Bell, Alan P(aul) 1932-2002

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BELL, Alan P(aul) 1932-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 18, 1932, in Newark, NJ; died of a stroke May 13, 2002, in Bloomington, IN. Psychologist, minister, educator, and author. Bell was responsible for groundbreaking research in the study of homosexuals, holding that homosexuality was the result of biology rather than improper socialization. Bell's education was diverse; he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of the South in 1952, a master's degree in divinity from General Theological Seminary in 1955, and a Ph.D. in counseling from Columbia University in 1967. During the late 1950s, he was an Episcopal minister and cofounded a parish in Denville, New Jersey. His interest in counseling people, however, led to his study of psychology; and his interest in problematic sexual habits came when he helped counsel a sex offender at the Veterans Administration hospital in New York. This resulted in his first book, written with Calvin S. Hall, titled The Personality of a Child Molester: An Analysis of Dreams (1971). After receiving his doctorate, Bell taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, becoming a professor of education in 1974. He also became a senior research psychologist at the Kinsey Institute, where he was vice president for twelve years. While at the institute Bell became involved in a study of homosexual men living in San Francisco, with the goal of discovering the root cause of homosexuality. Contrary to popular belief at the time, Bell concluded that homosexuality was not the result of how someone is raised but, rather, it was caused by a biological predisposition for this behavior. Written with Martin S. Weinberg, Bell's 1978 work Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity among Men and Women contains the conclusions to this study. It was followed by two other books on the subject: Sexual Preference: The Development in Men and Women (1981), written with Weinberg and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith, and The Mind and Heart in Human Sexual Behavior: Owning and Sharing Our PersonalTruths (1997). Although Bell's ideas about homosexuality were initially quite controversial, over time they gained wide acceptance within the scientific community.



Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2002, p. B21.

New York Times, May 24, 2002, p. C11.

Washington Post, May 28, 2002, p. B6.