Dr. Paul Gebhard dies at 98

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Photo by Bill Dellenback Kinsey Institute

I know how difficult cultural matters related to sexuality are in 2015.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Dr. Gebhard and the rest of the famed Kinsey team 65 years ago.  In the 2004 movie titled Kinsey, Dr. Gebhard was played by Timothy Hutton while Dr. Kinsey was played by Liam Neeson.  The invaluable research they did changed our understanding of human sexuality in America forever.
It was announced today by the Kinsey Institute that Dr. Paul Gebhard passed away.  He was 98 so hardly shocking, but none-the-less, it was sad.  The loss of Dr. Gebhard prompted me to pull up a paper I wrote in graduate school about the research conducted by Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin & Gebhard in 1953.
“The project was a mammoth undertaking and a major accomplishment for the time. All of the data were gathered through personal interviews conducted by Kinsey and five interviewers, whom Kinsey personally trained for approximately one year. Altogether, the Kinsey team spent nine years traveling throughout the country to gather data. Each interview was conducted based on the explicit promise of complete and permanent anonymity. To keep the records secret, Kinsey developed a cryptic coding system that each interviewer committed to memory. To this day, most scholars believe that there is no written record for translating the coding system. At the time of this review, Paul Gebhard[1] is the only living co-author of the volumes, and he is likely the only person who knows how to translate the codes.
The interviewer recorded each interview by hand, using the coding system on a single sheet of paper.[2] In most cases, after an interview was finished, the interviewer personally handled the data, “. . . including the punching of the Hollerith cards and their manipulation in the IBM statistical machines” (Male, p. 45). The research attempted to accurately record the responses of a statistically broad sampling of people from all walks of life and included histories from every state in the nation.
[1] Paul Gebhard was an author of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), but he was not an author of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948).
[2] Today, each fragile sheet is maintained at the Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.
Dr. Gebhard will be dearly missed.  Thank you for all you did!