By Ian Darnell
March 6, 2016: March is Women's History Month, and one of the ways that the St. Louis LGBT History Project is celebrating is by sorting through and enjoying a fabulous cache of women's, feminist, and lesbian periodicals. This photo shows just a small sampling of these materials. After the LGBT Center of St. Louis closed last year, the Project was entrusted with the Center's extensive library of periodicals. In addition to a particularly rich selection of women's, feminist, and lesbian titles, the library also contained a bounty of periodicals focused on gay men, HIV/AIDS, and general LGBTQ concerns, as well as special interest publications on issues as varied as LGBTQ spirituality, travel, sports, and parenting. Some of the periodicals date back as far as the 1970s. The Project has been working hard to inventory these materials and to find good homes for them, where they will be accessible to researchers and preserved for generations to come.
Most of the periodicals are being given to the Project’s local archival partners, i.e., the State Historical Society of Missouri (locally based at the University of Missouri-St. Louis), the Missouri History Museum, and Washington University Libraries. Additional materials have been donated to the Gerber/Hart Library in Chicago, one of the leading LGBTQ-focused archival repositories in the United States. Special thanks to Betty Neeley for storing most of the contents of the library in her garage for the past few months. Do you have old LGBTQ publications or historically significant documents or objects of your own? Make sure they don’t end up in the trash—consider donating them to the St. Louis LGBT History Project.
February 12, 2016: The St. Louis LGBT History Project and the Missouri History Museum present a free public lecture on a fascinating but mostly forgotten chapter of St. Louis's past:
- Title: "She Went 14,000 Miles as a Boy: The Queer Lives of Hobos in St. Louis"
- Speaker: Nathan Tye, University of Illinois
- Date: Monday, March 28, 7 pm
- Location: Missouri History Museum, Lee Auditorium
"Hobo girls," women who donned men's clothing and passed as men while riding the rails, were among the most illusive of all hobos. Beginning in the 1870s, St. Louis law enforcement saw these cross-dressing hobos as a real threat to the community and did all they could to prevent and "correct" their lifestyle. This presentation explores the lives of these queer figures and their place in the wider history of St. Louis.
Nathan Tye is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work focuses on hobos and homelessness with particular attention to issues of gender and sexuality.
Following the lecture, Sayer Johnson of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group will offer comments reflecting on connections between the history of "hobo girls" and the challenges facing trans* people today.
Further information from the Missouri History Museum: http://mohistory.org/node/57657
February 7, 2016: The Project has amassed thousands of news clips over the years and has been in need of a volunteer to help sort them by date. Well, thanks to St. Louisan Clara Abbott, a student at Haverford University in Pennsylvania, we are one step closer. Over her winter break in St. Louis, Clara volunteered to help organize thousands of news clips by decade - 1970s through 2000s. The clips provide a fascinating timeline of St. Louis' media coverage of LGBT people, issues, and events. Thanks Clara for your help. The Project is a volunteer effort and always appreciates community support. Let us know if you have an interest in working with us.
February 1, 2016: Join the Project for a launch party for Project founder Steven Brawley's new book, Gay and Lesbian St. Louis! In the late 19th century, St. Louis—America's fourth-largest city—was a hub of robust commerce and risqué entertainment. It provided an oasis for those who lived "in the shadows." Since 1764, the Gateway to the West's LGBT community has experienced countless struggles and successes, including protests, arrests, murders, celebrations, and parades. This is the first known book to be published that solely focues on the LGBT history of St. Louis. Book available for purchase at the event. Complimentary refreshements will be provided.
Parking: Lots one block north and one block east; street parking (street meters free after 7pm).
- Monday, February 29, 2016, 7:00 pm
- Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108