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15 August 2023

Patient of Austin Flint (1874 - ?) ladies' maid

This article is superceded.  The person is most often referred to as Stella Angel, and a more detailed account is now available.  Stella Angel (1870 - ?) tailoress


While this person is commented on in medical and academic literature, we have no name for her, neither her name for herself nor a pseudonym assigned by a doctor. 

While still a teenager, she had obtained a position with a family in Boston as a ladies’ maid, where she attended the mistress in her bath. She slept in a common bed with the other young female servants as was the custom at the time. Her non-standard body was not discovered. 

In 1895 she was in New York, and when in Central Park was read, and arrested for 'masquerading'. She was sent to Bellevue hospital and placed in what would later be called the Psychopathic Ward, where she was compelled to wear masculine clothes. Austin Flint, the noted Professor Emeritus of Physiology visited Bellevue and examined her. He found a scanty beard, the manner of “a silly girl”, a feminine voice and a good singing voice. He noted her disinterest in sex with either men or women. Flint returned the next day intending to make a laryngoscopic examination, but found that she had been discharged and sent to her home “in the West”.

  • Austin Flint. “A Case of Sexual Inversion, Probably with Complete Sexual Anaesthesia,” New York Medical Journal, 94, 23, December 2, 1911: 1111.
  • Edward Podolsky. “Transvestism” in Encyclopedia Of Aberrations - A Psychiatric Handbook. Philosophical Library, 1953: 531. Revised as “Introduction” to Transvestism Today: The Phenomena of Men Who Dress as Women. Epic Publishing Co Ltd, 1960: 12.
  • George Chauncy. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, , and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Basic Books, 1994: 98.
  • Leila J Rupp. A desired past : a short history of same-sex love in America. The University of Chicago Press, 1999: 82-4.

It is not clear why Rupp in a "history of same-sex love" included an asexual trans woman.  Of course as a temporarily incarcerated person who knew that "homosexuality" was then illegal, she might have edited her answers to Flint's questions, but Rupp does not discuss that.


  1. I haven't resd his book yet but Bellevue 1895 might be hugh Ryan's scope

    1. Bellevue was/is in Manhattan not Brooklyn. Ryan has one anecdote of a Brooklyn lesbian who ended up in Bellevue - that is all.

  2. This is Stella Angel. My grandfather had an inmate record of one of her arrests in Boston where she used the male alias "Reginald Culton". My cousin and I began researching to try to place her in our family tree. She was from rural Nova Scotia. I can send the google drive I have complied with newsarticles of her fight in court for the right to wear dresses. I was able to place her in a family tree, her birth name was Thomas Cullen born March 11th, 1874

    1. Yes, I would certainly be interested. Thank you.


Comments that constitute non-relevant advertisements will be declined, as will those attempting to be rude. Comments from 'unknown' and anonymous will also be declined. Repeat: Comments from "unknown" will be declined, as will anonymous comments. If you don't have a Google id, I suggest that you type in a name or a pseudonym.