Hunting Homosexuals at U.S. Schools, Colleges, Universities: Bibliography

If you know of additional purges of homosexuals from U.S. schools, colleges, and universities, please email a full citation to

Last edited April 18, 2016 12:30 pm EST

Beard, James. According to biographer Robert Clark, James was expelled during 1922, his freshman year at Reed, after having affairs with "one or more male students and a professor." He was kicked out for being gay--a clear victim of prejudice. Robert Clark, James Beard: A Biography (NY: Harpercollins, Nvember, 1993).  Editor's Note, Reed College Magazine: Beard

"spent the bulk of his freshman year at Reed and cut a distinctive figure on campus. He won a prize for a Halloween dance costume in full drag, took part in operatic productions, was elected as the treasurer of the freshman class. Then, according to his biographer Robert Clark, he 'became lovers with one or more male students and a professor' and was subsequently expelled. Unfortunately, we found nothing in the archives to shed further light on this episode, and Jim does not mention it in his autobiography. But there is little doubt that his time at Reed left a deep impression. After his death in 1985, he bequeathed most of his estate, including his collection of cookbooks, to the college, creating the James Beard Scholarship Fund. Reed presented him with an honorary degree in 1976. 'There’s no doubt that Jim was expelled from Reed,' says lawyer (and former Reed trustee) Morris Galen, who represented Jim for the last 15 years of his life and helped draft his will. “But he wasn’t the kind of person to dwell on that. He held no animosity at all, not when I knew him. He felt very good about Reed, and was thrilled when he was awarded an honorary degree.” 

Blount, Jackie M. "Homosexuality and School Superintendents: A Brief History." Journal of School Leadership, January 2003. PDF accessed March 30, 2016 from: 

Burns, Kenneth. "A new chapter: Look who's joining the UW's old-school Greeks: Openly gay guys." April 12, 2007.  Accessed March 30, 2016 from  Cites: case of gay University of Wisconsin employees being dismissed. The purge was an ugly episode whose details were told by a former UW student to Ron McCrea, now the senior news editor of The Capital Times, in a 1978 issue of the Midwest Gay Academic Journal. The student singled out Dean of Men Theodore Zillman, who said, 'We can't allow admitted homosexuals on this campus. It's not good for the campus.'  See more at:

Charles, Douglas M. Hoover's War on Gays: Exposing the FBI's "Sex Deviates" Program (University of Kansas Press, September 18, 2015). Recounts the FBI's involvement in rooting out homosexuals and "subversives" from institutions of higher learning in October 1954, and specifically at New York University and George Washington University (page 108; notes 120 and 121, page 385). On this same incident also see the OutHistory entry dated 1954, October 22 at:

Chauncey, George.  "Gay at Yale: How things changed." Yale Alumni Magazine, July/August 2009. Re Yale psychiatrist Clements Fry: "Fry realized there were many self-accepting gay students and faculty at Yale, men who, as Fry wrote in 1945, "work through quickly to an acceptance of their homosexuality and of sexual activity" and who "contribute greatly" to society. Unlike McCarthy and the Eisenhower administration officials who tried to purge homosexuals from the federal government in the 1950s, neither Fry nor other Yale administrators tried to purge gays from the university. But they did worry about gays seducing impressionable young men into the homosexual life. As Fry wrote, "Within the university [these homosexual students] acted as a magnet, attracting other homosexuals and exercising an influence over those who were not consciously homosexual or whose sex lives were unorganized . . . . They constituted a threat to others." Accessed March 30, 2016 from

Crohn, Cindy. Out from Under the Kudzu: A Southern Woman’s Memoir (Publisher: C. Crohn, 2009) 247 pages. Rumors about a "Lebanese" music teacher being a "lesbian," suggesting the uninformed level of discourse that was circulating at the College at that time: 118-122; James Hanschumacher's love letter to a male left in a library book; his purge, and his telling a friend that "being forced out of Mississippi Southern was the best thing that ever happened to his career": 172-73. DrJames Hanschumacher was the chairman of the music education department at the University of Southern California, and had a successful career as a music educator. See references to the love letter found in a library book in McCain's Journal reproduced on 

D’Emilio, John.  Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University (New York: Routledge, 1992).

Dilley, Patrick. Queer Man on Campus: A History of Non-Heterosexual College Men, 1945–2000 (New York: Routledge Falmer, 2002).

Dorius, Joel. My Four Lives: An Academic Life Shattered By Scandal (Country Press, 2004). See Werth, below.

Francis, Charles. "Mississippi 'Oddballs & Homos'." HuffingtonPost.com03/09/2016 12:06 pm ET, Updated Mar 09, 2016. Accessed October 1, 2016 from [Purging of Dr. Earnest A. Smith, President of the historically all-black Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi, a historically all-black college, based on an investigation by the the state’s “Sovereignty Commission” which, in 1964, denigrated him as a suspected “queer” leading a faculty ridden with “homos”.]

Graves, Karen L. And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009. Cloth: ISBN 978-0-252-03438-1; Paper: ISBN 978-0-252-07639-8.

Howard, John. Men Like That: A Southern Queer History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Khan, Molly, and Kristen Schumacher. [Universitiy of Wisconsin Oral Histories.] "LGBT Podcast Transcript. Announcer/Schumacher: Welcome to UW—Madison’s Campus Voices. Our mission is to capture, present, and preserve some of the strongest historical stories and memories of UW— Madison through the people who lived them. Campus Voices, a project of the UW—Madison Archives & Records Management Services, consists of presenting extant archival material in 21st century publishable formats. The following clips have been selected from a collection of over 25 interviews that comprise the UW Oral History Program’s series on the Madison LGBT community from 1960 to the present. Alongside these clips, our historical consultant, Scott Seyforth, will be providing narration. These audio and visual resources were created in collaboration by Molly Khan—a graduate student in the library sciences program—and myself, Kristen Schumacher, an undergraduate here at UW. This project is funded in part by a grant from the New Harvest Foundation, Incorporated, and we would like to thank them for their outstanding generosity." Accessed March 30, 2016 from:

Mushroom, Merril. "Merril Mushroom . . . arrived in Gainesville in September 1958 to attend the University of Florida. She had already witnessed the Johns Committee's tactics in Miami Beach. There had been raids on gay bars and Merril knew that she would have to keep quiet about her sexuality while she was in Gainesville. Merril often escaped to Tampa for the weekend where she stayed with other lesbians and frequented the bars (photo at right). She lived in the dorms and one day was questioned about some thefts that had occurred. Police suspected Merril because she always seemed to have money to go out of town. Merril told the police officer that she and her "boyfriend" went to Tampa together and stayed with some friends. The police officer continued to question her about her excursions. Finally, Merril admitted the friends were lesbians. The officer wanted her to become an informant for the Johns Committee, telling Merril how sick her friends were and how she could help them. "I wanted to throw up, but I was so relieved he had bought my boyfriend story. I told him I would think about it. At the end of the semester, I got the hell out of there and transferred to the University of Miami. I never explained why." Accessed March 31, 2016 from:

Nash, Margaret A. "The Hidden History of Gay Purges in Colleges," Huffington Post12/11/2015 04:40 pm ET | Updated Dec 13, 2015. Purges at University of Texas (1944); University of Wisconsin (1948); University of Missouri (1948).

Nash, Margaret A. and Jennifer A. R. Silverman, “‘An Indelible Mark’: Gay Purges in Higher Education in the 1940s,” History of Education Quarterly 55 (4) (Nov 2015), pp. 441-459. Purges at University of Texas (1944); University of Wisconsin (1948); University of Missouri (1948).

Nealon, Sean. "The Hidden History of Gay Purges at Colleges." UCR Today, November 17, 2015. Interview with Margaret A. Nash.

Nicholson, Peter. "Out of the Past: Oberlin graduate Joey Plaster takes steps to record and preserve Oberlin’s LGBT history." Accessed October 1, 2016 from:

Oberlin College LGBT Community History Project. See especially: "Bibliography of Campus LGBT Histories" accessed October 1, 2016 from:at:

Penelope, Julia: "attended Florida State University in 1959. One day she was called in to see the Dean of Women. The dean knew Julia was a lesbian and told her that she had to see a counselor. The dean then decided it would be best if Julia transferred to the Univeristy of Miami. She could come back to F.S.U. once things had cooled down. Julia transferred to Miami, but was expelled eight weeks after classes began." Accessed March 31, 2016 from:

Reeves, Carlton W., United States District Judge. Opinion in CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY v. PHIL BRYANT, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Mississippi, November 25, 2014. Accessed October 1, 2016 from [Cites purging of Dr. Earnest A. Smith, President of the historically all-black Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi, a historically all-black college, based on an investigation by the the state’s “Sovereignty Commission” which, in 1964, denigrated him as a suspected “queer” leading a faculty ridden with “homos”.]

Tsang, Daniel. "Gay Ann Arbor Purges." Midwest Gay Academic Journal 1/1 (April 1977). Accessed April 5, 2016 from:

Tsang, Daniel. "Ann Arbor Gay Purges: Part 2." Midwest Gay Academic Journal 1/2 (1977). Accessed April 5, 2016 from:

Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit installed cameras in the men's bathrooms in State Hall during the 60s/70s designed to frustrate homosexual activity there. News clippings from university and City newspapers, and perhaps some records, may be found in the University Archives housed in the Reuther Library on the WSU Detroit campus.There was also attempted persecution of faculty that was frustrated during WSU President Hilberry's administration I believe. Hilberry himself died of heart failure in a NYC Gay bath house, which was covered up as he was heterosexually married. The University's celebrated Theater is named for him. <Citations to sources needed.> 

Werth, Barry. The Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin: A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal. Nan A. Talese; 1st edition April 17, 2001. [The police charged Arvin with "being a lewd person" and charged both him and a Smith faculty colleague, Edward Spofford, with "possession of obscene photographs." Police said Arvin led them to Spofford and that both implicated other male faculty members. The only other faculty member caught up in the police sweep was Joel Dorius. Edward "Ned" Spofford (born 1931, died, February 17, 2014) continued teaching literature at Stanford College after his termination as professor from Smith College. Raymond Joel Dorius (January 4, 1919 – February 14, 2006) left the United States after the scandal and worked as a professor at the University of Hamburg, in Germany. In 1964 he returned to the United States and taught as a professor at San Francisco State University. He died of bone marrow cancer at his home in San Francisco, California, in 2006.

Werther, Ralph-Jennie June (pseudonyms). Autobiography of an Androgyne. NY: Medico-Legal Press, 1918. Photographic reprint NY: Arno Press, 1975; reprinted with an Introduction by Scott Nearing. Rutger's University Press, February 2008. (Discusses his being expelled from graduate school for being an “androgyne,” probably in 1896 or 1897: page 117.)

Werther, Ralph-Jennie June ("Earl Lind") (pseudonyms). The Female-Impersonators; a Sequel to the Autobiography of an Androgyne and an Account of Some of the Author's Experiences During his Six Years' Career as Instinctive Female-impersonator in New York's Underworld. Introduction and Edited by Alfred Waldemar Hertzog (1866-1933), NY: Medico-Legal Journal, 1922. Photographic reprint: NY: Arno Press, 1975. Original also accessed February 28, 2016 from:;view=1up;seq=10  Original accessed February 17, 2016 from Can download whole searchable book from these sites.  (Discusses his being expelled from graduate school for being an “androgyne,” probably in 1896 or 1897: page 95.)

Weiler, Kathleen. “The Case of Martha Deane: Sexuality and Power at Cold War UCLA,” History of Education Quarterly 47 (Winter 2007): 470–96.

Wikipedia: Florida Legislative Committee. Accessed December 5, 2011. "The Johns Committee," 1958, interrogated suspected homosexuals among students and faculty on Florida campuses before the Legislature gave specific authorization for the investigation of homosexuals. In 1958, committee chairman Johns illegally sent a covert investigator to the University of Florida after his son, Jerome Johns, told his father that "effeminate instructors had perverted the curriculum." Accessed March 21, 2016 from

Wilde, Oscar. Letter to Robert Ross, June 6, 1999. "I have made friends with a charming American youth, expelled from Harvard for immoral conduct. He is very amusing and good-looking." Oscar Wilde, Complete Letters. Edited by Merlin Holland. NY: Henry Hold and Company, 2000: 1152. 

Wright, William. Harvard's Secret Court: The Savage 1920 Purge of Campus Homosexuals .  St. Martin's Press; First Edition October 1, 2005); paperback October 31, 2006.

See also:

Douglas Bristol & Andrew Ross: Analyzing the Journals of William D. McCain, 1955-1965

Jonathan Ned Katz: Hunting Homosexuals at Southern Miss: 1955-1965

Jonathan Ned Katz: Introduction to Homophobia in Mississippi, 1958

Southern Miss Documents: 1955-1965