9780807079485 / 0807079480



Publisher:Beacon Press



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About the book:

Since the 17th century, Boston has played a vital role in the history of the United States as a center of society and intellectual ferment. So it's not surprising that the city also has a deeply rooted gay and lesbian culture. Improper Bostonians is a lavishly illustrated, astutely researched look at the role that homosexuals have played in constructing Boston society. From the private homoerotic letters of John Winthrop (the first Governor of Massachusetts) to the 19th-century concept of the "Boston Marriage"--the widely-used term for two unmarried women living together as partners--to the open and brash gay and lesbian life that existed in Boston's notorious Scully Square in the 1920s and 1930s, Improper Bostonians deftly shows how gay men and lesbians were always present in the social, political, and intellectual life of the city.

But as smart as its text is, the best feature of the book is its stunning array of engravings, paintings, news clippings, and photographs (many from personal collections) illustrating the book's themes. Looking over the portraits of politicians, poets (including Katherine Lee Bates, author of "America the Beautiful"), and performers one is reminded that gay and lesbian history is really not a separate category, but a single aspect of our collective history. --Michael Bronski

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