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Bullough, Vern L. (1928-2006) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Bullough, Vern L. (1928-2006)
Fuller Form: Vern Leroy Bullough

Historical Note:

Vernon L. Bullough (1928-2006) was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served briefly in the US Army immediately following World War II before returning to school and marrying his high school sweetheart Bonnie in 1947 (1927-1996). He received his BA in history at the University of Utah (1951) and his MA and PhD at the University of Chicago (1951 and 1954 respectively.) Bonnie, a nurse by profession, completed her bachelor’s degree and began teaching classes in public health (with a focus on human sexuality) by 1955. She earned her master’s degree in Nursing from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) followed by an MA and Ph.D. in Sociology.

Vern and Bonnie had two sons (David, 1954 and James, 1956), the oldest dying tragically when hit by a car during the Bullough's 1967 Fulbright year in Egypt. They expanded their family further through adoption: an American-born Korean boy named Steven (1958), a mixed-raced African American/Caucasian girl named Susan (1961), and an African American boy named Michael (1966).

Vern was an Associate Professor of History at Youngstown University from 1954-1959 before moving his family to the San Fernando Valley where he taught from 1959-1980. During much of this time, Bonnie held a faculty position in the School of Nursing at UCLA. In 1982, she was offered a deanship at the School of Nursing at State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo. The couple decided to accept and Vern received a teaching position in the history department at SUNY College Buffalo, where he later served as dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences.

As an historian, Vern authored such titles as Man in Western Civilization and Deterrence in Military History but he also worked extensively with his wife. Many of their co-authored or co-edited works dealt with nursing or human sexuality. Their credits include Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender; Women and Prostitution: A Social History; and The Emergence of Modern Nursing. This collaboration with Bonnie spurred Vern on to pursue a degree in nursing. He earned that degree from California State University Long Beach in 1981 and later taught human sexuality courses at several universities including SUNY Buffalo, UCLA, and the University of Southern California.

Vern was active both professionally and personally. He was a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, Medieval Academy, American Historical Association, American Nursing Association, Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SECICUS), and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).  He was also the co-founder the now defunct Center for Sex Research at CSUN with Dr. James Elias. Vern worked as society officers, on several committees, and organized several lectures, workshops, and conferences, and presented several academic papers. Personally, he was active in local politics, running for California State Assembly in 1970, was a founding member of the Fair Housing Council of the San Fernando Valley, and was active in the ACLU in Youngstown, Los Angeles, and Buffalo.

After Bonnie’s death in 1996 Vern formed a domestic partnership with former colleague Gwen Brewer, member of the CSUN English Department, in 1998.Vern passed away June 21, 2006.

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