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Author Topic: The Queer Archives...  (Read 3362 times)

berto

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The Queer Archives...
« on: April 25, 2007, 05:34:23 PM »

Eighteenth century writings of first gay activist discovered

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Excerpts from a 258-year-old book written by what is thought to be the first ever advocate for gay rights have been discovered by a University of Manchester academic.

Dr Hal Gladfelder from the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures found the previously unnoticed tract while doing research at the National Archive in Kew. The three by five foot scroll, which is a handwritten indictment of the printer of a book called 'Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplified', had been gathering dust for two centuries.

Written by Thomas Cannon in 1749 and suppressed immediately after publication, the piece is an anthology of stories and philosophical texts in defence of male homosexuality. One story deals with cross-dressing and others are translations of Greek and Latin homoerotic texts.

[...]

[Gladfelder said] "I came across the scroll in a box of uncatalogued legal documents from 1750 at the National Archive in Kew. No copies of the document survive but on an indictment scroll there were long extracts from the book. So the eighteenth century courts -- who were trying to suppress this -- unwittingly helped publicise it 258 years later. I think what happened to Cannon paved the way for 200 years of homophobic repression."

[...]

"Though he lived in anonymity -- possibly because of the notoriety of his pamphlet -- I certainly regard him as a martyr. His life has many parallels with Oscar Wilde, who was persecuted by the law, forced into exile, and effectively silenced for being an apologist and advocate of same-sex love. But in Cannon's case, the silencing was more successful: virtually all traces of his life and work disappeared for 250 years."
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Feral

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RE: The Queer Archives...
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 11:00:50 PM »

I was just about to post on this one :)

I don't think it's possible to underestimate the number of texts which lie uncatalogued and unread in archives around the world. I suppose it would take more than a few more discoveries like this one to demonstrate the truth of the maxim "everything you think you know is a lie."

Something I find most curious about this article: Mr. Gladfelder published his materials on this reference to a lost book in May 2006. He was lecturing on it in 2005. Perhaps not too dreadfully oddly, no mention of the time-frame of these discoveries is ever made. Surely this discovery would have been just as news-worthy last year as this.
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"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

berto

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The Queer Archives...
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2007, 11:42:30 PM »

Major LGBT rights archive left to NY public library

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What is described as one of the largest collections chronicling the history of the LGBT civil rights movement has been donated to the New York Public Library.

The manuscripts, publications, placards, handbills and photographs were collected over 40 years by Barbara Gittings and her life partner, photojournalist Kay Tobin Lahusen.

[...]

The Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers and Photographs will be housed at the Manuscripts and Archives Division of NYPL's Humanities and Social Sciences Library.

[...]

In addition to the material collected over the years by Gittings, the donation to the NYPL includes Lahusen's photographs documenting the gay rights movement, files and oral histories used in the preparation of her 1972 book "The Gay Crusaders".

"The collection donated by Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen is a remarkable first-hand chronicle detailing the battles of gays and lesbians to overcome the prejudice and restrictions that were prevalent prior to the activism and protest movements that started in the 1960s," said NYPL president Paul LeClerc in a statement.
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"The dignity of an animal is measured by his capacity to revolt in the face of oppression." -- Mikhail Bakunin

vanrozenheim

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Re: RE: The Queer Archives...
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2007, 01:44:39 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Something I find most curious about this article: Mr. Gladfelder published his materials on this reference to a lost book in May 2006. He was lecturing on it in 2005.


Hm, isn't he going to re-publish the text? Some PR would be just fine for this kind of occasion... It would be interesting to actually read the piece.

Generally, who knows how many texts are lost for us? The evil of religiously motivated addiction to eradicate anything going "against the [heterosexual] nature" from libraries and musea was/is wide spread. Who guarantees the relatively liberal handling of the issue in the West will last forever?

In this context, just what will happen to the archives, should straight people of the NYPL decide to get rid of the "homo rubbish"? There needs not necessarily a "bad will" to be involved -- they simply might decide that the useless old stuff unnecessarily takes away the spare space which could be better used for family books and activities books.

Gay archives are most safe in gay hands -- unfortunately, due to the lack of ressources, gay archives not always provide the best service.
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Rain

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RE: Re: RE: The Queer Archives...
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2007, 07:37:04 AM »

Very true, Van.  The LGBT Center in here has a "Herstory" Archive of Lesbian History (sic).  It's a bitch to get a hold of even WHEN they are open.  NYPL's Gittings/Lahusen collection is way more accessible.  

Simply put, the major research branches of the NYPL system are open 24 hours a day.
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