In 1864, John William Sterling graduated from Yale College. About 1870, in his mid-twenties, Sterling met James Orville Bloss, who was three years younger. The two formed a relationship of almost 50 years and lived together in New York City for most of that time.
A four-person team of volunteer community-based researchers provided OutHistory with the results of their voluminous research into the lives of Sterling and Bloss. Their work, published originally by OutHistory in 2016, supplements and continues the research begun by Jonathan Ned Katz on OutHistory in the feature "An Understanding. . .Held them Together."