one of
the foremost indicators of the imperiled nature of the bourgeois gender order,
both comforting and alarming. The Inverted Man reassured by allowing
heterosexual men to say "I am not that," but also frightened, because he
seemed to hint that "Perhaps you are." The effeminacy—real or imagined—of
the Inverted Man represented to middle-class men the loss of masculinity
they most feared and undermined the efforts to shore up traditional notions
of masculinity. According to Chauncey, the "womanly demeanor" of the
Inverted Man mocked the faith of middle-class men in the immutability of
gender differences—differences that shifted wildly at the turn of the century-
by showing how a male body did not necessarily make one a "man."16
A Note on Lesbians
One unique aspect of the discourse of sexual inversion in Germany (or
in the United States, for that matter) during the later nineteenth and early

187
twentieth centuries was the relative dearth of interest in sexual inversion in
women, especially as a unique and separate phenomenon, and especially on
the part of biologists.17 Iwan Bloch claimed that "compared with true original
homosexuality in men, the same condition in women is of considerably less
importance, because in women homosexuality is undoubtedly much less
common than it is in men."18 There is, however, relatively little evidence
that investigators actively looked for it, thus its "undoubtedly" lesser
prevalence. Homosexuality meant, by and large, though by no means
exclusively, male homosexuality. Lesbians, despite the rhetoric and hysteria
surrounding the New Woman and the higher education of women, were not
quite as threatening because of the inferior public role of women.19 Then, too,
a lesbian or bisexual woman was not necessarily removed from the
reproductive pool.20 In fact, the charges of lesbianism and man-hating were
largely tropic in nature, and often related to the question of women's
emancipation.21 Discursively, lesbians were more or less invisible other than
as a subset of male sexual inversion, a condition mirrored in the historical
literature.22
Germany: The Crisis of Fertility and a Place in the Sun
In fin-de-siecle and early twentieth-century Germany there was an
intense interest, even an obsession in certain contexts, with certain forms of
sexual discourse. One of these contexts was the concern about the declining
birth-rate. German authorities had monitored birth-rates beginning before
World War One, but concern naturally reached its greatest levels during and
after the war. Anything that encouraged people to limit the size of their
family, or to avoid procreation altogether, was strongly discouraged, if not
prohibited outright.23 Furthermore, during the Wilhelmine and Weimar
eras, high fertility symbolized national virility.24 A decline in fertility thus

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spelled out the fact plainly that Germany males were somehow less than
men, a perception also held abroad.25 It was no coincidence that German
complaints about threatened depopulation, which could be heard
immediately after unification in 1871, swelled to a deafening crescendo after
1900, years that were not coincidentally the years of greatest German
militarism.26 Intellectuals and politicians both warned of the potentially
disastrous military implications of a declining birth-rate.27
The demographic trends were hardly the sort to reassure a bourgeoisie
nervous about its place in a modernizing Germany and uncertain of
Germany's place in the modern order. While marriages had held steady from
the founding of the Second Reich until the eve of the Third (aside from a
war-time spike and post-war bounce), births and deaths declined steadily
(ignoring the war-induced distortions to the mortality figures).28 The German
people lived longer, but also had fewer children, from a post-unification high
of just over forty per thousand inhabitants to just under twenty in about fifty-
five year's time (ca. 1875-1930).29 Germany thus faced the prospect of an aging
population with fewer infants to replace the population or take care of the
elderly. By 1945, some six million out of 67.7 million were forecast to be over
65 years old, or 8.9 per cent of the estimated population. By 1975, that figure
was predicted to climb to 15.3 per cent of the population, and by 2000, the
percentage of the population over 65 years old was projected to be an
alarming 16. 7 per cent.30 At the same time, the proportion of children under
fifteen years of age declined from 34 per cent in 1910 and 23. 3 per cent in 1930
to a projected 21. 3 per cent in 1945 and 16. 8 per cent in 1975. By 2000, only 16.
2 per cent of the German population was projected to be under fifteen years of
age.31 These changes, once a pattern characteristic of the rather narrow
stratum of the Bildungsbiirgertum (the cultivated upper-middle class), began

189
to "trickle down" into the Mittelstand, the lower middle class, and the
working classes.32
Under Siege: Sexual Inversion and Germany
Although declining birth-rates were reason enough for concern, what
alarmed contemporary observers most was the apparent increase in the
incidence and visibility of sexual inversion. As the numbers were difficult to
gauge, estimates of the number of inverts in Germany varied widely. Such
estimates, when they were first made in the middle of the nineteenth
century, were rather low, although they climbed with each successive
estimate. In 1903, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitare Komitee (WhK), a group
devoted to homosexual emancipation, distributed questionnaires to students
and workers about their sexual activities, and deduced from the results that
some 2. 2 per cent of the population of Germany was homosexual. This
meant some 1, 200, 000 inverts in Germany in all. This represented a
dramatic increase from previous estimates, such as the 1864 estimate by Karl
Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), an early proponent of homosexual
emancipation, of 0. 002 per cent, and the 1869 estimate by Kertbeny, who
coined the term 'homosexual/ of 1. 4 per cent.33 Kurt Wolff (b. 1895), a
medical student who based his study of the genetic bases of homosexuality
explicitly on the work of Richard Goldschmidt, calculated in 1922 that
inversion was even more widespread than had been estimated by the WhK.
Based on his study, Wolff estimated that some thirty per cent of the families
he studied displayed some degree of sexual inversion.3,1 Later observers,
eschewing percentages, stated that the number of sexual inverts in Germany
approached two million.35
Two events, both trials, served to increase attention in Germany on
homosexuality around the turn of the century. While one only engaged

190
Germans on an intellectual level, the second and the later of the two, shook
Germany to its core and forced it to consider both its government and
inversion in an ambivalent new light. The celebrated trials of the Anglo-
Irish literary figure Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) for "gross indecency" in 1895
shocked Germans of the cultivated and educated variety, who regarded
Wilde's prosecution and punishment as barbaric. They took his fate as
emblematic of the inferiority of non-German Zivilisation, which punished
the artistic and persecuted the creative when they deviated from the narrow
and rigid boundaries of bourgeois acceptability.36 The accusations of
homosexuality against Fiirst Philipp zu Eulenburg, the closest friend and
intimate of Kaiser Wilhelm II, brought during the trial of the military
commandant of Berlin, Kuno Graf von Moltke in 1907-1908 for 'crimes'
similar to Wilde's, served to highlight the problematic nature of sexual
inversion.37
Historian of sexuality James D. Steakley observes that from 1907 to
1909, Wilhelmine Germany was both amused and shocked by a series of
"journalistic exposés, libel trials, and Reichstag speeches," all of which dealt
in one form or another with alleged inversion rampant in the entourage of
Kaiser Wilhelm II. Together, these events represented not only the most
stunning domestic political scandal in the history of the empire, but also a
watershed in the history of sexuality in Germany.38 The scandals did much to
increase the awareness of inversion in German Ufe, and indeed, had serious
repercussions well outside the drawing rooms and private palaces where
most of the acts allegedly took place. Charlotte Wolff, biographer of Magnus
Hirschfeld, who testified at the so-called Harden trials, named for the
journalist Maximilian Harden who exposed the "corruption" so close to the
emperor, argues that the trials and attendant scandal were a milestone in the

191
history of inversion.39 The accusations on which the affair was based
combined with the various strands of cultural discomfort with sexual matters
to reveal deep-seated fears about homosexuality and degeneration.40 The
political reverberations were even more far reaching, however, not only
because various members of the Wilhelm's entourage (including Eulenburg)
were actually banned from court, but also because of the recognition that
Eulenburg had served as a scapegoat to deflect criticism (including
intimations of sexual ambiguity) from the Kaiser.41 Thus the scandal further
blurred the already frangible borders between the public world of politics and
the private world of sexuality.
Combined with more generalized concerns about the increasing
visibility of the Inverted Man, the Eulenburg Affair served to generate fears of
a homosexual conspiracy to destabilize the Reich. Given the right amount of
fear and paranoia about inversion, the affair easily turned into "evidence"
about a colossal conspiracy to control the German government. Harden
placed precisely this "spin" on it. Harden wrote that "Everywhere there are
men of this tribe, in courts, in high positions in the army and navy, in
ateliers, in the editorial rooms of large newspapers. . . merchants, teachers,
even judges. All united against their common enemy."42 That "common
enemy," of course, was the heterosexual German people. All social strata
expressed fear of this 'menace/ including university biologists. Richard
Hertwig at the University of Munich, for example, first the teacher and then
lifelong friend of the geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, feared that
Goldschmidt's theories about the genetic nature of sexual inversion based on
his own work with intersexual moths would be used by the "supporters of
homosexuality" for another assault on the German state. Theories such as
Goldschmidt's, Hertwig warned, provided comfort to sexual inverts. Such an

192
assault demanded the persecution (Bekampferung) of inverts in the interests
of the state.43 Hertwig felt that the state had an interest in the maintenance of
certain laws, such as the Paragraph 175 of the German penal code, which
outlawed sex between men. Anything that challenged the penal code
challenged the state. Hertwig and others perceived an organized movement
of homosexuals, even before the activity of the WhK. This perception of a
homosexual threat was revived during the National Socialist period. For
example, in 1937, Heinrich Himmler declared that Germany faced "an
epidemic of some 2 million homosexuals, representing 10 per cent of the
entire adult male population."44
A Note on the Tolerance' of Weimar-Era Germany
Although homosexuality—what opponents called the
"Homosexualitiitsproblem"(the problem of homosexuality)45—was an issue in
every urban area, one city above all others in Germany before and after World
War One stood out as the capital of sexual inversion, both in Germany and in
the West, and that was Berlin. The homosexual presence in Berlin was
strong enough to pique the interest of the Prussian ministers of Justice and
the Interior, who monitored both the homosexual prostitutes and the drag
balls.46 In fact, homosexuality was highly visible during the inter-war
period—the number of homosexual bars having risen from approximately
forty in 1914 to eighty in 1929-and posed a challenge to the moral right.47
Berlin abounded in public and private dance-halls, restaurants, and salons
that catered to homosexuals from all classes before World War One.48 Stefan
Zweig writing after World War Two noted after that during the inter-war
period
Along the entire Kurfürstendamm powdered and rouged young men
strolled, and not only the "professionals" [i.e., prostitutes]; in the
dimly-lit bars one saw state secretaries and prominent businessmen

193
tenderly paying court to drunken sailors without shame. Not even the
Rome of Suetonius had such orgies as the Berliner transvestite balls,
with hundreds of men in women's clothes and women in men's
clothes, and all under the eyes of the pólice.49
Through the early decades of the twentieth century, then, there existed in
Berlin an extensive, and, it would appear, tolerated homosexual population.
The tolerance of the Weimar era is nearly legendary.50 The question
exists, however, whether a failure to act against homosexuality equaled a
toleration of homosexuality. Berlin's status vis-á-vis homosexuality was an
anomaly, as was its status with respect to the rest of Germany. At a time
when almost half of the German population (63 million people) lived in
cities of under five thousand, Berlin hosted a teeming 4. 3 million
inhabitants.51 Numerically Berlin represented a small fraction of Germans.
Kurt Tucholsky, a left-leaning journalist, noted that Berlin was German, but
Germany was not berlinerisch.52 Historian Paul Weindling argues that the
fears and the fantasies of the right preyed on the extreme and unusual, and
thus Berlin during the inter-war period became a symbol of the decadence
and achieved world renown for uninhibited sexuality. So that while there
was the relaxation of prohibition in Berlin, Berlin constituted a case unto
itself and cannot be compared to the rest of Germany.53 Berlin was not so
much tolerant as enormous, and there the individual could disappear, while
groups, even of the socially despised, could work more easily.54 The
'acceptance' of inversion in Weimar Germany was always a relative term. It
was never condoned or celebrated by any but a comparatively small urban
minority, nor was it ever really tolerated in the rest of Germany outside of the
largest cities.
The relative tolerance in Berlin, then, did not mean that Germans in
general welcomed homosexuality or collectively tolerated it; they did not.55 A

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medical report on public "immorality," part of the Wilhelmine obsession
with sex and prostitution, linked homosexuality to pederasty, sado¬
masochism, and pornography.56 To the educated mind of a physician, part of
the cultivated middle class, homosexuality was simply another form of vice,
indistinguishable from other pernicious practices. A report issued in 1906
made the connection—and the condemnation—even clearer. Wherever one
found prostitution, one also found masturbation and homosexuality.57
Homosexuality, a phenomenon which, despite the rhetoric, few in the
middle classes had any real notion of, was equal to prostitution, the béte-noire
of bourgeois morality crusaders. It was a form of sexual irregularity, and they
needed to know no more. The repeal of Paragraph 175 would constitute a
national tragedy by unleashing these forces of dissolution and degeneration.58
The laws against homosexuality remained on the books through
World War Two and the post-war years.59 Throughout the Wilhelmine and
Weimar eras there were petitions to end the Paragraph 175 of the penal code,
which outlawed sexual relations between men, all of which were
unsuccessful.60 While certain German states like Bavaria had followed the
example of the Code Napoléon before 1871 and differentiated between
'immoral' acts committed by individuals and crimes committed against the
state, other states, like Prussia, penalized homosexuality. Although the death
penalty for homosexuality was abolished in 1851, Prussia still punished
homosexual acts by prison terms and civil restrictions. This continued to be
the law of the German empire after 1871, owing to Prussian dominance, and
became codified as Paragraph 175 of the new imperial criminal code.61 The
WhK submitted one of many such petitions to the imperial government on
23 December 1903. Magnus Hirschfeld argued eloquently for the idea that
inverts were not the result of degeneration and represented no threat to the

195
state. In support of this petition he appended the signatures of many eminent
cultural producers.62 These and similar efforts amounted to nil, however,
and Paragraph 175 remained on the books. In fact, throughout the 'tolerant'
Weimar era, the link between homosexuality and national catastrophe, along
with the fears of degeneration and depopulation, remained intact.63
Sexualwissenschaft: Germany and the Science of Sex
For all the bourgeois reticence about sexuality,64 Germany had one of
the first homosexual emancipation movements in the West.65 According to
historian Modris Eksteins in the years immediately preceding World War
One, it also had the largest.66 An organized study of sexuality in all its
iterations in scientific terms constituted an integral part of this emancipatory
effort.67 Sexology, as it was and is called, represented no unified approach or
tradition, nor did its practitioners come from the same intellectual or
theoretical perspectives.68 The study of sex and sexuality, so thoroughly a part
of medicine in the late twentieth century, was a part of no particular
discipline in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The
disciplinary separations and distinctions that the late twentieth century is
accustomed to had not yet solidified. Thus the divisions between biology,
medicine, and anthropology were not always clear.69 Thus sexology drew
from a range of disciplines, including genetics, developmental biology,
endocrinology, gynecology, psychoanalysis and psychology, sociology, and
ethnology.70 Accordingly, some academic biologists, particularly in Europe,
such as Goldschmidt, studied sex and sexuality as much, if not more, than did
physicians. The methods of study and investigation were 'biological,' not
'medical,' and the subjects were animals, rather than the human animal.
Perhaps of greatest interest, or at least relevance, to the sex problem, is
Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1933), a physician, founder and head of the

196
Wissenschaftlich-humanitáre Komitee, an organization devoted to the
emancipation of homosexuals from civil disabilities and to public education,
and the sexologist with whom biologists like Goldschmidt was most familiar.
Hirschfeld was born in the Baltic German city of Kolberg in 1868, the son of a
Jewish physician who influenced Magnus to study medicine. At university,
he initially studied languages, switching to medicine in his second year. He
studied at the universities of Strasbourg, Munich, and Heidelberg before
completing his medical degree at Berlin in 1893. Throughout his career, in
addition to his medical practice, Hirschfeld also served as an advisor on
matters of public sanitation, temperance, and aspects of the "life reform
movement."71 Influenced by his own homosexuality, Hirschfeld never
claimed to be the neutral, uninvolved observer of human sexuality that
Richard von Krafft-Ebing did. Instead, Hirschfeld possessed an almost
evangelical enthusiasm to bring the "truth" about sexuality to all. Though he
started out as something of a propagandizer for homosexuality, he was also a
significant researcher into the biology of sexuality.72 His most extensive work,
then, was with the WhK and the homosexual emancipation movement.
Hirschfeld founded the WhK on 15 May 1897 in Charlottenburg (a
suburb of Berlin). Its purpose was to "ground securely in experimental results
and the self-knowledge of many thousands of people the final understanding
that the love of persons of the same sex, so-called homosexuality, is neither a
vice nor crime, rather a tendency deeply rooted in the nature of many
people."73 Homosexuality thus constituted not a willful contravention of
society's rules, but rather an innate tendency, and as such should not be
subject to prosecution.
The 'scientific' part of Hirschfeld's organization's name was quite
important. By invoking science in the name of the WhK, Hirschfeld not only

197
touched on a crucial aspect of science as a constituent of modernity, one that
rendered the notion of homosexuality-as-sin irrelevant, but he also associated
his group with the biological and medical research that demonstrated that
inversion was a biological condition rather than a sickness or a sign of
degeneration.74 The WhK intended to use science to prove just that. From
the beginning the WhK aimed to bring about the repeal of Paragraph 175.75
To that end, the WhK submitted to the Reichstag a petition bearing the
signatures of some 3000 of the most prominent scientists, physicians, jurists,
writers, artists, and the socially prominent in German society.76 In support of
the WhK, and in support of the scientific study of sexuality, Hirschfeld
founded and published a journal, the Jahrbuch fiir sexuelle Zwischenstufen
(the yearbook for sexual intermediaries), the first volume of which appeared
in 1899.77 The journal spearheaded the campaign of the WhK against
Paragraph 175, and supported Hirschfeld's theories of sexual inversion.78
Hirschfeld, in addition to his organizational duties with the WhK and
his pedagogical efforts on behalf of the homosexual emancipation movement
spearheaded by it, developed a "third sex" theory of homosexuality that
echoed theories common in contemporary biology and medicine.
Hirschfeld's theory viewed inversion as an organic abnormality rather than
as a moral failing. For Hirschfeld, homosexuality constituted an intermediate
stage (Zwischenstufe) between complete masculinity and complete
femininity. Homosexual men and women were physically male or female
but with a series of sexual and emotional characteristics of the other sex.
Hirschfeld accordingly classified homosexuality as a sort of hermaphroditism,
really a kind of a third sex. Whereas some earlier theorists of sexuality viewed
homosexuality as almost entirely mental in nature, and sexual inverts as
kinds of psychic hermaphrodites, and others viewed the hermaphroditism in

198
a somatic sense, Hirschfeld viewed it as both.79 Homosexuals were both
physically and psychically hermaphroditic.
In Hirschfeld's scheme, all creatures contained the factors for both sexes
(what contemporary biologists termed "bisexuality"). He wrote, 'The two
sexes unite all that descend from two sexes."80 Much like William E. Castle's
Mendelian sex-determination scheme of 1903, Hirschfeld's theory held that
each individual possessed the factors for both sexes. All apparent qualitative
differences in the sexual make-up of an individual were actually of a
quantitative nature. Various strengths of "developmental substances"
combined to produce the sexual constitution of the organism, rather than sex
being a matter of chance or of arbitrary or accidental properties.81 Which sex a
body expressed depended on the quantitative relation between these
"developmental substances." Hirschfeld expressed this idea first in Sappho
und Sokrates (1902). Whereas Castle postulated selective fertilization of eggs
by sperm ('male' eggs and 'female' sperm; 'female' eggs and 'male' sperm),
Hirschfeld proposed a series of possible male-female combinations which ran
the gamut from 'normal' heterosexually-inclined men and women to male
and female psychical hermaphrodites displaying certain somatic features of
the other sex (Seelenzzvitter), to 'normal' homosexually-inclined men and
women.82 All people in Hirschfeld's scheme were intersexual varieties of one
sort or another. Homosexuals were simply variants in an unbroken series.83
It was this tendency of non-specialists in heredity to weigh in on the
biological aspects of the sex problem, particularly on the matter of the
causation and determination of sex, that irritated Goldschmidt the most about
sexology. Referring to that subject as one that had become a "hotbed of the
imagination,"84 which grew out of the "fantasies of the common ruck,"85
Goldschmidt believed that only biologists should make public

199
pronouncements about biological matters such as the sex problem and the
determination of sex. Science had specialized to the point where neighboring
disciplines often worked on identical problems, and that very specialization
harmed it, especially when scholars "dabble in areas they do not fully
understand."86 Although Goldschmidt was rather circumspect, he made it
clear that non-biologists, particularly the sexologists, were out of their depth
and out of their league where the sex problem and sex determination were
concerned. To the minds of many academic biologists, in fact, sexologists
misused a biological science that they failed to understand fully.87 Sex
determination, including human homosexuality, should be the unique
province of biologists. Thus, Goldschmidt ventured into the terra incognita
of human homosexuality to tease out the connections and relations that only
a biologist could make, began on his experiments with sexually aberrant gypsy
moths. In Goldschmidt's mind, and the minds of many of his contemporary
biologists, human sexuality was a part of that work, and one of early
twentieth-century genetics' greatest triumphs.88
Richard Goldschmidt and the Determination of Sex
Over a span of some twenty years Goldschmidt postulated a series of
intricate formulae and hypotheses about the nature of sex determination and
development. Based on Mendelian principles, all of these answers to the sex
problem, including his work on intersexuality, depended on the precise
balance of female and male factors. Just as in bourgeois culture, so in biology:
The perturbation of the balance between femininity and masculinity resulted
in wild changes and the blurring of the borders between the sexes.
Goldschmidt graduated with his Ph.D. degree in January 1902 and, after
serving his mandatory year in the army, accepted the invitation of Richard
Hertwig to join Iris staff at the University of Munich in 1903. There

200
Goldschmidt did "mostly morphological work in the histology, cytology, and
embryology of different groups of invertebrates, as well as some
protozoology." From about 1903 to ca. 1910, Goldschmidt worked in
morphology and believed that he had made a number of important
contributions, enough to establish his reputation as a biologist, even if he had
done nothing more of substance.89 The German (and later, American)
geneticist Curt Stern stated that Goldschmidt as a young scholar achieved a
high degree of prominence: In addition to his discoveries and "stimulating
hypotheses and theories," he founded the Archiv für Zellforschung, (Archive
for Cell Research) which he edited and which achieved virtually immediate
international recognition. At Hertwig's institute at the University of Munich,
Goldschmidt gave lectures and supervised laboratory courses, and also led a
school of advanced students from a variety of countries.90
For all that, however, Goldschmidt grew increasingly dissatisfied with
his work as the first decade of the twentieth century turned into the second.
Accordingly, he turned to the fledgling science of genetics. In 1909
Goldschmidt read Wilhelm Johannsen's Elemente der exakten
Erblichkeitslehre (Elements of Genetics), published that year, which had a
profound impact on him. His choice of experimental material was suggested
by a study of the Swiss biologist M. Standfuss's experiments carried out on
moths in the era before classical genetics. Goldschmidt elected to perform
experiments in both evolutionary genetics and sex determination in order to
demonstrate the action of genes in development.91 Goldschmidt's problem in
evolution involved industrial melanism in the nun moth, Lymantria
monacha. A note in Standfuss, however, mentioned the appearance of
"sexual abnormalities" after crossing various geographical races of Saturnid
moths. Thus Goldschmidt searched for races of moths which could be raised

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easily in large numbers and which might provide the phenomenon that
attracted his attention. Of the many crosses he tried, Goldschmidt found that
one in particular between European and Japanese varieties of the gypsy moth,
L. dispar and L. dispar japónica, produced the desired sexual ambiguity.
Goldschmidt, reflecting back after many years, acknowledged his luck, because
there were many varieties of the gypsy moth, whose matings produced a
variety of results depending on the different crosses. Goldschmidt, however,
found gynandromorphic progeny in the Fj generation.92
Goldschmidt benefited from another instance of good fortune. He
learned of a recently deceased amateur breeder of gypsy moths from the
publications of another scientist. This breeder, O. Brake, who had
scrupulously followed scientific protocols, bred the moths for some eight
generations.93 Carl Frings, a professor of philology at Bonn, put Goldschmidt
in contact with Brake's son.94 The son gave his father's results and materials
to Goldschmidt, which allowed him to make comparisons and draw
conclusions based on considerably more data than he himself had amassed in
the first few years of the sex determination work.95 Goldschmidt initially
termed these sexually aberrant moths that he produced 'gynandromorphs,' a
catch-all designation which included all manner of sexual blurring. He
noticed, however, that his gynandromorphs differed from those described by
other researchers. Most gynandromorphs contained male and female regions
of differing genetic constitution, much like those forms that Morgan reported
on. Goldschmidt, however, noted that his moths possessed a uniform and
seemingly normal genetic constitution.96 For a decade and a half, then,
Goldschmidt attempted to use the results of his own experiments, combined
with the results of others, to arrive at a uniform consideration of the sex
problem, and he claimed that almost "everything that is known to biology

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about sex determination is known through the graces of the work on
intersexual forms."97 The intersexual moths were central to Goldschmidt's
thoughts about not only sex determination, but all of heredity.
Before the Intersexes: Goldschmidt's Early Views of Sex Determination
Goldschmidt's first ideas on sex determination can be exhibited
through a careful scrutiny of the handful of papers he published before and
after World War One, taking the work from its earliest quasi-Mendelian
framework to the appearance and recognition of the intersexes and the
articulation of the time law. Goldschmidt delivered his earliest views on the
determination of sex before a group of amateur naturalists, the Senckenberg
Society of Naturalists, in 1909 or 1910. He introduced the notion of a back-
cross between an individual homozygous (recessive) for a trait and a
heterozygous individual. The resulting progeny demonstrated either of the
two parental types in a one-to-one ratio. Thus if one substituted maleness
and femaleness for the homozygous and heterozygous individuals, then a
similar relationship obtained.98
The key, however, was not so much the vague Mendelian "factors,"
but the relation of those factors to chromosomes. Goldschmidt suggested that
the key to the problem resided in the sex cells—the egg and sperm—whose
union at fertilization begins each individual life. Since ova and spermatozoa
were cells just like any other cell of the body, and since cells were the
building-blocks of the organism, Goldschmidt reasoned that the egg and
sperm must contain in their nucleus and cytoplasm what he termed "the
most meaningful element": chromatin.99 Eggs and sperm each carried a
determined and specific dose of that hereditary material, which, Goldschmidt
claimed, in the opinion of most biologists, provided the material substrate for
the hereditary processes and was the carrier of heredity.100

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Yet the fact that the males of some species possessed an accessory
chromosome, while the males of others lacked one chromosome compared to
the females, caused Goldschmidt to wonder if the number of chromosomes
present did not play some role in sex determination, rather than the simple
fact of their physical presence determining sex. In two papers in 1910, "Das
Problem der Geschlechtsbestimmung" (The Problem of Sex Determination)
and "Kleine Beobachtungen und Ideen zur Geschlechtsbestimmung" (Brief
Observations and Ideas About Sex Determination), Goldschmidt
hypothesized that there were, in fact, two varieties of chromatin,
idiochromatin, which was the substrate for transmission of heredity, and
trophochromatin, which supplied material and energy for cellular processes.
All chromosomes consisted of idiochromatin, save for what late twentieth-
century genetics would term the sex chromosomes, which consisted of
trophochromatin.101
Goldschmidt compared trophochromatin with an incinerator.102 The
meaning of this for sex determination stemmed from the notion that all eggs,
which Goldschmidt knew were haploid, or contained half of the adult
chromosome number, possessed one piece of trophochromatin, while only
half of the sperm cells did. Thus Goldschmidt thought that an egg fertilized
by a trophochromatin-containing sperm had two "incinerators" and as a
consequence exploited energy faster and better, and hence developed first.
These gave rise to female organisms, while an egg fertilized by a sperm
containing no trophochromatin, because it had only one "incinerator," grew
more slowly and hence produced a male.103 The trophochromatin naturally
assimilated the products of the nucleus and diffused to the plasma chemical
materials or energy for various cell functions. Goldschmidt suggested that
the accessory chromosome served this role, as the fact of its qualitative

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differences from the others had been demonstrated.104 That is, cytologists had
demonstrated that animals possessing it developed in one direction sexually,
while those lacking it developed in another.
This proposal, really a sort of speculative hypothesis, raised important
considerations for both Goldschmidt's views of sex determination, as well as
for his views of the function of the chromosomes and the theories of heredity
and evolution he based on them. Goldschmidt presented a quantitative sex
determination scheme, although he admitted the tentative nature of his
conclusions. Sex determination was a qualitative process to the extent that
the combination of unchangeable hereditary factors involved a kind of
hybridization between masculinity and femininity, or it constituted a
quantitative process in which the larger or smaller chromosome did not
matter so much as its impact on the metabolic activity of the organism.105
Furthermore, he did not rule out that both models of the determination of
sex (qualitative and quantitative) were still equally possible.106 In the former
case, the chromosomes in and of themselves made the difference, because
they possessed individual qualities and identity. In the latter, it was the
presence or absence of a metabolically active variety of chromatin which
determined sex.
The first view—the quantitative, morphological—was the orthodox
Mendelian perspective suggested by Mendel himself.107 Sex constituted a
hereditary quality transmitted like any other through the intricate dance of
chromosomes. This perspective troubled Goldschmidt due not only to the
lack of real cytological knowledge of the cellular basis of transmission, that is,
because there was no proof that chromosomes really bore hereditary qualities,
and also, and perhaps more troubling to Goldschmidt, because it implied that
heredity constituted a sort of cytological "dice game with immutable

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qualities" (ein Würfelspiel mit unverriickbaren Qualitaten").'m
Goldschmidt's quantitative approach depended on no such games of chance,
and he argued that cytological considerations mandated that perspective.109
Although his initial theory of sex determination was only loosely based
on Mendelism, owing more to cytology and physiological chemistry,
Goldschmidt turned rapidly towards Mendelism to explain sex. Rather than
positing vague "factors" Goldschmidt in 1911 proposed that actual unit
characters played an important role in the determination of sex.110 Yet for
Goldschmidt, these unit characters were a convenient shorthand with little
prediscursive reality. Goldschmidt noted that the "close parallelism" between
cytological events and Mendelian hypotheses led to the assumption that sex
inheritance could be explained if one assumed that inherited Mendelian
factors were carried on the chromosomes. Thus inherited Mendelian factors
which determine sex were actually only a symbolic means of describing what
"really" occurred when chromosomal mechanisms began to work.111
It was with these considerations that Mendelian formulae made their
first appearance in Goldschmidt's work. He felt that secondary sex characters
played a particularly important role in attempts to solve the sex problem, and
hence the means of their appearance in the organism were of special
importance.112 The moths he studied, which were characterized by a marked
sexual dimorphism between adult females and males, demonstrated the
development of secondary sex characters particularly well.113 However,
Goldschmidt noticed a peculiar phenomenon in certain races of gypsy moths,
especially in hybrids between the European form dispar and the Japanese
form japónica. He found that if he crossed a japónica female with a dispar
male the resulting hybrids of both sexes displayed the presumably normal
secondary sex characteristics of the parents. Although the reciprocal crossing

206
of a dispar female with a japónica male produced normal males, the female
progeny of the reciprocal cross exhibited gynandromorphism. Although
these animals were basically female because their ovaries were more or less
fully developed with fertile eggs, the secondary sex characters combined
aspects of the female and male adult.114 These gynandromorphic females,
while possessing relatively normal ovaries and eggs, nonetheless displayed
male secondary sex characters. Goldschmidt also observed that some of these
gynandromorphic females with relatively standard female genitalia could be
fertilized to produce offspring in the ratio of one normal female to one
gynandromorphic female to two males.115 This regularity, which bore a
striking relationship to elementary Mendelian ratios, suggested to
Goldschmidt a means to try to discover experimentally the genetic basis for
the anomaly.
To explain the gynandromorphy, Goldschmidt proposed a basic
Mendelian explanation in his 1911 paper, "Ãœber die Vererbung der
sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere" (On the Genetics of Secondary Sex
Characters). He posited that Lymantria moths possessed three pairs of alleles
for sex, F standing for the feminine sex factor (primary sex characteristics), W
representing female secondary sex characters, and M the male secondary sex
characters. Goldschmidt posited that W was "epistatic" to M (lower-case
letters designated a lack of a character). Thus the formula FfWwMm
represented a female, while ffwwMM designated the male. Goldschmidt, in
accordance with basic Mendelian tenets, assumed that in the female F and M
and W assorted separately-Goldschmidt used the term "repulsion"—so that
the female formed only two kinds of gametes: FWm and fwM.116 Thus
Goldschmidt thought that each female body was bisexual, and possessed the
sex factors for both males and females; each male body, owing to

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Goldschmidt's use of the presence-absence hypothesis rather typical of
Mendelian formulations of heredity at this time, lacked primary sex
characters altogether.
Goldschmidt's Mendelian interpretation differed from other such
interpretations in one key area: His interpretations were physiological, rather
than morphological. Each character represented a whole suite of
physiological effects, the effects that made a body an adult of either sex. These
factors referred to the relative level of physiological activity associated with
the traits they represented. Thus Goldschmidt hypothesized that each trait
possessed a 'relative power.' W, which designated the female secondary sex
characters, was epistatic, or dominant, to M, the male secondary sex character
factor. However, if an unusually vigorous M existed, its effects might no
longer be suppressed by the epistatic W. Goldschmidt, in order to explain the
appearance of the gynandromorphs that resulted from the mating of a dispar
female with a japónica male, suggested that the japónica race possessed factors
for the secondary sex characters, both W and M, at a higher potency.117 (To
avoid confusion, Goldschmidt designated higher-potency factors with bold¬
face letters.) The factor for the male secondary sex characteristics varies in
strength depending upon the race of origin. Accordingly, the reciprocal cross
yielded the following progeny:
dispar female
japónica male
ffMMww
fMw
FfWwMm118
Formula:
Gametes:
FfWwMm
Fwm, fwM
ffMmWW
Ft:
In this example, females possessed the higher-potency M secondary sex factor,
which Goldschmidt presumed to be more physiologically active. In other
words, the female secondary sex factor which, in matings within a single race,

208
dispar for example, usually "overpowered" (i.e., was more physiologically
active) the masculine secondary sex character, could not overcome the
stronger M. Thus this crossing produced gynandromorphic females and
normal males.119 Where some Mendelian schemes for the determination of
sex posited an inherent bisexuality and relied an elaborate and ad hoc
selective fertilization mechanism to explain both regular fertilization and
gynandromorphy, Goldschmidt's depended on nothing but fertilization and
Mendelian inheritance.
The notion of a balance between the male and the female in these
bodies was not lost on Goldschmidt, and as he continued to breed
gynandromorphic moths he developed this idea further. Although
Goldschmidt initially found only gynandromorphic females, further work
suggested by the wealth of material Goldschmidt obtained from the amateur
breeder, in fact yielded male gynandromorphs.120 Goldschmidt's first sex
determination scheme posited factors only for female primary sex
characteristics. The discovery, or the manufacture, of male gynandromorphs,
however, forced Goldschmidt to reconsider the matter of sex characters and
thus his entire symbolic system. Goldschmidt thus presented a revised
Mendelian formula for sex determination in his 1912 paper,
"Erblichkeitsstudien an Schmetterlingen" (Hereditary Studies of Butterflies).
Goldschmidt designated F to represent the primary female sex determiner
and M the primary male sex determiner. G served to represent the female
secondary sex characters and A the male. In all cases, the lower-case letter, f,
m, g, or a, indicated the lack of the character in question. However, these
added factors complicated Goldschmidt's earlier and relatively simple
Mendelian scheme. Thus Goldschmidt assumed that F and M existed in an
epistatic relationship, M dominating F. Likewise, A and G were epistatic,

209
with A dominating G. These factors were relative to each other
quantitatively such that two of the hypostatic elements (the non-dominant
one) together dominated the epistatic elements. That is, FF was epistatic to M,
and GG was likewise epistatic to A. Accordingly Goldschmidt designated a
female by the formula FFMmGGAa and the male by FFMMGGAA.121 Thus
every female trait was balanced by a corresponding male trait.
The notion of a balance between the female and male, the masculine
and the feminine, provided the key to this system. Goldschmidt termed this
balance the "epistatic minimum," the minimum amount of the sex-
producing substance needed in order for to be physiologically active.122
Goldschmidt acknowledged this point as a decisive moment in his thinking
about the determination of sex:
one day walking home a dark night the two miles from the lab I
suddenly understood the amazing genetical [sic] situation, which was
outside the accepted Mendelian tenets. I had found what is today called
the balance theory of sex determination.123
In normally developing organisms, the male and female substances existed in
a balance that allowed the "appropriate" sex to develop. The secondary sex
characters of the male were stronger—that is, more physiologically active—
than those of the female. This was true of both the dispar and the japónica
races, which explains the gynandromorphy of the reciprocal matings, and in
both cases, A had to have been epistatic to G, possessing a greater efficacy or
potency. In both races, Goldschmidt thought that the relative power of A to G
was approximately equal. That is, the ratio was the same, not the actual
potencies involved. The japónica male, which displayed the male secondary
sex characters in a stronger, more robust manner than the dispar male,
possessed a stronger A factor to counter-balance it. At a crossing of the races

210
the different elements came together, and the different epistatic strengths
produced a new balance between the sexes.
Once again designating the stronger japónica factors with bold-faced
letters, Goldschmidt ascertained through his experiments that G>G, A>A,
A>G, and A>G. The epistatic minimum, then, was the absolute minimum
amount of a given factor at which it is epistatic over its complementary factor.
If the minimum or a greater amount was present, sex developed normally.
Likewise, if the amount of a given factor was less than the minimum, then
epistasis did not obtain and development was gynandromorphic.
Goldschmidt calculated the relative epistatic minima: 2A-2G>e, 2G-A>e, 2G-
A>e, 2G-A combinations of factors produced variously sexed bodies:
GGAa produces a normal female
GGAa produces a normal female
GGAa produces a gynandromorphic female
GGAa produces a normal female
GGAa produces a gynandromorphic female
GGAa produces a normal female
GGAa produces a gynandromorphic female
GGAa produces a normal female124
For the male, however, the only combination which produced a
gynandromorph was GGAA. Otherwise, the crossings produced normal
males. Goldschmidt interpreted this to mean that the dispar A was stronger
than the japónica G.125 Goldschmidt accordingly expanded the scope of his
earlier theory to accommodate the notion that female, as well as male, factors
could dominate their complements in the various racial crossings.
While Goldschmidt maintained this generally Mendelian model for
the determination of sex for some time, he modified aspects of it significantly.
One such modification grew out of his considerations of the cytological issues

211
surrounding the determination of sex. In 1911, Karl Heider, professor of
zoology at Innsbruck, Austria, wrote to Goldschmidt to inquire whether or
not he would participate in a session on genetics for the September 1912
meeting of the German Society of Scientists and Physicians. Heider proposed
that Goldschmidt take the cytological aspects of genetics, while Carl Correns
would take the experimental side.126 This set of lectures was later published
in 1913 as Die Vererbune und Bestimmung des Geschlechts (The Genetics and
Determination of Sex), jointly authored by Correns and Goldschmidt. From
his Mendelian formulae and their implications, which appeared to describe
sex determination and development, Goldschmidt concluded that, on the
basis of his own experimental work on the secondary sex characteristics of
moths, "experimental work with chromosomes and Mendelian experiments
are in complete harmony, and that they represent only two different ways of
viewing and expressing the same constellation of facts."127 This
"constellation of facts" was the actual mechanism for the determination of
sex, and Goldschmidt believed that it described physiologically how a body
effected sex. Goldschmidt's work thus moved beyond description into
explanation. Accordingly, Mendelism still represented a sort of shorthand for
the physiological events that interested Goldschmidt.
In one crucial area, however, Goldschmidt retreated from his earlier
theories of sex determination, and that was on the subject of the energetic
model. Rather than depending on such a metabolic theory, variations of
which were held by many leading lights of genetics, Goldschmidt accepted sex
as a "mendelizing" character.128 Thus unit characters actually determined sex,
as opposed to effected a balance of energy-regulating trophochromatin or
merely symbolized the actual physio-chemical mechanism.129 Sex

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determination, then, may indeed have been a dice game, but the dice
described real physiological events.
Die Weibchenmannchen: The First Intersexes
In 1914, Goldschmidt, together with a student, Hermann Poppelbaum,
published the last of the Lymantria work before the outbreak of World War
One. This paper, "Erblichkeitsstudien an Schmetterlingen II: Weitere
Untersuchungen Uber die Vererbung der sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere
und des Geschlechts" (Hereditary Studies in Butterflies II: Further
Investigations in the Genetics of Secondary Sex Characters and Sex) proved
quite significant to Goldschmidt's study of sex determination through sexual
aberration. Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum found something rather intriguing
that ultimately provided confirmation for Goldschmidt's hypothesis about
the origins of gynandromorphs. Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum made a
thorough examination of the experimental moth cultures, and found male
gynandromorphs, the existence of which Goldschmidt had heretofore missed.
Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum reasoned that the principle that produced
female gynandromorphs should have produced male gynandromorphs, as
well. They discovered males that appeared to be intermediate for adult
coloration, a strongly dimorphic trait in Lymantria. In fact, they found male
gynandromorphs only in multiple-hybrid matings, such as a female (japónica
female X dispar male) crossed with a male (japónica female X dispar male), or
a female (japónica female X dispar male) crossed with a male (dispar female X
japónica male).130
Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum, however, made another, perhaps more
significant, discovery in these cultures of gynandromorphic males. After an
analysis of the various strengths and factorial combinations that constituted
male gynandromorphy, they realized that they had another, different form of

213
sexually-aberrant moth. The phenomenon was not gynandromorphy at all.
Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum dubbed these the "Weibchenmannchen," the
"little she-men." With ordinary gynandromorphy, female or male, although
the secondary sex characters demonstrated the shifting from one sex to the
other, the sex glands (Geschlechtsdriisen) themselves remained unaffected.131
Thus even though the secondary sex characters were altered, sometimes
quite dramatically, the primary sex characters—what was presumably at the
heart of morphological sex—remained unaffected. Not so with the
Weibchenmannchen, the fundamental gender of which, too, was blurred
between the sexes. These were 'males' which were somehow subtly female in
the very essence of their maleness. Whereas with simple gynandromorphy,
the secondary sex characters, G and A, alone existed in such a relationship,
Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum ascertained that the primary sex factors, F and
M, too, existed in such an epistatic relationship. Just as the dispar secondary
sex factors had lower strength or potency than those oí japónica, so too were
the primary japónica factors stronger than those of the dispar race.132
Although by superficial appearances these males appeared to by
gynandromorphic, their gonads revealed otherwise. Nor were these moths
hermaphroditic, since only one set of sex organs occurred, which were neither
female nor male. Cross-sectional studies of the sex glands revealed a sort of
"inter-gonad" (Zwitterdriise), an organ somewhere between a testicle and an
ovary. In many cases these Zwitterdrtisen contained both sperm and eggs.133
Whereas gynandromorphs were somewhat superficially male and female, the
Weibchenmannchen represented the blurring of sexual boundaries on the
most profound levels.
Goldschmidt and Poppelbaum speculated about the developmental
pathways responsible for the appearance of the Weibchenmannchen, and

214
settled on the explanation that the Weibchenmannchen represented
individuals that were genetically-constitutionally female began development
as females and during the course of development an abnormal combination
of hereditary factors turned the course of development towards the male.134
The fact that so many physical (and behavioral) characteristics displayed the
blurred sexual development indicated to Goldschmidt that some sort of
gradual, developmental process, rather than a chromosomal aberration,
created the sexual ambiguity.
Although this discovery forced no reconsideration of his sex
determination scheme and Mendelian formulae—in fact, it only strengthened
and confirmed them—Goldschmidt obviously put great stock in it. These
Weibchenmannchen became the focus of his research program until the early
1930s. These blurred bodies forced another sort of realization, a discursive
and conceptual refinement, rather than an experimental or theoretical one.135
Up to this point, Goldschmidt had referred to the sexually ambiguous moths
that resulted from various racial crosses as gynandromorphs. Goldschmidt
realized, however, that Weibchenmannchen and gynandromorphs
represented different phenomena. Gynandromorphs displayed a mosaic of
characters of both sexes, some cells or organs male and others female, each
distinct and definitely one sex or the other. The Weibchenmannchen,
however, represented not a mixture of both sexes, but "a definite point
between two extremes, male and female." Thus Goldschmidt introduced a
new term to describe the sexual intermediates in German in 1915 in the paper
"Vorlaufige Mitteilung iiber weitere Versuche zur Vererbung und
Bestimming des Geschlechts" (A Preliminary Announcement about the
Genetics and Determination of Sex) and in the English-language 1917 paper
"A Further Contribution to the Theory of Sex," and hence an entirely new

215
way of thinking about the phenomenon in question. Goldschmidt named
these Weibchenmannchen 'intersexes': female intersexes if they were
genetically female and shifted toward the male, male intersexes if genetically
male and shifted toward the female. The entire phenomenon Goldschmidt
termed 'intersexuality.'136 Goldschmidt, in articulating the concept of
intersexuality and grounding it biologically, stated:
The idea of intersexuality, something between the two sexes, leads to
the expectation that an intersexual individual should represent in
every organ a definite intermediate step between the two sexes, equally
distant from the endpoint for every organ. But this is not the case. In
low intersexuality some organs are intersexual and others are not. In
higher grades the hitherto unchanged organs follow and become a little
intersexual, whereas those which first changed exhibit a higher grade of
intersexuality. In still higher intersexuality the latter may have already
assumed completely the characters of the other sex, while others are
still highly intersexual. Intersexuality is, therefore, so to speak, a
macroscopic phenomenon. In reality, an intersexual animal. . . is a
mosaic of organs of different determination in regard to their
sexuality.137
Gynandromorphism represented a case of spatial mosaicism because various
parts of the body were either male or female. The intersexes were temporal
mosaics, because their bodies began life as one sex and gradually were
transformed into the other as development progressed.138
Goldschmidt hypothesized that the primary sex factors, F and M,
worked through the production of enzymes, which he termed 'andrase' and
'gynase.' Both enzymes, which pushed the developing organism one
direction or the other sexually, were present in the fertilized egg. Sex
determination-the assortment of factors in the chromosomes-resulted in
two varieties of eggs, which, according to Goldschmidt, differed in the
amounts of each enzyme present. Goldschmidt's formula FFMm for females
indicated that gynase existed in a higher concentration than andrase, while

216
the male formula FFMM meant that andrase existed in a higher
concentration than gynase. According to Goldschmidt's scheme, then, the
absolute concentrations of the two enzymes under normal conditions meant
that the concentration of gynase (in systems such as Lymantria characterized
by female heterozygosis) was higher than one "portion" of andrase, but lower
than two (GG>A; GG producing reactions.139 In normal sex determination, Goldschmidt assumed
that the amount of the enzymes relative to one another were fixed so that the
"determination-point" of the weaker one fell only after the completion of
differentiation.
Goldschmidt thought that his intersexuality work demonstrated that
the weaker of the two enzymes began to work when its concentration reached
the so-called turning point because the balances between the two enzymes,
one inherited from each race, had been disturbed. Goldschmidt hypothesized
that several things could take place in such circumstances. Both hormones
could act simultaneously, or the second hormone could seize control of
development, as it were, and direct development in the direction of the other
sex.140 Any fully-developed organ would have been purely of one sex or the
other, and thus immune to the intersexual impetus, while developing organs
started development under one hormone and ended under the other. Such
an organism displayed a mosaic of different degrees of maleness and
femaleness.141
Although the actual physical size of his cultures did not change greatly,
Goldschmidt used the idea of intersexuality, his great conceptual revolution,
to expand the scope of his investigations. Goldschmidt realized quickly that
two distinct forms on intersexuality existed, zygotic intersexuality and
hormonal intersexuality.142 From the publication of his first major synthetic

217
work on sex determination, Mechanismus und Phvsiologie der
Geschlechtsbestimmung (Mechanism and Physiologie of Sex Determination)
in 1920, until his final monograph on the subject in 1934, this provided the
conceptual framework of his investigations.
Goldschmidt's own research focused entirely on zygotic intersexuality.
Goldschmidt thought that zygotic intersexuality characterized insects and was
fixed at the moment of fertilization. After the instant of fertilization, at the
union of the ovular and spermatic pro-nuclei, sex and all its properties in
insects was set. Every somatic cell arising from the "fertilized egg was
irrevocably determined sexually, and the possibility of one part of the body
being influenced by another is cut out."143 Goldschmidt noted that insects
possessed no gonads to initiate the development of secondary sex characters
later in ontogeny; sex was determined from the very beginning, whether
female, male, or somewhere in between, by fertilization. Development, in
Goldschmidt's view, consisted of elaborating genetic blue-prints. That this
was the case was confirmed through transplantation experiments performed
by other biologists, which demonstrated that butterflies, very similar to
Goldschmidt's moths, possessed no sex hormones. Goldschmidt perceived
that sexual development depended upon an internal milieu created by the
cells through what he referred to as enzymes.144 The key was that the
secondary sex characteristics were carried on the chromosomes, rather than
resulting from the secretions of endocrine glands, and as such were an
irreversible consequence of fertilization.145
Goldschmidt thought that intersexuality in the so-called higher
animals, such as birds and mammals, was hormonal in nature.146 While he
argued that every cell of an insect contained the information and mechanism
necessary to develop secondary sex characters, sex determination, that is, sex

218
expression, in vertebrates was much more localized. According to
Goldschmidt, in vertebrates, endocrine glands (the so-called 'ductless' glands)
produced all of the hormones necessary for the completion of sex
determination. Unlike development in insects, in which developmental
processes were the result of the activity of individual cells, Goldschmidt saw
development in vertebrates as a coordinated, centralized, and highly
regulated activity.147 The condition of hormonal intersexuality indicated to
Goldschmidt a condition in which intersexual bodies resulted not from the
qualities of the gametes but from certain chemical influences.148 Because of its
very nature, hormonal intersexuality was an intersexuality of the secondary
sex characters. In groups of animals like mammals, many morphogenetic
functions depended on endocrine processes, thus making sex something of a
phenotypic phenomenon. In the insects, though, Goldschmidt saw no such
endocrine products to complicate the picture, so the sex-determining process,
though independent of the enzymes andrase and gynase, could only have
resulted from genetics. The production of these enzymes was not localized, as
in mammals, but rather spread throughout the body in the nucleus of every
cell.149 Thus any change Goldschmidt observed in secondary sex characters
perforce had a genetic basis, unlike analogous cases in mammals.
Hormonal intersexuality, though rather more complicated than zygotic
intersexuality, offered Goldschmidt insights into the determination of sex
that the latter did not. Goldschmidt determined that zygotic intersexuality
revealed the existence of the physiological mechanism of sex determination
by the sex chromosomes. However, Goldschmidt felt that zygotic
intersexuality could not demonstrate the kind of reaction that was brought
about.150 That is, zygotic intersexuality stated that a sex-determining
mechanism existed, but only hormonal intersexuality could describe its

219
function. What in insects occurred in every cell of the body in vertebrates
was localized in the interstitial tissues of the gonads.151 With hormonal
intersexuality, then, Goldschmidt was able to bridge the gap between his
perhaps hypothetical enzymes, andrase and gynase, and substances of proven
physiological action in regards to sex, the sex hormones.
Goldschmidt could think of no way to perform experiments on
vertebrates like those he performed on moths. While various
transplantation experiments involving gonads demonstrated an intersexual
shift in secondary sex characters, they could not affect the whole body of the
developing organism like Goldschmidt's Weibchenmannchen. However, the
work of other zoologists, specifically F. R. Lillie (1870-1947), offered
Goldschmidt a useful approximation.
Lillie described a condition of twinned cattle known to every breeder as
"freemartins" in 1917 in his paper, 'The Freemartin: A Study of the Action of
Sex Hormones in the Foetal Life of Cattle." Among such twinned cattle, Lillie
noted that the development of normal males and females was comparatively
rare. While calves of the same sex faced few problems beyond the usual perils
of fetal development, twins of different sexes often demonstrated a degree of
sexual blurring: A normal male calf was accompanied by a "hermaphroditic"
twin, the freemartin. This freemartin represented an example of genuine
hormonal intersexuality. Lillie perceived that an anomaly of fetal
development occurred, in which the circulatory systems of the developing
twins grew together and merged to produce one system.152 Lillie observed
that in the male twin, the testes, with their hormone-producing cells,
developed before the ovaries of the female developed endocrine functions,
and the genetically-female twin came into contact with male sex hormones.
The ovary ceased to develop and all characters developed in a male direction.

220
The resulting freemartin possessed female external sex organs, male
urogenital ducts, and an intermediate sex gland that, while containing sperm
tubules, were incapable of forming sperm.153 The freemartin was an intersex,
and one that provided Goldschmidt with a heuristic model of hormonal
intersexuality that was broadly applicable.
The Human Intersexes: Goldschmidt and Sexual Inversion
One such application of this model was to human sexual variants. A
bold speculator and broad thinker, Goldschmidt included humans in his
thinking about sex determination. Goldschmidt reasoned that there were no
good grounds for excluding humans, save for the sentimental, and the fact
that such sexual conditions in humans could not be studied
experimentally.154 Because of these factors, biological science relied on
comparisons with animals, and Goldschmidt was an acknowledged master of
the subject of animal sex determination. In fact, Morgan acknowledged his
expertise on the matter of sex determination and intersexuality, lecturing to
his genetics courses at Columbia University about Goldschmidt's work in
intersexual moths and the extension of the work to human cases of
intersexuality.155 A perhaps more compelling reason for Goldschmidt's
interest in the human dimension of the sex problem, although at the final
analysis virtually all the dimensions of the sex problem were human, was the
incredible amount of speculation and absurdity surrounding human sex
determination that he observed: An advocate of "biology for biologists,"
Goldschmidt sought to bring the might of scientific reason to bear on humans
problems.156
Goldschmidt, beginning in 1916, attempted to include "menschliches
Zwittertum" (human intermediates) into the framework he derived from his
experiments on intersexuality. Although much of the work on human

221
intersexuality stemmed from medical science, Goldschmidt believed that his
intersex work on moths offered the possibility of integrating both human and
other forms of intersexuality within the same conceptual framework. This
integration required a knowledge of both genetics and developmental
physiology, which, as geneticist and developmental biologist, he possessed.157
What Goldschmidt termed 'typical' intersexuality also occurred in
humans. Such intersexuality was usually referred to in the early twentieth-
century discourse on the sex problem as 'pseudo-hermaphroditism.'158 This
conclusion, however, caused real difficulties on purely scientific grounds, as
the systematic classification of the human intersexes was next to impossible.
To begin with, Goldschmidt was unsure if pseudo-hermaphroditism was
zygotic or hormonal. Each case that he knew of was so extraordinarily
different from the others that it virtually defied classification. Furthermore,
other than the example of the freemartin, Goldschmidt knew of no other
examples of the higher grades of intersexuality in mammals. As a
consequence, Goldschmidt felt that determination of the genetic sex of such
an individual was most difficult. Anatomists distinguished between
masculine and feminine pseudo-hermaphroditism, but the grounds for doing
so were less than compelling. Goldschmidt perforce compared these with the
freemartin, the best known example of hormonal intersexuality. With the
freemartin, the outer genitalia were predominantly female, while the
internal were male, but the animal was without a doubt genetically female.
Such a human would have been classified as a masculine pseudo¬
hermaphrodite. S/he would have been though to possess the external
genitalia of a woman, but the instincts and drive of a man, because of the
secretory action of the testicles. While some freemartins did possess external
genitalia more pronouncedly masculine, a similar human example would

222
have been classified as a male with only slight intersexuality. In reality,
though, s/he would in fact have constituted a female with almost total sex
reversal, a very high degree of intersexuality.159 Goldschmidt thought that
the whole notion of classifying human intersexes was a conceptual
nightmare, and the genetic basis for doing so virtually impossible.160 Human
(male) homosexuality, however, when interpreted as a form of intersexuality,
may have offered Goldschmidt a means of resolving the conceptual and
organizational ambiguity associated with including human intersexuality in
his conceptual framework. It may have served as an organizing concept
around which Goldschmidt could group other forms of human
intersexuality.161
Homosexuality and Intersexualitv
Although some authorities considered human sexual inversion a
behavioral condition, Goldschmidt subsumed it under the category of
intersexuality.162 Goldschmidt first published the connection between his
work with intersexual gypsy moths and human homosexuality in 1916 while
he was stranded in the United States during World War One. Published in
the Archiv fiir Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie (Archive for Racial and
Social Biology), Goldschmidt's article "Die biologischen Grundlagen der
kontraren Sexualitat und des Hermaphroditismus beim Menschen" (The
Biological Basis of Sexual Inversion and Hermaphroditism in Humans)
represented a fascinating speculation about the hereditary nature of
homosexuality (as well as of the influence of culture on science).
Goldschmidt developed this notion of human homosexuality as
intersexuality over a fifteen-year period. In 1931, however, Goldschmidt, in
his summa of sexual aberration, Die sexuellen Zwischenstufen (Sexual
Intermediates), as well as in certain journal articles, recanted his inclusion of

223
human homosexuality among the intersexual phenomena. Throughout his
fifteen year study—largely through literature, rather than through a direct
participation in sexology—Goldschmidt elaborated and refined the concepts of
human intersexuality until it became clear to him that whatever else it was,
human homosexuality was not a form of intersexuality.163 Based on his
extensive studies of the function of the intersexual developmental processes,
homosexuality simply appeared to function otherwise. Indeed, Goldschmidt
speculated that it might actually constitute a sort of mental gynocomasty, an
endocrine imbalance, a hereditary altered hormonal reaction in the tissues of
the brain.164 Goldschmidt wrote that he
would like to point out, without holding my judgment to be that of an
expert, that gynocomasty would appear to explain homosexuality,
whereby the brain, rather than mammary tissue, is affected.165
Tacitly admitting the difficulty of the phenomenon, Goldschmidt left its
elucidation to the expert (der Fachmann).166 Yet for fifteen years, from 1916 to
1931, Goldschmidt himself was der Fachmann, and, according to the geneticist
John D. Rainer and the historian Robert Proctor, his theories continued to be
influential until the end of the National Socialist period, particularly in the
work of Theo Lang.167
The question remains, however, as to why a largely apolitical research
geneticist and cultural mandarin would involve himself in so contentious an
issue as homosexuality. Historian Paul Weindling notes that in Germany
before and after the first World War, professors occupied a privileged position
that combined both teaching and original research. Professors possessed, or
were supposed to possess, a sense of duty to the education of not only their
students, but also the German public. The fact that by the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries they simultaneously performed specialized research

224
made for a finely-wrought balance. The more specialized the research, the
more difficult professors found it to balance their roles as Kulturtriiger, as the
bearers of culture in the German Kulturstaat. Because of their dual mission
of teaching and research, and because of their responsibilities as Kulturtriiger,
professors sought to inculcate certain cultural values in their students and the
public, marshaling the educated to the support of the state.168
Goldschmidt, though he worked for much of his professional and
professorial career at a private research institute, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
for Biology, felt a clear duty to educate the public. While he lived in
Germany, Goldschmidt performed a great deal of service through the
popularization of genetics and heredity, as he believed that it would repay the
privilege of independence and freedom of research that Germany had
entrusted to him. He gave innumerable lectures, as well as courses designed
for the working classes, and he reported scientific developments to the paper,
the Frankfurter Zeitung. He also published many of his lectures and
addresses in popular science magazines.169 Not only did Goldschmidt enjoy
this "work in helping to educate the masses," but he also sought to counter¬
act the "havoc wrought by the journalistic popularizers of science."170 The
years after World War One were not easy on the German people, and, as
noted above, scientific achievement provided a rare island of stability in the
turbulent Weimar cultural milieu. Such a faith in science provided
consolation and hope.171 Given his disdain for the non-professional
popularizers of science, the timeliness of the issue, and its proximity to his
research in addition to whatever it contributed to the internal consistency of
his theories of intersexuality, Goldschmidt felt obliged to work on that aspect
of the sex problem.

225
Although Goldschmidt was unable to pursue much of his moth
research while in the United States during the war, with access to a library he
was able to give consideration to various aspects of the sex problem.172 He
noted the existence two schools of thought on the origins and causes of
homosexuality. One, the psychological, viewed homosexuality as an acquired
psychopathology, and the newer, innate school, championed by such
luminaries of sexology as Magnus Hirschfeld, which regarded homosexuality
as an innate condition not unlike color-blindness. Goldschmidt declared that
the biologists who studied the literature—particularly the case histories—from
the point of view of genetics, could draw no other conclusion about
homosexuality. The term sexuelle Zwischenstufen (sexual intermediates, or
intersexes) reflected this change of consciousness, indicating that such
individuals embodied a perceived innate human bisexuality.173
Goldschmidt drew conclusions about the nature of sexual inversion as
a sort of intersexuality through explicit reference to his own work with the
moths.174 In fact, his research suggested two possible origins of
homosexuality. One was based on his understanding of the balance between
male and female sex factors. Each sex possessed the factors for the other, and
thus F represented the female sex determining factor, and M the male. In his
1916 paper and later Goldschmidt designated a female with the formula
FFMm and a male with the formula FFMM. Each sex element possessed a
certain strength, or level of physiological activity, the balance of which
determined sex. The disturbance of this balance between male and female
factors produced a sexual intermediate.175 Goldschmidt argued that if a
human intersex, or pseudo-hermaphrodite, possessed testicles and somewhat
incomplete male genitals, s/he was not necessarily a male intersexual, but in
fact may have been a fully transformed female individual. Here

226
Goldschmidt's interest in the example of the freemartin was apparent. If the
sex instincts were purely male, Goldschmidt considered the individual
analogous to his Weibchenmiinnchen.'76 Thus a male homosexual could
have been a high-grade female intersex.
Goldschmidt also proposed another, perhaps contradictory explanation,
one based equally on his research moth research. The other possible origin of
homosexuality depended on Goldschmidt's interest in hormones and
physiological activity. Goldschmidt thought it was possible that male
homosexuality constituted a form of low grade male intersexuality, as
implied by the notion of psychic hermaphroditism. He noted that the first
appearance of male human homosexuality often involved the brain and
emotional constitution (Seelenleben), since brain activity was unquestionably
the most sensitive characteristic of a person, and one most likely to respond
to minute variations in sex hormones that could have been undetectable any
other way.177 Both possibilities, that male homosexuals were somehow
female (high-grade female intersexes) and that they were men with the souls
of women, resonated strongly with contemporary views of sexual inversion.
Sexological Influences on Goldschmidt and
the Extra-Scientific Origins of the Intersex Concept
The notion of homosexuality as a form of intersexuality (sexuelle
Zwischenstufen) was hardly original with Goldschmidt, although he placed
the theory on a firm biological footing. In fact, the notion had been in general
circulation since the later nineteenth century, and had received relatively
wide publication in Magnus Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch filr sexuelle
Zwischenstufen,178 Goldschmidt cited Hirschfeld in his 1916 paper on human
homosexuality and had very likely read the entire run of the Jahrbuch up
until that time. Concerned about statistics cited by Hirschfeld and Albert Moll

227
about the incidence of inherited forms of homosexuality, Goldschmidt wrote
to C. B. Davenport to ask about his own findings on the matter, as well as
where he (Goldschmidt) could find the Jahrbuch in the United States. While
Davenport himself had run across no cases of the inheritance of
homosexuality, he suggested that Goldschmidt might find the jahrbuch at the
Academy of Medicine in New York City.179 As Goldschmidt read the
jahrbuch in 1916 for his article, he had been familiar with that journal prior
to leaving Germany in 1913, and as he introduced the term 'intersex' at about
the same time, it is possible that Goldschmidt absorbed the term, if not the
wider concept, from sexology and the homosexual emancipation movement.
Goldschmidt was thus reasonably familiar with Hirschfeld and the work of
the WhK. He was even familiar enough with the work to provide references
to Julian Huxley (1887-1975), a British embryologist who was interested in the
matter himself.180 When Goldschmidt gave Huxley the references to the
sexological literature, Huxley assured him that he would "be sure not to
mix. . . [Goldschmidt], . . up in the matter!"181 Historian of biology Michael
Dietrich rightly suggests that by the early 1920s Goldschmidt may have tried to
distance himself from sexology and Hirschfeld, if not from the subject of
sexual inversion altogether.182 As Hertwig's comments to Goldschmidt
indicate, proponents of homosexual emancipation had used biological
speculations like Goldschmidt's to advocate the abolition of Paragraph 175,
moves that disturbed many scientists.183 Goldschmidt may have found the
attention disquieting.
Goldschmidt's theories certainly did gain the attention of the
proponents of homosexual emancipation. The sexologist Max Hodann,
writing in the jahrbuch, reviewed Goldschmidt's 1916 paper in detail, as well
as other, recent, genetic work on the sex problem, and praised Goldschmidt

228
for combining "zoological laboratory work and clinical observation."184 As
indicated above, Hirschfeld advocated a variety of theories in support of his
contention that homosexuality was hereditary. The last theory that
Hirschfeld utilized to make his point belonged to Goldschmidt and the 1916
paper. Hirschfeld, in fact, was quite taken with Goldschmidt's experiments
with intersexual moths and his fabrication of male-appearing animals with
female genes. Historian of sexuality Rainer Herrn argues that this accorded
with Hirschfeld's own contention that male homosexuals were genetically
female and vice versa. Hirschfeld, a physician, argued that hormonal
anomalies caused such instances of intersexual development.185 Hirschfeld,
in point of fact, was so taken with Goldschmidt's moth breeding experiments
and their apparent confirmation of the genetic basis of homosexuality, that he
instituted such experiments of his own.186
Goldschmidt's thoughts on homosexuality as a form of intersexuality
had a wide influence. In 1922, Kurt Wolff published his medical dissertation
at the Friedrich-Wilhelm Universitat zu Berlin. It was entitled "Beitrag zur
Kenntnis der Genetik einer menschlichen Intersexualitatsstufe
('Homosexualitat')" (A Contribution towards the Knowledge of the Genetics
of Human Intersexuality ['Homosexuality']). In it Wolff examined the
genetics of homosexuality through an intensive pedigree analysis of 113
families, many of which displayed some degree of sexual inversion. A
medical student working at Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sexual Science,
patient records belonging to the WhK constituted Wolff's sample.187 Using
Weinberg's proband method of statistical analysis, Wolff attempted to analyze
the degree to which heredity determined sexual inversion.188
Wolff noted that Goldschmidt discovered, named, and described the
phenomenon, and crafted a quantitative system to describe and predict the

229
nature and degree of intersexuality.189 Wolff utilized an explicitly
"Goldschmidtean" conceptual framework for his resulting analysis of human
intersexes. Thus Wolff's Mendelian formulae for the sexes possessed a
distinctly Goldschmidtean flavor. Similar to Goldschmidt's formulae, Wolff
designated M as the male sex determining factor and W as the female. As in
humans males are the heterozygous sex, Wolff represented men with the
formula (M)Ww and the female (M)WW. As with most sex-determination
schemes, Wolff's maintained a fundamental bisexuality in both sexes.190
Wolff's work represented an extrapolation of Goldschmidt's speculations
regarding human homosexuality, and a fulfillment of its promise.
Goldschmidt recognized it as such, although, as Dietrich points out, he
warned that the results required caution.191
Summary
Richard Goldschmidt's work on intersexuality demonstrated the
identity of interest of culture and science during the early decades of the
twentieth century. Germany was concerned about homosexuality and the
threat it posed to orthodox notions of masculinity. Homosexuality appeared
to represent the results of shifting balances between the female and male
factors or sex determinants in bodies, appearances that Goldschmidt's research
on intersexuality confirmed, at least for a time. The blurring and shifting of
the normally distinct lines between femininity and masculinity that biologists
observed shadowed a similar blurring embodied by the Inverted Man.
Biological work on the sex problem articulated cultural fears of inversion,
and represented an effort to control bodies and their sexualities at a time
when Germans perceived sex to be out of control. To a certain extent this
culture shaped biology. This shaping worked in two directions, however; the
discourse of the sex problem, including literary technologies aimed at

230
controlling the threat posed by the New Woman and the Inverted Man, drew
heavily from the contemporary biological sciences.

231
Notes
1 Clyde Griff en, "Reconstructing Masculinity from the Evangelical Revival to the Waning of
Progressivism: A Speculative Synthesis," in Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of
Masculinity, ed. Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1990), pp. 202-203.
2 See Max Katte, "Die virilen Homosexuellen," Jahrbuch fixr sexuelle Zioischenstufen unter
besonderer Beriicksichtigung der Homosexualitiit 7 (1905): 85-106.
3 Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), p.
92.
4 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley,
(New York: Vintage Books, 1990,1978), pp. 42-43.
5 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 2: The Tender Passion
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 224.
6 Lawrence Birken, Consuming Desire: Sexual Science and the Emergence of a Culture of
Abundance, 1871-1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 93.
7 Ibid., p. 93.
8 Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (London:
Longman, 1981), p. 100,107.
9 A. J. L. Busst, 'The Image of the Androgyne in the Nineteenth Century," in Romantic
Mythologies, ed. Ian Fletcher (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1976), p. 55.
10 Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and
Women (New York and London: Mitchell Kennerley, 1912), p. 10.
11 Ibid., p. 62.
12 Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906), p. 45. Emphasis added.
13 Ibid., pp. 6-7.
14 See Lucien Cuénot, "Sur la détermination du sexe chez les animaux," Bulletin Scientifique de
France et de Belgique 32 (1899): 515. See also John Beard, "The Determination of Sex in Animal
Development," Zoologische Jahrbiicher, Abteilung fiir Anatomie und Ontogenie der Thiere 16
(1902): 703-765.
15 In fact, the first such "third sex" theories were developed by the German lawyer, Karl
Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) in the middle of the nineteenth century. For information on
Ulrichs' life and work, see Hubert C. Kennedy, 'The 'Third Sex' Theory of Karl Heinrich
Ulrichs," Journal of the History of Homosexuality 6 (1981): 103-111, and Kennedy, "Karl
Heinrich Ulrichs: First Theorist of Homosexuality," in Science and Homosexualities, ed.
Vernon A. Rosario, 26-45 (New York: Routledge, 1997).
16 George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay
Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 115.
17 Margaret Gibson, in her recent article "Clitoral Corruption: Body Metaphors and American
Doctors' Construction of Female Homosexuality, 1870-1900," discusses lesbianism, but only in
the context of American medicine. Gibson's article is located in Vernon A. Rosario, ed. Science
and Homosexualities (New York: Routledge, 1997).
18 Iwan Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time in its Relations to Modern Civilization, trans. M.
Edden Paul (New York: Allied Books Company, 1926,1908), p. 525.

232
19 Atina Grossmann, 'The New Woman and the Rationalization of Sexuality in Weimar
Germany," in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, ed. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell,
and Sharon Thompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), p. 163.
20 Ibid., p. 163.
21 See Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 3: The Cultivation of
Hatred (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1993), p. 300. See also James Weir, 'The Effects of
Female Suffrage on Posterity," American Naturalist 29 (1895): 815-821, and Wilhelm Hammer,
"Ãœber gleichgeschlechtliche Frauenliebe mit besonder Beriicksichtigung der Frauenbewegung,"
Monatsschrift fiir Harnkrankheiten und sexuelle Hygiene 4 (1907): 395-446. In both cases, the
difference between the suffragette and a nightmare-image of the lesbian is negligible.
22 See Blanche Cook, 'The Historical Denial of Lesbianism," Radical History Review 20 (1979):
60-65.
23 Ute Frevert, Women in German History: From Bourgeois Emancipation to Sexual Liberation
(New York: Berg, 1988), p. 159.
24CornelieUsbome, The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany: Women's Reproductive
Rights and Duties (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1992), p. 17.
25 See Edouard Toulouse, La question sexuelle et la femme (Paris: Bibliothéque Charpentier,
1918). Germany, despite middle-class reticence on the subject, nonetheless possessed something
of a reputation for homosexuality at the fin-de-siécle, a stigma noted both at home and abroad.
The French, for example, were quite aware of it. Toulouse, a French physician and founder of
the first sexological institute in France, noted that sexual inversion was quite prevalent in
Germany, and attributing an intense interest in it to German alienists, indicated that it was an
integral mental constituent of the German character (Toulouse 1918, p. 271). Toulouse also
claimed that it stemmed from a basic characteristic sexual ambiguity, something Germans,
especially German biologists, feared as the relations between men and women shifted. Toulouse
charged that German women acted so much like their brothers that men did not scruple against
relations with other men (Toulouse 1918, pp. 277-278). In other words, they could not
differentiate between the two sexes. These sentiments contain a great deal of nationalistic
bombast and accordingly must be regarded with a certain amount of skepticism. Nonetheless
they can act as a gauge of European sentiment. This rhetoric expressed the notion that women
were not quite as womanly as they used to be, indicating anxiety (or glee) over the New
Woman, as observers perceived the collapse of the distinctions between the masculine and the
feminine. Others attributed this German propensity towards sexual inversion to heredity,
asserting that it was a characteristic of the German race in general (Mayne 1908, p. 459).
26 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 1: Education of the Senses
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 269.
27 Ann Taylor Allen, "German Radical Feminism and Eugenics, 1900-1908," German Studies
Review 11 (1988): 33.
28 Anonymous, "Der Riickgang der ehelichen Fruchtbarkeit," Volk und Rasse 8 (1933): 175 table
2.
29 Ibid., p. 175 table 2.
30 Ibid., p. 178 table 4.
31 Ibid., p. 178 table 4.
32 Frevert, Women, p. 186.
33 James D. Steakley, The Homosexual Emancipation Movement in Germany (New York: Arno

233
Press, 1975), p. 33. See also Paul Nácke, "Ein Besuch bei der Homosexuellen in Berlin," Archiv
für Kriminalanthropologie utid Kriminalistik 15 (1904): p. 251 for contemporary estimates of
the homosexual population of Germany.
34 Kurt Wolff, "Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Genetik einer menschlichen Intersexualitatsstufe
('Homosexualitat'). Diss. Med, Universitát Berlin, 1922, pp. 35-36.
35 Friedrich Radzuweit to Dr. Am. Zehnhoff, Prussian Minister of Justice, 31 August 1926.
Hauptabteilung I, Repositer 84a, Nummer 8100 (HA I, Rep 84a, 8100), Geheimes Staatsarchiv
Preufiischer Kulturbesitz (GStA), Berlin-Dahlem.
36 Magnus Hirschfeld, Von einst bis jetzt: Geschichte einer homosexuellen Bewegung, 1897-1922,
ed. Manfred Herzer and James Steakley, Schriftenreihe der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft
(Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1986), p. 68.
37 James D. Steakley, "Iconography of a Scandal: Political Cartoons and the Eulenburg Affair in
Wilhelmine Germany," in Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, ed.
Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: Meridian, 1989), 233-
234.
“Ibid., pp. 233-234.
39 Charlotte Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology (London: Quartet
Books, 1986), p. 73.
40 Isabel V. Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1982), p. 12,
41 Ibid., p. 47.
42 Maximilian Harden, Prozesse. K'ópfe, volume III (Berlin: Erich Reiss, 1913), pp. 182-183.
43 Richard Hertwig to Richard Goldschmidt, 24 February 1931. Richard Goldschmidt Papers,
The Bancroft Library, The University of California, Berkeley, CA.
44 As cited in Bradley F. Smith and Agnes Peterson, Heinrich Himmler: Geheimreden 1933 bis
1945 und andere Ansprachen (Frankfurt: n. p., 1974), pp. 99-100.
45 Radzuweit to Zehnhoff, 31 August 1926.
46 Abschrift für das Koniglich Justizministerium von der Minister des Innern, 3 April 1908. GStA
HA I, Rep 84a, 8098.
47MosseNationalism, pp. 121-132.
48 Paul Nácke, "Ein Besuch bei der Homosexuellen in Berlin," Archiv für
Kriminalanthropologie und Kriminalistik 15 (1904): 247-249.
49 Stefan Zweig, Die Welt von Gestem: Errinerungen eines Europders (Frankfurt am Main: G. B.
Fischer & Co., 1953), p. 287.
50SeeMosse Nationalism, p. 130.
51 Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds., The Weimar Republic Sourcebook
(Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1994), p. 412.
52Kurt Tucholsky, "Berlin and the Provinces," in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton
Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of California Press,
1994), pp. 418-419.
53 Paul Weindling, Health, Race, and German Politics Between National Unification and
Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 369.

234
^Tucholsky, "Berlin," p. 420.
55 Modris Eksteins, The Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
(Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989), p. 83.
56 Ludwig Kemmer, Die graphische Reklame der Prostitution: Nach amtlichem Material und
nach eignen Beobachtungen geschildert von Dr. Ludwig Kemmer (Munich: Published by the
Author, 1906), p. 30. GStA HA I, Rep 84a, 8098.
57 H. von Walde, Das dritte Geschlecht und die Kasernierung der Prostitution (Berlin: C.
Caspers, 1906), p. 8. GStA HA I, Rep 84a, 8098.
58 Ibid., p. 15.
59 Robert G. Moeller, 'The Homosexual Man is a 'Man/ the Homosexual Woman is a 'Woman,'"
Journal of the History of Sexuality 4 (1994): 404.
60 Ibid., pp. 398-399.
61 Mosse, Nationalism, p. 28.
62 Magnus Hirschfeld to the Prásidenten des kóniglich preuRischen Justizministerium zu Berlin,
23 December 1903. GStA HA I, Rep 84a, 8098.
“Mosse, Nationalism, p. 89.
64 In his autobiography, Goldschmidt relates that his mother prevented him from bringing
home a copy of Ernst Haeckel's Natural History of Creation because of the "obscene" pictures of
human embryos that it contained. As Goldschmidt remarked, "such was the prudery of the
day." (Goldschmidt, In and Out of the Ivory Tower, 1960, p. 26.)
65 Rolf Bothe, "Einleitung," in Eldorado: Homosexuelle Frauen und Manner in Berlin, 1850-1950:
Geschichte, Alltag und Kultur (Berlin: Edition Hentrich, 1992), ed. Michael Bollé, p. 5.
66 Eksteins, Rites, p. 82. See also Manfred Baumgardt, "Die Homosexuellen-Bewegung bis zum
Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges," pp. 17-27 in Eldorado.
67 Nelly Oudshoorn, "Labortests und die gemeinsame Klassifikation von Sexualitát und
Geschlecht," in Die Experimentalisierung des Lebens: Experimentalsysteme in den biologischen
Wissenscahften, ed. Hans-Jorg Rheinberger and Michael Hagner (Berlin: Akademie Verlag,
1993), 151-152.
68 Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities
(London: Routledge, 1985), p. 7.
69 Robert Proctor, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1988), p. 8.
70 Magnus Hirschfeld, 'The Development and Scope of Sexology," in The Weimar Republic
Sourcebook, ed. Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of
California Press, 1994), p. 708.
71 James D. Steakley, "Per scientia ad justitiam: Magnus Hirschfeld and the Sexual Politics of
Innate Homosexuality," in Science and Homosexualities, ed. Vernon A. Rosario (New York:
Routledge, 1997), 134-138.
72 Vern L. Bullough, Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research (New York: Basic
Books, 1994)., p. 62.
73 Hirschfeld, Von einst, p. 47.
74 Steakley, "Hirschfeld," p. 139

235
75 Hirschfeld, Von einst, p. 48.
76 Wolff, Hirschfeld, pp. 448-449.
77 John C. Fout, "Sexual Politics in Wilhelmine Germany: The Male Gender Crisis, Moral
Purity, and Homophobia," in Forbidden History: The State, Society, and the Regulation of
Sexuality in Modern Europe. Essays from the Journal of the History of Sexuality, ed. John C.
Fout (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 270.
78 Stephen Kern, Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body (Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merril, 1975), p. 149.
79 Oudshoom, "Labortests," pp. 151-152.
80 Hirschfeld, Von einst, p. 49.
81 Ibid., p. 49.
82 Magnus Hirschfeld, Sappho und Sokrates: Wie erklart sich die Liebe der Manner und Frauen
zu Personen des eigenen Geschlechts (Leipzig: Mar Spohr, 1902), pp. 14-15.
83 Hirschfeld, Von einst, p. 49.
84 Reprint of Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexualitat und menschliches Zwittertum," Deutsche
medizinische Wochenschriften 57 (1931): 1288-1292. p. 1.
85 Richard Goldschmidt, "Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm
Gesellschaft zur Fórderung der Wissenschaften zu ihrem 10. Jahrigen Jubilaum, ed. C. Neuberg
(Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921), p. 90.
86 Goldschmidt, "Die biologischen Grundlagen," p. 1.
87 Hertwig to Goldschmidt, 24 February 1931, p. 1. Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft Library.
88 Richard Goldschmidt, "Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm
Gesellschaft, p. 90.
89 Goldschmidt, Ivory Tower, p. 313.
90 Curt Stern, "Richard Benedict Goldschmidt, 1878-1958," Biographical Memoirs of the
National Academy of Sciences 39 (1967): 150-151.
91 Ibid., p. 151.
92 Richard Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," p. 5. Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft
Library.
93 Richard Goldschmidt, "Erblichkeitsstudieren an Schmetterlingen," Zeitschrift fiir induktive
Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre 7 (1912): 2.
94 Marsha Leigh Richmond, "Richard Goldschmidt and Sex Determination: The Growth of
German Genetics, 1900-1935" (Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University, 1986), p. 226 note 75.
95 Goldschmidt, "Erblichkeitsstudieren," p. 2.
96 Stem, "Goldschmidt," p. 156.
97 Richard Goldschmidt, Die Sexuellen Zwischenstufen (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1931), p. v.
98 Richard Goldschmidt, "Das Problem der Geschlechtsbestimmung," Die Umschau 14 (1910):
203.
99 Chromatin designated the filamentous material visible in the nucleus during certain phases
of nuclear division. The term was replaced by "chromosome" in 1888 by W. Waldemeyer. After

236
Nordenskióld (1929).
100 Goldschmidt, "Das Problem," pp. 203-204.
101 Cytological work carried about by N. M. Stevens at Bryn Mawr College and E. B. Wilson at
Columbia University in 1905-1906 demonstrated that a certain chromosome, the so-called
"accessory chromosome," played a definite role in sex determination. Chapter 2, above,
contains an extensive discussion of this cytological work, as well as an examination of concurrent
developments in Mendelian theory.
102 Goldschmidt, "Das Problem," p. 204.
103 Ibid., p. 204 .
104 Richard Goldschmidt, "Kleine Beobachtungen und Ideen zur Geschlechtsbestimmung,"
Archiv fur Zellforschung 6 (1910): 23-24.
105 Goldschmidt, "Das Problem," p. 205.
106 Goldschmidt, "Kleine Beobachtungen," pp. 19-22.
1(F Ibid., p. 19.
108 Ibid., pp. 19-20.
109 Ibid., p. 20.
110 See Richard Goldschmidt, Einfiihrung in die Vererbungswissenschaft (Leipzig: W.
Englemann, 1911).
111 Richard Goldschmidt, 'The Determination of Sex," Nature 107 (1921): 780-781.
112 The secondary sex characteristics are genetically set at fertilization, and there are thus no
sex hormones as in vertebrates. After Goldschmidt 1923, Mechanism and Physiology of Sex
Determination, p. 77.
113 Richard Goldschmidt, "Ober die Vererbung der sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere,"
Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft fiir Morphologie und Physiologie in München 27 (1911): 115.
114 Ibid., p. 115.
115 Ibid., p. 116.
1,6 Ibid., p. 116.
117 Ibid., p. 116.
118 Ibid., p. 117 table 2.
119 Ibid., p. 117.
120 Goldschmidt, "Erblichkeitsstudieren," p. 5.
121 Ibid., p. 6. See also Richard Goldschmidt, "Bemerkungen zur Vererbung des
Geschlechtspolymorphismus," Zeitschrift fiir induktive Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre 8
(1912): 81.
122 Goldschmidt's use of the term "epistasis" should not be confused with the term as it is used by
late twentieth-century geneticists to indicate the suppression of one non-allelic gene for a given
character by another non-allelic gene.
123 Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," p. 6. Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft Library.
124 Goldschmidt, "Erblickeitsstudieren," p. 8.

237
125 Ibid., pp. 7-8.
126 Karl Heider to Richard Goldschmidt, 11 December 1911, Richard Goldschmidt Papers. Cited
in Richmond 1986, p. 197.
127 Richard Goldschmidt, "Cytologische Untersuchungen über Vererbung und Bestimmung des
Geschlechts," in Die Vererbung und Bestimmung des Geschlechts, ed. Carl Correns and Richard
Goldschmidt (Berlin: Gebriider Bomtraeger, 1913), p. 120.
128 T. H. Morgan, T. Boveri, R. Hertwig, T. Montgomery, and E. B. Wilson, as well as
Goldschmidt, all held various metabolic theories of heredity at one time or another. After
Goldschmidt 1913, Die Vererbung und Bestimmung des Geschlechts, p. 140.
129 Goldschmidt 1913, "Cytologische Untersuchungen," pp. 140-141.
130 Richard Goldschmidt and Hermann Poppelbaum, "Erblichkeitsstudien an Schmetterlingen
II. Weitere Untersuchungen über der sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere und des Geschlechts,"
Zeitschrift fiir induktive Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre 11 (1914): 280-316., pp. 284-286.
131 Ibid., p. 287.
132 Ibid., p. 290.
133 Ibid., p. 295.
134 Ibid., pp. 300-301.
135 The significance of this conceptual revolution will be discussed in the Conclusion, below.
136 Richard Goldschmidt, "Vorláufige Mitteilung über weitere Versuche zur Vererbung und
Bestimmung des Geschlechts," Biologisches Zentralblatt 35 (1915): 565-566.
137 Richard Goldschmidt, "A Further Contribution to the Theory of Sex," Journal of
Experimental Zoology 22 (1917): 5%.
138 Richard Goldschmidt, "A Preliminary Report of Further Experiments in Inheritance and
Determination of Sex," Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2 (1916): 54-55.
139 Goldschmidt, "A Further Contribution," p. 598.
140 Ibid., pp. 598-599.
141 Ibid., p. 600.
142 Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination, trans. William
J. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923), p. 77.
143 Ibid., pp. 77-78. Original emphasis.
144 Richard Goldschmidt, "Zygotische Geschlechtsbestimmung und Sexualhormone,"
Naturwissenschaft 15 (1927): 611.
145 Goldschmidt, "Determination," p. 783.
146 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexuality and the Endocrine Aspect of Sex," Endocrinology 1
(1917): 437.
147 Goldschmidt, Mechanism and Physiology, p. 79.
148 Ibid, pp. 99-100.
149 Reprint of Richard Goldschmidt and S. Minami, "Über die Vererbung der sekundáre
Geschlechtscharaktere," Studie Mendeliana (Brünn) (1923): 66-77., p. 11.
150 Goldschmidt, "Endocrine Aspect," p. 441.

238
151 Ibid., p. 443.
152 F. R. Lillie, 'The Freemartin: A Study of the Action of Sex Hormones in the Foetal Life of
Cattle," Journal of Experimental Zoology 23 (1917): 371.
153 Ibid., p. 402.
154 Goldschmidt, Mechanism and Physiology, p. 235.
155 Thomas Hunt Morgan, 1916-17, "Lecture Notes: Sex Determination and Environment,"
Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, box four, file 4.2, Archives of the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, CA.
156 Goldschmidt, Mechanism and Physiology, p. 234.
157 Reprint of Richard Goldschmidt, Tntersexualitát und menschliches Zwittertum," Deutsche
medizinische Wochenschriften 57 (1931): 1288-1292., pp. 1-2.
158 Goldschmidt, Mechanism and Physiology, p. 243.
199 Ibid., p. 243.
160 Ibid., pp. 243-244.
161 Richard Goldschmidt, "Experimental Intersexuality and the Sex Problem," The American
Naturalist 50 (1916): 718 note 9.
162 Goldschmidt, Mechanism and Physiology, p. 249.
163 Richard Goldschmidt, Die Sexuellen Zwischenstufen (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1931), p. 432.
164 Ibid, p. 432.
165 Ibid., p. 432.
166 Reprint of Goldschmidt, Tntersexualitát," pp. 1288-1292, p. 10.
167 John D. Rainer, "Genetics and Homosexuality," in Human Behavioral Genetics, ed. Arnold L.
Kaplan (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1976), 301-316., p. 309, and Proctor 1988, Racial
Hygiene, p. 213. Mike Dietrich, in his forthcoming article, "Of Moths and Men," as well as in
projects in development, examines this connection between Lang and Goldschmidt's theories in
detail.
168 Paul Weindling, Darwinism and Social Darwinism in Imperial Germany: The contribution of
the Cell Biologist Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922), ed. Gunter Mann and Werner F. Kiimmel, vol. 3,
Forschung zur neueren Medizin- und Biologiegeschichte (Stuttgart and New York: n. p., 1991),
pp. 23-24.
169 Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," p. 12
170 Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," p. 13.
171 Stem, "Goldschmidt," pp. 155-156.
172 The gypsy moth was a serious agricultural pest, and the United States Department of
Agriculture would only allow Goldschmidt to work in an area already infected, namely
Massachusetts. Goldschmidt thus set up his cultures at Harvard's Bussey Institute.
Goldschmidt 1960, In and Out of the Ivory Tower, pp. 156-157.
173 Goldschmidt, " biologischen Grundlagen," pp. 1-2.
174 Ibid., p. 4.
175 Ibid., pp. 4-5.

239
176 Ibid, p. 11.
177 Ibid., p. 9.
178 Xavier Mayne, The Intersexes: A History of Semisexualism as a Problem in Social Life,
Reprint in New York: Arno Press, 1975 ed. (Naples: Published by the author, 1908), p. x.
179 Richard Goldschmidt to C. B. Davenport, 7 February 1916, Davenport to Goldschmidt, 10
February 1916, C. B. Davenport Papers, Library of the American Philosophical Society,
Philadelphia, PA.
180 Huxley to Goldschmidt, 9 November 1920, pp. 1-2, Richard Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft
Library.
181 Huxley to Goldschmidt, 9 November 1920, pp. 1-2, Richard Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft
Library.
182 Dietrich, "Of Moths and Men," manuscript, p. 17.
183 Hertwig to Goldschmidt, 24 February 1931, p. 1, Richard Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft
Library.
184 Max Hodann, "Neue Forschungen zur Kenntnis der sexueller Zwischenstufen,"
Vierteljahrsberichte des Wissenschaftlich-humanitare Komitees wdhrend der Kriegszeit.
Herausgegeben statt des Jahrbuch fiir sexuelle Zwischenstufen mit besonderer Berücksichtigung
der Homosexualitiit 17 (1917): 60.
185 Rainer Herrn, "On the History of Biological Theories of Homosexuality," in Sex, Cells, and
Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference, ed. John P. De Ceceo and David Allen
Parker (Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, 1995), p. 38.
186 Wissenschaftlich-humanitare Komitee, "Berichte iiber das erste Tátigkeitsjahr (1. Juli 1919
bis 30. Juni 1920)," Jahrbuch fiir sexuelle Zwischenstufen unter besonderer Beriicksichtungung der
Homosexualitiit 20 (1920): 65-66. See also Herm 1995, pp. 38,51 note 4.
187 Wolff, "Beitrag," pp. 22-23, 50.
188 Ibid., p. 29.
189 Ibid., p. 11.
190 Ibid., pp. 33-34.
191 Richard Goldschmidt, "Die zygotischen sexuellen Zwischenstufen und die Theorie der
Geschlechtsbestimmung," Ergebnisse der Biologie 2 (1927): 654. See also Dietrich, forthcoming,
p.17.

CHAPTER 5
FROM SEX DETERMINATION TO GENETICS:
THE 'DELICATE PARTICLE LOGIC OF SEX AND THE MECHANICAL
TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION
Of course if by advance in Biology you require the discovery of the
most fundamental principles there is nothing more to be said, but I have long
since given up all hope of living to see such discoveries.
Thomas Hunt Morgan to Hans Driesch, 23 October 1905, p. 1. Morgan-Driesch
Correspondence, Library of the American Philosophical Society.
Introduction
The work on sex determination at the fin de siécle and early twentieth
century was characterized by two different sorts of technologies. The first of
these was the mechanical, and consisted of all the experiments and
observations of sex by biologists. The mechanical technologies were products
of the laboratory, and it was through these mechanical technologies that the
modern project was most explicitly directed at control.1 The second sort of
technology was the discursive, and it was similarly directed at the control of
nature. It represented the efforts on the part of biologists like Thomas Hunt
Morgan, Richard Goldschmidt, and many others, to control sex, not only
through the agency of the mechanical technologies of sex determination such
as cytological observations or controlled breeding, but also through words and
writing. The connection of words to things constituted the core of this
discursive technology, and involved the use of words to solve the sex
problem where cruder physical intervention failed. Together, these two
technologies constituted sex determination. Both practices of sex
240

241
determination—the mechanical and the discursive—focused on the control of
an apparently dis-ordered sexuality in the bourgeois world. Both technologies
represented the modernizing impetus of the West, and both were necessary to
sex determination and, perhaps, to genetics. The present chapter details the
transition of the mechanical technologies from sex determination to genetics,
while the subsequent chapter (the Conclusion) examines the discursive
aspects of sex determination.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the era known as
the fin de siécle, was the era in which bourgeois culture modernized. Of all
the various characteristics of modernity (see Chapter 1, above), two possessed
the greatest implications for the history of the mechanical aspects of sex
determination. These were the tendency to cast social and cultural problems
in scientific terms and the quality of ontological discontinuity.2 Aspects of
both American and German cultures throughout the fin de siécle and early
twentieth century increasingly defined cultural concerns in biological terms,
especially where the New Woman and the Inverted Man were concerned.3
As historian Eric Santer argues, this inclusion brought with it the promise of
remediation through the judicious application of biology or medicine.4 Much
of the early twentieth-century history of biology can be viewed in this light, as
biologists sought to control the definitions of femininity and masculinity by
grounding them somatically.
While numerous areas of cultural production were marked by the
notion of discontinuity, of particles in the void, this shift in perspective so
characteristic of modernity held great implications for the sciences, especially
biology. Historian William Everdell notes that the idea of discontinuity
became dominant by the turn of the century, and by 1900 both the gene and
the quantum appeared to solve century-old problems. Hugo de Vries

242
proposed the gene to explain the whole-number ratios he had observed in his
studies of inheritance, and discovered that credit belonged to an Austrian
monk and his thirty-five year old paper;5 Max Planck quantized energy to
give a comprehensive account of the black-body radiation laws being
proposed by Wilhelm Wein and Lord Rayleigh.6 Both concepts depended on
discontinuity. Whereas nineteenth-century (if not earlier) science sought
continuity and plenum, as exemplified by ether physics and by continuous
evolution (natura non facit saltum), not to mention by continuous theories
of sex, twentieth-century science depended on particles and space—whether
atomic or hereditary.
The study of heredity at the fin de siécle accordingly embodied this
modernizing trend in the transition from sex determination to "classical"
genetics.7 Both sex determination and genetics encompassed the study of the
transmission of traits from one generation to the next. Sex determination,
however, sought to demonstrate the existence of unity beneath the diversity
of sex. Thus Margaret Saha notes that Carl Correns, one of the geneticists
responsible for the recovery of Mendel's work, as early as 1905 realized that
Mendelism in and of itself could not account for the startling diversity of sex,
but could provide a clue to the construction of a new theory of heredity which
might afford an opportunity to unify much of biology.8 This vision of unity
motivated a search for the bases of not only biological femaleness and
maleness but also cultural femininity and masculinity. So in some ways, sex
determination was "pre-modern" or "non-modern" to the science of heredity.
That is, sex determination was "pre-modern" not in the sense of "early
modern" or "pre-Enlightenment" or any other historical label designating
periods before the eighteenth century, but in the sense of occurring before the
advent of twentieth-century modernism in science and culture.

243
The scientific approach to sex determination could only have occurred
in the later nineteenth century for a variety of compelling reasons. To begin
with, the cytological work that was so important to sex determination
depended on a certain level of technology vis-á-vis microscopy, staining,
fixing, sectioning, and the like. It also required certain conceptual
developments, what Garland Allen termed the "revolt from morphology"
and what Jane Maienschein, perhaps less inclined towards revolution,
perceived as a gradual waning of interest in morphology and a concomitant
increase in experimentation.9 Without this experimental interest, sex
determination could not have existed. Perhaps most important, however,
were the ideological conditions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. Certain aspects of bourgeois culture were obsessed with definitions
of masculinity and femininity, in part because those definitions were unstable
at the fin de siécle. In this sense, "pre-modern" referred only to "not yet
modern."
Genetics, however, was the modern science of heredity, and was
characterized above all by particles and void: It represented hereditary traits
as beads on a string.10 Allen suggests in his biography of Morgan that the
advent of classical genetics, which depended on a synthesis of Mendelian
theory and cytological detail, represented a Kuhnian paradigm shift.11 While
the elaboration of classical genetics certainly opened new doors, I suggest that
it constituted instead a reflection of a larger trend, specifically the
modernizing impulse. Genetics represented on one level the undoing of the
hopes of biologists for a unified theory of sex. Rather than there being one
single and universal system, there were several kinds of sex-determination
schemes, including the parthenogenesis of aphids and other forms, the
haplodiploidy of Hymenopteran insects, the diploid sexual congress of other

244
species with either male or female heterozygosity. While genetics eventually
unified sex determination under the chromosome theory, this was a unity
based on particularity and discontinuity, because inheritance depended on
individual chromosomes, with specific and unique properties. Situated on
these individual chromosomes were genes, the quanta of heredity. Heredity
became quantifiable and characterized by whole-number states, and could be
described by discrete entities with intervening void. Even continuous traits
came to be made up of numbers of discrete particles.
This chapter, then, details the transition of the study of heredity from
the various traditions and divisions of biology that constituted sex
determination (specifically cytology and Mendelism, or experimental
breeding) to genetics within the context of modernization and the interest in
control common to both practices. The narrative of the synthesis of genetics
from the cytological chromosome theory and Mendelism is a well and often-
told story.12 Instead of attempting to re-invent the wheel, as it were, this
chapter will present an account of the development of a particulate picture of
heredity and will suggest new ways of interpreting the history of genetics.
Genetics From Sex Determination
The practices that constituted sex determination—the cytological work,
experimental breeding, even the embryology to a certain extent-gave rise to
genetics; all the scientific practices that were important to sex determination
were similarly integral to genetics. But sex determination was a scientific
practice in its own right, rather than a sort of "proto-genetics." This view
ignores much of the work on sex determination that did not lead to classical
genetics, or else views that work only insofar as it sheds light on genetics.
There were other Mendelians, and such approaches not only bypass the
significance of their work but also ignores the credence given to their work by

245
their contemporaries. This is illustrated by the fact that in discussions of the
relations between Mendelism and the cytological work on the sex problem,
sex determination was presented as a problem that was picked up or adapted
because of its possibilities as a tidy example of Mendelian principles.
However, quite the opposite was actually the case. The sex work was not
"instant genetics," and Mendelism was not picked up right away because
everyone recognized its value for 'genetics.' The word 'genetics' was not
coined until 1906,13 but the work in sex determination had been going on for
some time. Henking observed the accessory chromosome in and before 1891;
Weismann promulgated his separation of the germ plasm and the
somatoplasm before that. Other cytologists had picked up the thread of
chromosomal sex determination well before Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns, and
Erich von Tschermak recovered Mendel's work. Walter Sutton, for example,
had already completed his research before he learned of Mendelism. The fit
of his cytology to Mendel's laws occurred to him post facto.'1 Other biologists
who had little to do with cytology had also been at work on the sex problem.15
Mendelism was picked up and adapted because its simple rules and
mathematical regularity explained the cytology of sex work, results which
would only later be assumed by genetics. The work on sex determination was
part of several active lines of research before 1900 and after 1910.
Geneticist-cum-historian L. C. Dunn (1893-1974) suggested that if the
period lasting from 1880 to 1900 had been marked by 'preparing cytology for
Mendelism,' then "the period from 1900 to 1909 was one of interpreting
chromosome structure and function for cytology, rather than for genetics."16
In other words, the cytological work on the sex chromosomes was done for its
own sake, rather than as part of an effort to pave the way for genetics; it was
sex determination, not genetics. This is certainly reflected in Morgan's career

246
trajectory, because according to Dunn, genetics was a passing interest for
Morgan that lasted from 1908 to 1928.17 Before and after he pursued other
interests, including sex determination and problems of development.18
Likewise, Marsha Richmond observes that sex determination was a major
interest of research in the period leading up to the recovery of Mendel's work,
and with that recovery, biologists developed the empirical means to study
heredity, particularly the heredity of sex.19 Work on sex determination was
not simply "instant" genetics. Just as Morgan's own work reflected the initial
separation of the two approaches to the study of heredity, so too did Richard
Goldschmidt make a transition from sex determination to genetics.
Goldschmidt observed in 1932, after he had begun to work on genetics, that
sex determination was the basis for his own theories of gene structure and
function. He stated
Thus I concluded that here a case was found in which the action of
definite genes could and had to be interpreted in terms of speed of
reactions and that it might be possible to base a theory of genic action
upon this interpretation.20
He elaborated on this point by stating
Here then has been derived for one type of genes, the sex-genes, a
definite idea of their action. . . As early as 1917 the present writer, after
having studied another case, which led to the same conclusions, had
enlarged them to apply to all genes.. . [H]e used this insight as the basis
for developing a general theory of heredity.21
In fact, Goldschmidt related, characteristically speaking of himself in the third
person,
the present writer analyzed the cases of experimental intersexuality in
the gipsy-moth [sic], which furnished him the first notions about the
action of a gene.22

247
It was from the cytological work in sex determination and the attempts to
interpret it in terms of the Mendelian theory used by experimental breeders
that genetics arose. The two practices of heredity, sex determination and
genetics, were separate disciplines.
Accordingly, the science of "classical" genetics grew directly out of the
work on sex determination. Richmond argues that sex determination was
one of the first problems examined by the new science of genetics.23 This
approach, relatively prevalent in the historical literature, gives the
impression that biologists were looking to test Mendelism and latched onto
sex determination. A different interpretation of the events, however,
suggests that some biologists in the years after the recovery of Mendel were
looking for answers to problems posed by the sex chromosomes and turned to
Mendelism because it could provide an explanation of chromosomal
mechanics. This view is suggested by historian of biology Philip Pauly, who
notes that at least on the theoretical level, Drosophila genetics derived from
the cytological work carried out by E. B. Wilson at Columbia and N. M.
Stevens at Bryn Mawr.24 Dunn notes that during the first decade of the
twentieth century, the sex problem, at least its cellular components, was
solved through the demonstration that sex was a Mendelian character. In
fact, the heart of genetics—the proof that genes were part of chromosomes and
that chromosomes played a role in the transmission of heredity—was
demonstrated through work on the sex chromosomes.25 Jacques Loeb argued
that the numerical results that resulted from Mendelian experiments could
be accounted for on the basis of the assumption that hereditary characters
were carried on distinct chromosomes.26 Accordingly, in 1914, Morgan
concluded that by treating sex as a Mendelian character, the cytological work
on sex determination could be explained.27 Loeb suggested that "the

248
cytological basis of sex determination becomes only a special case of the
cytological basis of Mendelian heredity."28 This was classical genetics.
Genetics, then, grew directly out of the work on sex determination
when cast in Mendelian terms. This conclusion, however, seems to
contradict much of the work in the history of genetics, which suggests that sex
determination was important only insofar as it provided a convenient
example to demonstrate genetics.29 The work on sex determination had been
going for a number of years, even before various cytologists began to work on
the sex chromosomes. While this work had little to do with genetics, it was
sex determination.30 Mendelism was adopted because, as biology became
modern, various biologists sought to place heredity on a particulate,
Newtonian plane that enabled them to utilize a vocabulary of discontinuous
particles and a degree of quantification. Genetics, made up of cytology and
Mendelism, could be used to represent a universal theory of sex. Although by
couching sex determination in terms of the actions of particles, geneticists
were able explain all the different kinds of sex by the same law, it was a
universal theory of sex based on discontinuity and discrete particles.
Morgan. Sex Determination, and Genetics
In 1909, Morgan published the results of his research into sex
determination, entitled, appropriately enough, "A Biological and Cytological
Study of Sex Determination in Phylloxerans and Aphids." In this paper
Morgan took up a quantitative view of sex determination. Under this
quantitative interpretation, Morgan perceived female and male bodies to be
but alternate possibilities of the same life-substance. Certain quantitative
factors determined whether the body developed in one direction or the
other.31 Morgan contrasted this to the qualitative, Mendelian view that
William E. Castle had proposed, in which the female was a male "plus

249
something else."32 Morgan understood such a view to imply that there
existed in the gametes certain particles or substances that produced either a
male or a female. Morgan interpreted Mendelism to mean that these
particulate factors were separate from one other, segregated in different
gametes during gametogenesis so that there would only be the one or the
other in a given cell.33 Morgan, defined his quantitative factors, however, as
those factors that, when produced in the germ cells, turned development in
either the male or the female direction. He stated "When these quantitative
factors are internal there are produced in the germ cells those conditions that
turn the scale one way or the other."34 These particles, Morgan thought, did
not make the gamete male or female, but contained "certain factors which,
when combined give rise, in an epigenetic fashion, to one or the other
alternative."35
In "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex Determination in
Phylloxerans and Aphids" (1909), Morgan noted that Mendelism had made
numerous attempts to explain sex. He stated that
the presence in animals and plants of two kinds of individuals, males
and females, has led to several attempts to explain their presence
according to Mendel's Law. Sex is treated as a unit character not
different from other unit characters in its heredity.36
Morgan argued that Mendelism, when applied to sex, actually served to cloud
the issue of the sex problem, rather than to clear it up, because either the egg
or the sperm had to be heterozygous for sex and experimental evidence was
contradictory.32 In Morgan's view, Mendelian schemes, such as that proposed
by Castle in 1903, had to depend on selective fertilization. Morgan felt that
without the expedient of selective fertilization, Mendelian treatments of sex
produced not two but three varieties of individuals. Morgan argued that

250
"while the theory accounts for the combination of male and female characters
in every individual, it fails to account for those factors that determine sex,
i.e., the sex of the individual that arises from the egg."38 In other words,
Mendelism could account for the heredity of either sex, or all other traits, but
not both.
In place of this, Morgan proposed his own theory of sex determination
that depended on integral quantities of particles. Morgan noted that with his
quantitative theory, either the female or the male was heterozygous, but
argued that this was in a manner different than that required by the
Mendelians.39 He argued that heterozygosity implied not the presence of both
female and male "unit characters" that segregated separately in the gametes,
but rather implied the presence or absence of a "differential factor," an extra
chromosome that was neither female nor male but only sex-determining.40
Morgan stated that if this hereditary quantum was present "two possibilities
may be realized, if absent only one. . . therefore all eggs and all sperm are
capable of producing both sexes."41 Morgan argued, as he had since 1903, that
while sex was most likely determined in the germ cells, evidence did not
warrant the conclusion that the female and male factors were characters in
the Mendelian sense.42 Morgan felt that the "male and female condition
represent alternative possibilities of the protoplasm, which one being realized
depending on a quantitative factor."43 Sex was an inherent quality of cellular
protoplasm, and although Morgan hypothesized the existence of factors that
"conditioned" sex, they did not determine it.44 Although his hypothesis
differed in specific details from those of other workers on sex determination,
Morgan depended on the existence of hereditary particles in whole-number
quantities.

251
As of 1909, Morgan held little hope for a resolution to the sex problem.
He claimed that "in the unsettled condition of the evidence it is obvious that
the problem of sex determination has by no means reached a satisfactory
resolution."45 Although Morgan saw a certain disjunction between
Mendelism and chromosome theory, this did not stop him from pursuing
other lines of research which would intersect the sex determination work,
and ultimately supplant it.
A. H. Sturtevant noted that Morgan had been much impressed by his
1900 visit to the geneticist Hugo de Vries.46 Morgan wrote in 1903 that "No
one can see his experimental garden, as I have had the opportunity of doing,
without being greatly impressed."47 De Vries attempted to demonstrate the
function of evolution through large-scale mutations. De Vries was intrigued
by the notion that extant species remained constant and that the slight
variations by which Darwinian evolution was to take place could never be
observed.48 De Vries thus presented his mutation theory, which was based on
his breeding experiments with the evening primrose, Oenothera
lamarckiana. O. lamarckiana seemed to display sudden and dramatic new
variations that bore little resemblance to the parent plants; new species
appeared to arise through large-scale mutations in old species.49 Accordingly,
Morgan began to experiment with other aspects of heredity in order to test de
Vries's theory. In 1908, Morgan began genetic work with mice, and turned to
work with rats in 1909. In 1910, he started to work with the fruit fly,
Drosophila melanogaster, with the intention of identifying mutations like
those suggested by de Vries.50 As little as a decade later, Morgan's
contemporaries were aware of the extraordinary implications of his work.51
It was through sex determination that chromosome theory and
Mendelism were reconciled in Morgan's mind, and this was the eventual

252
product of his research into the origin of mutations. In his 1910 article,
"Chromosomes and Heredity," Morgan stated that
in recent years two converging lines of evidence have led the most
sanguine of us to hope that before long we shall know, in part, at least,
the answer to the outstanding riddle of the ages, the determination of
sex. These two lines of research are the experimental study of sex
inheritance, and the microscopic study of the germ cells.52
Drawing from the results of numerous breeding experiments by staunch
Mendelians such as Castle that pointed to the association of sex with other
"Mendelizing" traits, he argued that such experimental evidence
demonstrated that Mendelian formulae explained sex, a direct contradiction
of his earlier assertions.53 Morgan found it significant that the inheritance of
sex could be studied with the same methods that biologists used to study
other traits, and that these methods could be relied upon to provide
consistent results. He said, "Let us be as sceptical [sic] as we will, yet the facts
will impress themselves on any one who takes the pains to think them
over."54 To Morgan's rather cautious thinking, at least, by 1910 sex was
beginning to look more and more like a "Mendelizing" character.
Despite this seeming conjunction between cytology and the empirical
results of Mendelian experiments, Morgan was not entirely convinced, as
least not in the 1910 article, "Chromosomes and Heredity." Morgan argued
against the notion that chromosomes, which were quite distinct under the
microscope when properly stained, were the physical carriers of the
somewhat vague notion of Mendelian "factors." He reasoned that
since the number of chromosomes is relatively small and the
characters of the individual are very numerous, it follows on the
theory that many characters must be contained in the same
chromosome. Consequently many characters must Mendelize
together. Do the facts conform to this requisite of the hypothesis? It
seems to me that they do not.55

253
There simply were not enough chromosomes in comparison to the number
of factors, and there was insufficient proof that chromosome carried many
such Mendelian factors. The notion hinged on the accessory chromosome.
While Morgan admitted that it correlated to sex inheritance, he did not think
that it could be definitively proven to cause sex in the sense that the accessory
chromosome carried the physical determinant.56 He objected to calling the
accessory chromosome the "sex chromosome" precisely because that implied
that it carried a particular character.57 Morgan argued that if he ignored the
difficulties and emphasized the right discoveries, he could have implied that
the sex problem had been solved. He tried, however, to remain objective,
weighing the evidence "in the spirit of the judge rather than that of the
advocate."58
Morgan was, however, about to discover sufficient and compelling
evidence. In another 1910 article, "Sex Limited Inheritance in Drosophila,"
Morgan reported on a rather curious mutation that had appeared in his fly
cultures. Rather than the species-altering mutations hypothesized by de
Vries, Morgan discovered a seemingly trivial mutation. Rather than the
usual red eyes, a few flies displayed white eyes, but were in other respects
apparently normal.59 It was through the discovery of the white-eyed mutant
that genetics over-took sex determination and grounded the study of heredity
firmly in a particulate theory of inheritance. Robert Kohler observes that it
was with the white-eye (and other mutations) that the Drosophila work
expanded beyond its original realm of experimental evolution and began to
absorb Morgan's other research projects. The mutations of Drosophila proved
more conducive to sex determination work than the phylloxerans that
Morgan had reported on just a year earlier in 1909.60

254
What struck Morgan most, and was the basis of that 1910 paper, was the
fact that all the white-eyed flies were male. Morgan observed that in his
paper that in the first generation after the appearance of the initial mutant
that no white-eyed females appeared. Morgan bred the white-eyed males to
their sisters, and of the progeny, 2,459 were red-eyed females, 1, 011 were red¬
eyed males, and 782 displayed the white-eye mutation.61 He stated 'The new
character showed itself therefore to be sex limited in the sense that it was
transmitted only to the grandsons."62 However, when one of the original
white-eyed males was inbred to some of the Fj females (his daughters), the
following proportion of offspring resulted: 129 red-eyed females, 132 red-eyed
males, 88 white-eyed females, 86 white-eyed males (1:1:1:1).63 Morgan
concluded that the trait could be bred into females through appropriate
inbreeding.64 Accordingly, while the trait was linked to maleness, it was not
limited to maleness.
From this Morgan derived an hypothesis to account for the
distribution of sexes and eye colors. Morgan suggested that all of the
spermatozoa of the white-eyed male carried a factor for white eyes which he
designated 'W.' He also hypothesized that males were heterozygous for sex,
so that half of the sperm also carried the X factor. Morgan accordingly made
the symbol for the white-eyed male WWX-, and for his two varieties of sperm
W- and WX.65 Morgan also hypothesized that all of the eggs of the red-eyed
female carried the factor for red eyes, which he designated R, and that females
were homozygous for sex. Thus the female's formula was RRXX and the eggs
each carried one X and one R.66 So when Morgan mated the original mutant
male with his red-eyed sister, one-half of the progeny were RWXX (red-eyed
females) and RWX- (white-eyed males). When Morgan mated these flies, he
posited that the following progeny resulted in equal proportions: RRXX (red-

255
eyed females), RWXX (red-eyed females) RWX-, (red-eyed males), and WWX-
(white-eyed males).67 What struck Morgan as most important, however, and
what he regarded as the real significance of those symbols, was that the
outcome of the matings followed Mendelian rules, both for sex and for the
inheritance of a recessive trait like the mutant eye color.68 Morgan wrote that
"the white eyed fly is a beautiful case of sex limited inheritance.
Red x White
Red
50 25 25
Red Red Wh.
female male male
both that the recessives are all in the males and that this number of males is
needed to give equality of the sexes."69 The significance of the numbers and
their distributions between the sexes was not lost on Morgan.
While Morgan obviously noted and announced the sex-limited nature
of this novel character, however, he did not extent his hypothesis to the
chromosomes. E. A. Carlson notes that throughout the 1910 paper, "Sex
Limited Inheritance in Drosophila," Morgan never stated that this sex-limited
inheritance was associated with chromosomes and always used the non¬
committal 'X' to designate the accessory chromosome.70 Allen suggests that a
simple case of sex-limited inheritance was insufficient for Morgan to
repudiate his skepticism, so although he hinted at a relationship between
Mendelian characters and hereditary particles such as chromosome, Morgan
did not make the connection explicitly.71
By 1911, however, Morgan was ready to consider some sort of
combination of Mendelism and chromosome theory. Morgan noted in the
paper "Random Segregation Versus Coupling in Mendelian Inheritance" that

256
Mendel's rules of inheritance depended on the random segregation of factors
for the various characters of a given organism. Morgan himself, however,
had found one such case where factors did not assort randomly.72 The white¬
eyed male mutant was one such case, because the white-eye mutation, in the
absence of intense inbreeding, was limited to the male sex. Other biologists,
such as William Bateson, had proposed not only repulsions between like
characters, but also attractions. That is, the white-eye and red-eye characters
would never be found in the same gamete, but the white-eye and maleness
almost always were.73
This system of attractions and repulsions of hereditary particles, which
resembled that proposed for electrons and protons, explained limited
inheritance, but it was rather cumbersome. In place of this system of physical
attraction and repulsion, Morgan proposed what he called a "comparatively
simple explanation based on results of inheritance of eye color, body color,
wing mutations and the sex factor for femaleness in Drosophila."71 Morgan
based this explanation on the notion that if the factors for those traits were
located within the chromosomes, and if those factors were inherited together
and did not assort randomly during gametogenesis, then groups of traits
would be found together.75 Morgan argued that such non-randomly assorted
traits were likely located on the same chromosome, and that other traits were
likely located on different chromosome. Morgan hypothesized that the
likelihood of "coupling," as he termed non-random segregation, depended on
the "Unear distance apart of the chromosomal materials that represent the
factors."76 Because of the evidence provided by the example of sex-limited
inheritance, Morgan suggested that chromosomes may indeed have been the
carriers of Mendelian traits. Morgan accordingly argued that

257
the results are a simple mechanical result of the location of the
materials in the chromosomes, and the method of union of
homologous chromosomes, and the proportions that result are not so
much the expression of a numerical system as of the relative location
of the factors in the chromosome. Instead of random segregation in
Mendel's sense we find "associations of factors" that are located
together in the chromosomes. Cytology furnishes the mechanism that
experimental evidence demands.77
While Morgan appeared to deny the applicability of his results to Mendelism,
hence the reference to "expressions of a numerical system," he concluded
with an endorsement of what proponents of a chromosomal explanation of
sex determination had been arguing all along, specifically the notion that
cytology, with its knowledge of chromosomal behavior, explained the results
of Mendelism. Although the versions of Mendelism that Morgan appeared
to accept differed from the laws proposed by Mendel himself and from the
version of Mendelism that the early twentieth-century Mendelians used, this
1911 papers assumed that hereditary "factors" were located within
chromosomes that that chromosome theory and experimental evidence
(Mendelism) were in accord, a clear change of position on Morgan's part.
Accordingly, by 1911 the necessary components of a genetic science that
explained not only the inheritance of sex, but, as work continued, much of
the rest of heredity as well, were in place. The rapprochement between
cytology and Mendelism, however, did not result in "instant genetics," at
least not in Morgan's work; he still had not brought the two together. For
example, in his 1911 paper, "An Attempt to Analyze the Constitution of the
Chromosomes on the Basis of Sex-Limited Inheritance in Drosophila,"
Morgan refused to use Mendelian notation, favoring instead a complex
idiosyncratic system in which he designated allelomorphs for the same trait
with different symbols. For example, Morgan stated that

258
the eyes of the wild fly are dull red, and may be designated by the letter
R. The bright-red eye is vermilion in color and is indicated by V. . . The
pink eye, P, is with a little experience easily distinguished from the
other colors. . . If the fly is large (coming from a well-fed maggot) the
orange eye, O, is deep orange in shade.. . The red eye of the wild fly
seems to contain three pigments: red, pink, and orange. The mutants
have arisen by the loss in turn of one color. If these three colors (or the
factors that stand for them) are represented by the symbols R, P, and O,
then the red eye is RPO, the pink eye rPO, the orange eye is rpO.78
Morgan, still using the presense-absense hypothesis to explain the lack of a
trait, used lower-case letters to designate the lack of a character. When he
combined these symbols with others for sex, the results could be ambiguous,
or at least cumbersome. For example, Morgan represented a vermilion-eyed
male fly with the symbol RpOX-RpO, which meant that it had two copies of
the gene for red pigment, none at all for pink pigment, had two for orange
pigment, and one X chromosome for sex.79 While he interpreted this and
other evidence from sex-limited mutations to mean that "segregation, the key
to all Mendelian phenomena, is to be found in the separation, during the
maturation of the egg and sperm, of material bodies (chemical substances)
contained in the chromosomes," he was not yet willing to admit the identity
of Mendelian theory and cytological results.80 Ever cautious, he argued that
his conclusion does not mean that the material present in the
chromosomes are the substances out of which the unit-characters are
built up. On the contrary all that this evidence goes to show is that the
bodies represent some material necessary for the development of the
particular character in question.81
Morgan was not yet prepared to admit chromosomes definitively carried
genes.
Morgan argued that his experiments with Drosophila demonstrated
that a "complicated series of facts relating to sex-limited inheritance" could be
account for on the assumption that one of the factors for those limited

259
characters was linked to the X factor for sex, if not actually contained in the
accessory chromosome.82 What struck him as most significant was, as he
stated, "the discovery that the X-chromosome contains not only one of the
essential factors in sex determination, but also all other characters that are sex-
limited in inheritance."63 The true significance of this, however, was its
implications for heredity (and it also demonstrated the importance of sex
determination to the creation of genetics). Morgan thought that this fact
demonstrated that the determination of sex was only one of several
properties contained on the accessory chromosome, and most importantly,
"that it is not the X-chromosomes, as such, that is a factor in sex
determination, but only a very small part of its material."6* Morgan felt he
had secure grounds for concluding that a chromosome carried a gene with a
verifiable physical effect. He finally had proof that chromosomes were the
physical carriers of hereditary particles.
This synthesis of the two perspectives on heredity helped to make a
science of heredity. In 1915, Morgan and his students A. H. Sturtevant, H. J.
Muller (1890-1968), and C. B. Bridges published The Mechanism of Mendelian
Heredity in which they made the connections between Mendelism and
cytology in genetics explicit. Morgan, in his preface, argued for the centrality
of the new genetics to the biological sciences. He stated that "the tendency is
to regard genetics as a subject for specialists instead of an all-important theme
of zoology and botany."85 The all-important nature of genetics may have
stemmed from its ability to explain not only the heredity of sex, a subject of
intense scrutiny by all of the biological sciences, but also many other aspects of
heredity.
Thus by 1915 genetics had become a discipline in its own right, one that
quickly assumed center stage in the study of biology. Morgan argued that

260
while some critics objected to the emphasis that he and his students placed on
the chromosomes as the material basis of heredity, "the chromosomes
furnish exactly the kind of mechanism that the Mendelian laws called for;
and since there is an ever-increasing body of information that points clearly
to the chromosomes as the bearers of the Mendelian factors, it would be folly
to close one's eyes to so patent a relation."86 The importance of the 1915 book
lay in its establishment of the chromosomes as, just as the title suggested, the
mechanism of Mendelian inheritance. Morgan strengthened this assertion
even further in his 1919 book, The Physical Basis of Heredity.87 The new
science of genetics furthermore explained the puzzling phenomenon of
gynandromorphy better than Morgan's 1903 explanation, which postulated
the origin of gynandromorphy in polyspermic fertilization. Morgan and
Bridges, authors of a monograph of gynandromorphy, stated "the best
authenticated cases [of somatic mosaics] are the modern ones that have been
analyzed by recognized genetic methods."88 The subsumption of sex
determination by genetics, and the establishment of genetics as the authority
in matters relating to the heredity of sex, was complete, at least in the English-
speaking world.
Goldschmidt. Sex Determination, and Genetics
Although Goldschmidt and, indeed, many German biologists held
much different views of heredity and development than that presented by the
Morgan school, life scientists throughout the West by and large adopted the
"Morganian" viewpoint.89 Morganian genetics quickly became the standard
coin of heredity, particularly in the English-speaking world, and by the post
World War II era had largely supplanted the German approach to heredity.
This approach viewed heredity and development as part of the same process,

261
as opposed to Morgan's somewhat facile separation of the two. Between ca.
1910 and ca. 1930, however, "genetics" was a contested term and concept:
Americans and Germans may have meant very different things by it. Thus
while Morgan's conversion from sex determination to genetics was fairly
abrupt, the transition of Goldschmidt's thought on the subject was much less
abrupt. In fact, to a great extent, the model of genic action and expression that
Goldschmidt developed from his sex determination work was applicable to
other aspects of heredity other than sex. Almost from the beginning of his
work on sex determination (ca. 1914-1917), Goldschmidt conceptualized
genetics and development in the same manner that he conceptualized the
heredity and development of sex. This highlights the sources of
Goldschmidt's much-publicized differences with the Morgan school. Where
Morgan, after his conversion on the Damascus road (the white-eyed male
fruit fly) caused him to drop his opposition to the chromosome theory of
heredity, viewed Mendelian traits as epistemologically real entities, for
Goldschmidt they never had any value but the heuristic. Likewise, where
Morgan's work on genetics led him to separate heredity from development,
Goldschmidt's work on sex determination convinced him that they were
identical. Because Richmond has detailed the continuity of Goldschmidt's
thought between sex determination and genetics in her 1986 dissertation, the
present work instead focuses on characterizing Goldschmidt's work and
thought.90 It will also present a brief account of Goldschmidt's notions of
heredity and development up to the early 1930s and address the possibilities
of two different sciences of genetics.
Heredity/Development in Goldschmidt's Thought
As Richmond has observed, Goldschmidt's goal throughout his work
on sex determination was not merely to uncover the mechanism of sex

262
determination in the intersexual moths he investigated; Goldschmidt felt it
more important to develop a clearer comprehension of the hereditary bases of
the development of sex. This dominated his investigations from his first
publications on sex determination in 1909 until his final monograph on the
subject in 1934.91 Thus Goldschmidt noted that he had, since 1911, attempted
to develop a theory of sex inheritance that explained sex development.92 In
1916, Goldschmidt argued that "'very important new facts will be published
later which will probably enable us to replace the symbolistic Mendelian
language. . . by more definite physico-chemical conceptions."93 He continued,
I am rather optimistic in regard to the general conclusions, which
might be drawn from these facts as well as regards the sex problem as
on some fundamental questions of heredity. Combining these facts
with the work on hormone action as related to sex we can, I think,
form a pretty clear idea about sex-differentiation and determination. If
we put them in Une with the facts of experimental embryology
concerning the [sex] determination problem we see the outlines of a
promising theory of heredity."94
A "promising theory of heredity," then, was one that combined inheritance
with development; both together constituted heredity, rather than the
mechanisms of inheritance alone doing so.
Goldschmidt expanded this more or less Mendelian view into a genetic
physiology of development. Goldschmidt thought that the decisive step in
the analysis of intersexuality, and one which geneticists tended to miss where
physiologists did not, was the step from what he termed "static" Mendelism
to the "dynamic" genetical physiology of development.95 Goldschmidt argued
The limits of ordinary MendeUan analysis. . . were first reached when it
was shown that the experimental facts regarding intersexuality could be
expressed not by a simple linked set of genes-those for femaleness and
maleness-controlled the results according to their quantitative or
relative relation or balance. The simple Mendelian formulation was
thus enlarged by a new conception, namely that of a quantitative

263
relation or balance of genes working together towards the production
of a phenotype, the character of which was in some way proportional
to. . . their amount of balance or unbalance.96
Goldschmidt assumed that if the differential balance of female and male
genes stood for not only intersexuality, but normal sexuality, then certain
minimum amounts of the gene products had to be present for sexual or
intersexual development.97 This was Goldschmidt's notion of the epistatic
minimum. The Mendelian formulae and the epistatic minimum, however,
did not, in Goldschmidt's estimation, adequately explain the production of
different sorts of sexual intermediates from the same combination of factors.98
Only a dynamic genetical science, one that was based on the physiology of
development, could explain the production of heredity.99
From the very beginning, Goldschmidt observed a lack of agreement
between the degrees of intersexuality demonstrated by the various organs of a
given moth. Logically, Goldschmidt thought that "an intersexual individual
should represent in every organ a definite intermediate step between the two
sexes, equally distant from the endpoint for every organ. But this is not the
case."100 Instead, he found that the organs of intersexuals constituted mosaics
of different determination in regards to sex.101 This is what Goldschmidt
meant when he termed intersexuals "temporal" mosaics (see Chapter 4,
above). Goldschmidt codified this "strange seriation" with the observation
that "this series is the inverse of the order of differentiation. . . of
development."102 Goldschmidt argued that "this fact.. . enables us to
formulate a definite physiological theory of sex determination."103 It was this
dynamic theory of sex that Goldschmidt extended into a general
developmental theory of heredity.104

264
This led Goldschmidt to what he called the "time law of
intersexuality," which he later extended to all traits. He described the action
of this "law" in a 1917 paper, "A Further Contribution to the Theory of Sex."
Under Goldschmidt's model of development, there came a time at which
each organ differentiated and when differences between the two sexes could
have been manifest. At this point, Goldschmidt argued, the organ "chose"
between one of the two alternatives, female and male.105 This "decision" was
made by the dominant sexual hormone: The hormone, andrase or gynase, in
the highest concentration influenced development by providing a
physiologically active amount of itself first.106 The time law, then, was an
expression of the amount of time it took for one of the two sex hormones to
reach a critical level. Richmond points out while this 1917 expression of the
time law was somewhat crude and lacked the later refinements that
Goldschmidt would make to it, it nonetheless contained all the major points
as Goldschmidt elaborated them.107 Thus the 1917 description of the time law
differed little in its important points from the 1932 description.108
Goldschmidt simply extended the reach of the time law to account for other
hereditary traits. Accordingly, to Goldschmidt, genetics and development
were the same thing, and historical interpretations, such as Garland Allen's,
that claim that Goldschmidt "attempted to bring genetics and development
back together," miss the fundamental importance of Goldschmidt's thought:
Goldschmidt could not reunite what had never been separate in his mind.109
Separate Genetical Sciences
This perception of difference between heredity and development on
the part of English-speaking biologists suggests the possibility that there may
have been two sciences of heredity—both derived from work on sex
determination—that called themselves "genetics." Near-contemporaries of

265
Goldschmidt discussed this possibility. The biologist Ernst Caspari (b. 1909)
wrote to Curt Stern a few years after Goldschmidt's death,
It is certainly striking that Goldschmidt's Lymantria [sic] experiments
give us the most typical example of a dine which we have, and that he
recognized it as early as he did. Fundamentally not much has been
added to variation within a species than he had in his early
experiments. He also had this infertility between extreme members of
the range, in this case expressed as intersexuality, which should lead to
speciation. It is therefore most remarkable that from the same
phenomenon he drew absolutely opposite conclusions to those of the
Neo-Darwinists.110
Although Caspari was surprised that the data led Goldschmidt to any
conclusions but the "right" ones, his comments suggest that although the
biologists in questions saw the same things, they perceived them differently.
Starting from the same primordia, the same (or similar) observations
of the heredity of sex, Goldschmidt appeared to have produced a genetics
completely different from that produced by the Morgan school.
Goldschmidt's science, then, may have represented an entirely different
manner of looking at hereditary phenomena. The usual picture is that
Morgan's and Goldschmidt's visions of a science of heredity were competing
traditions within the same scientific praxis. However, they may have been
competing sciences, rather than competing traditions. While based on
similar techniques and based in similar research, this view of them as rival
traditions within a single science obscures the very real differences between
them. Despite their common basis in experimental biology,
epistemologically, they were nothing alike. While this may have been a
difference in national style~a German tendency to favor broad explanations
and analogical reasoning versus an American reluctance to speculate—there
may have been more operant in the differences between the two forms of
genetics created by Morgan and Goldschmidt. If this is true, then

266
Goldschmidt's 1932 paper, "Genetics and Development/' wherein he
articulated the difference between static and dynamic genetics, may have been
the manifesto for his new genetics. This possibility was fully realized in
Goldschmidt's Physiological Genetics published a few years later in 1938.
Morgan's work and rhetoric suggested something similar. Historian of
biology Jonathan Harwood notes that by 1923, Morgan argued that geneticists
could or should say virtually nothing about development, and labeled his
critics, conspicuous among whom was Goldschmidt, physiologists or
embryologists. The narrow definition of genetics that Morgan advocated was
precisely the definition that most German geneticists refused to accept.111 By
labeling his critics as something other than "geneticists," however, Morgan
bracketed his critics out of genetics. That is, only those who agreed with him
were properly styled geneticists. This protected his fledgling science from
potentially lethal criticism, and also maintained his hegemony. In 1928,
Morgan wrote to J. C. Merriam, President of the Carnegie Institution, of this
disciplining of the field.
The [Drosophila] group has not increased in size since Sturtevant and
Bridges joined it, but we have had collaborating with us from time to
time ten International Fellows. In addition we have farmed out many
problems to graduate students who were taking advanced work with
me at Columbia. Twenty theses have resulted from this cooperation
[sic]. . . These students are now scattered over the world and many of
them have become centres [sic] of Drosophila enlightenment. A
considerable number of papers on more limited problems have been
published by graduate students. In addition we have supplied many
advanced workers with materials for their investigations.112
The Morgan lab trained many of the adepts of the new science (or of "a" new
science) of genetics, and controlled the supply of stock material, as well as the
inculturation of new geneticists.113 In fact, Morgan sought to bracket
Goldschmidt out of the ranks of those "enlightened" by genetics. In his 1919

267
monograph on gynandromorphy, Morgan avoided discussing Goldschmidt's
work on intersexuality as much as possible, and generally limited it to
discussions of sexual aberration or of moths, when it was unavoidable.114 Yet
Goldschmidt had promulgated a theory of genetics, and the threat that this
posed to the Morgan school could not be ignored by Morgan's students.
Morgan's reluctance to engage Goldschmidt directly may have been a result of
some sort of reluctance to grace a rival claim to genetics.
Morgan adopted some rather interesting rhetorical strategies when
discussing Goldschmidt's work, especially in comparison with his own.
Throughout Part I of "Contributions to the Genetics of Drosophila" (1919),
which dealt with the origin of gynandromorphy, Morgan refers to his own
work on Drosophila genetics strictly in the passive voice. While this is
standard scientific practice, it had the effect of making his work and its
synthesis of Mendelism and chromosome theory appear to be a natural fact,
when its age at this point in time made it an unproved theory (albeit one
with considerable empirical evidence).115 By constructing Morgan's theory as
a natural fact via the passive voice, it also obscured its dependence upon
human agency for its efficacy. This maneuver was particularly noticeable
when Morgan actually did discuss Goldschmidt's work. To the passive voice
of his own work Morgan contrasted active voice constructions in
Goldschmidt's work. Thus it was quite clear to whom ideas belonged. Where
Morgan wrote "it is demonstrated" of his own work, he opposed it to
"Goldschmidt offers," or Goldschmidt "accepts in part" the genetics of the
Morgan school and "applies" it somewhat to his work. Through his language
Morgan ensured that Goldschmidt's finger prints were on his
(unconventional—from Morgan's point of view) work, while Morgan's own
work somehow appeared. The distinction was a fine one, but an important

268
one. In fact, it was this way that the mechanical technologies of sex
determination interfaced with the discursive technologies (see Conclusion,
"Words and Things," below).
Heredity and Control
While sex determination fed into what became genetics, indeed, its
efforts to understand the sex-determining mechanism predated genetics by
two or so decades, by the 1910s genetics had appropriated significant aspects of
sex determination, and most, if not all, of the determiners of sex were also
geneticists. Morgan and Goldschmidt assuredly were. Because the work on
sex determination was also on some level work on sex control, genetics
reflected a controlling impulse present in sex determination. Genetics, in its
infancy, was largely inseparable from eugenics, the application of the sciences
of heredity to humans.116 Until the mid 1910s, a high degree of participation
on the part of geneticists characterized the eugenics movement in the United
States. In fact, such geneticists, who understood the implications of Mendel's
laws and their applications to human populations, were instrumental in
organizing the eugenics movements and societies.117 The situation in
Germany was similar, and it was not until the National Socialist period that
eugenics, or racial hygiene, came to be identified with racist causes. Most
eugenicists of the Weimar era in Germany were not anti-Semitic: 'Racial
improvement' in this eugenic discourse referred not to the advancement of
certain ethnic groups over others, of which most eugenicists were suspicious,
but to the health of the entire population.118
To many geneticists, genetics applied to humans was conceptually
identical to eugenics and the findings of geneticists constituted the agenda for
social hygiene.119 However, by the 1920s at the latest, at least in the United
States, genetics and eugenics had begun to diverge. For example, various

269
members of the genetics and eugenics communities, which still overlapped,
felt that the 1920 Congresses of Genetics and Eugenics would be better off if
held separately.120 Eugenics provided a scientific vocabulary for what
historian A. T. Allen referred to as one of the most prominent social issues,
the impact on the public sphere of private sexual decisions.121 One student of
eugenics claims that the 'blatant misuse' of genetics on the part of eugenicists
prompted most reputable geneticists to back away from the movement.122
However, historian of genetics and eugenics Mark Adams correctly asserts
that little support for the myth of eugenics as a pseudo-science exists. It serves
only to distance genetics from the uglier aspects of its application to
humans.123
Both Morgan and Goldschmidt were in favor of the control of sexual
reproduction in humans. To begin with, both biologists (along with hoards of
others from all walks of life) referred continually to sex as a problem,
although neither indicated directly just why sex was problematic. While
interest in sex determination and sex control dated back to Aristotle, if not
earlier, the status of sex as a "problem" would appear to be characteristic of the
late nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth. Such
expressions of the problematic nature of sex spanned from a general concern
with an observed phenomenon—sexual dimorphism—to a 'problem' that
consumed biology for decades on either side of the recovery of Mendel's
work. Both Morgan and Goldschmidt were interested in science for its own
sake. Morgan was well known for trying to keep his science free of entangling
alliances, hence his refusal to attempt to secure Goldschmidt's parole from
the internment camp during World War One on strictly scientific grounds
(although when the latter was paroled, it was Morgan who put up the two
thousand dollars security).124 Goldschmidt, for his part, was a member of the

270
Bildungsbürgertum, the supposedly apolitical cultural elite of Germany
during the empire and the republic. Goldschmidt, throughout his career,
fulminated against the meddling of those who did not understand biology.125
Yet several factors mitigate this view of both biologists as neutral
custodians of science. Morgan considered the application of sex
determination to humans in several of his published works.126 Morgan was
also something of a patronage broker for eugenics, one to whom people wrote
looking for eugenics work.127 Morgan was similarly a director of the Eugenics
Record Office.128 The transfer of that office to the control of the Carnegie
Institution of Washington, with which Morgan was much involved,
occasioned a mention of Morgan's work on eugenics, specifically that his
"name served to give dignity and solidity to the work from its beginning."129
Eugenics also figured in his course lectures at Columbia University through
the late 1920s, including discussions of the Jukes and the Kallikaks, fabulously
'dysgenic' families.130
It was not that Morgan held himself above political or philosophical
considerations, he simply refused to commit himself on paper. There is
evidence he considered the extra-scientific implications of his science, as with
the piece on the subject war and eugenics that he planned to write with C. B.
Davenport or his lectures on "the relation of modern theories of heredity to
the State" before a group of sociologists which he refused to publish.131 He
was a man similarly caught up in the momentous events of his time, and
subject to cultural trends.132 Morgan's speculative work on war and eugenics
or the relation of genetics to the state, unfortunately lost, perhaps to one of
Morgan's infamous purges of his files, indicated that he considered the matter
of the relation of heredity and sex determination to humans.

271
Goldschmidt, too, was similarly aware of his surrounding culture, and
accordingly interested in the human applications of his work. To begin with,
Goldschmidt actually published on the human applications of his work,
specifically the 1916 paper.133 Goldschmidt also had pursued an M. D. degree,
although he never completed the clinical aspects of medical training, which
could indicate at least some interest in human problems.134 Goldschmidt
possessed a broadly synthetic mind, and his early medical training was
doubtlessly incorporated into his ongoing work on biological problems,
including sex determination. In fact, historian Paul Weindling notes that
Goldschmidt was on the Prussian Medical Committee on Racial Hygiene, a
committee which agitated for a research institute devoted to problems of
human heredity. The Committee debated the regulation of marriage,
compulsory sterilization, genetic counseling, and blood group research.135 In
his popular science book Ascaris. which sold 15, 000 copies by 1933,
Goldschmidt argued that the biologist was in a position to draw conclusions
for human heredity and breeding much as a farmer would for improvement
of cattle stock. Because the feeble-minded and others would not survive in
nature, Goldschmidt advocated institutional sterilization to safeguard
Germany's 'genetic treasury.' He advocated teaching children that only those
of proven eugenic quality had value.136 Goldschmidt likewise served in an
advisory capacity the World Population Conference of 1927.137 Goldschmidt,
like many others interested in sex determination, also advocated control.
The narrative of sex determination was a narrative of the mobilization
of power and science in the defense of the status quo. Thus biologists
discussed not only sex determination, but sex control. On 28 December 1906
the American Society of Naturalists held its annual meeting at Columbia
University in New York City. The topic that year was the 'biological

272
significance and control of sex.' Among others, both Morgan and E. B.
Wilson presented papers dealing with facets of the sex problem relating to the
meaning and control of sex. Despite the rhetoric of neutral, acultural science,
sex determination and genetics were always on some level about humans and
always about control. This was true especially of early twentieth-century
science, American and German. The sociologist Max Weber noted in 1919
that the modern sciences, besides being characterized by a high degree of
specialization, were linked inextricably to an instrumental approach: The
modem sciences did not ask questions to provide humanity with answers to
the questions of the ages, but to dominate the natural world.138 Goldschmidt
himself argued as much in 1921 when he stated that no real grounds for
treating humans separately from the rest of the animal kingdom in regards to
sex determination existed. Such an exclusion could only be justified "for
sentimental reasons" rather than soundly biological ones.139 Not only could
results derived from studies on animals be applied to the human condition,
there was no real reason not to. Such biological knowledge existed—much
like sex itself—on a continuum.140
In many ways, the discourse of sex determination among animals was
a metaphor for sex determination and control in humans. The translator's
preface to the 1923 edition of Goldschmidt's Mechanismus und Phvsiologie
der Geschlechtsbestimmung (1920), for example, stated that with the vigorous
approach to sex determination and heredity, "there is every prospect of great
success in the future in the elucidation and probably the actual control of
sex."141 Many early twentieth-century biologists expressed this notion. Castle,
for example, argued that as evolution was inevitable, humans need to control
their biological destinies and had the means to do so.142 Leonard Doncaster
observed that in the popular mind 'sex determination' meant sex control, the

273
production of one sex or the other at will. While biologists used the term
differently, namely to indicate the causes that lead to the production of one or
the other sex, those causes may have been subject to human control and
manipulation.143 Even those who were ambivalent to the prospect
acknowledged the possibility, as John Beard did in his 1902 consideration of
sex determination or as Doncaster again did when he said that one ought "to
regard the control of sex in Man as an achievement not entirely impossible of
realization."144 Even geneticists like Carl Correns who were generally
pessimistic about the possibilities admitted that they existed, however
remote.145 Goldschmidt himself took a broader view of it, but, like many
other biologists, acknowledged the possibility, both its existence and as a
popular goal.146 Discussion of the numerical ratio of the sexes constituted a
prime example of this always-already stated goal of sex determination.
Biologists continued to puzzle over the nearly equal numbers of females and
males in bisexual (in the sense of separate sexes) species.147 In spite of the fact
that simple probability dictated that with two kinds of sperm (or eggs), the
chances were 50:50 of one sperm or the other fertilizing the egg. Still, there
had to be some sort of mechanism. The sex problem was simply too pressing
to biologists for any aspect of it to be a matter of chance.
Summary: Genetics. Modernity, and Control
Goldschmidt's interests in controlling intersexual bodies, perhaps the
most sophisticated of all the early twentieth-century biologists, extended
beyond the ordinary mechanical technologies of breeding and
experimentation. Goldschmidt used his moths as a sort of machine for the
production of intersexuality, and he eventually achieved complete control
over their bodies. By the end of his work on intersexuality, Goldschmidt

274
could produce all grades of intersexuality at will in both directions (female to
male and male to female).148 Initially Goldschmidt could produce only some
grades of intersexuality, specifically full female intersexuality but only three-
quarters male intersexuality. Full control over male bodies eluded
Goldschmidt until 1925, when he succeeded in creating full sex reversal in
male moths. Thus his mechanical technologies prevailed and he succeeded
in creating full sex reversal or any step along the way at will.149 Eventually
Goldschmidt managed to transcend the need to interbreed (and inbreed) the
races of gypsy moths, perfecting a technique that was much surer and much
easier to control. Goldschmidt exposed the developing moths to temperature
shocks at various times during development and found that he could
produce intersexuality that way.150 The use of animals as tools in this manner
was fraught with implications, although Goldschmidt was by no means the
only biologist to so use his animals as aberration machines, to embed sexed
bodies in the modern matrix of control, production, and reproduction. Castle,
for example, was able to produce all color variations in his experimental
mice, including the lethal sex-linked ones, at will through appropriate
breeding.151 Morgan and others, including Castle, the first to domesticate the
fly, used Drosophila in a similar manner, producing all manners of
mutations.152 Historians Gregory Mitman and Anne Fausto-Sterling argue
that in such cases the animals were deployed strategically, the material bases
of the biologists' discursive claims about nature, its operations, and its
meanings. Organisms become symbols of the traditions and theories that
crafted and modified them.153 Thus Lymantria, Drosophila, and other
engineered forms on one level came to represent the control of bodies.

275
Notes
1 David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural
Change (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1989), p. 12.
2 William R. Everdell, The First Modems: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century
Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), p. 347.
3 For the United States, see Charles Rosenberg, No Other Gods: On Science and American Social
Thought (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), p. 1. For Germany, see Paul
Weindling, Darwinism and Social Darwinism in Imperial Germany: The contribution of the
Cell Biologist Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922) (Stuttgart and New York: n. p., 1991), p. 17.
4 Eric L. Santer, My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of Modernity
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 8.
5 Everdell, Moderns, p. 354.
6 Christa Jungnickel and Russell McCormmach, Intellectual Mastery of Nature, Theoretical
Physics from Ohm to Einstein (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 409.
7 "Classical" genetics became "classical" only after the discovery of the structure of DNA and
the concomitant development of molecular genetics. So-called "classical" genetics concerned
itself with the transmission of traits from one generation to the next, as well as with the
elucidation of the empirical proof of Mendelism.
8 Margaret Somosi Saha, "Carl Correns and an Alternative Approach to Genetics: The Study of
Heredity in Germany Between 1880 and 1930" (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State
University, 1984), p. 253.
9 See Garland Allen, Life Science in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1975). Jane Maienschein presents a different perspective in Transforming
Traditions (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991). Rather than a "revolt"
Maienschein perceives a gradual transformation of interests.
10 Huge de Vries, 'The Law of Segregation of Hybrids," in The Origin of Genetics: A Mendel
Source Book, ed. Curt Stem and Eva R. Sherwood (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company,
1966), p. 107.
11 Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1978), pp. 154-155.
12 The literature dealing with the origin of genetics is vast, perhaps surpassed in quantity only
by material related to Darwin. There historical works include those written by various
biologists involved. These include E. A. Carlson, The Gene: A Critical History (Philadelphia:
W. B. Saunders, 1966); L. C. Dunn, A Short History of Genetics: The Development of Some of
the Main Lines of Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965); and A. H.
Sturtevant, A History of Genetics (New York: Harper & Row, 1965). None of these works is
especially critics. More critical and recent accounts include much of the work of historian of
biology Garland Allen. Among the most comprehensive is his biography of Morgan, Thomas
Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), although
his many articles are quite valuable, as well. Likewise, historian of biology Jane
Maienschein's important book, Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880-1915
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), examines the backgrounds of four of the
most significant American biologists at the fin-de-siécle and shows how they contributed to the
development of the biological sciences. Maienschein's articles also are very important to a
history of genetics, particularly her comparative approach to American and German genetics.
Historian of biology Robert Kohler's Lords of the Fly: Drosophila Genetics and the

276
Experimental Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994) fills in important parts of the
narrative of genetics by detailing the spread of genetics and the ways in which the little fly
came in from the cold. The most comprehensive work on the history of German genetics to date
is Jonathan Harwood's Styles of Scientific Thought: The German Genetics Community, 1900-
1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). As with historians Allen and Maienschein,
Harwood's articles deal with important details of the history of genetics.
13 Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance
(Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1982), p. 733.
14 Walter Sutton, 'The Chromosomes in Heredity," Biological Bulletin 4 (1903), p. 231.
15 See Maienschein, "What Determines Sex?" for a cogent analysis of the different sorts of
biologists who sought to determine sex.
“L.C.Dunn, A Short History of Genetics: The Development of Some of the Main Lines of
Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965), p. 83.
17 Ibid., p. 190
18 Ibid., p. 143
19 Marsha Leigh Richmond, "Richard Goldschmidt and Sex Determination: The Growth of
German Genetics, 1900-1935" (Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University, 1986), p. 8.
20 Richard Goldschmidt, "Genetics and Development," Biological Bulletin 62 (1932): 314.
21 Richard Goldschmidt, "The Gene," Quarterly Review of Biology 3 (1928): 307-324., p. 310
22 Ibid., p. 308
23 Richmond, "Goldschmidt," pp. 8-9
24 Philip Pauly, "The Appearance of Academic Biology in the United States," Journal of the
History of Biology 17 (1984): 394.
25Dunn, Short History, p. 104
26Jacques Loeb, The Organism as a Whole (New York: Putnam, 1916)., p. 237
27Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Chromosomes and Heredity," American Naturalist 44 (1910): 482.
28 Loeb, Organism, p. 237
29 See the works of Sturtevant and Carlson listed in note 13, above, as well as Ernst Mayr, The
Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance (Cambridge, MA: The
Belknap Press, 1982). While Garland Allen's 1966 examination of Morgan's theories of sex
determination (Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Problem of Sex Determination, 1903-1910,"
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 110: 48-57) tends to view sex determination
as a mere precursor of genetics, his 1978 biography of Morgan explores Morgan's sex
determination within the context of Morgan's life and work and, as a consequence, takes a more
balanced view.
30 Jane Maienschein, "Heredity/Development in the United States circa 1900," History and
Philosophy of the Life Sciences 9 (1987): 88-89.
31 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "A Biological and Cytological Study of Sex Determination in
Phylloxerans and Aphids," Journal of Experimental Zoology 7 (1909): 306.
32 Ibid., p. 306
33 Ibid., p. 306

277
34 Ibid., p. 306
35 Ibid., p. 306
36 Ibid., p. 332
37 Ibid., pp. 334-335
38 Ibid., p. 336
35 Ibid., p.335
«Ibid., p.335
41 Ibid., p. 335
42 Ibid., pp. 336-337
43 Ibid., p.337
44 Ibid., p.337
45 Ibid., p. 344
«Thomas Hunt Morgan, as dted in A. H. Sturtevant, "Thomas Hunt Morgan, 1866-1945,"
Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 33 (1959): 290.
"Ibid., p. 290.
48 Hugo de Vries, 'The Law of Segregation of Hybrids," in The Origin of Genetics: A Mendel
Source Book, ed. Curt Stern and Eva R. Sherwood, eds. (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and
Company, 1966), pp. 108-110. For a contemporary view of de Vries's work, see Erik
Nordenskiold, The History of Biology, trans. Leonard Bucknall Eyre (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1929), p. 587.
«Alien, Life Science, pp. 12-13.
50 Ibid., p. 162
51H. S. Jennings to W. E. Castle, 3 January 1922. H. S. Jennings Papers, Library of the American
Philosophical Society (APS), Philadelphia, PA.
52Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Chromosomes and Heredity," American Naturalist 44 (1910): 480.
53 Ibid., p. 488
54 Ibid., p.489
55 Ibid., p. 467
56 Ibid,, pp. 494-495
57 Ibid., p. 495
58 Ibid., p.496
59 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Sex Limited Inheritance in Drosophila," Science 32 (1910): 120.
“ Robert Kohler, "Drosophila: A Life in the Laboratory," Journal of the History of Biology 6
(1993): 304-305.
61 Morgan, "Sex Limited," p. 120
62 Ibid., p. 120
“Ibid., p. 120

278
64 Ibid., p. 120
65 Ibid., p. 120. Allen (1978) notes on p. 151 that Morgan adhered to William Bateson's
"presence-absence" hypothesis, which maintained that the appearance of some trait was due
to the presence of a gene, and its lack to the actual physical absence of the gene. For
convenience and clarity, I have used a dash to indicate the lack of a trait, whereas Morgan
simply omitted any symbol.
66 Ibid., p. 120
67 Ibid., pp. 120-121
68 Ibid., p. 121
69 Thomas Hunt Morgan to C. B. Davenport, 11 June 1910, C. B. Davenport Papers, APS.
70 Elof Axel Carlson, The Gene: A Critical History (Philadelphia and London: W. B. Saunders,
1966), p. 45.
71 Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1978), p. 152.
72 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Random Segregation versus Coupling in Mendelian Inheritance,"
Science 34 (1911): 384.
73 Ibid., p. 384
74 Ibid., p. 384
75 Ibid., p. 384
76 Ibid., p. 384
77 Ibid., p. 384. Original emphasis.
78 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "An Attempt to Analyze the Constitution of the Chromosomes on the
Basis of Sex-Limited Inheritance in Drosophila," Journal of Experimental Zoology 11 (1911):
366-367.
79 Ibid., p. 368
80 Ibid., p. 383
81 Ibid., p. 383
82 Ibid., p. 409
83 Ibid., p. 409. Original emphasis.
84 Ibid., p. 409. Original emphasis.
“Thomas Hunt Morgan et al., The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity (New York: Henry Holt,
1915), p. vii.
86 Ibid., pp. viii-ix
87 Thomas Hunt Morgan, The Physical Basis of Heredity (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Company, 1919), p. 18.
“Thomas Hunt Morgan and C. B. Bridges, The Origin of Gynandromorphs, vol. 278, Carnegie
Institution of Washington Publications (Washington, D. C.: Carnegie Institution of
Washington, 1919), p. 27.
89 See the work of Jonathan Harwood, specifically 'The Reception of Morgan's Chromosome
Theory in Germany: Interwar Debate Over Cytoplasmic Inheritance," Medizin historisches

279
Journal 19 (1984): 3-32, and Styles of Scientific Thought: The German Genetics Community, 1900-
1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
90 See Richmond, "Goldschmidt."
91 Ibid, pp. 380-381.
92 Richard Goldschmidt, "Genetics and Development," Biological Bulletin 58 (1932): 337.
93 Ibid., p. 337.
94 Richard Goldschmidt, "Experimental Intersexuality and the Sex Problem," The American
Naturalist 50 (1916): 718.
95 Goldschmidt, "Genetics," p. 338.
96 Ibid., p. 338.
97 Ibid., p. 339.
98 Ibid., p. 339.
"Ibid., p. 339.
100 Richard Goldschmidt, "A Further Contribution to the Theory of Sex," The Journal of
Experimental Zoology 22 (1917): 5%.
101 Ibid., p. 5%.
102 Ibid., p. 597.
103 Ibid., p. 597.
104 Richard Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," 1948, p. 7. Richard Goldschmidt Papers,
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
105 Goldschmidt, "Further," p. 599.
106 Ibid., p. 599.
107 Richmond, "Goldschmidt," pp. 389-390.
108 Goldschmidt, "Genes," p. 340.
109 See Garland Allen, "Opposition to the Mendelian Chromosome Theory: The Physiological
and Developmental Genetics of Richard Goldschmidt," Journal of the History of Biology 7
(1974): 81, 86.
110 Ernst Caspari to Curt Stern, 9 October 1963, pp. 1-2. Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft Library.
Emphasis added.
111 Jonathan Harwood, 'The Reception of Morgan's Chromosome Theory in Germany: Interwar
Debate Over Cytoplasmic Inheritance," Medizin historisches Journal 19 (1984): 26.
112 Thomas Hunt Morgan to J. C. Merriam, 14 December 1928. Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers,
Archives of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. Emphasis added.
113 See Kohler, Lords.
114 Morgan and Bridges, Gynandromorphs.
115 See Scott L. Montgomery, The Scientific Voice (New York: The Guilford Press, 1996) for a
discussion of the rhetoric of science and the use of the passive voice.
116 C. B. Davenport to H. S. Jennings, 17 April 1920, p. 1. C. B. Davenport Papers, APS. See Diane
B. Paul, Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the Present (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: The

280
Humanities Press International, Inc., 1995); Pauly, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the
Engineering Ideal in Biology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Mark Adams, ed., The
Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1990).
1X7 Kenneth Ludmerer, Genetics and American Society (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1971), p. 34.
118 Ann Taylor Allen, "German Radical Feminism and Eugenics, 1900-1908," German Studies
Review 11 (1988): 34.
119 Rosenberg, No Other Gods, p. 89.
120 H. S. Jennings to Thomas Hunt Morgan, 14 April 1920. H. S. Jennings Papers, APS.
121 Allen, "German Radical Feminism," p. 32.
122 Ludmerer, Genetics, p. 3.
123 Adams, ed., Wellborn Science, p. 219.
124 Allen, Morgan, p. 222; Richard Goldschmidt, In and Out of the Ivory Tower: The
Autobiography of Richard Goldschmidt (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960), p.
180.
125See Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexualitat und menschliches Zwittertum," Deutsche
medizinische Wochenschriften 57 (1931): 1288-1292, and Goldschmidt,
"Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft zur F'órderung der
Wissenschaften zu ihrem 10. Jáhrigen Jubiláum, ed. C. Neuberg (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921).
See also Goldschmidt 1948, "Autobiographical Data," Richard Goldschmidt Papers, The
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
126 See, for example, Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Recent Theories in Regards to the Determination of
Sex," Popular Science Monthly 64 (1903): 97-116. Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Ziegler's Theory of Sex
Determination, and an Alternative Point of View," Science 22 (1905): 839-841. Thomas Hunt
Morgan, "Sex-Determining Factors in Animals," Science 25 (1907): 382-384. Thomas Hunt
Morgan, "Chromosomes and Heredity," American Naturalist 44 (1910): 449-496. Thomas Hunt
Morgan, 'The Application of the Conception of Pure Lines to Sex-Limited Inheritance and to
Sexual Dimorphism," American Naturalist 45 (1911): 65-78..
127 Morgan to C. B. Davenport, 16 December 1916. C. B. Davenport Papers, APS. See Kohler,
Lords.
128 Ludmerer, Genetics, pp. 42-43.
129 Davenport to Morgan, 31 December 1917. C. B. Davenport Papers, APS.
130 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Lecture Notes on Genetics and Mise., 1922-1928." Box 4, file 4.5,
Morgan Papers, Cal Tech. For information on the Jukes and the Kallikaks, see Stephen Jay
Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1981).
131 Morgan to Davenport, 13 April 1917, Davenport to Morgan, 19 April 1917, Morgan to
Davenport, 9 May 1917. C. B. Davenport Papers, APS; Morgan to Hans Driesch, 27 November
1907, p. 2. Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
132 Morgan's friendship with Hans Driesch suffered for the latter's rabidly pro-German stance
during World War One, and then there is his refusal to aid Goldschmidt (Allen, Morgan, p.
219). Morgan warned R. G. Harrison, Goldschmidt's friend and benefactor when he was trapped
in the United States by the war, about too strong a pro-German feeling (T. H. Morgan to R. G.
Harrison, undated fragment, probably from 1918, p. 2. R. G. Harrison Papers, Yale University

281
Library and Archives. Although the letter is typed and the first page is missing, the signature¬
's initials, really—is undoubtedly that of Morgan).
133Richard Goldschmidt, "Die biologischen Grundlagen der kontráren Sexualitát und des
Hermaphroditismus beim Menschen," Archiv fiir Rasseti- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 12(1916):
1-14.
134 Goldschmidt, Ivory Tower, pp. 44-46. Goldschmidt's parents—particularly his mother-
pushed him into a medical course of study. The clinical aspects of the medical curriculum,
however, shocked him and he hated it, although the laboratory aspects were congenial.
135 Paul Weindling, Health, Race, and German Politics Between National Unification and
Nazism, 1870-1945 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 338, 341. See
Goldschmidt, "Autobiographical Data," p. 13.
136 Weindling, Health, Race, and German Politics, p. 445.
137 Margaret Sanger to Richard Goldschmidt, 29 October 1927 and 15 November 1927. Richard
Goldschmidt Papers, The Bancroft Library.
138 Anne Harrington, Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19%), p. 118.
139 Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination, trans. William
J. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923), p. 234.
140 Ibid., p. 239.
141 William Dakin in Goldschmidt 1923, Mechanism, p. v.
142 William E. Castle, Heredity in Relation to Evolution and Animal Breeding (New York: n. p,
1911), pp. 1-2.
143 Leonard Doncaster, The Determination of Sex (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,
1914), pp. 3-4.
144 Ibid., p. 158.
145 Saha, "Correns," p. 217.
146 Richard Goldschmidt, "Geschlechtsbestimmung," in Festschrift der Kaiser Wilhelm
Gesellschaft zur Fórderung der Wissenschaften zu ihrem 10. Jdhrigen Jubilaum, ed. C. Neuberg
(Berlin: Julius Springer, 1921), p. 95.
147 Richard Goldschmidt, "La théorie de la détermination du sexe," Scientia 43 (1928): 59.
148 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexuality and Development," American Naturalist 72 (1938):
230.
149 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexuality and the Endocrine Aspect of Sex," Endocrinology 1
(1917): 437-438.
150 Richard Goldschmidt, "Zur Entwicklungsphysiologie der Intersexualitat," Der
Naturwissenschaften 9 (1921): 316.
151 Report of William E. Castle for the year 1908 submitted to President R. S. Woodward, The
Carnegie Institution of Washington, D. C, 28 September 1908, pp. 3-4. C. B. Davenport Papers,
APS.
152 W. E. Castle to A. F. Blakeslee, 7 May 1935, Blakeslee to Castle, 9 May 1935, Thomas Hunt
Morgan to Blakeslee, 27 May 1935, A. F. Blakeslee Papers, APS; Kohler, "Drosophila," 285-
286.

282
153 Gregory Mitman and Anne Fausto-Sterling, "Whatever Happened to Plunaria? C. M. Child
and the Physiology of Inheritance," in The Right Tools for the Job: At Work in Twentieth-
Century Life Science, ed. Adele Clark and Joan H. Fujimura (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1992), p. 176.

CONCLUSION
WORDS AND THINGS:
THE DISCURSIVE TECHNOLOGIES OF SEX DETERMINATION
There is something wonderful about naming a species. To bring a
thing that is wild, and rare, and hitherto unobserved under the net of human
observation and language.. ..
A. S. Byatt, "Morpho Eugenia," in Angels & Insects (New York: Vintage
Books), p. 136.1
Introduction
The science of sex determination represented the attempt to shore up,
or otherwise reinforce, the borders between and around definitions of
masculinity and femininity and the attendant sex and gender roles that some
members of the middle classes perceived to be under assault as Western
culture modernized. Biology rendered this assistance to Western culture
through a variety of technologies, some mechanical, such as the work in sex
determination performed by Thomas Hunt Morgan and Richard
Goldschmidt, and others literary, or discursive, designed to control sex and
sexuality on other levels. Such technologies formed an integral part of the
efforts of biologists to solve the sex problem on both a material level and on a
more abstract conceptual plane.
As in Chapter 5, The mechanical technologies of the body—the
observations, cytological investigations, the breeding experiments—
constituted much of the day-to-day praxis of biological science. These
mechanical, physical technologies were the science of sex determination. The
283

284
discursive technologies, however, also constituted this science. The existence
and nature of this discursive technology resolved into particularly high relief
in regards to the so-called crisis of masculinity, the perhaps inevitable
response on the part of bourgeois men to the changing definitions of
masculinity and femininity. Aspects of contemporary scientific discourse
articulated this crisis through a concern with the strict definition of the
biological basis of the genders and the effort to shore up the increasingly
permeable borders between them. Through the definition of the biological
basis of 'normal' sex and sexuality biological scientists participated in the
discursive proliferation of sex, and hence its control. In fact, the mechanical
technologies made little sense without the discursive technologies that
attended them and provided meaning. More than context, these discursive
technologies constituted the practice of science in culture, perhaps in its
purest form. These technologies together were essentially the same thing: an
interest on the part of Western culture-the over-arching framework for all
areas of production-in control, and more importantly, to know.
Policing the Borders: Biologists, the Discursive Technologies of Sex
Determination, and the Borders of Sex and Gender
The discourse of the sex problem demonstrated a pronounced concern
with the matter of borders between the male and the female, the masculine
and the feminine. Middle-class society adjudged those who traduced those
borders, represented by the New Woman and the Inverted Man, to be an
especial threat to the bourgeois order. All those who violated the acceptable
parameters of sex-specific behavior or who otherwise strayed beyond the
limits of male and female activity were considered a threat to middle-class
society.2 Literary critic Linda Dowling notes that although the dire warnings
of contemporaries about the threat of the New Woman and the Inverted Man

285
do not resonate for the late twentieth century as they did for the early, there
was nonetheless in those warnings a very real expression of cultural anxiety,
a sense that the "new" might have indicated changes more threatening and
less tolerable than those the warnings of degeneration and chaos were meant
to control.3 In periods of cultural insecurity, the longing for fast borders and
strict border controls around the definition of gender became very intense.4
Conservatives and other traditionalists among the bourgeoisie who were
alarmed at the direction the notions of masculinity and femininity were
taking were convinced of the explosiveness of sexuality, and saw within it
what historian Atina Grossmann termed "the terror of the uncontrollable
streaming forth and invading boundaries."5 Middle-class society, like all
groups who wished to maintain their integrity, defined boundaries between
the acceptable and the unacceptable.
Because of those two figures, the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries witnessed a flurry of debate about what it meant to be a man and
what these threats represented to the ideological position of traditional
bourgeois notions of masculinity. The dominant position of masculinity in
bourgeois ideology—the always-already stated "I"—meant that the boundaries
which inscribed masculinity were most in need of policing at the fin de
siécle.6 As it turned out, those borders were not nearly as redoubtable as
anyone thought. Debates about the nature of sex and sexual roles at the fin de
siécle turned on the manner in which the boundaries between the masculine
and the feminine had become permeable. The social order of the bourgeoisie
depended on a certain precision with respect to these distinctions whose
symbolic importance ramified far beyond their immediate context. Because of
this, at the fin de siécle some biologists worried about the masculinization of
women, which resulted from physical or intellectual work, and the

286
feminization of men, of which sexual inversion was the primary
manifestation.7 As awareness of the existence and content of heterodox
notions of sexuality increased at the fin de siécle, 'masculinity' in the sense of
the orthodox bourgeois definition of it began to look more and more like only
one of many possible definitions. As the substance of the middle-class
heterosexual definition of masculinity grew more and more problematic, the
form had to do an increasingly greater share of the work. As has been
suggested, the form of masculinity is its boundaries, and these boundaries, the
same ones that the New Woman and the Inverted Man challenged, were
thus policed with increasing vigilance by cultural producers of various
stripes. The sexual border between the masculine and the feminine-which
both of the troubling personae violated-was the point at which sexual
difference vanished.8 In fact, that vanishing point was in its own way
constituent of sexual difference in the first place. Without those borders, the
differences between the sexes on which bourgeois culture was predicated
would become meaningless.
Historian Alison Hennegan makes an interesting argument about the
opposition man/ woman, or rather, about its sibling term,
manliness/womanliness. The opposition of femininity to masculinity was
relatively new to the fin de siécle. Earlier in the century, the term paired to
"manliness" was "childishness." It was thus a man's adult qualities rather
than his masculine ones that made him manly. But by the end of the
century, it was "womanliness" that was anathema. Men had to avoid the
appalling stigma of effeminacy.9 If Hennegan is correct in her analysis, then
this definition of masculinity as the opposite of femininity was relatively new
to the turn of the century, perhaps one or two generations at best. That
novelty, especially in the face of rival definitions of gender roles of such

287
strength like those of the New Woman and the Inverted Man, might explain
the defensiveness of middle-class men and part of the source of the
masculine crisis of identity. That crisis, then, could have resulted not from a
challenge to an old and established system of gender definitions, but rather
from a (comparative) wealth of new choices in the definition of masculinity,
although some of these "choices" were antithetical to other aspects of
bourgeois culture. Nonetheless, this explains part of the defensiveness
surrounding the definitions of masculinity. It is new regimes that often
employ draconian tactics to emphasize their power and secure hegemony, not
established ones. Certain middle-class men were whistling in the dark.
The Will To Know
These borders that were so constitutive of the bourgeois understanding
of the sexes were policed very effectively through an almost obsessive interest
in words and their connections to things. Significant aspects of Western
culture toward the later nineteenth century was characterized by what Michel
Foucault called a "will to know."10 That is, throughout the West there was
an effort to find out as much as possible, in as much detail as possible, about
the human body. The biological bases of life were investigated in increasing
detail. Botany, zoology, developmental biology, microbiology, cytology, and
histology all began to differentiate from one another and to increase in
breadth and scope. The study of heredity and development, which drew from
all of the life sciences, increasingly became the central problems of biology.
This will to know constituted more than an effort to name things, although
the significance of this must not be discounted, it also constituted an effort to
make connections between things, to link scattered and disparate phenomena
together.11 This was part of the discourse of control, an integral characteristic
of modern culture.12

288
Sex was one such phenomenon that was named, labeled, and
connected to other, related (or perhaps not so related) phenomena, in part
because of its problematic nature. Sex changed during the late nineteenth and
early twentieth century, as cultural critics never tired of pointing out, and
reformers of all stripes, male and female, liberal or conservative, noticed the
trend. In the United States, for example, the number of articles in periodical
publications dealing with aspects of the sex problem doubled from the period
1905-1909 to 1910-1914, and the overwhelming majority of the articles were
decidedly hostile to the changes.13 Contemporaries in Germany noted an
"erotic revolution/' although were unsure whether the changes heralded
good or ill.14 Thus historian Arnold Davidson observed that sex and sexuality
as the late twentieth century knows them were invented during the late
nineteenth century. Sex, like so much else, had an historically specific origin,
as attested to by the fact that the word 'sexuality,' both as a word and as a
concept, appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary, for the first time in the
late nineteenth century.15 The modern conception of sex could only have
existed as a subject for investigation, speculation, and theorization with the
rise of biology and biological reasoning in their modern forms. The naming
as biological phenomena what had heretofore been labeled behavioral
anomalies could only have occurred within a biological space created by the
"new" experimental biology that moved beyond phylogenetic speculation
into the realm of causation and control.16
Sex, rather than a behavior, became something that biology located in
bodies, and these bodies were named, classified, and examined in never-
ending spirals of discovery and inquisition. Each discovery occasioned more
questions and more answers. This is what Foucault meant when he argued
that sex was made to speak for itself. Eventually biology accumulated enough

289
detail that sex did begin to "speak for itself," as biology influenced sexology
and semi-popular works on sex and heredity.17 From the realm of biology
emerged the realms of sexological and popular attitudes towards sex. All
these different domains, however, which after all had the same source in the
body, had the same goal of unraveling the sex problem and controlling the
anarchy of sex, whether on the level of biology with all its different sexual
schemes and systems, or on the level of culture, in which the fin de siécle and
early twentieth century saw incredible disturbances in and disruptions of
traditional bourgeois notions of sex and gender. To control sex was to control
the actions, if not the very constitutions, of men and women who defied
culturally accepted standards of behavior. Determining sex allowed some of
the biological sciences to articulate and shape concerns about what sex was at a
time when the tacit assumptions of the bourgeoisie were coming apart.
Biology, as a cultural configuration, and one that was charged with the
elucidation of the darkness of sex, expressed this concern over the sexual
anarchy through a constellation of research agendas designed to define what
sex meant on a biological level, how sex was determined, how it operated in
the developing body, and most importantly, the rules by which sex operated
and the laws that governed its function. In fact, biology reified the
expectations of the bourgeoisie by defining as 'normal' the expectations of
men and women and their division of labor into public and private spheres.
Metaphors of the Sex Problem
An attention to the details of language reveals the discursive aspects of
sex determination, and the concern over shifting gender roles and
expectations at the fin de siécle. Metaphors reveal a great deal about how and
what a writer thinks the referent of the metaphor. Metaphors constitute an
essential part of the rhetorical process, enabling the author to share ideas.18

290
Through reference to a common concept, an unfamiliar or strange concept is
domesticated. Metaphors are thus a sort of road map to ideas, especially in
science, where the figurative character of a metaphor tends to disappear from
view. In scientific discourse, figures of speech can become literal descriptions
of events, processes, or phenomena. The evolution of a metaphor into an
hypothesis, theory, or fact involves what analyst of scientific discourse Scott
Montgomery refers to as habituation, or a loss of origins. Over time,
repetition and the standardization of usage obscure the originally figurative
character of a metaphor. Endless repetition within a frame of reference
reified that term, making it, in effect, jargon. Linguistically, the metaphoric
nature of such a figure of speech was obliterated, and the referent and the
subject became identical. The word became the thing. Thus, for example,
terms or concepts such as "force," "cell," "the circulation of the blood," or
"evolution" came to be understood historically as if they had no history prior
to their adoption by the realm of scientific knowledge.19
While metaphors lead to innovation and new directions in science,
they also illustrate the extent to which science depends on language. Even
ostensibly value-neutral science takes on and conveys all the baggage of its
culture when it uses metaphors to convey meanings because metaphor
reveals the connections between assumptions and theorizing.20 Thus a
metaphor provides clues to whatever meta-level commitments the writer or
speaker has. Metaphors allow the writer or speaker to present assumptions
and biases as matters of fact by linking them to the familiar and stable.
Metaphors turn mountains into mole-hills, as it were, the better to subdue
the mountain. A metaphor reduces a problem to manageable proportions by
linking it to something that is already understood, or at least known, such as
conflict or strife. Historian of biology Anne Harrington argues that through

291
metaphors, scientific writing destabilizes certain distinctions that scientific
rhetoric depends on. This is the distinction between the natural world on the
one hand the cultural world on the other. Values are made into facts.21 The
metaphors of the changing meanings and values of sex and sexuality at the
fin de siécle of sex as a problem exemplifies this. Sex was seen as something
problematic, as something dis-ordered and dis-ordering. It was a problem to
be solved by science.22 This is illustrated by the two major sorts of Metaphors
which characterized the discourse of the sex problem: metaphors of strife,
which indicated a battle between the sexes, and metaphors drawn from the
physical sciences, which indicated a desire to make sex more Newtonian, law¬
like, and susceptible to control by science.
Sex as a weapon: images of battle in the determination of sex
The actual language used to report the discoveries, observations, and
manipulations that constitute the mechanical technology of sex
determination revealed the operation of the discursive technology and the
concern engendered by shifting definitions. Images of battle and strife
abounded in both contemporary social and scientific discourse. The gender
crisis affected both men and women, and the images and fantasies of a battle
between the sexes, in reality a battle for sexual supremacy, concealed deeper
uncertainties and fears. It is important to realize that masculinity was no
more a natural fact than femininity; it was culturally constructed, and defined
within specific historical circumstances.23 At the fin de siécle, many of the
metaphors of sex determination depended on a reference to the sex problem,
and viewed sex determination or fertilization as a battle between male- and
female-supplied gametes. The fantasies of battle illustrated quite graphically
the concern and anxiety at the threatened reconstruction of that role. Such a
conceptualization of sex as a battle was quite prevalent in early twentieth-

292
century biology, whether in the relations between and among men and
women, or between male and female factors in sex determination. A battle
between the sexes literally transpired in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-
century bourgeois culture.24 This battle was sublimated from the world of
men and women to the microcosmic world of the gametes, which
emblematized the macrocosmic world of men and women and the changing
definitions of masculinity and femininity. These metaphors revealed the
anxiety surrounding notions of 'masculine' and 'feminine', as well as the
uncertainties of sexuality itself as expressed through sex determination.
If changes in the definitions of gender role and expectation were about
changes in the explanatory metaphors of sex and sex difference, and thus the
very nature of masculinity and femininity,25 then contemporaries, including
biologists, perceived the relations between the sexes as seriously deranged.
William Castle, for example, viewed fertilization as a pitched battle. He stated
that in "a dioecious species the male and female characters meet anew in a
struggle for supremacy at each fertilization. Sometimes one, something the
other dominates the zygote, the vanquished character becoming recessive."26
Likewise, the anthropologist E. T. Brewster, drawing from contemporary
biology, noted that "the sex-making forces fight it out in the germ, and in the
long run one is about as likely to be potent as the other."27 In both cases,
neither the male nor the female was the sure winner in the battle. While this
dubious battle explained the observed one-to-one sex ratio in most sexually
reproducing species, it also suggested some ambivalence about the supremacy
of the male sex over the other. Previous generations had few doubts.
Arabella Kenealy equated the concept of masculinity to the Mendelian notion
of dominance. It was not so much that Kenealy elided the difference between
the cultural role and the biological concept, but that there simply was no

293
difference. Bourgeois Man's cultural role became his biological one, as
masculinity dominated femininity, whether on the level of gamete or of
bodies.28 Thus the metaphors of conflict and strife indicated that not only did
these scientists see their world in terms of a battle of the sexes, they mapped it
onto the natural world.
Goldschmidt used a similarly rich metaphoric palette to describe not
only sex determination as a process, but the manner in which the sex problem
would ultimately give way before the massed might of science.
A scientific problem is to be compared in some respects with a fort,
which is besieged by a ring of different troops... The fort, stormed by
the new Biology, often witnesses quarrels between the branches of the
services, which at the moment is especially marked between the
experimental and morphological research methods, in which minds
on both sides work against each other. And the research of the sex
problem is no different. .. To a soldier an old general may come and
may settle the quarrel: 'March separately, but strike together.' We have
come to this point today. After [Carl] Correns has attacked the sex
problem with the heavy guns of experimental heredity, it is my task to
storm the gap with cell morphology.29
Written two years before the declaration of war in the Balkans, Goldschmidt's
statement reflected the pervasiveness of militarism in German thinking
during the Wilhelmine era. It may also have reflected the contemporary
"war" between science and religion.30 This metaphor was used because his
audience understood not only the notion of battles and sieges, but also its
application to sex and sexuality. The scientists and physicians who comprised
his audience understood that they were the foot-soldiers on the front line of
the sex problem. They were the middle-class men (and they were virtually all
men) who were affected directly by the changing status of women and shifting
definitions of sexual roles. The citadel of the sex problem could only be taken
by the concerted action of the various services of the biological army,

294
experimentation and morphology. However, these biologists discovered that
once they thought they had captured the fortress, the battle still raged within.
We have again discovered the simple hereditary mechanism of
heterozygotism and homozygotism; but at the same time we have seen
that the mere presence of the sex differentiators in homozygotic or
heterozygotic condition is not sufficient to determine sex. It appears
rather as if a definite degree of action of these sex factors is necessary so
that those of one sex should overpower (or be suppressed by) the
simultaneous and independent action of the other.31
These images of strife can be interpreted as metaphoric of the struggle
between different settlements between the sexes in Western culture, the
traditional bourgeois sexual division of labor and separation of the spheres
and the modem blurring of previously distinct sexual roles and gender lines.
These metaphors were so revealing because of the contemporary
cultural context, and they hinted at the crisis of masculinity. Whereas
William Keith Brooks in 1879 viewed the sperm as that which inflicted
variety (including sex) on a conservative and passive ovum, the instigator of
change in a passive germinal matrix,32 other biologists a generation or two
later such as Castle or Goldschmidt viewed the same process as a struggle or a
fight between the sperm and the egg. In those intervening years, either the
egg had somehow learned to fight back, or something had changed in how
biologists viewed the microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds. Whereas
women in Brooks's world were by and large passive creatures, women of the
world of Morgan, Goldschmidt, and others took a more active role in their
own lives and destinies. Just as male elements at the fin de siécle no longer
imposed form and sex on the egg, which was associated with femininity, men
no longer imposed form on women with impunity. Some of the biologists
who worked on sex determination regarded the traits of a body, including its
sex, as something that resulted from a battle of the sexes.

295
Towards a positive biology and the control of sex: metaphors of physics and
chemistry in the discourse of the sex problem
The sex problem was also characterized by another suite of metaphors,
one that shaped its assumptions and ends as a realm of scientific
investigation. An exiguous sort of para-positivism that characterized both sex
determination and genetics most often took the form of physical and
chemical metaphors, all of which were intended to reshape biological
thinking along modern lines.33 This reliance upon physics and chemistry,
with their theories of matter which depended on atoms and void, was quite
widespread, and indicated the extent that the study of heredity was a part of
the modern project of control. In the United States, Jacques Loeb,
experimental biologist and arch-Etitwicklungsmechaniker, articulated this
quite explicitly when he claimed that the aim of the new biology was
not alone an analytical one. It has another and higher aim, which is
synthetical or constructive, that is, to form new combinations from the
elements of living matter, just as the physicist and chemist form new
combinations from the elements of non-living matter.34
The physical and chemical sciences were integral to both the form and the
aims of the new biology: To construct life forms from organic particles and to
do so via the laws of the positive physical sciences. Loeb stated the
importance of atoms and void to biology in 1916:
The physical researches of the last ten years have put the atomic theory
of matter and electricity on a definite and in all probability permanent
basis. We know the exact number of molecules in a given mass of any
substance whose molecular weight is known to us, and we know the
exact charge of a single electron. This permits us to state as the
ultimate aim of the physical sciences the visualization of all
phenomena in terms of groupings and displacements of ultimate
particles, and since there is no discontinuity between the living and
non-living world, the goal of biology can be expressed the same way.35

296
Loeb advocated an explicitly modem biology based on the particles and void
of contemporary physics, and genetics was to be this biology. Castle presented
a science of heredity similarly based on physics and chemistry. He argued that
the methods of the chemist worked best to represent hereditary particles.
So I have been led to initiate the plan of the organic chemist who
indicates the structures of the molecule by particular groupings of
atoms. The student of heredity, I believe, will find it useful to indicate
gametic composition by particular groupings of symbols standing for
hereditary factors. Thus the eight recognised [sic] color factors of the
gray rabbit are provisionally arranged as follows to indicate their inter¬
relationship in the gamete:
U B
A C Y E
I Br
Such a diagram indicates gametic composition, and a gametic formula
would be obtained by naming the several factors in succession.36
While this may be the first attempt to represent a molecule of heredity, Castle
relied on chemistry to provide an informing physical metaphor of an
hereditary phenomenon. The physical sciences, with their particles,
experimentation, and rationality, provided the model of what a science of
heredity ought to consist.
Morgan himself shared this belief in the informing metaphors of the
physical science. Morgan felt that any explanation of physiological processes
depended on physics and chemistry. Accordingly, Morgan found he could
not support his friend Hans Driesch's vitalism, and wrote to Driesch,
1 follow [your paper on vitalism] a long way but can not truthfully say
that I consider you have "proven" the existence of a principle of
vitality—except in so far as there is much that we can not explain. Loeb
thinks this and I am almost prepared [to] follow him, that the idea is a
sterile one in regard to its value.37

297
Instead, Morgan sought to place biology on the same footing as physics and
chemistry, arguing that the difference between biology on the one hand and
the physico-chemical sciences on the other was that physics and chemistry
were more "highly developed" as sciences than was experimental biology.38
Interestingly enough, Morgan published his 1898 article, "Developmental
Mechanics," in which he introduced Entwicklungsmechanik and
championed the new biology, not in a biological journal, but in Science,
which was, then as now, a scholarly journal for the scientific community as a
whole, and not a specialized biological forum. Rather than publish an article
which explained the rigors and aims of the new biology in an explicitly
biological journal such as American Naturalist or the Biological Bulletin,
Morgan published it in a more general journal. The article was something of
a propaganda piece, aimed not only at biologists but also at physical scientists
in order to advertise the new "hard" status of biology: Morgan advertised to
the physicists and chemists that biology had become a "true" science.
Thus only through conscious emulation of the physico-chemical
sciences could biology, in the guise of the study of heredity, become a "real"
science. In 1927, at the inauguration of the new physics laboratory at Vassar
College, Morgan stated that biologists were aware of the futility of trying to
craft grand theories of development, and knew that only through "exact
knowledge of the chemical and physical changes taking place during
development" could biologists even begin to hope to raise the study of life to
an exact science.39 In 1927, when he wrote to President N. M. Butler of
Columbia University to resign his position, he noted that "the President and
Trustees of the California Institute of Technology have asked me to organize
a department of Biology on the same footing as the departments of Physics
and Chemistry."40 This belief on the part of Morgan in the centrality of

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physics and chemistry to biology extended to the level of architecture, because
the biology department that he created at Cal Tech was connected directly to
the chemistry department.41 The physical proximity of the biology and
chemistry departments suggests that a commonality of interests existed in
terms of methods and approaches, and was highly illustrative of the desire to
make biology more like the physical sciences. Cal Tech chose Morgan, of all
biologists, American or foreign, to create this biology department, presumably
because of his record in atomistic, quantitative, mechanistic biology. It was
perhaps not coincidental that the next phase of genetics—molecular genetics
and the search for the molecular structure of heredity—occurred in part at Cal
Tech after the basic details of transmission had been worked out.42
Morgan articulated his own particulate view of heredity in the 1919
book, The Physical Basis of Heredity. He noted that numerous attempts had
been made in the past "to explain biological phenomena by means of
representative particles."43 Consequently, Morgan cautioned that "the danger
of any appeal to a theory of representative particles obviously lies in the ease
with which by its means any phenomenon might be accounted for, if the
theorizer is allowed to endow the particles with any and all the attributes he
wishes."44 Morgan's theories, however, because of their firm basis in both
Mendelian theory and cytological practice, were free of such impositions; he
circumvented this potential difficulty by proposing the physical reality of his
particles. In 1919 Morgan noted that chromosomes constituted independent
units in the germ plasm, but there were significantly more characters than
there were chromosomes. Many characters, however, displayed various
degrees of linkage. From this, he hypothesized that chromosomes were not,
in and of themselves, the ultimate hereditary particle; they could be further
broken down.45 These smaller elements, the genes, represented the discrete

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and discontinuous hereditary particles that Morgan's synthesis of Mendelism
and chromosome theory posited. He claimed that the evidence from
Drosophila, the animal and experimental system that he developed,
demonstrated that there were at least several hundred independent elements
within the chromosomes as of 1919, and noted that "news ones still appear as
frequently as at first."46 Morgan and other biologists such as Wilhelm
Johannsen and William Bateson called these elements 'genes/ and he argued
that "their presence is directly deducible from the genetics results, quite
independently of any further attributes. . . It is this evidence that justifies the
theory of particulate inheritance."47 Reduced to the finest level of detail,
then, organisms, or at least the nuclei of their cells, were congeries of
hereditary particles. The characteristics of the gene marked it as a product of
modernity.
Just as American biologists utilized physical metaphors to reshape
biological thinking, so too did their German colleagues depend the language
of physics and chemistry to envision a new science of heredity. Carl Correns,
for example, saw himself as the "Newton" of heredity.48 According to
Margaret Saha, just as physicists at the fin de siecle sought to improve upon
Newtonianism, rather than replace it, Correns wished to supersede
Mendelism.49 Accordingly, Correns sought to construct a theory of genetic
dominance and recessiveness that was predicated on a physico-chemical basis
and was expressed quantitatively. Correns emphasized that the only
difference between dominance and recessiveness was one of degree; they were
but the ends of a continuum. The differences between them were only
chemical in nature, minute quantitative differences between the particles.50
Likewise, Julian Huxley lauded Richard Goldschmidt for bringing the spirit of
Entwicklutigsmechanik to biology. Huxley wrote to Goldschmidt, "I have

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been rereading your book—and may I say how much indebted I feel to you for
having brought this dynamic idea into genetics, and fused genetics with
Entwicklungsmechanik"51 As Huxley wrote to Goldschmidt on this subject in
1922, the book was most likely the German edition of Goldschmidt's first great
synthetic work of the sex problem, the title of which revealed the mechanistic
bias of the work, Mechanismus und Phvsiologie der Geschlechtsbestimmune
(1921). In this book, as well as its English translation, Goldschmidt was much
concerned with the chemical and particulate nature of sex.
Goldschmidt's work on the sex problem displayed a rich palette of
physical and chemical metaphors, which he used throughout his
experimental study of intersexuality. In 1910, in one of his earliest
considerations of sex determination, Goldschmidt argued that if a substance
such as trophochromatin (in Goldschmidt's theories, chromosomal material
that supplied energy for vital processes) was introduced into a cell, and if it
changed the sex of that cell to female, then sex determination would finally
have been revealed as a chemical process.52
Later, when Goldschmidt turned toward Mendelian explanations of
heredity, physico-chemical metaphors continued to play an important role in
his thinking about biology. Mendelian formulae were never anything but
symbols for deeper physico-chemical processes.53 Goldschmidt proposed to
replace the symbolic Mendelian language with "more definite physico¬
chemical conceptions."54 In 1916, toward the beginning of his work with
experimental intersexuality, Goldschmidt argued that the enzymatic
(chemical) reactions that determine sex obeyed definite natural laws, and that
the sex-determining factors possessed definite quantitative strengths, which
Goldschmidt termed "valencies."55 In so doing, Goldschmidt borrowed a
term with meanings both obsolete and contemporary. The Oxford English

301
Dictionary notes that the word 'valency' has the obsolete meaning of
"strength or power," certainly the sense that Goldschmidt intended. The
OED, however, also notes that the term 'valency,' meaning 'atomicity' entered
the English language only in the later nineteenth century in reference to
chemistry and physics. Valency, then, referred not only to strength, but to
particularity.56 Goldschmidt used chemical terms, specifically the term
'valency,' which designated the levels of the electron shell of an atom and
existed in only integral numbers. Goldschmidt's conception of sex
determination was thus heavily influence by contemporary physics and
chemistry. This influence eventually carried over into his views of
evolutionary theory.57
This chemical language lasted throughout the work in intersexuality,
for in 1931, Goldschmidt wrote that he had
identified the different valencies of the sex-genes. . . [although] it
cannot be denied that mathematical proof for out conclusions is
impossible, for long as a gene cannot be weighed or the numbers of its
molecules counted.58
The penultimate proof of his sex determination theories consisted of taking
the molar masses of the sex genes, and ultimate proof, which Goldschmidt
acknowledged as not forthcoming, was mathematical. Goldschmidt argued
that
the theory which regards the distribution of the XX- and XY-
combinations to about equal numbers of fertilized eggs as the visible
mechanism of sex distribution, is today so far proven, that the
demonstration stands on the level of an experimental proof in physics
or chemistry.59
In other words, Goldschmidt felt that the fact that sex factors segregated was
an established physical law. He emphasized used physical and chemical

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metaphors in his lectures to undergraduates at the University of California,
particularly the metaphor of 'organism as machine.' Such machines were
subject to the laws of thermodynamics.60 Goldschmidt viewed experimental
biology as a Newtonian science, complete with its own quantified particle zoo.
Physics and chemistry constituted the final proof of biological phenomena.
According to Curt Stern, Goldschmidt was much influenced by
contemporary physics. He noted that Goldschmidt referred to his intersexes
as 'mosaics in time,' in contrast to gynandromorphs, which he referred to as
'mosaics in space.' Although Stern stated that these terms did not withstand
close analytical scrutiny, he claims that they "were products of a period when
Einstein's theory of relativity influenced everyone's thought."61 E. A. Carlson
observed that Goldschmidt was similarly affected by quantum theory.
Goldschmidt stated his opinion
that the classical theory of the gene corresponds to the conception of
the individual atom of old physics. Genetics has outgrown this, I hold,
and finds itself in a condition parallel to physics immediately before
Rutherford. I am sure that our Rutherford stage will soon be reached,
and then we will be ready for our Planck and Bohr.62
The advances made by physics provided the explanatory metaphor for the
changes that Goldschmidt saw for biology in the future. Note, too, the
positivistic over-tones of a developmental path for biological science pre¬
ordained by physics. Goldschmidt made explicit connections between the
atom and the gene in his own work, arguing that "the conception of the gene
has become as firm a basis for the study of heredity as the conception of the
atom for the study of physics."63
Goldschmidt even used references to classical physics and quantum
mechanics to justify his own somewhat outré position in the genetics

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community once he had immigrated to the United States.64 Goldschmidt
wrote that
The immense amount of our knowledge of the atom is based on upon
the classic theory, culminating in the Bohr model. But then came the
point, when this did not suffice anymore. The new facts enforced a
change in theory and the introduction of wave-mechanics. There is
still opposition to this step, though Bohr and Planck themselves
sanctioned it. It is the new facts which caused and which force upon
our mind the next theoretical step.65
Goldschmidt regarded his genetic theories—based firmly in his sex
determination work—as the wave-mechanics of the study of heredity. These
metaphors of physics and chemistry were integral parts of Goldschmidt's
thought on sex determination and heredity more generally, and they reveal
the extent to which he worked during the modern era.
Sex and Truth: Naming. Normalizing. Controlling
The discursive proliferation of sex was more than the use of revealing
or suggestive metaphors. The discursive technologies disciplined bodies far
more effectively than the mere use of provocative tropes. These technologies
disciplined through elaborations on the ideas and ideals of sex. Sex-maleness
or femaleness (or something somewhere in between the two)—came to be the
feature around which all else was assorted and elaborated, hence the interest
on the part of biologists in the sex problem. In it lay the key to the solution to
one of the greatest problems of modernity: the rationalization of the person.
Foucault has suggested that the notion that there were complex and
dreadfully obscure relationships between sex and biological truth, which
permeated not only medicine, but the rest of biology as well.66 Through the
varied practices of science (all of which possessed discursive components)
such as biology, medicine, psychiatry, sexology, and eugenics which rendered
the human body sexual, sexuality emerged as one of the most fundamental

304
signifiers of identity and truth, and as such, as one of the most fundamental
categories of modern culture.67 Some of the life sciences at the fin de siécle
and during the early decades of the twentieth century, indeed, for much of the
centuries preceding, were almost obsessed with naming. To name was to
order, to categorize, and to define. Naming the sexual in order to control it
was a part of this larger taxonomic and systematic effort. Sex itself became
one of the most important classificatory criteria as sex came to represent a
"natural order of disorder."68 Biology by the early twentieth century had
created a complete natural history of sexual 'disorder,' a veritable systematics
of sexual aberration through its discursive technologies.
Sex determination, in particular, was a key part of this explosion of
literary technology as biologists wrote about sex determination and attempted
to establish the exact moment that sex was determined.69 That moment
represented the exact moment that a body entered into the discursive web of
biology, sex, and truth. The means of its determination, environmental
versus chromosomal, raised the possibility of controlling the process. Biology
contributed to the discursive proliferation by naming and establishing on the
level of bodies all the forms of sexuality. The earlier phases of sex
determination focused on naming, proving, and delineating the various
forms of sexual reproduction, while the later, early twentieth-century phase
sought to integrate this knowledge of the various sexual systems into a single
coherent framework such as genetics.
The work of biologists on the sex problem constituted an integral part
of this classificatory and regulatory effort. Through the work of Morgan and
Goldschmidt and the work of their peers and colleagues, writing on the sex
problem proliferated and increased dramatically. It was this writing that
many in medicine and sexology looked to justify their own positions. While

305
Goldschmidt's efforts in this direction were unusually detailed, this effort in
and of itself was part of the biological effort to solve the sex problem.
Taxonomy and systematics assumed a preeminent position as biologists
traced the evolution of themselves and their cultural constructs, hence the
fascination with all the oddities and deviants of human sexuality, what
Smith-Rosenberg termed the "specific acts, fantasies, fetishes, and sensations"
that fell under the gaze of biologists. Scientists, including biologists, assigned
generic and specific epithets and degrees of deviance in ever more finely
wrought detail in the same manner and with the same motivation as they
traced the evolution of animals and plants.70 This explains the interest on the
part of biologists in such seemingly unusual sexual systems as
parthenogenesis of the aphids or the haplodiploidy of the bees, in which only
females develop from fertilized eggs, or the interest in hermaphrodites,
which combined the female and male under normal conditions (aberrant
enough in a conceptual world predicated on the iron separation of men and
women), or the gynandromorphs, which did so pathologically.
Discursive Technologies: Taxonomies of Sexual Aberration
and the Calculus of Perversion
Sexology: Taxonomies of Human Sexuality
Biologists were not the only ones interested in scientific classification,
however, just as sexologists were not the only scientists classifying sex.
Magnus Hirschfeld elaborated a system in which he organized sex
biologically. Hirschfeld viewed sexuality as a continuum, much like many
others during the early decades of the twentieth century. Hirschfeld bolstered
his position with the claim of Carl von Linné that "natura non facit saltum
nature does not make jumps. By extending this idea, which was very
prevalent in evolutionary biology during the early twentieth century, to sex,

306
Hirschfeld claimed that nature itself operated through gradual steps between
the female and the male.7' Further bolstering his claim, Hirschfeld invoked
the name of Darwin, who himself claimed that "'we see thus that in many,
probably all cases, the secondary characters of each sex he dormant or latent in
the opposite sex.'"72 Hirschfeld in 1905 extended Darwin's claims for the
secondary sex characters to "'primary and tertiary sexual differences.'" Thus
Hirschfeld combined the nomenclature and concepts of not only von Linné
and Darwin, but also Ernst Haeckel to develop what he termed "genogenetic"
laws of sexual intermediacy. Hirschfeld observed that "in every living being
produced by the union of two sexes, there are to be found, alongside signs of
the one sex, those of the other, often far beyond the rudimentary stage and in
quite varied gradations."73 In so doing, Hirschfeld expressed views
remarkably similar to those Goldschmidt would put forth almost a decade
later in his work on the intersexual forms of the moth, Lymantria dispar,
about the inherent bisexuality of both sexes. In both cases, the notion of a
single third sex failed to account for the incredible diversity of sexual forms
that resulted from the discursive proliferation.
Since a single term failed to account for the diversity he observed,
Hirschfeld proposed his own categorical structure to account for all the forms
of human sexuality. Hirschfeld emphasized that his "theory" of sexual
intermediaries was not a theory in the strict sense of the word, but rather a
systematics designed to order individual bodies. Hirschfeld aligned sex along
four axes, each of which corresponded to a distinct domain of sexual
intermediacy. The first category constituted "hermaphroditism as an
intersexual formation of the sex organs." The second comprised "androgyny
as an intersexually mixed form of other bodily qualities." The third category
included "metatropism, homosexuality, and bisexuality as intersexual

307
variations of sexuality," while the fourth included "transvestitism as an
intersexually mixed form of other psychological qualities." Each of these
domains provided a full range of gradations and intermediary steps, and any
given individual could occupy positions on each axis to produce a staggering
variety of intersexual forms. As a mathematical exercise, Hirschfeld
calculated that there were 316 or 43, 046, 721 possible sexual types and later
claimed that there were unlimited numbers of intersexual forms. Thus every
body was an intersex. There were no 'normally' sexed bodies.74 This
represented perhaps the ultimate example of the discursive proliferation
surrounding sex. The discourse of sex, couched in the terms and concepts of
biology, had classified so many bodies as perverted that there was no one left
in the realm of the normal.
Sexology and the Mathematization of Sex and Sexuality
Bourgeois culture at the fin de siécle and during the early decades of
the twentieth century sought to make sex and sexuality more determinant,
regular, and law-like. Just as various sexologists attempted to classify sex
through biologically-inspired taxonomic schemes, so too did various students
of sexuality and heredity attempt to mathematize sex, and for the same
reasons. Mathematical rules of sex offered bourgeois culture the hope of
controlling the uncontrollable.
Otto Weininger, whose Sex and Character was discussed in the
introduction, proposed one such mathematical theory of sex and attraction
that, much like contemporary biology, drew heavily on physical metaphors.
Weininger argued that sex should display regular features. He argued that
in physical inquiries an 'ideal gas' is assumed, that is to say, a gas, the
behaviour of which follows the law of Boyle-Guy-Lussac exactly,
although no such gas exists, and laws are deduced from this so that the
deviations from the ideal laws may be established in the case of actually

308
existing gas. In the same fashion we may suppose the existence of an
ideal man, M, and of an ideal woman, W, as sexual types, although
these types do not actually exist.75
Weininger furthermore thought that not only could such types be
"constructed," they should be constructed.76 To that end, Weininger crafted
mathematical formulae to describe masculinity and femininity. Weininger
argued that females and males "are like to substances combined in different
proportions, but with neither element wholly missing."77 Thus any given
individual, with both male and female components, could be described by a
formula. Weininger proposed that any individual, A or B, was never to be
designated as a "man" or a "woman," but rather as a mathematical expression
of admixture. Thus A=aM/a'W and B=f5W/p'M, as long a, a, P', and p’
(gender coefficients) were greater than zero and less than one.78
Weininger also proposed a general law of sexual attraction. His "rule
of attraction" hypothesized that for every true sexual union it is necessary
that there be a "complete male" and a "complete female." Simply put, the
amounts of femaleness and maleness in any given couple had to add up to a
whole man and a whole woman, so that the little bit of woman in a given
man matched the little bit of man in his prospective partner.79 Thus
Weininger proposed another mathematical law for sexual attraction based on
four proportions, Mp, the truly male part of a man; Mod, the truly female part
of a man; Wp, the truly male part of a woman; and Wa>, the truly female part
of a woman. For a given couple to be sexually attracted, Mp plus Mto equaled
a constant, M, just as Wp and Wo> equaled the constant W. If these conditions
were met, there would be "the greatest possible sexual attraction between two
individuals."80

309
The strength of that attraction between any two humans was expressed
by the formula, A= (K/afi) f, where / designated a function of the period in
which Weininger thought it possible for "the individuals to act on one
another," K designated all the laws of sexual affinity which varied by "race,
gender, family, health, and absence of deformity in the two individuals, and
which become smaller as the spatial distance between the two is greater."81
Weininger thus attempted to reduce to mathematical simplicity one of the
most complex and least understood aspects of human emotional life, and, not
incidentally, to reify mathematically the "natural" couple as a "man" and a
"woman," however they were constituted.82 His mathematical statements
and formulae were prescriptions of a cultural ideal, rather than a natural law.
Yet the fact that he presented these cultural prescriptions in mathematical
form was itself significant.
Max Katte, author of "Die virilen Homosexuellen" (Manly
Homosexuals), an article published in 1905 in Magnus Hirschfeld's ]ahrbuch
fur sexuelle Zwischenstufen and intended to counter-act the notion that
sexually inverted men constituted some sort of woman, proposed another
mathematical scheme intended to define the rules of attraction. Katte
proposed, like Weininger and many others at the fin de siécle, that men and
women contained various amounts of femininity (W) and masculinity (M).
In heterosexual men, the proportion of M/W was greater than one, while for
heterosexual women, the proportion of M/W was less than one.
Homosexuals, whether men or women, had a M/W ratio of one, as they were
equally male and female.83 This formulation implied a spectrum of sexuality,
with differing strengths of sex factors in individual people. Katte's
formulation, particularly his notions of "strengths" of sex-factors, bore a
striking resemblance to the mathematical theories that Goldschmidt was later

310
to propose (discussed below) As Goldschmidt read Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch, he
may have encountered Katte's theories.84 It is entirely possible, perhaps even
probable, that Goldschmidt derived his theories of sex determination from
the speculations of the sexologists. The moths that Goldschmidt worked with
must have struck him as examples of the intersexuality hypothesized by the
sexologists as an example of homosexuality, and Mendelian genetics provided
a scientific framework that the sexologists, in Goldschmidt's opinion, lacked.
Goldschmidt took the suggestions of an organic cause of homosexuality and
turned them from relatively vague suggestions and assertions into an
atomistic research program that depended on the actions and movements of
particles of heredity and hypothesized their chemical nature.
Biologists and Discursive Technologies of Sex Determination
Biologists, too, expressed a certain interest in the classification and
ordering of sex. Although their efforts were not directed towards the
regulation of sexuality as often or as explicitly as those of sexologists, they
were nonetheless part and parcel of the attempt to solve the sex problem.
Their discursive technologies were directed at the ordering of sex in all its
forms.
Thomas Hunt Morean and evnandromorphic Drosophila
Thomas Hunt Morgan was one such biologist with taxonomic
leanings, although he did not develop the inclination to the extent that some
like Goldschmidt did. Morgan displayed his interest in the connections
between words and things particularly in relation to his work with the fruit
fly Drosophila melanogaster and the various allelomorphs he and his
students developed.85 In many papers Morgan published during the 1910s,
especially those in connection with Mendelism, Morgan considered the
nature of symbolic representation and the material and epsitemologically

311
real. For example in "Factors and Unit Characters in Mendelian Heredity"
(1913), Morgan discussed the advantages and disadvantages of various
schemata for the representation of the forms of characters of Drosophila.
Many discussions of the notion of factors and unit characters are confused
because of the tendency, intentional or not, to speak of unit characters as
products of factors acting alone. That is, a single factor produces a single unit
character. Morgan, however, argued that this identification had no basis in
reality, or rather, there was no empirical evidence for such an identification.86
He demonstrated a certain attention to the practical aspects of defining and
organizing the various classes of mutations that he produced through
mechanical technologies, and was more concerned with the practical aspects
of representation than with questions of epistemological reality. If a system of
nomenclature worked and made the representation of the actions of genes
and chromosomes comprehensible, then questions of the accuracy of its
representation of reality were irrelevant.87 In the representation of extremely
complex traits, representation, classification, and organization were more
important than philosophical considerations.88
In the late 1910s Morgan's investigations into sex determination and
genetics produced gynandromorphic flies that were similar to those
Goldschmidt produced early in his experiments with intersexuality. With
this work, "The Origin of Gynandromorphs" (1919), Morgan crafted a
discursive technology to make sense of the aberrant bodies he produced
through a mechanical technology of intensive breeding experiments.
Morgan first differentiated between normal and abnormal flies. Like
other systematizers, Morgan was little interested in the strictly 'normal,'
although he developed extensively the varieties and categories of abnormal
flies. Morgan first split the gynandromorphic flies into two categories, those

312
cases which could be explained by chromosomal elimination and those that
could not. He further divided the first group into several more subdivisions,
mixing morphological and chromosomal criteria. The first of these sub¬
categories constituted those gynandromorphs that were more or less
bilaterally symmetric, that is, were essentially evenly split between the male
and the female. Morgan differentiated these from those gynandromorphic
flies which were of the "fore and aft" variety. These flies were also split more
or less evenly between the two primary sexes, but instead of a "side by side"
configuration displayed one sex from the head to the approximate middle of
the body and the other the rest of the way down. Morgan also differentiated
those gynandromorphs that were mostly female and those that were mostly
male. Then there were also those individuals in which the patterning of the
sexual mosaic was irregular. Lastly, Morgan included in the chromosomal
elimination sub-group those flies that were born of a mother known to be
XXY, that is, which possessed in a pathological condition both sex
chromosomes. Morgan also acknowledged a last "catch-all" category,
consisting of those gynandromorphs for which several chromosomal
explanations could be proposed. All of these categories were approximate,
and Morgan acknowledged that it was "often somewhat difficult to decode to
which type a specimen belongs."89
This classification scheme possessed several differences from other
such schemes, both those proposed by sexologists and those constructed by
biologists. Where others grouped sexuality into a continuous spectrum from
one sex to the other, Morgan broke a similar distribution of traits into discrete
categories. Morgan developed this classification of gynandromorphs, though,
within his new chromosomal framework, an attempt to inscribe sexual
aberration into the new genetic science. Morgan's chromosomal work

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amounts to a massive natural history of biological aberration (including the
sexual) within the framework of the "new" genetics.
Richard Goldschmidt and intersexual Lymantria
Richard Goldschmidt's work with experimental intersexuality
represented what may have been the fullest expression of interest on the part
of a twentieth-century biologist in the development and iteration of the
discursive technologies of sex determination. With this work, too, comes the
explicit identity between work performed on animals and theorization
directed at human sexuality. While this theme was implicit in much of the
biological work on the sex problem, with Goldschmidt’s experimental
intersexuality the attempt to order, rationalize, and control human sexuality
through insights derived from animals was fully actualized.
When Goldschmidt commenced work with aberrantly-sexed gypsy
moths of the genus Lymantria in 1911 he referred to them as
gynandromorphs, though he claimed retrospectively to have emphasized
their difference from the 'usual' sort of gynandromorphs.90 Early twentieth-
century biologists, at least those influenced by Goldschmidt, defined a
gynandromorph as "an individual of a bisexual species which exhibits a
mosaic of male and female sexual characters; it is a sex mosaic in space."91
Goldschmidt, however, quickly differentiated between this form of genetic
and sexual mosaicism and other forms that were both more complicated and
more troubling. To go with observations of new deviations and, more
significantly, new interpretations of old material, such as "Erblichkeitsstudien
an Schmetterlingen II" (1914), Goldschmidt was forced to develop new
concepts and words to express what he saw. Goldschmidt realized that the
phenomenon he described was not really a form of gynandromorphism at all,
but rather a completely new phenomenon for which he coined the terms

314
'intersexuality' and 'intersex.'92 Goldschmidt thus invented a suite of new
terms to go along with his Lymantria work.93 Goldschmidt first termed these
new deviants, the results of intricate and complicated cross-breeding
experiments "Weibchenmanncheti" or "little she-men" (1914), a term that
surely reflected Goldschmidt's German context with its anxieties about sexual
inversion. These "she-males" acted like males and sought to fertilize
females, although Goldschmidt thought them a form of female
intersexuality.94 Goldschmidt, however, quickly named them 'intersexes' in
1915. His theory of intersexuality, articulating the concern on the part of
Western bourgeois culture about the balance between masculinity and
femininity, held that both sexes possessed the sex-determining factors for
femaleness and maleness. The relative quantities of these factors were
balanced in such a way that only one or the other sex developed under
normal conditions. A perturbation of that balance, however, resulted in a
blurring of the boundaries between female and male bodies, producing
various forms of intersexuality.95 This interest in terminology and the
ordering of things through words stayed with Goldschmidt throughout his
work on experimental intersexuality.96 In this way biological discourse about
sexed bodies proliferated and proliferated about sexed bodies.
In 1911 Goldschmidt introduced his first gynandromorphs which
resulted from crosses between certain races of gypsy moth native to Europe
and Asia.97 Yet Goldschmidt soon separated these two discursively, although
physically the moths were the same. Whereas biology had once called all sex
mosaics 'gynandromorphs,' Goldschmidt began to differentiate among many
different kinds of sexually aberrant organisms. These intersexes were
something new, or rather, represented a new way of interpreting an extant
phenomenon in a discursively new way.98 Whereas Goldschmidt initially

315
used the term 'gynandromorphy/ a term usually used to indicate anterior-
posterior (what Morgan called "fore and aft") or bilateral mosaicism, to
designate his moths, his moths represented something like a step in-between
the two cardinal sexes. Thus he introduced a new term.99 Yet as he indicated
in a paper published in 1914, these forms had been in his cultures all along.
Only his perspective changed. This was the beginning of the distinctions he
drew in ever-finer grades between gynandromorphs and intersexes up
through the end of his work on experimental intersexuality, an attempt to
control sex through language. Goldschmidt further defined and refined the
intersexes, from the original notion in 1914 of the intersex as a single kind of
sexually blurred body to something that affected both male and female bodies
in all manner of degrees and shades.100
These intersexes represented an entire spectrum of sexuality, a
phenomenon more complex than other kinds of sexual mosaicism. An
intersex was a body that developed up to a certain time as one sex or the
other, and then after a specific developmental point began to develop
according to the body-plan of the opposite sex, while a gynandromorphic body
was a mosaic made up of entirely male and entirely male cells, tissues, or
organs. The condition of any given tissue or organ in an intersex depended
on the moment of the turning point. Intersexuality was a macroscopic
phenomenon while gynandromorphy was a microscopic one.101 Goldschmidt
further ramified intersexuality in all its examples into two major types—
zygotic and hormonal—based on the genetic mechanisms and the animal taxa
involved. Thus Goldschmidt's fullest expression of the intersexes and their
relations, a sort of phytogeny of deviance, represented the full relations of all
the forms of intersexuality to one another.

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From a certain vantage point, the phenomena that biologists like
Goldschmidt studied multiplied as they watched. Instead of the single sexual
system that biologists thought existed in the living world, numerous forms
sprang into view. These forms of sex, though, for all intents and purposes did
not exist before the conceptual framework that supported them. They were
discourse-dependent. While there may be a prediscursive reality of the
natural world, from ahúman vantage point, biologists and others created the
phenomena that so worried them and that they sought to control. These
categories, though describing aspects of nature, were (and are) socially and
culturally constructed. The fact that biologists and others saw incredible
numbers of deviants was significant, for it was not the 'normal' but the
'abnormal' that multiplied at a ferocious rate. The sociologist Emile
Durkheim argued that society manufactures its deviants by defining the
normal and thus implicitly assigning abnormality to any minority that acts
out what the more inhibited sublimate or dream about.102 This is what the
bourgeoisie did in defining a certain narrow view of sex as "natural."
Anything that traduced it, such as homosexuality or parthenogenesis, was
categorically abnormal.
Hayden White argues that in any comparison of the 'normal' and
'abnormal' there is always an assumption of what these ought to consist of,
and it mirrors cultural expectations. This was especially true of the natural
sciences, in which appeals to nature masked aspects of normalization. Any
law or observation derived from the natural world is really just a rule by
which culture defines the normal and disciplines the deviants.103
Accordingly biology, rather than silencing the deviant, like the intersexual
moths, instead incited them to "speak," to reveal all of their secrets. Their
natures were explored and exploited in ever greater detail.104 The phenomena

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that Goldschmidt studied so exhaustively, for example, were really rather rare
until he and others began to breed for them. After all, a moth from Berlin or
Munich was unlikely to encounter a moth from Tokyo during the normal
course of its life. Yet Goldschmidt bred for these intersexual aberrations, and
achieved total control over the intersexing process through what amounted
to a micro-physics of sex. A series of experiments whose ultimate purpose
was to control and order sexuality created a veritable explosion of deviant,
disordered bodies. The existence of these aberrantly-sexed moths in all their
many forms and degrees was a direct result of the process designed to
understand and control them. Before Goldschmidt's work there had only
been gynandromorphs, after it a veritable bestiary of sexually indistinct forms,
each related to the others in very precise ways and degrees. The discourse of
sex determination produced through its own processes they very thing that
rendered sex problematic. These were created categories on both the
discursive and the mechanical levels.
Biologists and the Mathematical Nature of Sex
Biologists similarly mathematized the heredity of sex and the action of
sexuality. Luden Cuénot, for example, explained sex through a particulate
and quantitative model. Sex depended on two particulate factors, M and F,
which were physico-chemical in nature.105 Normal sex development
depended on the quantitative balance between these two particles, because a
disturbance of the balance led to hermaphroditism. Normally, the F factor
exceeded the M factor, or vice versa (whether this was in strength or amount
present was not specified). Sometimes, however, the two were equal, and this
resulted in hermaphroditism.106 Cuénot hypothesized that in mammals, at
least, while hermaphrodites definitely stemmed from anomalies in the
gametes, they also bore the stigmata of hereditary syphilis, tuberculosis, and

318
alcoholism.107 Castle likewise depended on a particulate, quantifiable sex-
determination scheme. In his 1909 retraction of his 1903 hypothesis (the one
that Morgan pilloried in his own 1903 paper of sex determination, "Recent
Theories," as well as in other papers) argued that "though we regard the
distinction between male and female as quantitative, we must not forget that
it is discontinuous. The female is the male condition plus a distinct unit-
character Mendelian in heredity.Castle's theory, like so many others,
depended on atoms and void.
Carl Correns, too, attempted to mathematize sex. Correns hoped that
the empirical results of that led to the recovery of Mendelism would form the
basis for scientific laws of sex which could be expressed mathematically.109
Accordingly, Correns argued that sex determination could be expressed as the
equation X + Y = t, where X and Y were the tendencies of female and male
gametes, and where t was the sex of the offspring. Correns noted, however,
that if a known quantity was put in place of the X, then it became possible to
determine Y and vice versa.110 As in other cases, mathematization imparted
an air of determinacy to something that may have been fundamentally
indeterminate. Morgan himself similarly mathematized his sex
determination work in "Chromosomes and Heredity." He arbitrarily
assigned an index from one to fifty to indicate the strength of a chromosome
for a given trait. These numbers, which represented character "states" (much
like quantum states), described the level of physiological activity.111 Loeb
summarized this mathematical spirit for everyone when he argued, that
some authors object to the tendency toward reducing everything in
biology to mathematical laws or figure; but where would the theory of
heredity be without figures? Figures have been responsible for
showing that the laws of chance and not of design rule in heredity.
Biology will be scientific only to the extent that it succeeds in reducing
life phenomena to quantitative laws.112

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Mathematics and particles offered fin-de-siécle biology the surety of physics
and chemistry as an alternative to the sexual anarchy.
Richard Goldschmidt and the calculus of monstrosity
Goldschmidt, too, took a mathematical view of sex and heredity. As
Richmond argues, much of Goldschmidt's work was in some way
quantitative.113 As discussed above in Chapter 4, Goldschmidt hypothesized
that the different races of Gypsy moth that he interbred possessed different
strengths. It was these strengths that interacted to produce intersexuality.
Goldschmidt arbitrarily assigned mathematical values to these difference
racial sex determination factors to predict quantitatively the degree and
direction of intersexuality.114 The arbitrary nature of these numbers was not
lost on his commentators. Huxley asked Goldschmidt,
You told me that they [the numbers] were arbitrary; but 1 wanted to ask
if you had reason for assuming that the amount of this substance
diminishes after a certain point—e.g. in the curve of the female
intersexes. . . I should have thought that such a curve was unlikely.115
By 1931, towards the end of his work with sex determination and his
transition to Drosophila genetics, Goldschmidt created a veritable calculus of
monstrosity through his mathematization of intersexuality. By the end of his
intersex work, when Goldschmidt maintained that he could produce any
degree of intersexuality at will, he had crafted a mathematical technology to
control the interbreeding. He noted that
there is no limit to the complexity of these crosses or to the races
involved. If sex is controlled only by the relation of F: M, if further
these sex genes are inherited as indicated and if the relative strength of
the races involved is known from previous experiments the result of
any combination can be predicted... Let A, B, C, D, E, G be six different
races. We cross female A with male B, breed from this F2, written (A x
B)2, cross an F2 female to a male, which is an F3 hybrid between C and

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D, that is (A x B)2 x (C x D)2; a daughter from this combination is
crossed to a male which is an F2 hybrid of A x E, i.e.
[ (A x B)2 x (C x D)] x (A x E)2
and finally cross a daughter from this combination to a pure male of
the race G. The resulting complex cross is then
{[ (A x B)2 x (C x D)] x (A x E)2} x G
If our analysis is correct, the resulting daughters are expected to be the
same as if only the cross female A x male G had been made.116
These were algebraic equations of sex. The variables representing the sexed
bodies of the moths were fed through equations in order to predict the degree
of monstrosity. At their ultimate, they produced moths that looked as if they
had not been through the calculus at all. That is, at their most sophisticated,
these equations produced bodies that looked like simple racial crosses, rather
than highly manipulated organisms. This was the most advanced form of
Goldschmidt's mathematization of sex. Whereas earlier variations assigned
numerical values to various races, these were essentially numerical analogies
designed to facilitate comprehension of a quantitative theory of sex, and were
just another level of abstraction. This formulaic approach, however,
achieved what earlier iterations had not, and that was absolute predictive
power. This calculus was so reliable, in fact, that Goldschmidt used it to
produce hybrids that were too delicate or unstable for him to maintain
naturally.117 These equations represented a machine or manufacturing
device. Goldschmidt had only to enter the necessary bodies on one end, and
the desired product eventually emerged from the other. This constituted a
technology that produced ever more intricate species of monsters, and one
that was able to maintain monsters that could not even maintain themselves.
Conclusion: Biology and the Normalization of Sex
This interest in the control of sex, whether through purely mechanical
technologies like cytological investigations or controlled breeding or through

321
the conceptual application of sex determination to humans through the
discursive technologies implied a certain fit between phenomena and the
words and concepts that defined and confined them. However, this fit
between words and things was not always, or even at all, a perfect fit; there
was not an absolute correspondence between the body and the discursive
technologies that biologist used to try to contain it. This less than perfect
correspondence between discursive technologies and bodies demonstrated the
precarious nature of the organizing and defining categories of sex during the
early decades of the twentieth century. Historian of sexuality Bert Hansen
argues that the recent origin of homosexuality accordingly demonstrates the
precarious nature of heterosexuality, the one sexuality that the bourgeoisie
had normalized and naturalized. The reaction to homosexuality
demonstrates the manner in which biology sought to shore up definitions,
and the extent to which a distinctively heterosexual identity is also a creation
of the late nineteenth century.118
In spite of notions of a spectrum of sexuality, with the promise of
liberation from the rigid male/female distinction, sex was still a polar
phenomenon. Thus one authority distinguished four kinds of sexual inverts
and divided homosexuals into four categories. These included the male
invert who "felt as a man" but loved men with a feminine nature and who
was attracted to boys and young men, the inverted man who "felt as a
woman" and who thus was attracted to strapping, virile—presumably
heterosexual—men, the inverted woman who "felt as a man" and who was
thus attracted to "delicate, feminine" women, and the inverted woman who
"felt as a woman" and was, as a consequence, attracted to more "masculine"
women.119 Another writer who considered the matter, Max Katte, wrote in
similar terms. "Virile," that is, manly by bourgeois definitions, homosexuals,

322
were still attracted to "youth with a markedly feminine aspect.120 These were
published in Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch, so they were presumably charitably
inclined towards sexual inversion. Yet both conceived of forms of
homosexuality only in terms of bourgeois heterosexuality.
In spite of the discursive proliferation of sexuality, and in spite of the
ever-more detailed classification schemes, Western culture by the early
twentieth century nonetheless only imagined sex in binary terms. The grid of
male/female, which was linked to other dichotomies, was not easily
discarded, even by sexual radicals. Thus the intersexes, despite what the
existence of the category suggests, were still male or female intersexes,
whether in the pages of Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch, or in the Biologisches
Zentralblatt (Biological Journal), or the Zeitschrift fiir induktive
Abstammungs- und Vererbungslehre (Journal for Inductive Heredity and
Genetics). The "third sexers," the human intersexes, were likewise
envisioned only in terms of their 'male' or 'female' sex roles. This concept,
rather than representing a genuine transformation of gender relations, or at
least the manner of their conceptualization, was not a genuine epistemic shift
in Western sexuality but rather an attempt to save the phenomenon. Faced
with the fundamental non-functionality of the dichotomous system of
gender and sexual role identification, with all of its cultural baggage, the
biologists who studied sex piled epicycles onto deferents to keep the sexual
cosmos in balance. Like the Ptolemaic model of the cosmos before
Copernicus's inadvertent destruction of it, the dichotomous gender system
had become a cumbersome monster that could not save the phenomenon. In
fact, biologists used monsters to prop the system up, whether they were
gynandromorphous Drosophila or intersexual Lymantria which stood for
human homosexuals through rhetorical and conceptual slights of hand. The

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mounting evidence of the non-viability of the dichotomous scheme was
bracketed out of the discourse of the sex problem by defining such creatures as
abnormal. Eventually, as the sexual discourse proliferated, there were so
many outside the system—all the varieties of inverts, perverts, fetishists,
transvestites, transsexuals, sadists, masochists-that no one and nothing
remained inside.
In fact, the term 'sexual inversion' itself was a product of the binary
term male/female. It assumed that the ordering of such a pair was inverted
in a homosexual relationship. That is, a man inverted the sexual order of
male/female in his sexual relations to assume the 'female' role, or that a
woman inverted the ordering to assume the 'male' role.121 Thus
homosexuality was not something new, but rather a dis-ordering of the
existing means of conceptualizing sexual relations. Sex was categorically
something only between male and female bodies in bourgeois culture,
regardless of the conceptual gymnastics required to maintain the image of a
man and a woman, and biology defended this definition. Sex was literally
unthinkable in any other term. Even those sympathetic to homosexuals,
even the homosexuals themselves, thought in those terms. A 'man' was thus
someone who assumed the insertive role in sexual intercourse, regardless of
the biological sex of the body he inserted into. So even sex between men in a
journal devoted to homosexual emancipation was still sex between
masculine and feminine elements. Sexual relations between women,
although rarely discussed, at least by German or American biologists, were
categorized in a similar manner. In a lesbian union, one woman was always
the "man," and insisted on a "man's rights of marriage.''122 By seeing the
world in either/ or terms, Western culture imposed a sort of compulsory
heterosexuality.123 The very terms and concepts used to define and discuss,

324
even to think, sex and sexuality coagulated around the paired term
man/woman and the related pairs male/female and masculine/feminine.
Sex, to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whether between
male and female bodies, or between two male bodies or two female bodies,
was between a "man" and a "woman," and was thus always heterosexual.
Bodies that traduced this arrangement were reined in through
structures of thought, because the conceptual world of the bourgeoisie
depended on the absolute separation of the sexes into the two separate and
distinct categories of the ideology of the separate spheres, what historian
Thomas Laqueur has termed the "two-sex" model of the body. Whereas
much of the discourse of the body in the West had focused on the notion of a
single sex, or a single body, sometime in the eighteenth century a two-sex
notion of the body developed. While Aristotle and Galen, to say nothing of
their adherents through the centuries, viewed women's bodies and organs as
lesser versions of men's, Enlightenment and later biology began to see the
two not in isomorphic terms but as two totally disparate phenomena. Organs
that had once shared a name anatomists distinguished as ovaries and
testicles, and organs that had lacked names, such as the vagina, were now
given them. Women's bodies were increasingly defined around those new
identities. Structures that had been common to both female and male bodies,
such as the skeleton and above all the brain and central nervous system, were
distinguished so as to reflect cultural conceptions about the strict separation of
men from women. Biology created two organically distinct sexes as the basis
for bourgeois culture's vision of two distinct genders, the female and the
male.124
Laqueur claims that the context and reason for this rigid distinction
was based in sexual and cultural politics. The endless struggles for authority

325
in the post-Enlightenment world meant a contest for identity within the
public and private realms. When the notion of a divinely-mandated
hierarchical social and cultural order became untenable, the struggle for
authority switched to the realm of nature, whether in the ideas of political
and moral economy or in the relations between the sexes. Distinct sexual
differences were marshaled to support or deny innumerable claims about the
abilities and aptitudes of men and women. Regardless of the issue, the body
itself became decisive.125 Biologists did not just produce ostensibly neutral
data for the appropriation and 'misuse' of ideologues; they lent their
credibility and prestige to the whole enterprise by discovering sexual
differences wherever they looked in nature. That is not to say, however, that
considerable knowledge about the body and its functions was not produced,
especially in regards to sexual matters like the physical and sexual maturation
of male and female bodies, about conception and gestation, and by the third
decade of the twentieth century about the hormonal aspects of sexuality (why
Goldschmidt discursively excluded homosexuality from the intersexual
phenomena). Reproductive biology made real strides in solving the sex
"problem," but it also participated in constructing the problematic nature of
sex to begin with.126 A contested sexual politics constituted the ground for the
meeting of the scientific and the sexual, and this sexual politics emphasized
increasingly the incommensurability of the sexes, rather than their identity,
within the larger cultural ideal of the division of labor.127 Thus both the
masculine and the heterosexual identity were highly contested during the
early decades of the twentieth century as many women and men declined to
stay within the borders that bourgeois ideology of the strict observation
decreed.

326
This novelty of heterosexuality--what bourgeois biology defined and
defended as biologically 'natural'--may well have been the source of the
anxiety on the part of some men and women of the middle class about
changing definitions of sex and gender and the source of the intolerance and
invective towards the New Woman and the Inverted Man. The dominance
of heterosexual masculinity was not as hegemonic as many assumed or
wished. Instead, it was a highly contested identity, one that many women
and some men would not or could not live with. All of the New Woman
and many prominent Inverted Men (such as Wilde or Eulenburg) called
attention to the fact that the patriarchal tradition that middle-class men in the
West invoked to assert their dominance was an imagined tradition.
Biology, especially the search for understanding sex determination,
assisted in this defense of the borders between the sexes that were no more
than a few generations old. Biology established as 'natural' certain social and
cultural categories in regards to sex by studying the sexually deviant. By
studying the bodies of the deviant that existed along a spectrum of sexuality,
biologists hoped to determine what leads to sexual dimorphism. By studying
the continuum, biologists sought to bring the endpoints back into the high
relief that they thought proper. The science of sex determination, while
mechanistically interested in the processes of sex determination, in all the
'delicate particle logic' of sex and sexuality, also participated in the definition
of correct sexuality through the discursive technologies. Hayden White
observes that modern Western culture has promoted more discussion of sex,
more study of sex, more classification of sex, and more theories of sex than
any other culture in human history. In so doing, though, it has also
prompted the proliferation of sexual practices and forms. The true originality
of the West in White's opinion lay in its recognition that the creation and

327
control of various forms of sex offered the best means of controlling and
disciplining the societies of Western culture.128 Sex determination was a part
of this ramification of knowledge about sex, and part of the discourse that
sought (seeks?) to control bodies through the knowledge of what had become
the central feature of the body: sex. All of biology became a sexual science.
Few would argue that science at the fin de siécle was not the value-
neutral, totally isolated practice that it had claimed in the past to be. The
desire to fix sex and sexuality in a matrix of objective truth and rational,
universal systems of thought extended the normative power of scientific
knowledge.129 The narrative of sex determination demonstrated the extent to
which science participated in a larger cultural construction of practices. The
attempt to ascertain what makes some bodies female and others male, and to
situate that knowledge within the ostensibly objective framework of the
modern biological sciences, actually began the process of making those bodies
and locking them into normalized categories based on sex. Anything that
deviated was from the idealized definitions of sex and gender was rendered
abnormal, whether it was a woman who wanted something beyond the
domestic sphere or the man attracted to other men. This normalization has
not stopped, as the continuing debates about the effect of women working
outside the home on their children's development (no one asks what effect
the father's work has)130 or about gay rights demonstrate.
Historian and feminist theorist Judith Butler argues, like many, that
the category 'sex' is from the start a normative and regulatory ideal. Sex not
only functions as a norm, but also constitutes a practice that creates the bodies
it governs through the demarcation and differentiation of the bodies subject
to it. All bodies in the West have one sex or the other. Butler argues that
'sex' is thus a regulatory ideal whose material reality is compelled through a

328
variety of practices, all highly regulated. 'Sex' is a construct "forcibly
materialized through time," whether through the assignment of
"appropriately" colored blankets in the obstetrics ward, the use of different
lavatories for the same biological function, or notions of dress and
comportment based on "biological" sex, to name but a few. Sex, Butler states,
is not a 'simple' fact or condition of the body, but a regulatory practice
constantly enforced through reiteration of the cultural norms, like "gender-
appropriate" toys for children or aspects of fashion for adults . This
reiteration is necessary because, as mentioned above, the fit between the
practices of compulsion and biological bodies is not perfect. Sexed bodies
never entirely comply with the regulatory ideals that create them.131
Biological sex is not only a descriptive label but a proscriptive device
whereby certain categories are imposed onto biological units (bodies before
"sex," if such a thing is possible). Sex determination was the scientific practice
of this normalization. It constituted the effort not only to establish once and
for all when a body acquired its sex, that is, at what point a biological unit
enters into the web of discursive practices that lend social and cultural
meaning to biology, but also push that point as far back into that biological
unit's ontogeny as possible. This happened as the debates about 'when' sex is
determined settled on at the moment of fertilization. Thus sex
determination as a science brought the body into the sex-producing discourse
at the instant of its inception. This science produced—by regularizing (in the
sense of being rule-like)-the sexes it intended to determine.
Sex determination, however, also produced vast categories of sexes that
defied easy categorization into the binary system that Western bourgeois
culture decreed. These bodies fell somewhere between the poles and were
defined and (ab) normalized into the whole array of intersexual categories,

329
whereas before the gaze of sex determination fell on them, they had been one
group, one sex. 'Sex as regulatory ideal' is precisely what sex determination
was (and is, as the current debates about transsexualism and gender
reassignment demonstrate). This science is the articulation of that ideal, the
'performance' of that ideal. That performance constitutes not a single event
(fertilization, or whatever), but a process that continues throughout the life of
the organism. The pressure to be 'female' or 'male' never ends, because
biology has ordained a vast array of appropriate behaviors, morphologies,
hormones, and labels. It is the process of gender, how the New Woman was
gendered male or the Inverted Man gendered female. This, too, was part of
sex determination because each personae did things that had been defined as
"boy" things or "girl" things, when they were really just "person" things. The
effort to find a genetic basis for all the intersexes and all the different sexual
systems was the effort to determine their sex, to fit them into the female-male
model. Sex determination may have had a beginning for each body, but it
ended only with death.
Early twentieth-century biologists viewed sex as inherently unstable.
That is why the boundary crossers posed a threat. If women became men,
men perforce had to become women. Women who worked or studied and
men who loved other men represented the start of a destabilizing process.
Sex determination attempted to stabilize the inherently unstable by fixing sex
in biological atoms, the most fundamental productive unit of the body. Then
such boundary crossers became pathological manifestations of the 'normal'
sex process, and as such subject to the entire array of bio-medical attempts to
redress the balance and restore the 'health' of the body politic, if not of the
body biological. Adult life is the reiteration of the gender norms that early
twentieth-century biology sought to inscribe into the body at the moment of

330
conception. The history of science tends to ignore the fact that the working of
bodies, whether human or not, takes place in a context, and that without that
context, knowledge of the bodies do not exist. While the bodies may be
ontologically real and exist before the discourse, they cannot be perceived and
have no meaning without that context. A body will always have meanings,
and biology at the fin de siécle played an important role in the creation of
those meanings. As a matter of scientific practice mirrored in much of our
cultural life, those meanings constitute the body.

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Notes
1 "Angels & Insects," a movie about Victorians, taxonomy, and sex, was based on the novella,
"Morpho Eugenia." Emphasis added.
2 George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in
Modern Europe (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), pp. 24-25.
3 Linda Dowling, 'The Decadent and the New Woman," Nineteenth-Century Fiction 33 (1979):
438.
4 Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Steele (New York:
Penguin Books, 1990), p. 4.
5 Atina Grossmann, 'The New Woman and the Rationalization of Sexuality in Weimar
Germany," in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, ed. Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell,
and Sharon Thompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), p. 166.
6 Ruth Robbins, "’A Very Curious Construction’: Masculinity and the Poetry of A. E. Housman
and Oscar Wild," in Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siecle, ed. Sally Ledger and Scott
McCracken (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 137.
7 Ludmilla Jordanova, "Natural Facts: A Historical Perspective on Science and Sexuality," in
Nature, Culture, Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormick and Marilyn Strathern (Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 44.
8 Showalter, Anarchy, p. 8.
9 Alison Hennegan, as cited in Robbins, "Curious," p. 140.
10 Michel Foucault, The Flistory of Sexuality. Volume I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley
(New York: Vintage Books, 1990), pp. 11-12. Foucault argues that this 'will to know' invaded
the body through the guise of a penetrating investigation of all the forms of sex. I argue that
biology in the guise of sex determination was an integral part of this.
11 Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York:
Vintage Books, 1970), pp. 130-131, but see also chapter 5, "Classifying."
12 Peter Dews, "Foucault's Theory of Subjectivity," New Left Review 144 (1984): 75.
13 Peter G. Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1986), p. 79.
14 Huge Bettauer, 'The Erotic Revolution," in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton Kaes,
Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1994), p.
699.
15 Arnold I. Davidson, "Sex and the Emergence of Sexuality," Critical Inquiry 14 (1987): 23.
16See Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Developmental Mechanics," Science 7 (1898): 156-158. Wilhelm
Roux, 'The Problems, Methods, and Scope of Developmental Mechanics," Biological Lectures
Delivered at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood's Hole 3 (1894): 149-190. See also
Garland Allen, 'Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Problem of Sex Determination," Proceedings of
the American Philosophical Society 110 (1966): 48-57. Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan:
The Man and His Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978). Jane Maienschein,
Transforming Traditions in American Biology, 1880-1915 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1991). Jane Maienschein, "Shifting Assumptions in American Biology," Journal of the
History of Biology 14 (1981): 89-113. Philip Pauly, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the
Engineering Ideal in Biology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

332
l7Foucault, History of Sexuality, p. 18.
18 Helen Haste, The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes the
Difference (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 11.
19Scott L. Montgomery, The Scientific Voice, ed. Steve Fuller, The Conduct of Science Series
(New York: The Guilford Press, 19%), p. 135.
20 Jonathan Harwood, 'The Reception of Morgan's Chromosome Theory in Germany: Interwar
Debate Over Cytoplasmic Inheritance," Medizin historisches Journal 19 (1984): 23.
21 Anne Harrington, Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 209.
“The dis-order of sex is the subject of numerous writings. For the specifically fin-de-siécle
context, see Showalter, Anarchy, Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian
Construction of Womanhood (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989); Ludmilla
Jordanova, Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the Eighteenth
and Twentieth Centuries (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989); Bram Dijkstra, Idols
of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1986). See also Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of
Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990); and Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive
Limits of 'Sex' (New York: Routledge, 1993).
23 Showalter, Anarchy, p. 8.
24 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 1: Education of the Senses
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 169. See also all of Chapter 2, "Offensive
Women and Defensive Men." See also the literature detailing the crisis of masculinity. This
literature is examined in Chapter 1, above.
25 Haste 1994, p. 56.
26 William E. Castle, 'The Heredity of Sex," Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology
at Harvard College 40 (1903): 1%.
27 E. T. Brewster, "Note on the Determination of Sex in Man," American Anthropologist 8 (1906):
236.
28 Arabella Kenealy, Feminism and Sex Extinction (London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd., 1920), p. 45.
29 Richard Goldschmidt, "Vererbung und Bestimmung des Geschlechts," Verhandlungen der
Gesellschaft deutsches Naturforscher und Arzte 84 (1912): 180.
30 See Andrew D. White, The History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom,
2 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1896).
31 Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination, trans. William
J. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923), pp. 89-90.
32 William Keith Brooks, "The Condition of Women from a Zoological Point of View," Popular
Science Monthly 15 (1879): 150-151, 347-356.
33 See Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and
Evolutionary Biology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19%), for a discussion of the wider
implications of the physicalist impulse in biology, pp. 97-114, especially pp. 100-106 for her
discussion of J. H. Woodgeris Biological Principles.
It is with no little irony that biologists sought to model a modem biology on a Newtonian
vision of the physical sciences at precisely the same time that physics itself was affected by
Modernism. Historian Stephen Kern notes in Anatomy and Destiny (Indianapolis: Bobbs-

333
Merril, 1975) that the Newtonian physical universe, the last bastion of order, at the fin de
siécle became one of hypothetical entities, irregular movements, paradox, and uncertainty (p.
196). Particles moved through space in unpredictable patterns, and shrank in size as they
moved. Matter and energy were proven to be interchangeable, and mass increased as it
accelerated. Light was sometimes a particle and sometimes a wave, and its speed was constant,
which violated the Newtonian law of the addition of velocities (p. 196). The new physics
revealed a material universe of empty space, of particles and void. In fact, as Everdell (1997)
argues, the new physics was integral to the creation of the modern world. Biology at the fin de
siécle tried to modernize on the back of non-modern physics.
34 Jacques Loeb, "On Some Facts and Principles of Physiological Morphology," Biological
Lectures at Woods Hole 2 (1893): 61.
35 Jacques Loeb, The Organism as a Whole (New York: Putnam, 1916), p. 1.
36 William E. Castle, "Report of W. E. Castle for the year 1908, submitted to President R. S.
Woodward, The Carnegie Institution of Washington, D. C.," pp. 4-5, C. B. Davenport Papers,
Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS), Philadelphia, PA.
37 Morgan to Driesch, 13 September 1899, pp. 2-3, Morgan-Driesch Correspondence, APS.
“Thomas Hunt Morgan, Experimental Zoology (New York: Macmillan, 1907), pp. 3-5.
39 Thomas Hunt Morgan, 'The Relation of Physics to Biology," in Physics and Its Relations
(Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College, 1927), p. 10.
40 Thomas Hunt Morgan to N. M. Butler, 4 August 1927, Thomas Hunt Morgan Papers, California
Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
41 A. H. Fleming to Thomas Hunt Morgan, 2 August 1927, Morgan Papers, Cal Tech.
42 See Lily E. Kay, The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the
Rise of the New Biology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
43Thomas Hunt Morgan, The Physical Basis of Heredity (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Company, 1919), p. 234.
44 Ibid., p. 235
45 Ibid., pp. 236-237
46 Ibid., p. 237
47 Ibid., p. 237
48 Margaret Somosi Saha, "Carl Correns and an Alternative Approach to Genetics: The Study of
Heredity in Germany Between 1880 and 1930" (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State
University, 1984), p. 239.
49Ibid., p. 239
50 Ibid., pp. 159-160
51 Julian Huxley to Richard Goldschmidt, 6 January 1922, pp. 2-3, Richard Goldschmidt Papers,
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
52 Richard Goldschmidt, "Kleine Beobachtungen und Ideen zur Geschlechtsbestimmung," Archiv
fiir Zellforschung 6 (1910): 37.
53 Richard Goldschmidt, "Experimental Intersexuality and the Sex Problem," American
Naturalist 60 (1916): 710.
54Ibid., p. 710 note 4

334
55 Ibid., pp. 709-710
56 Oxford English Dictionary, Volume XII, V-Z, 1933, s.v. "valency."
57 Richard Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 1940), pp. 396-399. See also Smocovitis, Unifying, pp. 158-161.
58 Richard Goldschmidt, "Analysis of Intersexuality in the Gypsy Moth," Quarterly Review of
Biology 6 (1931): 138-139.
59 Richard Goldschmidt, "Intersexuality and the Endocrine Aspect of Sex," Endocrinology 1
(1917): 434. See also M. M. Knight, Iva Lowthers, and Phyllis Blanchard, Taboo and Genetics
(London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1921), p. 23.
60 Richard Goldschmidt, undated course lectures, "General Biology," pp. 4-5, Goldschmidt
Papers, Bancroft Library.
61 Curt Stem, Genetic Mosaics and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
1968), p. 93. See Goldschmidt, "A Preliminary Report of Further Experiments in Inheritance
and Determination of Sex," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2 (1916): 53-58.
62 Richard Goldschmidt, as cited in Elof Axel Carlson, The Gene: A Critical History
(Philadelphia and London: W. B. Saunders, 1966), p. 126.
63 Richard Goldschmidt, 'The Gene," Quarterly Review of Biology 3 (1928): 307.
64 See Michael Dietrich, "Richard Goldschmidt's 'Heresies' and the Evolutionary Synthesis,"
Journal of the History of Biology 28, no. 3 (1995): 431-462.
65 Richard Goldschmidt to L. C. Dunn, 7 June 1938, pp. 2-3, L. C. Dunn Papers, APS.
66 Herculine Barbin, Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a
Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite, with an Introduction by Michel Foucault, trans.
Richard McDougall, Richard (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), p. x.
67 Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), p.
175.
68 Foucault, Order, p. 44.
69 see Jane Maienschein, "What Determines Sex? A Study of Converging Approaches, 1880-
1916," Isis 75 (1984): 457-480.
70 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Discourses of Sexuality and Subjectivity: The New Woman, 1870-
1936," in Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, ed. Martin Duberman,
Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: Meridian, 1989), p. 268.
71 James D. Steakley, "Per scientia ad justitiam: Magnus Hirschfeld and the Sexual Politics of
Innate Homosexuality," in Science and Homosexualities (New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 143.
72 Charles Darwin, The Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication. 2 volumes
(London: John Murray, 1868), as cited in Ibid., p. 143.
73 Magnus Hirschfeld, Geschlechtsübergánge: Mischung mannlicher und weiblicher
Geschlechtscharaktere (Leipzig: Verlag der Monatsschrift fiir Harnkrankheiten und sexuelle
Hygiene, W. Malende, 1905), as cited in Ibid., p. 143.
74 Ibid., pp. 144-145.
75 Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: AMS Press, 1906), p. 7.
76 Ibid., p. 7

335
77 Ibid., p. 8
78 Ibid., p. 8
79 Ibid., p. 29
80 Ibid., p. 29
81 Ibid., pp. 37-38
82 Sexual inverts were those individuals whose values approximated 0.5 for maleness and
femaleness, or who, in other words, had as much masculinity as femininity (p. 47). Inverts were
still the third sex.
83 Max Katte, "Die virilen Homosexuellen," Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen unter
besonderer Beriicksichtigung der Homosexuality 7 (1905): 95-%.
84 Richard Goldschmidt, "Die biologischen Grundlagen der kontráren Sexualitát und des
Hermaphroditismus beim Menschen," Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 12 (1916):
1-2.
85 The standard-issue fruit fly that Castle, Morgan, and others used in the creation of classical
genetics has several identities. While late twentieth-century taxonomic nomenclature
identifies it as Drosophila melanogaster, Morgan and his contemporaries knew it as
Drosophila ampelophila. For the sake of convenience, in the present discussion I will
anachronistically refer to it as D. melanogaster.
“Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Factors and Unit Characters in Mendelian Heredity," American
Naturalist 47 (1913): 5.
87 Ibid., p. 10.
“Ibid., p. 16.
“Thomas Hunt Morgan and C. B. Bridges, The Origin of Gynandromorphs, vol. 278, Carnegie
Institution of Washington Publications (Washington, D. C: Carnegie Institution of
Washington, 1919), p. 33.
90 Goldschmidt, "Analysis," p. 126.
91F. A. E. Crew, The Genetics of Sexuality in Animals (New York: Macmillan, 1927), p. 26.
92 Richard Goldschmidt, 1948, "Autobiographical Data," p. 6. Goldschmidt Papers, The
Bancroft Library.
93 Miriam Rothschild to Richard Goldschmidt, 25 June 1934, pp. 1-2. Richard Goldschmidt
Papers, The Bancroft Library.
94 Richard Goldschmidt, "Lymantria," Bibliographia Genética 11 (1934): 37,60.
95 Richard Goldschmidt, 'The Quantitative Theory of Sex," Science 64 (1926): 299.
96 Richard Goldschmidt, Die Sexuellen Zwischenstufen (Berlin: Julius Springer, 1931), pp. 408-
410.
97 Richard Goldschmidt, "Über die Vererbung der sekundáren Geschlechtscharaktere,"
Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft fiir Morphologie und Physiologie in München T7 (1911): 115.
98 Richard Goldschmidt, "Vorláufige Mitteilung über Weitere Versuche zur Vererbung und
Bestimmung des Geschlechts," Biologisches Zentralblatt 35 (1915): 566.
99 Richard Goldschmidt, "Experimental Intersexuality and the Sex Problem," American
Naturalist 60 (1916): 707-708.

336
100 Goldschmidt, "Vorláufige," p. 566.
101 Richard Goldschmidt, The Mechanism and Physiology of Sex Determination, trans. William
J. Dakin (London: Metheun, 1923), pp. 90-91.
102 Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud. Volume 2: The Tender Passion
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 204-205.
103 Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical
Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 128.
104Foucault, History of Sexuality, p. 64.
105 Lucien Cuénot, "Sur la determination du sexe chez les animaux," Bulletin Scientific de France
et de Belgique 32 (1899): 519.
106 Ibid., p. 523
107 Ibid., p. 525
108 William E. Castle, "A Mendelian View of Sex and Heredity," Science 29 (1909): 396.
Original emphasis.
109 Saha, "Correns," p. 130
110 Ibid., pp. 177-178
111 Thomas Hunt Morgan, "Chromosomes and Heredity," American Naturalist 44 (1910):473-474.
112 Loeb, Organism, p. 11
113 Marsha Leigh Richmond, "Richard Goldschmidt and Sex Determination: The Growth of
German Genetics, 1900-1935" (Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University, 1986), p. 10.
114 See Richard Goldschmidt, "Experimental Intersexuality and the Sex Problem," American
Naturalist 60 (1916): 705-718; and Goldschmidt, "Lymantria." These two papers, written on
either end of his work with experimental intersexuality in moths, demonstrate Goldschmidt's
reliance on quantification.
115 Huxley to Goldschmidt, 21 November 1922, p. 2. Goldschmidt Papers, Bancroft Library.
116 Goldschmidt, "Analysis," p. 132
117 Ibid., p. 133
118 Bert Hansen, 'The Historical Construction of Homosexuality," Radical History Review 20
(1979): 67. See also Jonathan Ned Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality (New York: Plume,
1995).
119 [no first name on record] Arduin, "Die Frauenfrage und die sexuelle Zwischenstufen,"
Jahrbuch fiir sexuelle Zwischenstufen unter besonderer Beriicksichtungung der Homosexualitat 2
(1900): 216-217.
120 Max Katte, "Die virilen Homosexuellen," Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen unter
besonderer Beriicksichtungung der Homosexualitat 7 (1905): 101-104.
121Clyde Griffen, "Reconstructing Masculinity from the Evangelical Revival to the Waning of
Progressivism: A Speculative Synthesis," in Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of
Masculinity, ed. Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1990), pp. 202-203.
122 Wilhelm Hammer, "Ãœber gleichgeschlechtliche Frauenliebe mit besonderer
Berücksichtigung der Frauenbewegung," Monatsschrift fiir Harnkrankheiten und sexuelle

337
Hygiene 4 (1907): 445.
123 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York:
Routledge, 1990), p. 151 note 6.
124 Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1990)., pp. 149-150.
125 Ibid., p. 152.
126 Ibid., p. 153.
127 Leonard L. Duroche, "Men Fearing Men: On the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Modern
Homophobia," Men's Studies Review 8 (1991): 3.
128 White, Content, p. 131.
129 After Anson Rabinbach, The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992)., pp. 16-17.
130 See Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee, The DNA Mystique: The Gene as Cultural Icon
(New York: Freeman, 1995).
131 Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (New York: Routledge,
1993), pp. 1-2.

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