Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Louis Graydon Sullivan Papers, 1755-1991 (bulk 1961-1991)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (152.70 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Sullivan's papers include photographs as well as extensive diaries, short stories, poems, essays, and correspondence that fully document--at an extraordinarily intimate level--his transition from heterosexual female to gay man during the period 1961-1991. These writings and the records of his other activities between 1973 and 1991 are invaluable foundational documents for any history of the FTM community, and are important primary sources for any study of transsexuality, but particularly of homosexually identified transsexuals. The collection includes versions of all of his published works, including notes, drafts, and related correspondence. The collection also includes research files on gender, transsexuality, cross-dressing, and sex-reassignment techniques. Sullivan compiled extensive clippings files from newspapers and magazines during the 1970s and 1980s, which are roughly organized by subject matter and date. He also collected photostatic copies of rare and obscure historical accounts of transgender practices, as well as scientific and academic works on transvestism, transsexuality, and gender dysphoria, dating from the 1950s through 1989. Some of this material was indexed by Sullivan in a card file. The research files also contain print-outs of exhaustive on-line bibliographic database subject searches on transgender-related topics through 1986. This portion of the collection also contains other miscellaneous material gathered by Sullivan that would be of interest to archival users concerned primarily with transgender history.
Louis Graydon Sullivan, a female-to-male transsexual gay man, was born Sheila Jean Sullivan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 16, 1951, the daughter of John Eugene Sullivan, who owned a small hauling and moving company, and Nancy Louise Sullivan, a homemaker and sales clerk in a stationary store. Sullivan was the third child of six: Kathleen Marie (1948), John Eugene, Jr. (1949), Bridgit Therese (1953), Maryellen (1955), and Patrick Rory (1957). Sullivan grew up in an emotionally close-knit Catholic family in suburban Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in modest economic circumstances. Extremely religious as a child, Sullivan attended Catholic primary and secondary schools, where he compiled an above-average academic record. Following high school graduation in 1970, Sullivan began working as a secretary in the Slavic Languages Department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the GLBT Historical Society.
Collection is open for research.