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Harry Benjamin. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02717).

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Benjamin, Harry (12 January 1885–24 August 1986), physician, endocrinologist, and sex researcher, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Julius Benjamin, a banker, and Bertha Hoffman. He became interested in human sexuality at the age of twenty, when he read August Forel’s ...

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Dickinson, Robert Latou (21 February 1861–29 November 1950), gynecologist and sexologist, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Horace Dickinson, a hat manufacturer, and Jeannette Latou. During Dickinson’s childhood the family business was located in Brooklyn, New York, where the Dickinsons and Latous were civic and cultural leaders. Dickinson enjoyed a privileged childhood in Brooklyn Heights, with summers on an uncle’s Connecticut farm. When he was twelve, his father took the family to Europe for four years, during which the children were privately tutored and attended schools in Switzerland and Germany. The Dickinsons returned to the United States in 1876. Robert entered Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and completed the equivalent of the last years of high school in 1879....

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Alfred C. Kinsey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92226).

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Kinsey, Alfred Charles (23 June 1894–25 August 1956), entomologist and sex researcher, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Alfred Seguine Kinsey, instructor of mechanical arts at Stevens Institute of Technology, and Sarah Ann Charles. His father, a domineering and relentlessly pious patriarch, intimidated Sarah and the children. Alfred was a frail boy who contracted rheumatic and typhoid fever. Perhaps as compensation for his early confinement to the home, in adolescence Alfred acquired a passionate interest in nature and resolved to become a biologist. He was valedictorian of the Columbia High School class of 1912....

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William Howell Masters 12 Feb. 1971. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Masters, William Howell (27 December 1915–16 February 2001), physician, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Francis W. Masters and Estabrooks Taylor Masters. Details of his family background are unknown beyond the fact that Masters grew up in comfortable financial circumstances. Young Masters attended school in Kansas City, Missouri. At fourteen he was sent to board at Lawrenceville, a noted preparatory school in New Jersey. Upon graduation he entered Hamilton College in the fall of 1934. Masters was an excellent student, specializing in science; he was also a skilled debater and a proficient and versatile athlete, active on varsity teams in football, baseball, basketball, and track. After receiving a B.S. degree with honors in 1938, Masters enrolled at the University of Rochester Medical School. In his first year he came under the influence of his anatomy professor, ...