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28 January 2011

Edith Ferguson (188? - 196?) female impersonator, instructor.

++Revised March 2013 to correct who was behind the 1952 Transvestia.

Edith Ferguson (or Enid Foreman) was a female impersonator, and perhaps also a lawyer, in southern California, who retired in the early 1950s.

Edith advertised in Billboard and Variety magazine offering ‘personalized instruction’ in female impersonation. For a fee of a few hundred dollars she sent 50 or more mimeographed lectures on how to do makeup, how to wear clothes, how to sound and appear like a woman.

Edith, Muriel (later known as Virginia Prince) and other transvestites started meeting at the Long Beach home of Joan Thornton.  In 1952, they started a mimegraphed newsletter which they called Transvestia.  The initial subscription list was built around Louise Lawrence’s address book, and the subscription list for Edith’s instruction course.  However when Prince restarted Transvestia in 1960, Edith and Joan were no longer involved.

She spoke out against transsexual surgery, but hoped that the Christine Jorgensen publicity might ‘redound to the benefit of transvestites in general’.
  • Darrell Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966. New York: Lancer Books, 1968: 105-6.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press, 2002: 180-1.
    A few hundred dollars in the early 1950s would be a few thousands now.

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