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20 October 2008

Alan Lucill Hart (1890 - 1962) doctor, roentgenologist, novelist.

Alberta Lucille Hart was raised in rural Oregon by her mother and by a step-father that she did not much like. From an early age she expressed desires for male clothing and considered herself as the man of the family (her father being dead). She also developed an aversion for female chores such as cooking and sowing. As a teenager she developed crushes on the family's maid and on female teachers at school. She was an outstanding student and was prominent in the debating society.

At eighteen she went to a local college and started an affair with Eva Cushman, a fellow student. Alberta provided the money for Eva, who otherwise could not afford it, to go with her to Albany College, Oregon (now Lewis and Clarke College). Alberta took up smoking, drinking and attending fast cafés, and had affairs with women. She spent the summer vacations working as a commercial photographer in the mountains dressed as a man. All this strained the relationship with the conventional Eva.

The high living left Alberta in some debt and only with the financial assistance of one of her other lovers that she was able to go to medical school. The only woman in her class, Alberta graduated from the University of Oregon Medical Department in Oregon (now the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine) in 1917 with the highest honors in her class.

Also in 1917 she consulted a physician-psychiatrist, Dr J. Allen Gilbert of Portland, Oregon about her phobia of loud noises which may have been caused by her hated stepfathers use of a pop-gun. Dr Gilbert established that her real problem was connected with her sex. He had initially tried hypnosis to get her to accept a conventional female role, but she had refused to continue in that. In February 1918, using the name Robert Allen Bamford, Jr. Hart married Inez Stark in California. She requested a hysterectomy from Dr Gilbert, and the operation was done late in 1918. This is a remarkably early cooperation of a doctor to supply as much of a sex change operation as then technically feasible. Dr Gilbert published an account of his patient, referred to as 'H' in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 1920.

Alan Hart, M.D. applied for and obtained a hospital appointment. He made good in this position until a chance encounter with a former colleague led to him being hounded out of the job. Inez Stark left him in 1923, and they were divorced in 1925.

Later that year he married Edna Ruddick, a school teacher who became a social worker and administrator. Dr Hart was able to obtain a positions in Montana, New Mexico, Illinois, Washington State and Idaho. He specialized in roentgenology, X-rays. He did a Masters degree in radiology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1930, and a Masters degree in public health from Yale in 1948. In 1938 he became Tuberculosis Consultant to the Idaho State Department of Public Health, and in 1943 served with a army induction center reading chest X-rays. Also in 1943 he published These Mysterious Rays, a popular account of X-rays and radiation treatment. From 1946 he was head of the X-ray programs in Connecticut.

Alan Hart was also a novelist. In 1935 saw his first novel Doctor Mallory, a tale of a doctor fighting poverty and ignorance in a Oregon fishing village. In 1936 he published The Undaunted, about a doctor who is hounded from place to place because of his homosexuality. This drew upon Hart's own experiences and the doctor was portrayed as an X-ray technician. He followed this in 1937 with In the Lives of Men about life and oppression in a lumber town. His last published novel was Dr Finlay Sees It Through about a struggle for health insurance. The reviewer for Saturday Review wrote of In the Lives of Men: “...for a doctor, he seems to know surprisingly little of women. His portraits of them are little more than profile sketches. Those he approves are colorless and negative, the others incredibly cold and selfish."

Alan died of heart disease at the age of 72. His will specified that he be cremated and that ‘no memorial be erected or created’. Edna lived another 20 years. They left a trust to the Oregon Health Sciences Foundation for research grants in the field of leukemia.

Jonathan Katz in his Gay American History, 1972, wrote of Hart’s hysterectomy as an example of unneeded medical mutilation forced on a lesbian. Gay/lesbian historians were unable to interview Edna in that they persistently alienated her by thinking of her husband and thus herself as lesbians. More recently Katz has said that he would not use the same language today.

In 1984, The Right to Privacy Political Action Committee in Oregon established an annual “Lucille Hart Dinner”. This event was attended by Portland’s liberal elite, gay and straight both, and regularly raised more than $100,000 for charities. This of course in defiance of his chosen name, gender and the wishes in his will.

This continued until Kay Brown with the aid of the Portland branch of the Lesbian Avengers organized protests in 1995 to get the event renamed. As Right to Privacy renamed itself to Right to Pride, the event was renamed the “Right to Pride Dinner”. Right to Pride dissolved in 1999, but the dinner was taken over by Basic Rights Oregon, which called it the “Hart Dinner”, but they still could not let go of the female pronouns.

*Not the Controller of BBC1, nor the BBC writer on the Middle East.

Alan Hart's publications:
Doctor Mallory, 1935
The Undaunted, 1936
In the Lives of Men, 1937
Dr Finlay Sees It Through, 1942
These Mysterious Rays, 1943

  • Joshua Allen Gilbert. “Homosexuality and its Treatment”. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 52, 4. Oct 1920: 297-322. Identified the patient only as ‘H’. The article is a mix of the patient’s and the doctor’s writing. In line with the practice of the time, the patient’s condition is labeled ‘homosexuality’.
  • Jonathan Ned Katz. “1918-20: Dr J. Allen Gilbert; ‘Homosexuality and Its Treatment’ “. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A., Thomas Y. Crowell Co. 1976, revised edition 1992: 390-422. Credited as the first researcher to realize that Gilbert’s ‘H’=Alan Hart, but much criticized for declaring that Hart was a lesbian.
  • Jonathan Ned Katz. “1936, April 12: Dr. Alberta Lucille/Alan Hart: The Undaunted”. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1983, Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1994: 516-22.
  • Bair Henry, "Lucille Hart Story" and Brian Booth "Alan Hart: A Literary Footnote" in Right to Privacy Ninth Annual Lucille Hart Dinner Booklet. October 6, 1990.
  • Gerard Koskovich, "Private Lives, Public Struggles", Stanford, Vol. 21, No. 2. June 1993.
  • Janet Miller and Judith Schwartz, "Lesbian Physicians Sideshow", created for American Association of Physicians for Human Rights Conference, Portland, Oregon. August 19, 1993.
  • Thomas M. Lauderdale and Tom Cook, "The Incredible Life and Loves of the Legendary Lucille Hart", Alternative Connection Vol. 2, Nos. 12 and 13. September and October 1993.
  • Tom Bates, "Decades ago, an Oregon Doctor Tried to Define Gender"" The Oregonian. July 14, 1996.
  • Ken Morris and Kay Brown. “The Alan Lucill Hart Story”. Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History. 1998-2000. Not currently available.
  • Kay Brown. “Stolen History – Secret Lives”. Transsexual, Transgender, and Intersex History. 1998-2000. Not currently available.
  • Brian Booth. “Alberta Lucille Hart / Dr. Alan L. Hart: An Oregon ‘Pioneer’”. Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. 2000.
  • Margaret Deidre O’Hartigan. “Alan Hart” in Dean Kotula. The Phallus Palace: Female to Male Transsexuals. Alyson Books 253 pp 2002: 157-166.

There is no mention of a mastectomy. It was probably done by a doctor other than Dr Gilbert and therefore is not mentioned in his writeup. Of course male hormones were not available in 1917. However Hart was a doctor, and one presumes that he would probably self prescribe in later decades.

Surely Alan Hart is a candidate for a full-length biography.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ziagra,

Have done more research and added more about him to the Wikipedia page, but here the key data that I found that also the first of two answers to your last two questions... The Operation...

Hart attended Albany College (now Lewis & Clark College) and Stanford University. (S)he graduated from Albany College in 1912, and in 1917 obtained a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Oregon Medical Department in Portland (now Oregon Health & Science University). He was deeply unhappy that it was issued in his female name, making his ability to use it in any future life where they may seek confirmation of its authenticity virtually useless. So he had to start again and work his way up, first in a hospital, then as a country doctor. Despite that since he was the only "woman" in the class and took top academic honors, he could claim the female name was a clerical error "Alberta L. Hart" instead of "Albert L. Hart" and hope it would be believed. College records show that at least one of the senior staff was sympathetic to his plight, as his Index card entry recording his graduation calls him "Hart, Lucille (aka Robert L.), M.D." but anyone (such as a new employer) checking up on him would have to ask for the proof of graduation citing the female name "Hart, Lucille" or be (wrongly) told "no record could be found!"

From the graduation details for "Hart, Lucille (aka Robert L.), M.D." Oregon Health & Science University Historical Collections & Archives BIOGRAPHICAL FILES in Box 27 of the Licenses, Degrees, and Certificates Collection

After graduation he worked for a short while (as a woman) at a Red Cross hospital in Philadelphia, but the prospect of being a woman for the rest of his life nearly drove him to suicide and despair.

Upon reaching mature, educated adulthood, he took steps, including seeking psychiatric counseling and radical surgery - as transsexual-people do today - to be able to live his life as a man. Dr. Joshua Gilbert, who assisted Hart with his transition, published Hart's case in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders in 1920, but kept his patient's identity a secret, referring instead to "H".

Psychiatry was a relatively new science, and Hart's was the second "known" FTM case recorded in the 20th century medical literature, (a similar Female to Male Transsexual case with surgical intervention after 1906 psychological evaluation had occurred in Germany in 1910 in the Dresden Woman's Health Clinic.

Magnus Hirschfeld - drei Fälle irrtümlicher Geschlechtsbestimmung - 1906

Before that Hirschfeld had also treated a female bodied hermaphrodite Martha Baer (Born May 20. 1885), who became Karl Baer (Pseudonym N.O. Body (nobody) of the 1907 book and 1919 made silent film) by the surgical removal of the Womb in December 1906

See Memoirs of a Man's Maiden Years under this link...

In 1906 new ground was broke when he (Magnus Hirschfeld) made an alliance of three different competences, Hirschfeld (Covering Psychoanalysis and Medical Diagnosis) working together with the Interior Minister, (Legal Issues such as correcting Birth Certificates and issuing new Identity Documents) and Surgeons (Ethical and Procedural) to lay down rules to perform the alteration of an otherwise healthy female body and today still used basic rules for diagnosis, real life test, carry letter's or support for new Identity documents (and was taken up by Harry Benjamin after Hirschfeld and Benjamin met in Berlin in 1907).

In January 1907 the German court ordered the correction of a female name and sex to a new male name and sex based on a Hysterectomy performed in December 1906 on Karl Baer (1885 - 1952)

for the write up in German and a copy of the certified copy of the registry change that allowed him (Karl Baer) to get his new Birth Certificate

It is likely that Hart had heard or read of the German cases and as a doctor close to qualifying, used it to get that what he needed based on this new logical approach. Then Hart's medical knowledge was certainly enough that he could have simulated normal female reasons for getting a hysterectomy, but he chose to follow the honest path shown by Magnus Hirschfeld in that earlier case. If he could show a medical diagnosis and proof of some dreadful mistake in his body at birth, could now be corrected, he could legally become a man, and that documented proof was very important to him, then he wanted to succeed as a man and also to marry as one.

Alan Hart had his sex change Surgery in the University of Oregon Medical School in 1917 who in their library records proudly boast "One of the earliest recorded instances of a sex change operation in America was actually performed here at the University of Oregon Medical School."

from a September 1993 published two-part series in "the Alternative Connection" OHSU newspaper.

...and explains "Gilbert was leery of such a radical surgery, and Hart supplied the reasons to convince him: relief of painful menstruation and the argument from eugenics (a person with "abnormal inversion" should be sterilized).

Gilbert finally agreed; the surgery was performed; and Alan Lucille Hart is listed as an alum in the 1951 Alumni Directory." & OHSU/University of Oregon Medical School historic Records
...and cross-citing their copy of the book of How sex changed : a history of transsexuality in the United States / Joanne Meyerowitz.)

The Fertility Clinic of the OHSU Wrote in September 2006 under the title "Early controversy" the following "Controversy over fertility treatments and their by-products is a feature of contemporary society; certainly, the OHSU Fertility Clinic has been much in the local news of late. Medical topics in reproductive health and sexuality are often touchy subjects, and few treatments are as emotionally and culturally charged as sex change operations. One of the earliest recorded instances of a sex change operation in America was actually performed here at the University of Oregon Medical School."

OHSU Fertility Clinic News (September 2006) in the University of Oregon Medical School Library

Dr. Joshua Gilbert published Alan's case in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders in 1920. Alan, born as Alberta Lucille Hart, described identifying as a boy from earliest memory. Dr. Gilbert wrote, "...from a sociological and psychological standpoint she is a man." He transitioned in 1917 after graduating from medical school in Portland, Oregon. He had his surgery in December 1917 to January 1918 (during his Christmas vacation) and changed his name. Soon after, (in February 1918) he, now as a man, married his first wife Inez Stark (who he divorced in 1924) moving with her to Gardiner Oregon, started his own medical practice.

Hart was whenever he was allowed (such as on his Grandfather's farm) a tomboy and called himself and expected and wanted others around him to call him Robert Allen, from "Robert Allen Bamford, Jr." the name he had given himself (Bamford stemming from his Mother's maiden name).

He was at first a reluctant student, not wishing to be thrown into dresses and carry a hairstyle befitting a Victorian young lady to go to school. Like many transsexual children, he threw himself into the work to keep his brain distracted from daydreams about being a man and succeeded. His academic achievements were so good, that he soon graduated and was able to enter as one of the first ladies ever, medical school.

During medical school he learned biology and how his ovaries would create not only monthly periods but also secondary sexual characteristics such as child-bearing hip development and breast growth.

Most Transmen loath this concept and do all they can to delay it or suppress it.

While there is not any written evidence that Hart experimented with medication used at the time to delay puberty (early promiscuity and too early sexual attractiveness in a young aged female) he certainly knew of such things and also determined himself to be rid of his Ovaries as soon as possible.

He had requested to Graduate as a man, but this was turned down, despite asking for mail from home to be addressed to him via a C/O address as Master Robert Hart, as he was legally female, and thus only able to finish medical school with a female diploma, making his finding work later (particularly in the beginning) difficult. It also resulted in his being outed at times by jealous colleagues digging up dirt on him. The Records of the Library for the year he graduated show however he was openly living as a man at that time, Naming him as "Hart, Lucille (aka Robert L.), M.D."

From the Card index original graduation details for "Hart, Lucille (aka Robert L.), M.D." Oregon Health & Science University Historical Collections & Archives BIOGRAPHICAL FILES in Box 27 of the Licenses, Degrees, and Certificates Collection



Anonymous said...

Hi Ziagra,

This is not on the Wikipedia page, but is the second of two answers to your last two questions... The Availability of Hormones...

Male Hormones were already being extracted and condensed in 1907 by one of the Staff at the Berlin Scientific Humanitarian Committee that Hirschfeld founded in 1897, from Urin collected for experimental purposes from all the soldiers of all the barracks around Berlin.

They condensed results were tested and found to help men with low own testosterone levels or to Help finalise the much needed growth of beards for men who had been castrated by accident or during war, etc., while still young.

I am sure Hirschfeld did experiments with Transmen and what he called female born "determined Transvestites" (transsexuals before he coined the word in 1926) to see if they too would grow facial hair and deepend voice, then one of his studies in the other direction was to see why some women suffered from male pattern baldness or excessive facial hair.

However these were not very safe hormones, then the strengths varied and they were rife with Sexual and other sicknesses.

After WW1 the experiments continued and 1922 the first synthesized male hormones were produced and tested. By 1930 the Insitute made a lot of money selling "Titus Pearls"

These Synthetic male Hormones were off the market by 1933 due to the Nazis dislike of anything to do with Hirsfeld or Sex, and only after WW2 did production restart, and that was the time Hart first got them.

The isolation of female hormones (from females and later from pregnant Horses Urine) took place in the 1920s and synthetic ones also appeared in Germany just after the end of WW2.