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02 June 2008

William Alexander Hammond (1828 – 1900) doctor; Lida (?1857 - 81) cigar retailer.

William Hammond was raised in Pennsylvania, and took an MD from the University of the City of New York in 1848. The next year he became a surgeon in the US Army until 1860 when he accepted the chair of anatomy and physiology at the University of Maryland. In 1857 he won a medical prize for an essay on Albumen used as a food.

He rejoined the Union Army in the US Civil War and rose to be Surgeon General. After the army, he moved to New York, and became professor of nervous and mental diseases at Bellevue Medical College in 1867. In 1874 he founded the American Neurological Association.

In his book, Sexual Impotence in the Male, 1883, Dr Hammond tells us of one his patients who used the name Lida when in the female role. He had at the age of seven discovered the pleasure of anal stimulation, and at boarding school he was pleased to act the 'rôle of the passive' with various boys, frequently half a dozen times a night. When he left school at the age of 15, his 'health [was] shattered, his nervous system irritable, with almost constant headaches' and various anal problems. The patient took work as a cigar dealer, and took as a lover a young man in the liquor trade. Lida would array herself in pretty attire as she waited for her lover to return home. After three years this affair was abruptly ended when the liquor dealer had to flee from police inquiring into a gambling operation with which he was engaged. Lida looked for a new lover, but found it difficult to state her preferences given the legal persecution of the time. She did however find an older man of about fifty who was very 'salacious' and would have relations with her three or four times a day. Lida developed an anal fissure and began to suffer epileptic fits during intercourse. She went to see Dr Hammond, who prescribed bromides (sedatives). The doctor was 'not prepared for the horrible instance of depravity' which he elicited from the patient. Hammond was amazed that the patient had had intercourse over ten thousand times, and had repeatedly been tempted to have her genitals amputated. Hammond reports that the young 'man' died in trouble in Cuba where 'he had gone for his health'.

In 1882 Hammond delivered a paper to the American Neurological Association on the ‘disease’ that makes men think that they are women, giving examples from Native American tribes.

Hammond suggested that homosexual patients be "cauterized (at) the nape of the neck and the lower dorsal and lumbar regions" every 10 days.
  • William A. Hammond. Sexual Impotence in the Male. New York: Bermingham 1883. Expanded edition: Sexual Impotence in the Male and Female. Detroit: George S. Davis 1887; reprinted New York: Arno Press. 1974: 55-70.
  • “William Alexander Hammond”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1983, Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1994: 185-6.

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