Antedating of "Transvestite"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 5 15:55:14 UTC 2014

John Baker:
> The book in question would be Hirschfeld's 1910 work, Die Transvestiten,
> later translated from German into English as Transvestites:  The Erotic
> Drive to Cross-Dress. This or another reference to Hirschfeld's
> work presumably is the earliest use of "transvestite" in English.

Two weeks ago when I searched for this term I found a citation that
initially appeared promising. However, closer examination revealed
that the citation did not yield an antedating (I think). Perhaps this
post will save some time for other researchers.

In 1910 a meeting of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society was held, and a
copy of the minutes is available in HathiTrust. On December 7, 1910
the word "Transvestites" was spoken by Otto Rank according to the
minutes. Here is the data for the cite. But there is a wrinkle
discussed further below:

Title: Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.
Organization: Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung.
Volume: 03
Year: 1910 and 1911
Quote: Page 85
Database: Hathitrust

The excerpt below is on a page recording minutes dated December 7, 1910

[Begin excerpt]
RANK, in reviewing Hirschfeld's Transvestites, [6] arrives at the same
feeling of dissatisfaction that Stekel has already expressed in the

[6] Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, Die Transvestiten. Eine Untersuchung ├╝ber
den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb), Berlin 1910.
[End excerpt]

The front material of the volume indicated that the text was a
translation created by M. Nunberg with a copyright date of 1974. Otto
Rank published papers in German and was probably speaking German at
the conference.

Of course, nowadays many international scientific conferences publish
proceedings in English. But in this case the English translation was
only created years later, apparently.

So this citation does not provide any early evidence of the migration
of the German "Transvestiten" into English. Apologies to list readers
who consider this example and its analysis obvious.


(Earlier message continued below)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Shapiro, Fred
> Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2013 10:18 PM
> Subject: Antedating of "Transvestite"
> transvestite (OED 1922)
> 1911 _Current Literature_ Nov. 550 (JSTOR)  There are some who ... point to the degeneracy of Rome under Heliogabalus, an emperor who preferred to wear the habiliments of the opposite sex.  Recently Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, the psychopathic authority, devoted an entire book to the question of persons similarly inclined, whom he calls "transvestites."
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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