Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Henry Gerber

            Henry Gerber (Heinrich Josef Dittmar) was born on June 29, 1892, in Passau, Bavaria, and emigrated to the United States in 1913. He served in the Allied Army of Occupation in Germany after World War One and became inspired by the work of Magnus Hirshfeld and the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. Back in the United States, in Chicago he founded the Society for Human Rights in 1924 and published the earliest-known American gay-interest newsletter, Friendship and Freedom. These efforts soon collapsed, but for the rest of his life Gerber wrote on gay topics for various publications and maintained a substantial correspondence with gay men. In 1951, he corresponded with Jim Egan, Canada’s pioneering gay activist. Gerber died on December 31, 1972. You can learn more about Gerber’s correspondence with Egan here: When Henry Wrote to Jim: The Letters of Henry Gerber to Jim Egan, 1951, by Donald W. McLeod.