A German Jewish physician, psychologist, and sexologist. Her poetry speaks of longings and sensual desires for other women, although without explicit eroticism. Drawn to Zionism, Sampter moved to Mandate Palestine inand published dozens of books, essays, and educational materials about Zionism. She received an excellent education, and was the first Jewish woman to be admitted to Newnham College of Cambridge University. I was people… I was them. Her first volume of poetry, Xantippe and Other Versewas published inand over the next decade she published two more poetry collections, three novels, and many articles. One of the first female attorneys to specialize in criminal law, she was admitted to the Illinois Bar inand practiced law for 61 years, working until just weeks before her death.
Her recollections connect her disability and her own erotic desires through the complexity of her embodied experience.
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A founding member of the National Lawyers Guild, and the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, she devoted her life to fighting for the rights of the vulnerable and oppressed, especially women, children, immigrants, and gay men and lesbians. She travelled throughout Europe, and in Florence met and fell in love with Vernon Lee Violet Pageta British lesbian writer and essayist, to whom she dedicated several love poems. Soon after her arrival she met a Russian immigrant named Leah Berlin, and the two of them lived together, along with a Yemenite orphan that Sampter adopted, for almost all the remainder of her life. Jo Sinclair Ruth Seid, I was people… I was them. She published a memoir inThe Seasonsand spent her last years with her partner, Joan Sofer, in Pennsylvania. Her first publications dealt with cheirology the study of the handbut in the late 60s she turned to the study of sexuality, and began a series of in-depth interviews with lesbians and bisexual women that resulted in her groundbreaking study Love Between Womenfollowed by Bisexuality