March 24, 2015: This past winter, the Project has updated the timeline section of the website. Far from complete (will always be a work in progress) several new discoveries have been added. As well, several new sidebar menu items in the timeline section go into great depth on several topics. We are always on the lookout for new information related to St. Louis' LGBT past. Please help us out. We especially need founding dates for St. Louis area LGBT organizations. Here are some of our most recent additions:
- William Drummond Stewart, a member of the Scottish nobility, arrives in St. Louis to begin several years of travels to the far reaches of the unknown western frontier. According to the book "Men in Eden" by William Benemann, Stewart was gay. He would use St. Louis as a base for his "flamboyant" adventures.
- Charles Hamilton Hughes (1839-1916) begins to publish a St. Louis-based medical journal - The Alienist and Neurologist. The journal was published from 1880 until his death in 1916, making him the sole editor for all 37 volumes. The Journal would feature several groundbreaking reports on homosexuality.
- Lillie Rose Ernst is one of the first twelve women to graduate from Washington University. She began her life-long teaching career at Central High School the next year. She never married. It is clear that she was devoted to her female friendships. She was especially close to author Leonora Halsted who left a $20,000 estate to Ernst in "appreciation of her devoted care...and my abiding love." Further study needed.
- On February 23, Dr. Charles Breedlove, a young dentist, commits suicide at Hurst's Hotel. The story makes national headlines due to his infatuation with his "friend" Issac Judson. Upon his death, Dr. Breedlove was wearing a charm around his neck featuring a picture of Judson.
- The Potters, a group of St. Louis women artists and writers begin to publish a monthly magazine called The Potter's Wheel from 1904-1907. The Potter's Wheel contained a variety of artistic output, including poetry and prose, photographs, calligraphy artwork, needlework and the like. The Potters were all young women in their late teens and early twenties and members included poet Sara Teasdale, artists Caroline Risque and Petronelle Sombart, photographers Grace and Williamina Parrish, and writers Vine Colby, Inez Dutro, Celia Harris, Edna Wahlert and Guida Richey. Their mentor, Lillie Rose Ernst, was a botany teacher at Central High School and later an administrator with the St. Louis Public School System. The Potters went their various way after 1907, some of them to marry, others for further study or to actively pursue careers in distant places. It is suspected that Ernst and other members may have been lesbian or bisexual. Further study needed.
March 21, 2015: The Project recently received an email from a gentleman in Califorinia inquiring about donating some vintage LGBT St. Louis newspapers and magazines. Harold Osler told us that he had bought several items recently and discovered these St. Louis pieces mixed in. He generously mailed us a "goodie box" this week and we were excited to see it filled with rare issues of Moonstorm (a 1970s era lesbian magazine), Gaylife (a LGBT publicaiton founded in 1978); a rare 1976 Pegasus newsletter (from Columbia, MO), several issues of the Heartland newspaper (a 1990s pub that covered the midwest), a 1972 issue of Darmron (a gay travel guide that features St. Louis area bars), some 1980s beefcake items, and an issue of St. Louis Weekly featuring an interivew with Jim Thomas, founder of St. Louis' Gay News Telegraph. Thanks Harold for thinking of us in St. Louis and your donation.
March 15, 2015: Bob Martin is one of St. Louis' most colorful historical characters. The stories and memories of his bars are legendary with locations near Christ Church Cathedral, the old McKinley Hotel (long gone), and finally at the infamous YMCA Railroad Exchange Building (today's Drury Inn at Union Station). It was at the Union Station site of Bob Martin's we hear about the "stairway to heaven" and the "wrinkle room." During this time Stephen Adams (Dusty Michaels) became friends with Bob, and it was through this friendship that the Project's most recent rare find came to be. Stephen tells the story of being in Bob's office at the bar one day and remarking how much he had always admired the antique cigarette dispenser on Bob' desk. Without missing a beat, Bob gave the musical dispenser to Stephen as a present. Stephen has treasured this momento for years, and has now donated the item to the Project. Thanks Stephen for this amazing piece of St. Louis LGBT history.
March 8, 2015: Last year during the Project's exhibt at PHD Gallery, a visitor was suprised to see a picture of her uncle on display. She knew that her family had several momentos of her uncle and reached out to the Project to see if we would like to add them to our collection. The Project thanks Rachel DiDonato Tinsley for assembling a collection of artifacts documenting the life of Lonnie Lappie. Lonnie was a well known member of the St. Louis LGBT community in the 1980s and 1990s. He was an accomplished athlete, winning the gold medal for physique (middleweight division) at the 1986 Gay Games. Rachel and her family are still gathering additonal items to donate to the Project. Thanks Rachel for these important additions to the Project.