When Henry Wrote to Jim


Henry Gerber, undated

Gerber Grave.JPG

Henry Gerber's grave in Washington, D.C., photograph by Donald W. McLeod, June 22, 2022


Jim Egan, c 1949. Credit: James Egan fonds F0110-06-001_016, The ArQuives: Canada's LGBTQ2+ Archives, Toronto.


At the beginning of 1951 a brief notice appeared in the popular magazine Writer’s Digest, based in Cincinnati. Jim Egan (1921–2000), a gay man from Toronto, was trying to reach out to other men who might be admirers of the homosexual French writer André Gide and perhaps meet some new gay correspondents. The notice was seen by Henry Gerber, of Washington, D.C., who replied by letter to Egan on January 16, 1951. Gerber (1892–1972) was indeed interested in Gide and replied that he had several books in English translation by him in his library, including Corydon, The Immoralist, The Journals, and Oscar Wilde. In this first letter, Gerber’s opinionated personality came to the fore and he guessed that Egan might be interested in the broad subject of homosexuality itself: "On account of his outspoken homosexuality Gide received a scant press here from the hypocritical, stupid, uncivilized editors. As you perhaps know, homosexuals are haunted [sic, hunted] about and persecuted."[1] Gerber stated that he was a retired army man living in the U.S. Soldiers’ Home (now the Armed Forces Retirement Home) and that he had plenty of time to correspond. He included a small portrait photograph of himself pasted at the top of the letter.

Thus began a brief correspondence with Egan that lasted until May 9, 1951, with a total of eleven letters sent by Gerber. These letters survive in the papers of Egan at The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives in Toronto. Egan was generally meticulous about keeping carbon copies of his typed correspondence, but for some reason he did not do this for any of his correspondence with Gerber. Only the Gerber side of the correspondence has survived, but we can extrapolate from it what they discussed. This paper examines the highlights of these letters, proceeding chronologically through the correspondence.

Neither man at the time would have appreciated the import of their connection. On the one side was Gerber, pioneering American gay activist, co-founder of the first homosexual organization in the United States (The Society for Human Rights, Chicago, 1924–25), and publisher of the first-known American gay periodical (Friendship and Freedom, Chicago, 1924–25). Gerber’s activism was heavily influenced by the German homophile groups and publications that thrived during the Weimar Republic, which he had experienced directly. After the disastrous police suppression of The Society for Human Rights in 1925, in which Gerber was financially ruined and also lost employment, he was more cautious. He still wrote articles defending homosexuality, however, sometimes using a pseudonym, in the periodicals Chanticleer, Modern Thinker, and in the homophile press. Gerber conducted a large correspondence, and was the director for more than ten years of Contacts, an organization that promoted pen-pal relationships.[2]

Jim Egan, a much younger man, was just starting out as a gay activist. In 1949 he began to write letters to the editor in response to sensational or misleading articles on homosexuality in mainstream local newspapers such as the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Daily Star, and the Toronto Telegram. None of these early letters were published, but Egan did not give up. Throughout 1950 he wrote letters to mainstream American publications (Coronet, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents’ Magazine, and Redbook), pitching story ideas that depicted homosexuality in an honest and straightforward fashion. All were rejected. Finally, in December 1950 Egan succeeded in having the article “I Am a Homosexual” published in the American men’s magazine Sir!, using the pseudonym, Leo Engle. Larger successes soon followed, including the seven-part series “Aspects of Homosexuality” in the Toronto tabloid True News Times (TNT), November 19–December 31, 1951, followed by the twelve-part series “Homosexual Concepts” in Justice Weekly, December 5, 1953–February 27, 1954, and by an untitled fifteen-part series in Justice Weekly, March 6–June 12, 1954.

Egan certainly made his mark in the tabloid press and is considered to be Canada’s pioneering gay activist. He continued his letter-writing campaign until 1964, when he and his partner, Jack Nesbit, decided to move to Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, to establish a biological supply company specializing in marine specimens. Egan was soon involved in the environmental movement, and in 1981–93 was one of the first openly gay men elected to public office in Canada as regional director of Electoral Area B of the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona. In 1985 Egan and Nesbit formed the Comox branch of the Island Gay Society. Their most important work was still to come, when in 1987 they applied for a spousal allowance benefit provided under Canada’s Old Age Security Act. The claim was denied, which set the stage for a court challenge test case under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case went through the courts, and although on May 25, 1995, the Supreme Court of Canada ultimately denied their claim, the justices ruled that “sexual orientation” could be read into the Charter as a prohibited ground of discrimination, thus protecting Canadians from any subsequent discrimination based on sexual orientation.[3]

The Letters

Egan replied to Gerber’s first letter on January 20, 1951, and Gerber replied on January 27, 1951. In this second letter Gerber expounded on his theories of why homosexuals were persecuted, blaming religion and politics in particular. He was generally outraged when he discussed religion, and sometimes made anti-Semitic comments, as was the case here: "You know of course that our unnatural Christian religion is based on the superstitions of the ancient sheepherders of Palestine and they have a law which says that it is an abomination for man to lie with man as with women."[4]    

Gerber also made blunt and provocative comments on political reasons for discrimination against homosexuals. These are remarkable in that they were made in only his second letter to a man he barely knew: "The real reason why homosexuality is being suppressed is the political maxim that sex pleasure is only a prerogative of a married man. The politicians have made marriage and the home the basis for our civilization. Thus, any extra-marital sex act is prohibited…. The politicians perhaps realize that if man were permitted to seek his sex pleasure where he pleased, he would not bother to take the yoke of matrimony upon himself, forcing himself to restrict his sex outlets to one woman. As long as men do have intercourse it is up to women to hold her man, that is to make him marry her."[5] Egan must have mentioned in his letter his attempts to fight unfair depictions of homosexuality in the mainstream press. Gerber was resolutely pessimistic: “You are running up against a brick wall in trying to correct the distorted picture the press and society is giving of the homosexual.” He then recalled some of his own efforts in this area: "I managed to publish several such letters in magazines but what good does that do? I had the same experience two years ago when I sent in a letter to the American Mercury in which I gave a list of distortions. The average person is believed to have the idea that homosexuality means 'perversion.' He never hears the term heterosexual or bisexual, and does not know that they, the heteros and bis, also practice the same perversions as some homosexuals do."[6]

Egan replied to Gerber sometime before February 7, 1951, the date of Gerber’s next letter. Egan wrote something that set Gerber off, and which Gerber would come back to throughout the rest of his letters. Egan and Gerber disagreed on whether homosexuality was inborn or acquired. Egan was for the inborn theory, a staunch essentialist; he may have been influenced in this by the fact that his only sibling, Charles Egan, was also gay.[7] Gerber, however, was devoted to homosexuality as an acquired trait: "On the whole I agree with you on everything you said and wrote, except on the 'inborn' nature of homosexuality. I still believe it is acquired just as heterosexuality and bisexuality are acquired." Gerber’s somewhat meandering defense of his position continued throughout the four-page letter. His basic stance was summed up in one sentence: “My theory is that everyone is bisexual and it depends on childhood experiences whether a man becomes homo or hetero.” Gerber declared that he was exclusively homosexual and wrote about his own example: "I myself was brought up in Bavaria which is 100% Roman Catholic and girls and boys were segregated in school and the preacher told us that it is a sin to have sex with girls. So I formed an early sexual relationship with boys of 10 and 11 when I was initiated in the Holy Sacrament of Masturbation (mutual and solitary)."[8] He listed other thoughts to support his viewpoint, and sprinkled the text with references to sexologists Magnus Hirschfeld and Alfred Kinsey.

Near the end of the February 7, 1951, letter he changed tack to discuss his arrest for gay activism in Chicago in 1925: "My arrest came about like this in Chicago, July 1925: I had spent three years with the Army of Occupation in Germany and while there met many homosexuals, German, French, Belgian, American, British, etc. There were at that time—1920–1923—several German homosexual magazines printed in Berlin and I subscribed to them. They had a strong lobby in the Reichstag and succeeded in removing from the lawbooks any punishment of homosexuals till Hitler came and made a retrogressing step by increasing penalties. Back in the U.S. I got an idea to try this same thing in the U.S. and with a few fellow homosexuals started The Society for Human Rights and we got a State Charter from Illinois. I also started publishing a little magazine (which merely discussed homosexuality academically), Friendship and Freedom, but one of the copies got into the hands of the police and one night we were all arrested in our homes singly and sent to prison. We had three trials and the judge at first was very hypocritical. As they had no evidence of homosexual acts except one man, they could do nothing but fine us for disorderly conduct, maximum $200 fine. But I got a lawyer and we got out of it. It cost me all my savings and I lost my job at the Post Office over it. None of the homos helped me! The Hearst papers in Chicago had a big headline Strange Sex Cult Exposed and lied about us, saying that our purpose was to keep men from women!!!"[9]

Gerber’s years in the U.S. military were followed by other experiences in different countries that influenced his thinking. He liked to travel, and his letters were filled with talk of escapades in other cities. In the February 7, 1951, letter, for example, he wrote as an aside about one of these adventures: "I made a visit to Montreal in 1935 and met some homosexuals there but as I stayed only over night I had a very disappointing affair. The fellow told me that a certain Quebec senator kept a homosexual bar open, Les Trois Grenadiers, but there was no one there in the early afternoon."[10]

Gerber’s subsequent letters returned to some of the topics he had explored in his earlier correspondence with Egan, underscoring his interest in the causes of homosexuality and the significance of transnational gay networks. His fourth letter was dated February 25, 1951, in reply to Egan’s letter of February 17. Much of the two-pages contained another meandering discussion of the nature of homosexuality, with some mention of the work of psychiatrist Abraham Myerson. On page two he made an interesting expansion on his earlier comments on The Society for Human Rights and the transnational contacts that he had once enjoyed: "At the time when I conducted the Society of [sic, for] Human Rights in Chicago in 1925, I was in touch with a French organization who put out a magazine called Amitie, Friendship, on the order of my magazine, Friendship and Freedom. I also was in touch with the German and the Holland organization, the latter conducted by Mynherr Baron von Schorer [sic, Jacob Anton Schorer].[11] I lost touch with them long ago. There was (or is) also a British Society on that order conducted by Norman Haire.[12] I used to belong to them and I have more of their publications. But I think they were suppressed like I was."[13]

Gerber also began writing to Egan about the need for gay people to be sexually cautious. Although he was not necessarily opposed to cruising for sex, he advocated vigilance and discretion, and could be quite conservative in this regard: "My solution is that homosexuals and bisexuals should stay among themselves—any trade is bisexual—and they are almost immune to arrest.[14] I find that almost all the men ever arrested are those extremists who carry on in public parks or toilets and you cannot blame the authorities for arresting them. But if you do your loving in your own apartment with the consent of the partner, nobody will bother you. Of course, some stupid fairies advertise themselves too openly and they usually get in dirt."[15] Gerber closed the letter by mentioning that he would leave soon for a visit to Europe in May and hoped to visit Paris, asking Egan to supply the address of Marc Dufour, a Parisian man with whom Egan had been corresponding.[16]

Egan replied to Gerber, who wrote again on March 5, 1951, a long letter of four pages. Gerber had been lending various booklets to Egan, which Egan read and returned, including works by the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology (BSSSP), later the British Sexological Society. Gerber was nothing if not well-read in the field of sexology, and his letters contained numerous references to the writings and theories of sexologists. In this letter alone he mentioned Havelock Ellis, René Guyon, Norman Haire, and Magnus Hirschfeld, along with recent works by novelists Stuart Engstrand (The Sling and the Arrow) and Gore Vidal (The City and the Pillar).

Gerber and Egan also discussed the work of American sexologist David Oliver (D.O.) Cauldwell, an editorial contributor to Sexology magazine. By coincidence, Egan had been corresponding with Cauldwell during the same time as his correspondence with Gerber, and four of his letters survive in the Egan fonds at The ArQuives.[17] Gerber was generally dismissive of Cauldwell’s ideas and called out contradictions in his work: "People like Cauldwell of course have two different opinions, private and official. I see where Cauldwell though he thinks that homosexuality is not a disease and therefore not 'curable' still thinks that homosexuals are so because they failed to progress normally. But I think this is nonsense."[18]

Notwithstanding his comments about the need for gay people to exercise sexual caution, Gerber was not afraid to be open about his own desires, even to a relatively new correspondent acquaintance, and closed his fifth letter to Egan with a remarkably personal statement about his own sexual history: "I fear though that in France homosexuality is just physical and not idealistic like I would have it, that is friendship and sex but not just sex no matter who it is. Yes, I had several steady friends but they never lasted long. This was when I was young. Then I had several prostitutes live with me from time to time but by that time I became very promiscuous and soon got tired of them. I think prostitution is the best method to get yours. You pay the price and are rid of the person till you want him again and they will not do you dirt as this is their profession and they like to keep a good customer or if they did dirt they would not last long. But I am sure you do not agree to this. As I always said: First I was looking for ideal friends and from the habit of looking I just got to keep looking for sex. Prostitution also has the advantage that you are not required to 'fix them up.' I met some very nice boys that way and they are as a rule professionally expert. I never was a one-man-lover and have played the field."[19]

Letter six from Gerber, dated March 28, 1951, included additional discussion of sexual mores and theories over its four pages. The bashing of Cauldwell continued: “He is putting on a sit-on-the-fence act especially in his articles in Sexology magazine.” He also made reference to a recent re-reading of Sartre’s The Age of Reason. As a retired man Gerber worked on his own schedule but managed to keep busy all the time: "In the morning I read the paper, then work on my autobiography—14 volumes so far—and listen in to classical music from 10–11, then write a letter or two and work on my French refresher course. After dinner read till supper."[20]  

Gerber’s mention of the volumes of his autobiography is interesting. What were they exactly, and whatever became of them? He gave a hint as to their content in letter seven, April 10, 1951: "My autobiography while defending homosexuality does not go into sex details. It is more of the nature of a travel book and my experiences in the Army. Of course, it is not for publication. It is only a pastime project to keep me busy."[21]

Jim Elledge discusses Gerber’s autobiography in An Angel in Sodom (2023) and is unclear about whether it has survived. Some of Gerber’s correspondence and papers were saved by his friend Manuel boyFrank, who donated them to gay historian and archivist Jim Kepner in 1974. Many of Gerber’s works, including his four books in manuscript, were subsequently broken up into parts and haphazardly filed. Kepner’s archive merged with ONE (now the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries, Los Angeles) in 1994, and the surviving papers remain there.[22] I tried to find out if there might have still been papers or the autobiographical volumes in Gerber’s possession at his death in 1972, but this is unlikely. Gerber’s one-page last will and testament, dated November 1, 1967, stated plainly that “books, diaries, etc.” should be sent to his sister, Mrs. Mary Gutmann, of Chicago.[23] A probate document filed by Mary Gutmann on May 14, 1973, included an inventory of Gerber’s effects. Other than more than $42,000 kept in various savings and checking accounts, the total value of his “personal effects” was only $50.00, and the autobiographical volumes were not listed.[24]  

After the initial reference to his autobiography, Gerber’s subsequent letters returned to some of his favorite themes. In letter seven Gerber mentioned Egan’s description of a gay bar in Toronto that Egan had supplied in his April 7, 1951, reply to Gerber. Gerber’s conservative notions and prejudices about specific gender and sexual types erupted in comments about “dizzy bitches” who “carry on in their acquired delusion that they are women!”[25] He continued: "I do not drink or mix with the obvious fairies and my earlier experiences were that one only gets mixed up in their crazy stunts. But of course the genuine homosexual does not carry on like that. Like in everything else there are extremes and the law is not only not suppressing homosexuality but breeding a circle of minorities who in self-defence exaggerate their being minorities just as in a fascist country there is always an underground."[26] 

At this time Gerber was preparing to go to Europe on vacation and took the opportunity to downsize his library collection. He sold books, gave away copies to the library, and mailed copies to friends. He had been generous with mailing pamphlets and clippings to Egan and finally sent Gide’s Journals to Egan, two volumes of which survive in the library that Egan donated to The ArQuives.[27]

Gerber’s eighth letter, April 13, 1951, firmed up the date of his departure for Europe, April 24. Although he had written to Marc Dufour in Paris, Gerber had not received a reply.

A ninth letter, April 16, 1951, acknowledged a letter from Egan, just received. Here Gerber wrote more about the ongoing downsizing of his library. He had kept about fifty books, but had to pack all of his possessions into storage at the Old Soldiers’ Home for the duration of his upcoming three-month vacation. He declared, though, that “As to my autobiography and clippings, etc. I am going to keep them but lost much interest in our cause as it seems hopeless.”[28] Gerber was continuing to plan his trip, including perhaps visiting the headquarters of Der Kreis/The Circle in Zurich[29], and trying to make gay contacts in cities such as Copenhagen, Munich, and Vienna.

Gerber wrote a tenth letter to Egan on April 23, 1951, the day before his departure for Europe and the same day he received a letter from Egan. Gerber confirmed that he had the address of Der Kreis/The Circle in Zurich and intended to visit them: “Will be in Zurich to investigate the organization if still in existence. They are very secret about their meeting places.”[30]

The final letter from Gerber in the correspondence with Egan was written from Passau, Bavaria, Gerber’s birthplace, on May 9, 1951. He remarked that Egan’s airmail letter of May 4 had just arrived. Gerber began with an account of the ocean crossing and confirmed that he had received a reply from Der Kreis/The Circle, inviting him to visit their office in Zurich. Gerber was impressed with their mission, which he quoted: "Their policy seems to be 'to avoid every loud propaganda intended for public consumption because our kind of attraction is for the time being still confronted by much misunderstanding and would cause rejection at this time, which rejection it would be impossible for our small minority to meet. The main thing for us to do at this time is to accomplish, by means of the Kreis, forming supernational comradeships, without any drum beating, unknown to the majority of people, in order to lift the loneliness of so many homoerotes, to make it possible for us to find connections with people you can trust.'”[31] Gerber was keen to visit Der Kreis/The Circle, but stated that he would wait until meeting them to subscribe to the magazine.

In his letter, Egan had invited Gerber to visit Toronto and, although Gerber said he might be able to do this later in the year, it never happened.[32] Gerber’s letter commented on his own family and further travel plans. He planned to visit Bad Gastein, Austria, with his brother to take in the healing, radioactive waters. He also planned to visit Vienna and Rome, and in June to visit Switzerland for fifteen days, travel down the Rhine, visit Paris, and embark by ship for New York on July 17.

Gerber closed the letter with remarks on the handsome young men he had seen on his travels, including a friendly young train conductor and “some very handsome blond boys” who were “very friendly.” Gerber still appreciated male beauty, but he had to be on his best behavior, as “my brother has a high position here and one is on the police force and so I want no trouble.” The letter ended with an aside that he had been out in the country with his brother, who had a little farm and planted tomatoes. A handwritten remark in the margin declared: “Most of the men and boys wear leather pants up almost to the crotch. But the leather is too stiff to show.”[33]


What are we to make of this brief correspondence between two of the most important early gay activists in North America? It is a shame that the reply letters from Egan do not survive as they would have allowed for a fuller understanding of the connection between the two men. Thirty-five years after their correspondence, Egan recounted in an interview: "[Henry Gerber and I] corresponded quite a bit. He said he would send me a copy of his early magazine, but never did. He left the U.S. and went to Germany, and that’s the last I heard from him. Gerber sent me some books: two of André Gide’s Journals, plus a copy of Gide’s If It Die, and a copy of Corydon. We corresponded quite a lot and disagreed quite a bit on some things. For instance, I still firmly believe that homosexuality is a matter of genetics, that one is born absolutely destined to be a homosexual. I don’t give a damn what kind of environment you grow up in, although I would readily admit that youthful environment may very well have a great deal to do with what kind of a homosexual you turn out to be. Whether you are self-accepting and whatever. Or whether you are a real snivelling closet case. I certainly think it could determine what kind you are. I think the greatest fallacy in that environmental explanation is that every environment of which we have any record whatever from the earliest recorded history has produced homosexuals. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Gerber and I got into this at great length."[34]

In the correspondence, Gerber came across as brash, opinionated, conservative, and with firmly held beliefs, obsessions, and prejudices.[35] I also would suspect that he was lonely, with a sense of isolation and defeat, and still bitter about his treatment in 1925 and the debacle of The Society for Human Rights. And yet, he was well read, fully engaged in the latest gay-related news and publications, still interested in international travel and in transnational gay activities and organizing, and continuing to admire pretty young men. Gerber was certainly outgoing, looking for intelligent correspondents, and generous with sharing books and pamphlets with deserving friends.

The years 1950–52 saw enormous developments in the birth of a sustained gay movement in the United States, with the official foundation of The Mattachine Society in Los Angeles in 1950–51, followed by the founding of ONE, Inc., in October 1952.[36] These developments would certainly have buoyed the spirits of both Gerber and Egan, and they both eventually became involved with the new organizations. Egan and Jack Nesbit attended the fifth Midwinter Institute of ONE, Inc., in Los Angeles, January 30–February 1, 1959, where they met many leading homophile activists. Egan was inspired by these contacts to write articles and a letter for ONE Magazine, published between 1959 and 1961.[37] As mentioned earlier, Gerber published his memoir of The Society for Human Rights in ONE Magazine.[38] One hopes that the brief correspondence between Henry Gerber and Jim Egan helped to galvanize both men to move forward in their pioneering quest to support and expand gay friendship and freedom.   

Thanks to Harold Averill, Lucie Handley-Girard, and Daniel Payne of The ArQuives, Toronto, for assistance. 

[1] Henry Gerber to Jim Egan, January 16, 1951, 1. James Egan fonds F0110–02–005. The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives, Toronto.

[2] Gerber’s life and activism are examined in Jim Elledge, An Angel in Sodom: Henry Gerber and the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2023). For more on Gerber’s political organizing see Marc Stein, Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, second ed. (New York: Routledge, 2023), 45–48.

[3] Egan’s life and activism are detailed in Jim Egan, Challenging the Conspiracy of Silence: My Life as a Canadian Gay Activist, compiled and edited by Donald W. McLeod (Toronto: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives and Homewood Books, 1998).

[4] Gerber to Egan, January 27, 1951, 1. Gerber’s anti-Semitic comments have been noted before. See Stein, Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, 48, and Elledge, An Angel in Sodom, 149, 217.

[5] Gerber to Egan, January 27, 1951, 1. Sexism and misogyny were also present in Gerber’s correspondence, as we see here. See Elledge, 195–96. Gerber also occasionally used casually racist terms, as he did in his March 28, 1951, letter to Egan, 3.

[6] Gerber to Egan, January 27, 1951, 2. Gerber was alluding to acts such as oral and anal sex.

[7] Egan, Challenging the Conspiracy of Silence, 36.

[8] Gerber to Egan, February 7, 1951, 1.

[9] Gerber to Egan, February 7, 1951, 3–4. See also “Girl Reveals Strange Cult Run by Dad,” Chicago Evening American, July 13, 1925, 11. This news item was mentioned later in at least one non-Chicago newspaper; “Strange Cult Is Revealed by Girl,” The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, Ca.), August 27, 1925, available through Newspapers.com. Gerber’s arrest and its aftermath were examined in detail by Elledge, An Angel in Sodom, 44–57. Gerber’s recollections of The Society for Human Rights were published in ONE Magazine, first as a brief letter, G. S. Washington. D.C. [Henry Gerber], letter, ONE Magazine (Los Angeles) 1, no. 7 (July 1953): 22, and later in an expanded version under his own name, Henry Gerber, “The Society for Human Rights—1925,” ONE Magazine 10, no. 9 (September 1962): 5–11. This was reprinted in Jonathan Katz’s Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (New York: Crowell, 1976), 385–97.

[10] Gerber to Egan, February 7, 1951, 4.

[11] Jacob Anton Schorer (1866–1957) was the co-founder of the first Dutch gay emancipation group, the Niederländische Abteilung of the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (WhK), in 1912. See Theo van der Meer, Jacob Anton Schorer: A Biography of Homosexuality (Amsterdam: Schorer Boeken, 2007). 

[12] Likely the Sexual Reform Society, formed by Haire after World War II. For more on Haire (1892–1952), see Diana Wyndham, Norman Haire and the Study of Sex (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2012).

[13] Gerber to Egan, February 25, 1951, 2. There is a growing literature on homophile transnational connections. See, for example, the U.S. Homophile Internationalism issue of Journal of Homosexuality 67, no 7 (2017), including Marc Stein, “Introduction: U.S. Homophile Internationalism,” 843–49. See also David S. Churchill, “Transnationalism and Homophile Political Culture in the Postwar Decades,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 15, no. 1 (2009): 31–66; Leila J. Rupp, “The Persistence of Transnational Organizing: The Case of the Homophile Movement,” American Historical Review 116, no. 4 (2011): 1014–39; and Marc Stein et al., U.S. Homophile Internationalism: Archive and Exhibit, 1953–1964 (OutHistory, 2015, http://outhistory.org/exhibits/show/us-homophile).   

[14] His comment here about bisexuals is interesting as it was the bisexual Al Meininger and his family who had caused trouble for The Society for Human Rights and let to the group’s betrayal. See Elledge, An Angel in Sodom, 39, 45–46.

[15] Gerber to Egan, February 25, 1951, 2.

[16] These letters were published three years before the establishment of the Association Arcadie, which is credited as the first gay organization in France. The French contact was Marc Dufour, identified in Gerber’s letter of March 28, 1951, 3. For more on Arcadie, see Julian Jackson, Living in Arcadia: Homosexuality, Politics, and Morality in France from the Liberation to AIDS (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).

[17] D. O. Cauldwell to Jim Egan, February 26, March 12, April 5, and April 23, 1951. James Egan fonds F0110–02–007, The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives, Toronto.

[18] Gerber to Egan, March 5, 1951, 2.

[19] Gerber to Egan, March 5, 1951, 3–4.

[20] Gerber to Egan, March 28, 1951, 1.

[21] Gerber to Egan, April 10, 1951, 1.

[22] See Elledge, An Angel in Sodom, xiv.

[23] Last Will and Testament of Henry Gerber, Washington, D.C., November 1, 1967. A copy was provided by the Office of the Register of Wills, Clerk of the Probate Division, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. 20001. 

[24] Estate of Henry Gerber, a/k/a Joseph Henry Dittmar. Order for Probate and Administration Cum Testamento Annexo with Nominal Undertaking. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, May 14, 1973, 5. A copy was provided by the Office of the Register of Wills, Clerk of the Probate Division, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. 20001.  

[25] Such comments indicate prejudice against non-masculine gay men and trans people. 

[26] Gerber to Egan, April 10, 1951, 1–2.

[27] The volumes contain separate bookplates of both Gerber and Egan.

[28] Gerber to Egan, April 16, 1951, 1.

[29] For more on Der Kreis/The Circle see Hubert Kennedy, The Ideal Gay Man: The Story of Der Kreis (New York: Routledge, 1999).

[30] Gerber to Egan, April 23, 1951, 1.

[31] Gerber to Egan, May 9, 1951, 1.  

[32] Gerber to Egan, May 9, 1951, 1.

[33] Gerber to Egan, May 9, 1951, 2.

[34] Jim Egan to Philip McLeod, April 18, 1986. Audio cassette, accession 2012–108/01T. The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives, Toronto.

[35] These character traits are mentioned in references throughout Elledge’s An Angel in Sodom.

[36] For more on the Mattachine Society see John D’Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); James T. Sears, Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation (New York: Harrington Park Press, 2006); Stuart Timmons, The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement (Boston: Alyson, 1990). For more on ONE, Inc., see C. Todd White, Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights (Champagne: University of Illinois Press, 2009), as well as the chapters in “Part II: Organizational Activists” in Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, edited by Vern L. Bullough (New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002).

[37] Egan, Challenging the Conspiracy of Silence, 66. The publications were: Jim Egan, “So the Chief of Police Said to the Royal Commission …,” ONE Magazine 7, no. 10 (October 1959): 10–13; Jim Egan, “Homosexual Marriage—Fact or Fancy?, ONE Magazine 7, no. 12 (December 1959): 6–9; Jim Egan, “Readers on Writers” (letter), ONE Magazine 8, no. 6 (June 1960): 6–8; Jim Egan, “Blueprint for Partnership,” ONE Magazine 9, no. 11 (November 1961): 20–23. There was considerable Canadian content, including articles and letters, in the American homophile press, as documented by Marc Stein, “Sex with Neighbors: Canada and Canadians in the U.S. Homophile Press,” Journal of Homosexuality 64, no. 7 (2017): 963–90, and Marc Stein, “Introduction to Canada in the U.S. Homophile Press, 1953–64,” in Marc Stein et al., U.S. Homophile Internationalism: Archive and Exhibit, 1953–1964 (OutHistory, 2015).

[38] Gerber, “The Society for Human Rights—1925,” ONE Magazine.