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Grappling With Carson McCullers: 100 Years

BY ON July 20, 2017

This essay, and the short fiction with which it ends, was presented at the Carson McCullers Centenary in Rome on July 16, 2017. 

It was a green and crazy summer.

Carson McCullers is one of those singular artists who inspires us over time, and yet is impossible to imitate. Much of the worst of American literature has been created by multi-generations of inadequate Hemingway impersonators. But no one tries to imitate McCullers. One of the many things about her that I try to understand is why, unlike Elvis, she is impossible to imitate and how at the same time she is able to influence us.

“Carson had a male identity, and if she lived today I believe she would be on the continuum of what we call `trans.’”

Lets start with the opening words of Member of The Wedding: It was a green and crazy summer… On a superficial reading it might remind us of “It was a dark and stormy night” but actually the phrase works in very unusual ways. Dark and Stormy are both on the same plain. We are separate from the night: looking out at it from inside a shelter, or we are surrounded on the deck of a ship, but dark and stormy are evoking the same state of experience. On the other hand green and crazy are two entirely different spheres of perception, because green is a visual and crazy is interior: a state of mind, an evaluation as well as a feeling. So, Carson manages, within the frame of seven simple, almost minimalist, words, to evoke multi-dimensions of interiority and exteriority: emotion and perception. In this way, she is a master of the American thought sentence. And that is why we cannot imitate her.

So, how is it that she influences us?

I was re-reading the beautiful anthology that Carlos Dews edited for the Library of America, and went back to her short story “Court In The West Eighties” – written in 1935 at the age of 18, when she left her Columbus, Georgia home to study writing at Columbia University. This was her second pilgrimage to New York Earlier she had come to Julliard to study classical piano, but something happened and she ended up giving all her money to a prostitute and had to return. This time, more familiar with the ways of the City, she looks out her apartment window at the neighbors on the other side of the courtyard, who she will never meet or know. Particularly, interesting is one man, with red hair, who has a drink at the window after work. She, the narrator, is reading Karl Marx, and that enhances her understanding of the people with whom she shares this quiet knowledge.

“I felt that this man across from me understood the cellist and everyone else in the court as well. I had a feeling that nothing would surprise him and that he understood more than most people.”

I had a feeling says this young woman for whom thoughts, ideas, and insights would always be feelings.

Most of the story involves descriptions of her feelings about her neighbors until suddenly, a very surprising thing occurs. The narrator tells us, her readers, that she thought about sharing this information by letter with a friend back home but that the description would be “too hard” to write. Wait a minute! Didn’t she already write it to us? Isn’t that what we have been reading, her description? And then it sinks in. She does not consider us to be readers, she does not consider us to be separate human beings, suddenly it becomes clear that the reader is in fact part of her, and is living inside her mind. That the page is actually her feeling, and we are in her consciousness, and the story becomes more intimate than even a whisper on a pillow.

This is what influences us: McCullers’ vulnerability, the total openness, the invitation to know all that she has to know. This is what makes us inspired.

It certainly worked for me.

In 1999 I had a workshop of a new play called “The Child” (that later became a novel) and I mentioned to the young lead actress, Angelina Phillips,

“You know, you look like Carson McCullers.”

And she said: “Who’s that?”

(more…)

In the Archives | A Lesbian Community Center in Chicago

BY ON July 14, 2017

Sometimes an archival collection can be the centerpiece of a research project. The papers of an individual will serve as the heart of a biography. The history of a key activist group can be reconstructed through the records of an organization. Major events or projects, such as a March on Washington or the Names Project Quilt, can be brought to life through the materials in a core set of papers.

More often, an archival collection is likely to be but one element in a larger, more ambitious project. Such was my reaction to exploring the materials in the papers of the Lesbian Community Center that are on deposit at the Gerber/Hart Library in Chicago. A two-box collection, it covers the period from 1980-83.

“Community Centers” have become a staple of LGBT life in larger cities. Today, they typically have paid staff and a large board of directors. They have a significant donor base and apply for government funds and foundation grants. They provide a range of services to youth, elders, and other groups within the LGBT population. The Centers serve as a dependable meeting place for other community organizations and they are a site for major community events. They may be located in buildings with a large array of offices and meeting spaces. They may have budgets in the millions of dollars, and they are likely to be open during the day and the evening, and during the week and on weekends.

Needless to say, this wasn’t always so. Chicago’s earliest community center, created by the Chicago Gay Alliance in 1971, occupied rental space in a house. The organization brought a lot of enthusiasm to the project, but with few financial resources and dependent entirely on volunteer labor, the Center barely lasted a handful of years before it had to close its doors.

Most of these early efforts at establishing community centers were dominated by men, not only numerically, but also in the sense of the kind of activities and interests that the centers supported. In many cities, open conflict developed over the effort of lesbians to have the space be welcoming to them as well. Los Angeles was one of the cities where, in the 1970s, these tensions erupted openly into bitterly fought battles.

In some cities, lesbians attempted to form their own community centers. But the challenges in the 1970s and early 1980s were even greater than those faced by the efforts led by gay men. The deeply structural gender bias in employment and wages made it harder for women who were attracted to women to live as a lesbian. Those who were out were likely to have fewer economic resources to sustain a community center. And, in this era, many lesbians had a primary commitment to a broader feminist activism.

A Lesbian Community Center opened in Chicago in 1979. Located on Sheffield Avenue in Lakeview not far from Wrigley Field, it occupied two rooms on the second floor of a larger building. It maintained evening hours during the week and afternoon hours on Saturday and Sunday, a significant achievement. The Center maintained a lending library at a time when LGBT books were not so easily available. Describing itself as “a referral-information service and drop-in space,” it promised conversation, rap groups, and a wealth of information about resources available to lesbians in particular and women more generally. It also made its space available to other lesbian groups and organized cultural and athletic events.

For those interested in writing a history of the organization, the papers will prove disappointing. There just isn’t enough information to make the Center and its activities come alive. But – and here’s the good news! – for someone wanting to reconstruct a history of lesbian life in Chicago in this era in its social, cultural, and political dimensions, there is material that will prove invaluable. For instance, there is a binder in the collection marked “Resources, A to Z” and dated January 1, 1982. It contains the names of individual organizations as well as organizations grouped by categories ranging from “Bars” to “Third World Women’s Resources.” Imagine how useful that would be for tracing the contours of lesbian community and activism!

There are also three boxes of 3×5 index cards. One is a “Library Users File” with names and addresses. Another is a file of cards of volunteers with their names, what they are able to do and when they are available, and often with addresses as well. And there is a “Library Circulation File” in which each card lists a book and its author, and who has borrowed the book. As I flipped through all these cards, I could readily imagine a researcher constructing a master file of addresses designed to identify residential areas where lesbians were concentrated. The library circulation records would provide insight into the books that were most popular among lesbians in this period. Profiles of activists might emerge in the course of this close examination.

Finally, as almost always seems to be true in my archival explorations at Gerber/Hart, one odd and unexpected item stood out: a set of reel-to- reel tapes from the 1960s labeled “Dr. Goldiamond lectures – Washington School of Psych.” What might these contain, I wondered? Alas, without a reel-to- reel tape recorder, I wasn’t able to answer my question. But they are there for someone who has the interest and the diligence to find out.

CFP | LGBT Themes in African American History | Deadline March 1 2018

BY ON July 6, 2017

The Journal of African American History is planning a Special Issue on the connections between Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual (LGBT) subjects or topics and the history of African American life, culture, and politics. Over the past twenty-five years, the field of LGBT historical studies has grown rapidly, and yet up until quite recently, the scholarship has not addressed questions of race in general, or the African American past in particular. Historiographical debates over the merits of a minoritarian versus a queer methodology stimulated important conversations about modes of research and writing, but the unspoken assumptions were that the proper object of inquiry was white and that resistance against homophobia had little or nothing to do with survival in a racist culture.

The explosion of literature on the civil rights campaigns, Black Power and black radicalism, and urbanization has not expanded to document the role of black LGBT activists, organizations, or communities. Too often powerful critical tools for analyzing racial formation have not been applied to the construction of sexuality, and vice versa. This Special Issue proposes to correct the missed connections between these overlapping narratives of race and sexuality, and present cutting-edge scholarship on LGBT themes in African American history from a wide variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, involving archival, cultural, and oral sources.

Topics and subject matter constituting the intersection between African Americans and LGBT historical inquiries could include: 1) African American family, youth, and LGBT issues historically; 2) the impact of religion, and notions of respectability, masculinity, and femininity on the construction of black LGBT identity; 3) the connections between Civil Rights and Gay Rights and between Black Power and Gay Liberation; 4) African American communities and the AIDS epidemic; 5) LGBT subjectivity in African American film, music, and entertainment; 6) the contribution of LGBT African Americans to the hair, fashion, commercial art industries, as well as the performing arts; 7) political and economic interactions between African Americans and LGBT social justice organizations; 8) the historical encounter between black LGBT actors and the state, the military, or prison systems; 9) the impact of urbanization, including segregation, crime and violence, policing, and sex work on black LGBT lives and organizations.

Essays should be no more than 35 typed, double-spaced pages (12 point font), including endnotes. The JAAH uses the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (Chicago, IL, 2010) for citations. Guidelines for manuscript submission are published in the JAAH and on the JAAH website; for inquiries the email address is: vpf1019@aol.com. Submitted essays will be peer reviewed. Your cover letter should include the title of your essay, name, postal address, e-mail address, and phone number. Your essay should begin with the title of the essay and should NOT include your name. Please send three (3) hard copies of your manuscript to:

Dr. Kevin Mumford, Guest Editor
c/o V. P. Franklin, Editor,

The Journal of African American History
University of New Orleans
Department of History
2000 Lake Shore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148

H/T: Nicholas Syrett, CLGBTH

John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award Announcement

BY ON July 5, 2017

This message comes from the Organization of American Historians

DEADLINE: APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY OCTOBER 2, 2017

The OAH announces the establishment of the John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award, given annually to the best PhD dissertation in U.S. LGBTQ history. The award is named for John D’Emilio, pioneer in LGBTQ history and co-director of OutHistory.org.

A dissertation must be completed during the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 to be eligible for the 2018 D’Emilio Award.

The award will be presented at the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, April 12–14.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Please send an electronic attachment (PDF) of your complete dissertation in one e-mail to all three committee members listed below by midnight (PST) on October 2, 2017, and include in the subject line “2018 John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award.” The committee members must receive all applications by this date.

Each application must also include a letter of support from a faculty member at the degree-granting institution, along with an abstract and table of contents.

The final decision will be made by the award committee by February 2018. The winner will be provided with details regarding the OAH Annual Meeting and awards presentation.

Committee Members:

Pippa Holloway (Committee Chair)
Affiliation: Middle Tennessee State University
pippa.holloway@mtsu.edu

Julio Capó, Jr.
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
capo@history.umass.edu

Kevin Mumford
Affiliation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
kmumford@illinois.edu

DEADLINE: APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY OCTOBER 2, 2017

Randall Sell Joins OutHistory as a Co-Director

BY ON June 29, 2017

Randall Sell

We are pleased to announce that Randall Sell, an associate professor of community health at Temple University, has agreed to join OutHistory’s leadership team, effective immediately.

Randall has contributed to OutHistory over the years, and helped us in our recent fund-raising drive. He is currently writing a book on the history of how LGBT folk have used science to gain civil rights.  I am also managing a project for the University of Pennsylvania documenting the history (200+ years) of gays at Penn.  Recently, he contributed to the creation of an AIDS Oral History of Philadelphia.

“I have been working with sexual and gender minority populations and conducting research with these populations for 30 years,” he tells us. “Most of this work has focused on improving research methods but the work has also produced information on their health and has been used to advocate for additional research. From the very beginning of this work I became interested in the history of research on these populations and I have collected originals and copies of many of the earliest works. I have also studied the greater sociopolitical context within which this research was conducted and observed how it has changed in my own lifetime.”

 

 

Prizes | CLGBTH Audre Lorde and Gregory Sprague Awards | October 1 Deadline

BY ON June 29, 2017

The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History will award the Audre Lorde and Gregory Sprague prizes in 2018.

The Audre Lorde Prize will be awarded to an outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English in 2016 or 2017. If an article is scheduled to be published after the October 1st submission deadline but before the end of 2017, nominees may submit page proofs. Learn more here.

The Gregory Sprague Prize will be awarded to an outstanding published or unpublished paper, article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by a graduate student in 2016 or 2017. Learn more here.

Questions can be addressed to prize committee chair, Emily Skidmore.

2018 Prize Committee:

* Emily Skidmore, Texas Tech University, Emily.skidmore@ttu.edu

* Abram J. Lewis, Northwestern University, abram.lewis@northwestern.edu

* Linda C. Velasco, San Francisco State University, lvelasco@mail.sfsu.edu

Emailed submissions must be sent by 11:59pm (Pacific time), 1 October 2017.

Winners will be announced at the Committee on LGBT History’s annual reception at the 2018 American Historical Association conference in Washington, DC.

Looking back and Listening: Memories of Stonewall

BY ON June 27, 2017

“Sheridan Square this weekend looked like something from a William Burroughs novel as the sudden specter of ‘gay power’ erected its brazen head and spat out a fairy tale the likes of which the area has never seen.” [1] This is how Lucian Truscott IV rather disparagingly characterized the Stonewall rebellion of 1969 in his eyewitness account published in the Village Voice on July 2nd of that year. The event was indeed something never before seen in New York City’s West Village, but was not the first time LGBT people stood up to police harassment. The Black Cat Tavern raid in Los Angeles and the Compton’s Cafeteria riots in San Francisco a few years prior also saw members of the community fight back against unfair treatment, police brutality and discriminatory laws that targeted the most unambiguous members of the community.

Its hard to imagine that in New York City in 1969, laws prohibited members of the same sex dancing together, restricted the sale of alcohol to homosexuals and penalized those who wore articles of clothing of the opposite sex, but it would take years of activism and action to have these officially taken off the books in the following decades. So, how did the Stonewall Inn become the birthplace of LGBT civil rights? Many details are hard to nail down and many debates have focused on the myths and mysteries of the Stonewall incident, but specific memories and stories help to paint a picture of the place and of the times. Bars like the Stonewall Inn represented a kind of reluctant haven for New York City’s downtown gay scene. Most patrons had a love hate relationship with the bar and its mafia controlled operators. The drinks were weak and over priced, the ambiance was dive bar but the vibe was by most accounts intoxicating if not fully liberating.

Bruce Monroe, who was a college student visiting from Indiana in 1969, describes his memory of Stonewall to me:

I remember … two dance floors and a big long wall down the middle. But I remember it being a very young lively crowd that I could relate to. It was like really exciting to see all these other young men that were around my age. I guess it was one of the most popular places for dancing in NY at that- there weren’t very many places around like that. And I remember having a great time there and I remember having to leave by myself because my friends had found elsewhere to spend the evening.

Historian John D’Emilio’s experience of the West Village as a college student in the late 1960’s is of a “whole gay world.” On two occasions he visited the Stonewall Inn with a friend and remembers the following:

. . . so anyway we go to Stonewall and of course the thing that was immediately apparent to me I mean besides the fact that it was, unlike Julius’ where there were a lot of people but it was conversation, and it was kind of quiet, Stonewall was wildly noisy and what do they have, but go go boys who were dancing you know, up on a platform wearing you know, kinda nothing, like a g-string, or just underpants, and it seemed very exciting to see and experience something like that!

Author Felice Picano has written about Stonewall and been involved in gay literature/publishing since the 1970’s. He wasn’t a fan of Stonewall in 1969, but recalls that it could be useful:

. . . if you found somebody interesting and you sorta wanted to feel them up and feel them out before you took them home you’d take them around the corner to the Stonewall and slow dance in the dark and figure out what you wanted . . . it became by the time the incident happened, a place for trannies and for people who were not quite street people but almost, and sometimes the hustler boys who would hang out in front of it in the park in Sheridan Square would go in too. So it had this very, very mixed vibe and, and I was always hearing that it was closing down, that it was going bankrupt.

Trans activist Miss Majors introduces her story to Felice Picano in a rare correspondence:

Miss Majors: I’d had a tough day, and I heard that that singer Judy Garland had died. I wasn’t a fan of hers, but I didn’t feel like being alone, so I went down to the Stonewall. That was our club, where the other “T’s” and I could hang out and relax and be ourselves. [2]

 

Stonewall Plaque placed in 1977 by the 5th Ave. Gay Walk of Freedom. LGBT Community Center Archives, Grillo Collection.

Pioneering gay journalist Mark Segal provides a first hand account of being inside the bar that night:

I remember the lights flashing. I remember asking somebody …“what does that mean?” And someone said, “Oh we’re just going to be raided!” And everybody who was a regular there took that very nonchalant. They were just used to it cause that was part of what life was like for gay people at that point. Me on the other hand had never been through a raid. I tried to look nonchalant but I gotta tell you its not –[laughs] I was very nervous. … As people were coming out they started forming a semi circle around the door and that eventually – and as the police let out more and more people at one point the only people left in the bar or most of the people left in the bar were the people that worked there and the police. At which point people just started throwing things at the door. Um, [sigh] that’s basically when people started breaking things, running up and down the street. [3]

Activist Martha Shelly recalls in my interview with her last year, how the liberation movement was energized by Stonewall:

Monday I read about the riots in the newspaper and I thought that was what it was about! I read about the Stonewall Riot in some small article in the New York Times or the New York Post I don’t remember which and I immediately called . . . Jean Powers and she was the person who was getting out the newsletter and organizing meetings. I called her and said we have to have a protest march. She told me to call the head of the Mattachine Society and she said if they’re interested we could jointly sponsor it. …So I called Dick Leitsch who was the head of the Mattachine Society. He said they were having a meeting at Town Hall to discuss all of these things and what it meant for the gay community and come to the meeting and put my proposal out and that’s what I did.

Craig Rodwell, owner of the Oscar Wilde Memorial bookshop on Mercer St. at the time of the riot, sums up the significance of Stonewall:

Immediately I saw that this was something that was going to have an impact in the future for the movement because I’d been saying for years that something would happen- there would be a spark. I recognized instantly that this was it.[4]

Today the Stonewall Inn is an iconic symbol of the birth of LGBT rights and has secured its place in history by being designated a National Monument. To learn more about the liberation movement and hear more of the interviews I conducted visit www.stonewallhistory.us and for additional first hand testimony about Stonewall listen to a wonderful radio segment from 1989 here: Remembering Stonewall

At a performance upstairs at the Stonewall Inn not too long ago, I was shoulder to shoulder with a truly diverse mix of patrons: trans women and men, lesbians, drag queens, regulars who call the bar a hangout, more than a few allies, and of course tourists checking another landmark off their list. I like to think that the pioneers of the liberation movement who have passed, would be proud of what the reincarnated Stonewall represents, but I’m sure if asked a contentious debate would ensue. After all, if its not worth arguing about, was it worth fighting for?

Gay Power!

 

 

[1] Lucian Truscott IV, “Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square,” Village Voice, July 2, 1969, accessed December 10, 2016, http://www.villagevoice.com/news/stonewall-gay-power-comes-to-sheridan-square-6670443.

[2] Felice Picano, “The Remains of the Night: Six Observers: Felice Picano Talks with Eyewitnesses to the Stonewall Riots,” The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, 2015 (4): 29.

[3] Mark Segal, interview by Christopher L. Gioia, February 7, 2017, interview.

[4] Tina Crosby, “The Stonewall Riot Remembered, Excerpt 2,” Stonewall: Riot, Rebellion, Activism and Identity, accessed April 14, 2017, https://stonewallhistory.omeka.net/items/show/25.

In the Archives | Dignity

BY ON June 23, 2017

James Bussen, 1988. Photo by Lisa Howe-Ebright

I have been thoroughly enjoying my explorations of collections at the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives.  Depending on the person or the organization, I come away with a deeper or a broader knowledge than I already had of topics in the history of LGBT life and activism since the 1960s.  I love encountering the particular personal stories or the forgotten dramatic moments that emerge from individual documents in a collection and that are the stuff that makes history come alive.  But, I also have to admit that, with my own history of activism and research, I haven’t found myself dramatically revising what I thought I knew.

Until now, that is.  The collection I’ve explored most recently are the papers of James Bussen, a Chicago activist who, in the early 1970s, was a founder of the local Dignity chapter. He remained continuously active in the organization and later served as its national president in the second half of the 1980s.  For those who don’t know, Dignity was for decades the primary organization giving voice to LGBT Catholics.

Before the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church was like every other Christian community of faith.  Homosexuality was a sin.  Some denominations may have incorporated medical frameworks into their language, but there was little evidence of a significant move toward acceptance and approval.  That began to change in the 1960s as some church activists and reformers began to speak out in support of gays and lesbians.  This tendency accelerated significantly in the 1970s and 1980s. A number of religious denominations began to revisit official teachings on homosexuality and open themselves up to acceptance of LGBT members.

The Roman Catholic Church, however, stood out as moving distinctly against the grain.  In October 1986, with the approval of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexuals.”  It took a strong and uncompromising stand against any expression of homosexuality.  The document described homosexual behavior as “an intrinsic moral evil” and a homosexual orientation as “an objective disorder.”  In posing the question as to whether being a sexually active gay man was “a morally acceptable option,” it offered a categorically unambiguous answer: “It is not.”  This 1986 document came to define Roman Catholicism as unremittingly and inflexibly homophobic.  There seemed to be no possibility of change.  And when Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict in 2005, it only confirmed this perspective.

After just a bit of reading through the material in the Bussen papers, however, it became abundantly – and surprisingly – clear to me that one of the effects of the 1986 Letter was to erase from my historical memory, and I suspect the memory of many others as well, a rich history of LGBT activism within the Catholic Church in the U.S. in the 1970s and early 1980s.  At the simplest level, Dignity grew as an organization with impressive speed.  Founded right at the beginning of the 1970s in the wake of the energy released by Stonewall and gay liberation, it expanded from seven chapters in 1973 to 70 by 1977 when it held its 3rd biennial convention in Chicago.  430 people registered for the national gathering of an organization that had grown to 4000 members.  There were very few LGBT organizations of that size in the 1970s.

But it wasn’t only about size.  Dignity projected a strong message of confidence and militancy.  In its May 1973 newsletter, the editor wrote: “A force is growing within the Church.  It will not be stopped.”  At the end of the decade, the newsletter directed these words to its members: “it will not be theologians sitting in their offices who will one day decide that homosexuality makes sense . . . theologians will come around to thinking that only after a good number of gay people have already made sense of their own lives.”  In other words, come out. Show your pride in how you live and what you do.

The Church, too, was responding in encouraging ways.  In 1976, the Young Adult Ministry of the U.S. Catholic Conference issued a very positive statement about gay men and lesbians.  At the local level, Dignity found itself in dialogue with a number of the more liberal Catholic bishops.  Also in 1976, Dignity received an invitation to attend the “Call to Action” Conference of the Catholic Church in the U.S.  The Conference passed the following resolution: “That the Church actively seek to serve the pastoral needs of those persons with a homosexual orientation; to root out those structures and attitudes which discriminate against homosexuals as persons; and to join the struggle by homosexual men and women for their basic constitutional rights to employment, housing, and immigration.”

The statement took me by surprise.  It was far more positive than anything I might have imagined coming from the Catholic Church.  It also provides context for the 1986 Letter of Cardinal Ratzinger.  Rather than a simple articulation of the standard teachings of Catholicism, it represented an aggressive assault upon serious grassroots efforts that were stirring things up and provoking progressive change.

I came away from Jim Bussen’s papers with a very strong sense that there’s much to be learned by researching the history of Catholic LGBT activism and the Church’s response in the 1970s and 1980s.  Bussen’s papers, other relevant collections at Gerber/Hart, and many that I’m certain exist in archives around the country will provide the materials.  Without doubt, there’s a book waiting to be written.  I hope someone seizes the opportunity – unless I beat you to it!

Grants | William Nelson Cromwell Foundation | Due July 11 2017

BY ON June 20, 2017

In 2017, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation will make available a number of $5,000 fellowship awards to support research and writing in American legal history by early-career scholars. Early career generally includes those researching or writing a PhD dissertation (or equivalent project) and recent recipients of a graduate degree working on their first major monograph or research project. The number of awards made is at the discretion of the Foundation. In the past several years, the trustees of the Foundation have made five to nine awards. Scholars who are not at the early stages of their careers may seek research grants directly from the Foundation.  For more information, see the Grants page at cromwellfoundation.org.

Application Process for 2017

The Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards of the American Society for Legal History (ASLH) reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation. (The Cromwell Foundation was established in 1930 to promote and encourage scholarship in legal history, particularly in the colonial and early national periods of the United States. The Foundation has supported the publication of legal records as well as historical monographs.)

Applicants should submit a description of their proposed project (double-spaced, maximum 6 pages including notes; include a working title), a budget, a timeline, and a short c.v. (no longer than 3 pages). The budget and timeline can be part of the Project Description or separate. (There is no application form.) Two letters of recommendation from academic referees should be sent directly to the Committee Chair via email attachment, preferably as .pdf files. Applications must be submitted electronically (preferably in one .pdf file) no later than midnight July 11, 2017.

Successful applicants will be notified by early November. An announcement of the awards will also be made at the annual meeting of the American Society of Legal History.

This announcement was originally posted at H-Net by Joanna Grisinger.

Prizes | CLGBTH 2018 Alan Bérubé Prize

BY ON June 14, 2017

Alan Berube (Courtesy of the Sullivan County Democrat)

The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History will award the Allan Bérubé Prize in 2018.

The Allan Bérubé Prize will be awarded for outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in 2016 or 2017. The Bérubé Prize is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. Learn more here.

Activists, students, faculty, authors, readers, editors, or publishers can nominate. Self- nominations are encouraged. Please submit a cover letter of no more than three pages describing the project and how it reflects outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history. Depending on the type of project, submissions may also include supplementary materials like videos, links to websites, exhibition catalogs, etc. Questions can be addressed to prize committee chair, Jennifer Tyburczy.

2018 Prize Committee:

* Josh Burford, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, joshburford74@gmail.com

* Katherine Ott, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, ottk@si.edu

* Jennifer Tyburczy, University of California, Santa Barbara, jtyburczy@femst.ucsb.edu

Emailed submissions must be sent by 11:59pm (Pacific time), 1 October 2017.Supplemental materials (DVDs, exhibition materials, etc.) may be sent to committee members; please contact them for postal addresses. These materials must also be postmarked by October 1, 2017.

Winners will be announced at the Committee on LGBT History’s annual reception at the 2018 American Historical Association conference in Washington, DC.