Lili Elbe Digital Archive Launch Celebration

Lili Elbe Digital Archive Launch Celebration

Launch Symposium for the Lili Elbe Digital Archive

Loyola University, Information Commons, 4th Floor

Loyola University Chicago will host a scholarly symposium for the official launch of the Lili Elbe Digital Archive (, a digital scholarly edition and archive of the first full-length narrative of a subject to undergo what was then called genital transformation surgery in 1930. The archive is jointly produced and managed by Loyola’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities (CTSDH) and the University Libraries, with local and national participants described below. The symposium will be held at Loyola on February6 and 7, 2020 and will be hosted by CTSDH, the University Libraries, the Department of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, and the Departments of English and History, among others. They will take place at the Information Commons, 4th Floor. 

The unique Archive gathers the first four printings of the life narrative of Lili Elbe, one of the first persons to undergo a so-called surgical change in sex. It includes the German typescript, Lili Elbe Buch, with an English-language translation; the original Danish publication, Fra Mand til Kvinde (1931), with its first English-language translation; the German edition, Ein Mensch wechselt sein Geschlecht (1932); and, the British and American editions Man into Woman (1933). The Archive preserves and analyzes supplementary cultural materials from the early 20th century documenting this historical transgendered experience, providing access to the original texts and rare, previously unpublished materials written by and about Lili Elbe.  It is a companion to a print edition, Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition, to be published in Bloomsbury Academic Publishers’ Modernist Archive series (February 2020).

Symposium Schedule 
(All events take place at Loyola Information Commmons, 4th Floor, 6501 N Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60660)

Day 1 (Thursday, February 6, 2020  5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.):  The symposium begins with a screening of the “The Danish Girl” (2015) film, a fictionalized depiction of the life of Lili Elbe, followed by a panel discussion of the film and transgender representation in feature films.

David Ebershoff (New York, NY), a novelist, editor, and teacher best known for The Danish Girl (2000), a biofictional novel based on Lili Elbe’s life.

Sabine Meyer (Berlin), research consultant on “The Danish Girl” and a co-editor of Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition

Susan Stryker (Tucson, AZ), author of Transgender History and co-editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly

Day 2 (Friday, February 7, 2020 1 – 5:30 p.m.): a discussion of the challenges of editing Lili Elbe’s life and producing the Lili Elbe Digital Archive as a resource for scholars, students, and the public. 


Opening Panel: Editing Lili Elbe’s Life

Pamela L. Caughie (Loyola), a co-editor of Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition (Bloomsbury, 2020) and project director for the Lili Elbe Digital Archive, and Professor of English at Loyola;

Sabine Meyer (Berlin), a co-editor of Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition, author of the most definitive treatment on this narrative to date, “Wie Lili zu einem richtigen Mädchen wurde” (2015), and a postdoc at Humboldt University in Berlin;


Roundtable: Creating the Digital Archive

Emily Datskou (PhD candidate, English, Loyola), Project Manager of the Lili Elbe Digital Archive

Marianne Ølholm (Copenhagen) and Kristin Jacobsen (MA, History, Loyola), Danish translators for the Lili Elbe Digital Archive

Nikolaus Wasmoen (Buffalo) and Rebecca Parker (MA, Digital Humanities, Loyola 2019), digital editors of the Lili Elbe Digital Archive

Xiamara Hohman and Danielle Richards (PhD candidates, English, Loyola), senior technical editors.

Margaret Heller and Greer Martin (Digital Services and Metadata Technologies Librarians), website managers


Roundtable: Teaching and Learning with the Digital Archive

Rebecca Parker and Caroline McCraw, Graduate Teaching Assistants on the project, will moderate a discussion with members of the project team who have participated in the creation of the archive as Research Assistants, Provost Fellows, Engaged Learners, and student volunteers.  


Respondent:  Susan Stryker (Tucson, AZ), a leading scholar of transgender studies, will discuss the project and the day’s presentations in terms of the history of transgender. Professor Stryker is founder and co-editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke University Press), editor of the Transgender Studies Reader, author of Transgender History (2008, revised 2017), and Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, University of Arizona.


Reception to follow

Free and open to the public (RSVP to