Darling, Sherry A. "A Critical Introduction to The Stone Wall." Tufts University, Dept. of Drama, 2003. Author's Summary: with the texts that explain this source.

In 1930 Eyncourt Press published The Stone Wall: An Autobiography by the pseudonymous Mary Casal, which offers a glimpse into the life of a turn-of-the-century lesbian. In her narrative, Casal details her experiences as a woman-loving woman, artist, inventor, and teacher, beginning with the year she was born, 1864, and continuing until she was asked to write her story by Eyncourt Press. She also introduces the reader to her extended lesbian community, which included a painter, a theosophist, and a famous male impersonator of the vaudeville stage.


At the core of Mary Casal's autobiography are her beliefs about the rights of women in general and women-loving women in particular, and she argues in direct response to the contemporary medical literature that treated lesbianism as a form of insanity or moral depravity. Identity for Casal is a matter of choice, and gender roles and the rules for sexuality are open to the same kind of interpretation as an actor would use in approaching a part in a play.


Drawing from the few concrete details Mary Casal offers in her autobiography, I discovered that the author's true identity is Ruth Fuller Field, a native of Deerfield, Massachusetts. I also uncovered the identities and confirmed events surrounding many of the people she includes in her narrative. In tracing the provenance of the text itself, I deduced that its editor, Douglas C. McMurtrie, also wrote about sexual inversion as a lay sexologist for a number of medical periodicals of the time. [1]


[Second description of thesis]
In this critical introduction to The Stone Wall: An Autobiography , I provide additional documentation about Ruth Fuller Field and her extraordinary life and place her narrative within the larger context of the writing and publishing on same-sex desire that took place at the turn of the century. The revelation of these findings increases our understanding not only of this particular woman and her life narrative but also that of lesbian relationships between the 1860s and the 1930s and the construction of identity as a performative process. [2]


[Third description of thesis]
Authorized facsimile, made from the microfilm master copy of the original dissertation published by UMI. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Tufts University, 2003. Author's abstract: "In this critical introduction to The stone wall: an autobiography, I provide additional documentation about Ruth Fuller Field [whose pen name was "Mary Casal"] and her extraordinary life, and place her narrative within the larger context of the writing and publishing on same-sex desire that took place at the turn of the century. The revelation of these findings increases our understanding not only of this particular woman and her life narrative, but also that of lesbian relationships between the 1860s and the 1930s and the construction of identify as a performative process." Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-134). Newberry Library copy lacks t.p. Finding and telling -- Play [a] part: individual transgressive acts -- From solo to scene partner -- The ensemble as transgressive community -- The writer and the critic: lesbian and gay autobiography as a genre -- Epilogue -- Appendix: "Ruth Fuller Field--Knitting poem." Xerographic copy. [3]


[Fourth description of thesis]
Dissertation abstracts international: The humanities and social ... University Microfilms, University Microfilms International - 2003 - Snippet view. Drawing from the few concrete details Mary Casal offers in her autobiography, 1 discovered that the author's true identity is Ruth Fuller Field, a native of Deerfield, Massachusetts. I also uncovered the identities and confirmed events . . . .




Altman, Emma. See Lewis entry below.



Mentions "Mrs. Ruth Fuller Field" as the secretary of The Calistoga [California] Chamber of Commerce on May 28, 1919. 

Berkeley Daily Gazette. March 7, 1916, page 6. Headline: "Lectures Of Week At Paul Elder Gallery".

Berkeley Daily Gazette.jpg

Bennett, Johnstone (called "Little Ben" in Casal's The Stone Wall). See Lewis entry below).

Berkeley Daily Gazette. March 29, 1916, page 8. Headline: "Coming Lectures At Paul Elder Gallery".

April Fools' day will be notable for the Children's Amusement and club in the entertainment to be provided by Mrs. Ruth Fuller Field, Saturday, April 1st at oclock.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. Field, Ruth Fuller. Secretary to Helen Miller Gould. Brooklyn daily eagle almanac: Volume 18 - Page 322. American Almanac Collection (Library of Congress) - 1903 -

"Woody Crest -- Tarrytown, NY. Org. 1893. Fresh air home for children. . . . Miss Helen M. Gould, Pres., Tarrytown; Ruth Fuller Field, Sec, 579 5th av.; Miss Miriam Jagger, Matron." [4]

Field, Ruth Fuller. "Helen Miller Gould: Recollections of a Former Private Secretary. The Cosmopolitan, 1907, : Volume 43, Issues 1-6, page 616-627. [5]

Fuller, William Hyslop. Genealogy of Some Descendants of Thomas Fuller of Woburn. Printed for the compiler, 1919.

Lists Mary White Fuller as born on June 17, 1864, in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Married October 12, 1887 to Frank A. Field. [6]

Grier, Barbara (alias: Gene Damon). "Life History of a Lesbian: Mary Casal. Reproduced from Lesbian Lives. Publication data?

Apparently this is an undoctored life history of a Lesbian. Mary Casal wrote her life story in a casual conversational and entirely frank manner. Since Miss Casal was born in 1864 and was at the time of writing 65 years old, the complete detail of her love affair is almost amazing. Miss Casal was born in New England on a farm and apparently was a part of the class described as upper middle class. Her parents were a rather odd mixture, her mother a descendent of the very pure Puritans and her father a descendent of a distinguished English family of artists and musicians. She was the youngest of nine children and her childhood friends were all male... By the time she had completed her college education she had had three or four ... crushes and one of them had apparently been physically satisfactory. In her effort to make her autobiography utterly untraceable, Miss Casal has obscured the sequence of her life to an extent that makes dates impossible to find in relation to her big love affair. However, somewhere in her middle thirties she met and fell in love with a girl two years younger. The affairwas entirely complete and very happy for both women for many years, approximately fifteen years or a little more. During these happy years the women discovered many other women of like temperament and the authoress expresses her initial surprise at this, because previously Mary and her friend Juno had thought they were the only women in the world who loved another woman.
Miss Casal's revelations about the Lesbian world of New York and Paris around the turn of this century are most interesting. Although Miss Casal tries to give the impression that she was never a professional author, it is hard to believe in view of the quality of writing in her memoirs. I heartily recommend this as almost a class case of lesbianism. Unfortunately the book is very rare and quite expensive. Those willing to take the trouble can borrow the book through the Library of Congress. [7]

Lewis, Helen Deborah. Friends, Beloveds, and Companions: The Shadow Life of the Fin - de - Siècle American Lesbian Actress. A dissertation submitted by Helen Deborah Lewis In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Drama Tufts University November 2011. Advisor: Laurence Senelick [8]

Abstract: Johnstone Bennett, Elsie de Wolfe, Ada Dwyer, Elizabeth Marbury and Eleanor Robson were a group of women working in the legitimate theatre in New York from 1890 to 1920. These women enjoyed successful careers and upheld respectable positions as celebrities, socialites, and philanthropists while they maintained intimate relationships with female partners throughout their lives. These “lesbian - l ike” women avoided censure from colleagues, fans, audiences, and the press regarding their female partners during a time when the modern definition of lesbianism was beginning to emerge in the culture. . . .
Through an elaborate, well-researched examination of the life of Mary Casal, author of the autobiography The Stone Wall, [Sherry A.] Darling uncovered an underground lesbian community in New York centered around actresses in the legitimate theatre. Based on her research, Darling believes that one character in Casal’s novel, “Little Ben,” was actually character actress and “masculine woman” Johnstone Bennett, a rising star of her time whose career ended abruptly when she died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-six.
Darling’s doctoral dissertation addresses the late nineteenth-century lesbian Casal (whose real name, Darling discovered, was Ruth Fuller Field), and her acquaintance with male impersonators and actresses of the legitimate stage. Darling describes a section of The Stone Wall in which Field and her lover Emma Altman learn of “an extended lesbian community” through “Little Ben” (presumably Johnstone Bennett), who introduced Field and Altman to a group of lesbian women associated not just with Bennett but also with other professional actresses in New York. Darling’s discovery of Bennett’s affiliations suggests a direct link between lesbian communities in New York and the theatre, a position further explicated by scholars Kim Marra and [Martha] Vicinus. [9]

Library of Congress. Copyright Office. Catalogue of copyright entries: Pamphlets, leaflets, contributions .... Volume 18, Issue 1, 1921, page 210. American literature.

Calistoga district Calif Chamber of commerce. Invitation day, come to California. Feb 14 1921 Post card [5175] [Copyright symbol] Jan 31 1921 2 c and aff Feb 21 1921 A 610574 Ruth Fuller Field Calistoga Cal

New York Times. "HELEN GOULD TO WED A RAILROAD OFFICIAL; Engagement to Finley J. Shepard of St. Louis Announced By G..." Abstract: "The engagement of Miss Helen Miller Gould, known to the Nation as Helen Gould, and as one of the foremost of women philanthropists, to Finley J. Shepard, a railroad man of St. Louis, was announced yesterday afternoon at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Georg... NY Times, December 16, 1912 - Front Page. Quotes from "Miss Field's" article about Helen Gould.

New York Times. "JOHNSTONE BENNETT DEAD.; Actress a Victim of Tuberculosis -- Vainly Tried the "Onion Treatment." April 15, 1906, page 9. 


New York Times. "TEA PARTIES SPLIT Y.W.C.A. OF PARIS; Mrs. Ruth Field, Once Associated with Helen Gould, Forced to Give Up Secretaryship. RELIGION SUBORDINATED Devoted Her Energies to Social Side of the Organization -- Many Members, Sympathizing with Her, Resign." Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times, May 26, 1908, Page 4. ABSTRACT: "PARIS, May 25. -- The Anglo-American branch of the Young Women's Christian Association is now in the throes of a factional fight which may result in a dissolution of the old organization and the formation of an independent society".

Oakland [Californiaa] Tribune, February 18, 1923, page 48. Mentions Ruth Fuller Field as secretary of the Calistoga District Chamber of Commerce.

Sheldon, George. A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts: The Times When the People by Whom it was Settled, Unsettled and Resettled (Press of E.A. Hall & Co., 1896), page 171.

Lists birthdate of Ruth W. Fuller as June 17, 1864. "Casal" gives her birth year as 1864. Sheldon says she married Frank A. Field of "Mont." on February 12, 1887. [10]

Survey, The. Survey Associates, Charity Organization Society of the City of New York, June 13, 1914, volume 32, page 315. "Help Wanted" advertisement: "Would some young woman like entertaining work with boys and girls in a Fresh Air Home this summer? She must love children, be a good disciplinarian, able to play for dancing and singing, take long walks. State salary required. Address Mrs. Ruth Fuller Field, Mohegan Lake, NY"

Survey, The. Survey Associates, Charity Organization Society of the City of New York, August 15, 1914, volume 32, page 513. "Communications" [letters]: Headline: FRESH AIR HOMES. Text:

To the Editor. In answer to my advertisement in the columns of The Survey on June 13 [see above] for an assistant in a fresh air home for children it has been of great interest to read the earnest and enthusiastic letters from over twenty five young women from the North South East and West. Grasping the feeling of the day that in the children lies the hope of the good results of the purity movement so vital in the progressive mind these young women are alive to the fact that there is work to do and for one position to be filled there are a score and more young women who have to await further opportunity.
Social workers are anxious to get the children out of the congested city. It has been found a hard proposition to move families. They would rather huddle together six or seven in a room than to miss the clatter and lights and excitement of the pavements.
It seems one way to move parts of these families at least is to make it possible for every child to spend a few weeks in the country every summer and little by little fill that child with the joy of country life so that by degrees he will influence his family or part of it to share the life permanently.
The great trouble with the fresh air homes today is they are not large or numerous enough to give extended visits to the children. One or two weeks is about the limit to a limited number.
A whole summer with a child in a garden would nine times out of ten create in that child a love for the beautiful in nature a love for his own body and soul created in the image of God and a desire to keep them clean and pure for the glory of God and for the generations to follow.
Ruth Fuller Field / The Incarnation Fresh Air and Convalescent Home / Lake Mohicgan NY"



  1. Description iii, 133 leaves ; 29 cm. Adviser: Laurence Senelick. Submitted to the Dept. of Drama. Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2003. Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 129-133). Accessed April 5, 2012 from:
  2. Accessed April 11, 2012, from
  3. Accessed April 5, 2012 from:
  4. Accessed April 5, 2012 from
  5. Accessed April 5, 2012 from
  6. page 39, accessed April 6, 2012, from:
  7. Accessed April 5, 2012 from
  8. Accessed April 11, 2012 from:
  9. See Kim Marra and Robert A. Schanke, eds, Staging Desire: Queer Readings of American Theater History (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002); Kim Marra, Strange Duets: Impresarios and Actresses in the American Theatre , 1865 - 1914 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006); Martha Vicinus, Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778 - 1928 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
  10. Accessed April 5, 2012 from,+Massachusetts&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HUV-T8CNLY6c8gT92ZWEDg&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false