Archive of Christine Jorgenson, First American Trans Woman to Receive Reassignment Surgery

Photo Archive

Archive of 3 silver gelatin press photos of Christine Jorgensen. 1953. Christine Jorgensen was the first American trans woman widely known for receiving sex reassignment surgery. In a letter to friends following her 1951 operation in Copenhagen, Jorgensen wrote, "Remember the shy, miserable person who left America? Well, that person is no more." Photos measure between 8 x 10 and 7 x 9 inches. One image shows Jorgensen just after surgery, beaming happily in fur coat with high collar, ears glittering with pearl-encrusted hoops, a bejeweled hairpiece visible behind her blonde, face-framing curls. Caption below reads "Here's a smiling closeup of Christine Jorgensen, smiling and smartly dressed, on arrival at Idlewild Airport from Denmark...'I'm happy to be home,' she said. 'What American woman wouldn't be?'" Though Jorgensen planned for a quiet life all her own, a large crowd of journalists met her at the airport and she became an instant celebrity. In another photo from 1953 she wears a black fur hat and leans toward her fiancee who grasps her hand, presenting her engagement ring to the camera. Caption reads "Christine was refused a license to wed because her birth certificate listed her as a male." The New York Times would later report Jorgensen's fiancee lost his job when it became known he was engaged to a transgender woman. Jorgensen's charm and wit won the hearts of the American public in spite of its prejudice, and she used that favor to advocate tirelessly on behalf of the transgender community, pleading for empathy from an American public more inclined to judgment than curiosity. A photo of Jorgensen in white satin off the shoulder evening gown, diamonds at her throat and hanging from her ears, large corsage pinned to her bust, shows her receiving a certificate from Scandinavian Societies of Greater New York for "The Woman of the Year-1953." Photo versos bear press stamps and various hand marked press notes. Some wear to the edges of several photos, images unaffected. Very good condition.

Item #18132

Price: $450.00