Reed Erickson was an American mechanical engineer, businessman, philanthropist, and trans man, born in El Paso, Texas, on October 13, 1917. Erickson was a mechanical engineer graduate of Louisiana State University, who worked in the family smelting business, and established his own manufacturing business. In 1963 he began a gender transition and underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1965. Through his successful businesses and investments Erickson amassed a large personal fortune, which he used to establish the Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF), a non-profit philanthropic organization funded and controlled entirely by Erickson. EEF's goals were "to provide assistance and support in areas where human potential was limited by adverse physical, mental or social conditions, or where the scope of research was too new, controversial or imaginative to receive traditionally oriented support." EEF helped to support, both through direct financial contributions and through contributions of human and material resources, almost every aspect of work being done in the 1960s and 1970s in the field of transsexualism in the US and, to a lesser degree, in other countries. Erickson's EEF also supported the early homophile organization ONE Inc. and a number of new age thought leaders. Later in life Erickson became addicted to illegal drugs and died in Mexico in 1992, a fugitive from US drug indictments.
UVic's Transgender Archives holds Erickson's extensive archives of personal papers, business records, legal files, and art works totaling approximately 15 meters of material.
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