Aug 13 at 12:00 PM - Sale 2544 - Exhibition Hours

Sale 2544 - Lot 129

Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
ISSUED JUST WEEKS BEFORE STONEWALL
MATTACHINE BOOK SERVICE


Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition.
Printed pamphlet, 26, [2] pages. 220x140 mm; 8 1/2x5 1/2 inches, original illustrated wrappers, minor wear; minor staining on fore-edge. New York; Mattachine Book Service, May or June 1969.

This guidebook is not precisely dated. However, it discusses a 21 May 1969 raid of Screw and Kiss magazines (pages 26-27). It does NOT reference the Stonewall Rebellion of 28 June, placing its publication date within five weeks of the uprising.

Additional Details

The guide begins with reviews of 46 bars. Most are depicted in positive terms, with the notable exception of The Stonewall, notorious for its Mafia ownership: "Once one of the most popular gay dance bars in town, observers note that despite 'Go-Go' boys installed on platforms, to bring back the customers, as well as the recent interior renovations, both have failed to attract the dwindling crowds (the dwindling crowds resulting from the reputation of the 'management.')"
Other sections are devoted to the baths, clothing shops, coffee shops, "homophile organizations," hotels, "groovy movie theatres," parks, private clubs, restaurants, and a long essay on "Manhattan's cruising scene." You might read between the lines to see an audience ready for resistance: "Let's face it! This is a pretty rough year . . . with the increasingly evident dissatisfaction with government operations among all segments of the population . . . and other factors have contributed to a mood of depression (there's no other mood to describe it) that can be felt almost everywhere throughout this city" due to "the prevailing nation-wide feeling of being 'up-tight,' suspicious, depressed, or angry." Even Times Square was deserted: "The few hustlers who remain are among the worst looking we have ever seen! . . . Even the many priests who (in uniform) could be seen almost any Saturday night . . . picking up some cute young hustler, are no longer as prevalent in this area" (page 22). The guide closes with 4 pages of news briefs on police harassment and a final page denouncing the guide's plagiaristic rivals. No other examples of this remarkable document have been traced in OCLC or at auction. A detailed and honest assessment of New York's scene in the moments before the launch of the modern gay liberation movement.