Welcome to the Lili Elbe Digital Archive

The Lili Elbe Digital Archive went public on July 6, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft) where Lili Elbe as Einar Wegener was initially examined in March 1930. We celebrated its official launch on February 7, 2020 to coincide with the publication of Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition, edited by Pamela L. Caughie and Sabine Meyer (Bloomsbury Academic).

Lili Elbe’s life narrative, documented here, is a significant though often misunderstood work in the history of gender variance. This digital edition and archive attempt to correct some misconceptions and to enable thorough study of this narrative, the first popular and well-documented narrative of genital transformation surgery (Genitalumwandlung).

The digital archive hosts the German typescript and all four editions of this narrative published in Danish, German, and English between 1931 and 1933, plus the first complete English translations of the Danish edition and the German typescript. All versions may be accessed and compared through Narrative.

Context provides archival and contextual materials, including letters by Lili Elbe and the editor, Ernst Harthern, from archives in Denmark and Sweden. Commentary provides contemporary resources as well as our editorial principles and encoding guidelines.

You are invited to use any materials on the site but we ask that you please cite us (see How to Cite Us).