I have several media items for Christine, which I shall present in chronological order.
First, I have a scan of an original photograph I purchased from December 1, 1952. The photograph shows Christine recuperating in Denmark after her partial-SRS (her SRS was not completed until more than a year later). There was an original telegram included with and taped to the rear of the photograph, which I’ve included below this picture. A link to the full-resolution huge scan is available here.
This is a photograph I found showing Christine Jorgensen out walking in a rainy Denmark with her best friend at the time, 1952.
This photograph is dated from December 11, 1952, and is accompanied by text on the reverse which states “Miss Christine Jorgensen, the young American woman who was converted from a man into a woman by Danish Doctors, is seem in this first picture at the press conference which she gave in a Copenhagen hotel today December 11th.” You can view a huge-sized version of the photograph by clicking this link, and see the reverse of the photograph at this link.
This is a scan of an original photograph which I purchased from December 22, 1952, showing Christine Jorgensen hiding in a car after going to the airport to meet her parents, who were flying to Copenhagen to meet their new daughter. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication her parents did not arrive until later. A link to the full-resolution huge scan is available here.
There are literally a hundred different photographs of Jorgensen’s arrival in the United States. Here are a few of them.
This is a nice prize: a Pathe archival film of the news of her arrival in New York, February 13, 1953.
Christine Jorgensen, Arrival at New York Idlewild Airport, February 13, 1953
When Jorgensen returned to the United States, she set out to establish legal documentation in all standard forms, showing that she was female and with a new name. This rare photograph I found of her, dated February 25, 1953, is captioned “Chris Hits the Road. Christine Jorgensen, the gal who used to be a guy, flashes confident grin as she take wheel for driving license test in Garden City. Motor vehicle inspector who tested Chris passed her after she had handled the car 20 minutes. He called her a good driver.”
Jorgensen’s story was introduced to most of the world via an autobiography which was published in the American Weekly magazine shortly after her news broke in December, 1952. This is a photograph of Jorgensen reading her own article in the Weekly, and according the caption on the reverse: “Preparing for a new life, in which publication of her color photographs will be the first task, Christine (nee George) Jorgensen reviews story[sic] of her life in American Weekly.” The date on the photograph is March 3, 1953, but there is reason to suspect it’s from later in the month. It’s an original archival photo which I own, and you can download a high-resolution scan of it at this link here.
Soon after she arrived, she was given a very prestigious award by the Scandinavian Societies of Greater New York, where she was made “Woman of the Year.”
The following photograph is labeled March 7, 1953, and has a caption on the reverse which reads in part:
Christine named “Woman of the Year” New York……….. Golden-haired Christine Jorgensen, the former GI transformed into a beautiful woman by Copenhagen (Denmark) surgeons and physicians, is shown this evening as she received the Scandinavian Societies of Greater New York “Woman of the Year” award from the Society’s chairman, Harry Berglind, at the 20th annual concert and ball. Attired attractively in a white evening gown with all the trimmings, Christine made her first public appearance as a woman tonight.
The following two photos link to very high-resolution versions of them if you click on the photos. I own these photos; please download and copy them as you please to help save our history.
Being a celebrity upon her arrival into the United States, Jorgensen was able to meet many famous and semi-famous personages for the first few years after her transition. The photograph below is from March 22, 1953, and shows her hobnobbing with comedian Milton Berle. Berle at the time was the host of NBC’s Texaco Star Theater. If you click on the photograph below, you can download a high-resolution scan of this original photograph.
This is a photograph of Christine relaxing with coffee at her parents home. The date on the photograph is March 30, 1953, but there is reason to suspect it’s from earlier in the month. It’s an original archival photo which I own, and you can download a high-resolution scan of it at this link here.
This next photograph is of Jorgensen at the Adelphi Theater in New York City, April 8, 1953. The captions I have note that she is wearing “a straw hat and an orchid corsage.”
Two portraits of Christine Jorgensen on a visit to the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research, spring 1953. According to the book “Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research,”
Kinsey remained calm, too, through a minor episode with Christine Jorgensen, whose Danish operation first brought sex change to the attention of the American public. Miss Jorgensen had visited the Institute in the spring of 1953, at Kinsey’s invitation, but because of the publicity that surrounded her every move in public, we had taken the utmost care to protect both her and us from the inevitable sensation the meeting would have provoked in some magazines and newspapers. We could easily anticipate the headlines: CHRISTINE MEETS KINSEY.
Miss Jorgensen came to Bloomington without any fanfare, stayed at Kinsey’s secretary’s apartment to avoid notice, visited the Institute and proved to be most cooperative. Just before she left, however, under circumstances which were never quite clear, she encountered some reporters in the lobby of the local hotel and talked with them briefly. Later, she asserted that she gave them a simple statement: “I have met Dr. Kinsey and admire his work immensely. I gave to him, just as thousands of other people have given to him, a case history for use in his very important research. If more people would cooperate with scientific research such as this the world would find better understanding of many complex problems.”
What emerged, at least in a few newspapers, was something quite different. Miss Jorgensen wrote Kinsey a penitent letter, admitting that she had made a mistake in giving the interview, but pleading her youth and and the difficulties of having fame thrust so suddenly upon her. She was deeply grateful to Kinsey for the help he had given her, declaring that she felt now that she could cope with her problems. She denied the “ridiculous statements” attributed to her.
Perhaps it was partly because he knew something about what it meant to achieve sudden fame that Kinsey wrote to “Dear Christine” cordially and politely, thanking her for her help and the spirit in which she had cooperated. He did not even mention the unfortunate interview.
Pomeroy, Wardell Baxter. Dr. Kinsey and the institute for sex research. Yale University Press, 1972.
In October of 1953 Christine visited Cuba, and the following three photographs that I own have Spanish writing on the reverse, stamps that indicate they were produced in Havana, and dates of October 10, 1953. There are no other captions or descriptions. If you click on each picture, you may download a very high-resolution version of each.
This photograph is a little bit of a mystery. It’s often reported as being from 1958, but the earliest time-stamp on the reverse of the photograph is “20 Jan 1954.” No description tells me the name of the gentleman standing behind her. You can click on the photo below (another original I own) to download a high-resolution scan.
A Very Special Photograph and a Very Special Collection
This photograph of Christine Jorgensen is one of my favorites, despite the poor condition of the photograph in the lower left-hand corner. I like this photograph because it’s autographed, she’s happy, and it’s not a press photograph or reprint – this is an actual private photograph she took with “Frank,” whom I have not been able to identify. The signature reads “To Frank – Thank you for letting me join your Harem. Christine.” Please click on the image below to see the high-resolution scan.
Approximately 7 months after I posted the photograph above, a gentleman named Richard Karras mailed me and told me that he had found a collection of previously unknown Christine Jorgensen photographs, featuring his father Ted Karras and the same “Frank” who is shown above. They were taken at Miami Beach, Florida, in or just before March, 1954. Much more information can be found by following this link to the Transas City Ted Karras Christine Jorgensen Collection.
Continuing with 1954…
These are two photographs of Jorgensen posing on the ship S.S. United States, August 7, 1954.
This is a scan of an original photograph which I purchased from October 26, 1954, showing a very lovely Christine Jorgensen posing on the deck of the ill-fated Andrea Doria, after a 2 month long visit to Europe. A link to the full-resolution huge scan is available here.
A portrait of Christine descending airplane steps, 1954.
Although my copy of this photograph is from the 1990’s, the original was from a trip to Rome in 1954. You can see the greatly zoomed-in scan here, although sadly it has Raquel Welch’s arm obscuring part of the photograph. It was a very cheap purchase; what can I say. Note that the article incorrectly states that she returned from Denmark in 1955 (it was 1953, of course).
Here we have a very rare photograph – I found this this one on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, in a photo gallery of scores of Las Vegas alumni. It was a very dramatic moment for me actually – I was going to a client reception hosted by my company as “out and proud” myself, when I exited the escalator and suddenly was face-to-face with this gorgeous photo print. I just stopped cold, and stared…and stared…I think it was nearly 5 minutes that I spent, just standing there looking into the past of my people. After the event, when I had had far too much to drink, apparently I spent some more time in front of the work, until hotel security asked me if I was alright, and helped me to a taxi.
The photo print is nearly 4 feet high, and has glorious detail, but sadly it is not very well-lit, and the photograph was spoiled by reflections from overhead lamps that I could not block out. I have a small version above, and a link to a much larger version right here. There was a small silver plaque to the right of the photo, which said in full “December 9, 1955. Entertainer Christine Jorgensen performs on stage at the Silver Slipper.” And note this very important bit – they only refer to her as an “entertainer,” not “transgender woman” or anything else. I think that is really very incredible in a mundane, normal way.
And then after I posted the photograph above, frequent reader Sabrina created a cleaned-up version using photo-editing skills, and you can download this version by clicking on the smaller photo below.
A portrait of Christine meeting Sonia Henie, Norwegian skating champion and film star, from the 1950’s.
According to the information I have, this photograph dates from May 9, 1959, and is captioned “Christine Jorgensen as she looks over her damaged auto that was involved in a 3 car accident at the above location. One person was injured.” The location is given as New York City. Her automobile is a 1957 Ford Country Sedan.
The following original photograph of mine is from about 1957-1962, so I’m placing it at this position in this article. It is autographed, and says “To Nat – so nice meeting you. Good luck with your newspaper – Christine Jorgensen.” There is no caption nor date on the reverse. I wish it was a better photograph (it’s not in great condition), but nonetheless I get a thrill of owning something that Christine herself touched.
This small photograph shows Christine Jorgensen sitting next to Roger Moore, and is only dated 1960.
Jorgensen never achieved the fame that she wanted, but unlike many transgender persons she never wanted for money. Throughout her career she attempted to break into the “big time” of Hollywood or Broadway, but typically performed in dinner theatres and nightclubs. This photograph is a rare press packet photo which I bought, and which has her long-time agent’s card on the reverse. You can see a high-resolution scan at this link, and her agent’s information at this link.
This is a wonderful photograph which I’ve never before seen on the web, so naturally I bid on it and bought it. It shows Christine Jorgensen on the beach in a white Chevrolet Impala convertible, having what looks to be a wonderful time. It’s dated August 17, 1960, and the writing on the rear of the photograph says: “Ex-GI Dazzles Male Audiences in Cabaret. CHRISTINE JORGENSEN TO BE A BRIDE. Evidence of success – Christine drives off to the beach.” Click on the photograph below to download a high-resolution version.
In the April, 1967 edition of Uncensored magazine, we find an article which purports how Christine Jorgensen is doing in life as a woman, and reports on Johns Hopkins Hospital starting sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and establishing their Gender Identity Clinic. The article features several photographs from Christine Jorgensen’s past, but mainly focuses on the recent history of SRS, with some interesting facts (which may be incorrect). There is a quote from Jorgensen at the end of the article, referencing the Johns Hopkins programs, where she says: “I am glad I lived to see it happen. The biggest problem I have encountered since my operation is disbelief. Some people refer to me as ‘it.’ This is a smart-alec approach to a serious medical problem. I have received thousands of letters from people who don’t know where to turn. Now at least some of these poor souls have a place to go.”
You may read and download the entire article, scanned in high-resolution, at this link here:
The following photograph was taken of Christine at her home in Hollywood, California, on December 12, 1969. I do not have a larger one at this time.
This photograph is either from late 1969 or early 1970, and shows Christine on the set during the filming of The Christine Jorgensen Story, meeting with actor John Hansen (who is portraying the “male” Jorgensen.)
This is an original archival photograph from the archives of the Chicago Sun. Taken in 1970, it is a reaction shot to Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew calling Senator Charles E. Goodell “the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican Party.” This occurred after Goodell bravely broke ranks with the Republican Party and the Nixon Administration to condemn the war in Vietnam.
I guess you could take this one way – to be brave and stand up for what you feel is right, despite the backlash of the establishment, is to be like Christine Jorgensen?
A link to the full-resolution huge scan is available here.
This photograph shows Christine Jorgensen at Heathrow Airport, on her way to London for the premiere of her autobiographical film. September 14, 1970.
This photograph is captioned: “September 14, 1970. Actress Christine Jorgensen, the first person to legally change gender from a man into a woman in the United States, arriving in London for the premiere of the film about her life story.”
This photograph is captioned: “September 14, 1970. Christine in London for the opening of the film The Christine Jorgensen Story.”
This photograph is captioned: “September 14, 1970. Christine at a press reception at the London Pavilion to launch the film The Christine Jorgensen Story.”
This photograph has no date I can find yet, but shows Christine at her home, seated in front of a portrait of her painted in the 1950’s.
A fashion portrait taken of Christine in 1975.
The following photograph shows Jorgensen at her home in Laguna Beach, California, and is dated November 30, 1977.
Click to download a higher resolution version.
This publicity photo shows Jorgensen with American actor and drag queen Divine (left). Christine is called an “American nightclub performer” in the caption. The event is given as the “first annual party of the Limelight disco in Atlanta, Georgia.”
A photograph of Christine Jorgensen in Hollywood, 1982.