Publisher Information: 1870-71.
Taylor, Alfred Swaine (1806-80). Autograph medical report relating to the notorious Boulton and Park sodomy trial in Victorian London. 2 pages on one sheet. N.p., n.d. [London, 1870 or 1871]. 319 x 202pp. 2 lacunae along folds, affecting a few words, otherwise very good.
Remarkable document in the hand of Alfred Swaine Taylor, founder of forensic toxicology and the leading medical jurist of his day, detailing his detailed medical examination of Thomas Ernest Boulton (1847-1904) and Frederick William Park (1846-81), two cross-dressers and suspected homosexuals who had been arrested in the spring of 1870 for conspiring and inciting others to commit “unnatural offenses.” Boulton and Park, who went by the nicknames “Stella” and “Fanny,” were well known in London both as drag performers and as habitués of the West End, where they would attend theaters and other public events in both male and female dress. After their arrest, Taylor was asked by the court to determine whether there was sufficient physical evidence to convict the two men of sodomy, a crime punishable by life imprisonment.
Taylor’s report begins with a list of physical characteristics supposedly associated with male homosexuality—including “funnel shaped deformation of anus,” “relaxation of sphincter,” “obliteration of [anal] folds” and “dilatation of anal orifice”— taken from Ambroise Tardieu’s Étude medico-légale sur les attentats aux moeurs (1857), one of the most influential and widely read 19th-century treatises on the subject of sexual “deviancy.” It continues with Taylor’s detailed observations of the characteristics exhibited by the two defendants, beginning with Park. Taylor noted Park’s
"funnel shaped deformation not strongly but still tolerably marked; obliteration of folds on left side almost complete . . . a mark at back of anus, a vein partly surrounded by horse-shoe shaped white mark which may or may not have been scar of superficial sore . . . the two first are described by Tardieu & Casper [Johann Ludwig Casper, another writer on homosexuality] as signs of s_d__y. The man contracted nates [buttocks] very strongly during examn which Tardieu mentions as trick common to guilty persons endeavouring to conceal traces."
Boulton’s examination revealed
"Excavations behind anus such as is common in children who itch . . . Folds of anus if [anything] more marked than usual . . . On dragging surrounding parts so as to expose mucous membrane five condylomata [anal warts] from size of mustard seed to that of hemp seed . . . In passing my finger found peculiar condition it did not come into the free cavity of rectum but passed first an outer constriction (part of sphincter) & then lay up to second joint in a tube more or less tight to the finger . . . These appearances not conclusive but according to Tardieu & others suspicious at least."
Taylor illustrated his report with outline sketches of “funnel shaped deformation” compared to the “natural state” of the anus and buttocks. After completing his examination, Taylor concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence present to convict Boulton and Park of sodomy. Other experts agreed, and when the case came to trial in May 1871 the prosecution failed to prove its argument against the two men. Boulton and Park were acquitted after a jury deliberation of only 53 minutes. Barrell, Fatal Evidence: Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor & the Dawn of Forensic Science, pp. 188-189. “Ernest Boulton (1849-?) and Frederick William Park (1848-1881) Performers.” A Gender Variance Who’s Who, 20 July 2008. Accessed 7 January 2019.
Book Id: 44785