Born in Washington, D.C., Ralph E. Whittington began his career at the Library of Congress right after high school. From 1963 to 1976, he served as a deck attendant and in 1976, he became a searcher for the library materials locator, and finally from 1985 to 2000, he served as a curator in the Main Reading Room. While working at the Library of Congress, he realized how important the collections were, but the library didn’t include genres like sexuality, which is also important. In the 1970s and 1980s, he decided to start collecting pieces that weren’t stored in the library that he believed were still important to society. Soon, his collection was so extensive that he was contacted by the owner of the Museum of Sex in New York City, which wasn’t in operation yet. Two years later, he had transferred his entire collection – which consisted of 938 boxes – from his home to the Museum of Sex.
Throughout the rest of his career, Mr. Whittington served as a consultant for the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada from 2011 to 2012. Today, he has served as a consultant for the Museum of Sex for 17 years and as a consultant for the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality for eight years. In 2012, Mr. Whittington received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the institute. Throughout his career and while he was amassing his collection, he has made 28 media appearances including with The Washington Post. In his spare time, Mr. Whittington enjoys collecting other items like vinyl records.
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