Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Vintage Trans Book: Man Into Woman

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | May 30, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: biography, Einar Wegener, Gerda Wegener, GRS, trans, transwomen

I found this intriguing old book listed among pulp fiction titles (what?!) on eBay. Despite the tacky cover, it is a serious biography about the sex change of Einar Wegener, husband of artist Gerda Wegener, whose work I blogged here just last week. Wow, what a coinky-dink! This sent me on a search of Amazon, where I discovered that this book was reprinted (with a new cover) in 2004.

Here are the two, for comparison. The second cover gives the subject the respect it deserves.


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Kathy Padilla | May 30, 2010 1:18 PM

I think the pulp version is from the 60's?

The book was first published in 1931 (I think) - hardbound. I have a copy - not at home right now. Einar was a well thought of painter prior to transition. Gerda is credited by some with developing the classic images of flappers/30's women. Some say using her spouse as the model.

There's supposed to be a movie coming out on the couple. Gerda did a great deal of illustration for the cutting edge publications of her day. The erotic pieces you posted previously are part of a larger group of images. You can find many of them in a book - "The Two of Us" - I think.

She had a few pieces (not in the book) where she had a mixed gender angelic looking subject and an adoring female partner. Took quite some time to find those. The originals of her erotic collection is very valuable - last time I saw one available - $5,000 or so. As far put of my range as another planet.

That movie--"The Danish Girl"--is looking iffy. Despite Kidman still being attached in the lead role, Uma Thurman is the latest IMDB listed for Greta. The third now, after Charlize and Gwynnie both dropped out

Umm... anyone can purchase Man into Woman on Lynn Conway's site. I have the second edition printing. The price is in British Pounds, umm I think it was like U.S. $35.00 or $40.00 can't remember the exact price.

at the bottom of page four in TSgallery.

Also I've done some web searches on Lili (Andreas-pre transition) and found a few of Andreas' painting that were either photos or scans but none of the actual paintings for sale. I wondered what they would worth, I hope Lili's and Gerda's painting are with someone that IS taking good care of them. I saw the posting last week of Gerda's and really like them.

The book blurb has it wrong about this being the first case. In Oregon, Alberta Lucille Hart Alan Hart following surgery in 1917-18. Hart married two different women, and spent his life as a medical doctor and author, and pioneered X-ray diagnostic techniques for tuberculosis. Hormone treatments weren't available then, but Hart did them later.

Hart was possibly the first documented FTM history in the U.S., though several had already been recorded in Europe by then.

Kathy Padilla | May 31, 2010 2:12 PM

It depends on what one using as a metric. The surgeries of Hart & Elbe are different from those today. As they were from those going back to antiquity. The Hijra have been India for ages, the Sythians were noted on Herotodus etc.

Here's Suetonius on Nero:

XXVIII. Besides abusing freeborn boys and seducing married women, he debauched the vestal virgin Rubria. The freedwoman Acte he all but made his lawful wife, after bribing some ex-consuls to perjure themselves by swearing that she was of royal birth. He castrated the boy Sporus and actually tried to make a woman of him; and he married him with all the usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil, took him to his house attended by a great throng, and treated him as his wife. And the witty jest that someone made is still current, that it would have been well for the world if Nero s father Domitius had had that kind of wife. This Sporus, decked out with the finery of the empresses and riding in a litter, he took with him to the assizes and marts of Greece, and later at Rome through the Street of the Images, fondly kissing him from time to time.

Lily Elbe wasn't even the first 'MTF' SRS... that would be Magnus Hirschfeld's 'cleaning lady' Dorchen Richter, who had the surgery Elbe did a few years before. Evidently, she wasn't considered pretty or passable enough for public representation or PR purposes.

I spelled Grete's name incorrectly in my initial post.

Wow!! you guys have tons of info, I have got my research work cut out for me. Keep up the great comments.

Of course she's the "first"! Just like Thomas Beattie is the first trans man to get pregnant. It makes it so much easier to sell books if you don't check those pesky little facts.

Hey Alex, Thomas Beattie WAS the first pregnant trans guy in Bend, Oregon. Isn't that worth a book deal and a spot on Oprah?

The Houston TG Archive (inside the TG Center) has every edition of this book, including the original hardback edition. Additionally, the TG Center has one of Lili's paintings hanging over the fireplace. The TG Center has as a couple of pieces of Gerda's work on display too.

Speaking of historical trans artists, the TG archive just added an original Michel Marie Poulain painting to the collection.