Aug 13, 2020 - Sale 2544

Sale 2544 - Lot 110

Price Realized: $ 1,950
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500

Papers of a gay Wisconsin man, including letters from fellow gay World War Two veterans across the country.
30 items: 10 post-war letters received, 17 loose photos, 2 high school programs, and a World War II scrapbook; condition generally strong. Vp, circa 1944-47 and undatedVp, 1939-47

Additional Details

These letters were sent to a World War Two veteran in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He was in contact with a network of gay friends across the country, presumably friends from the army. Some of the letters recall their service, including time in India. One 8 April 1946 letter offers a detailed description of Detroit's gay bar scene. The author ends up at a gay bar called the Woods Inn with a female friend of his sister's: "It was jammed with all the north end gay blades, and there was little me with a female! . . . You should have seen the material that was at the bar--was I drooling!! . . . Never knew Detroit was as gay as I've found it. Quite surprising. There are two bars outstanding in the exceptional type of clientel that go to them--the Statler Bar and the StageDoor. What is it about a uniform that gets me?" He also recalls spending "a beautiful three days with a beautiful member of the N.Y. police force."
One letter, signed only "J", opens: "Dear Bitch, I mean Butch. Do you still love me? Or are you just as fickle as ever? . . . Chicago is wonderful, of course, but there are so many old men here. . . . Do be a good girl and write me soon." A friend in San Francisco raved, "There are so many places to go, and so many interesting people to meet. At present a mod affair is going on with one of the girls from [famous drag bar] Finocchio. You would love the place." A friend near Los Angeles wrote on 11 December 1946: "Went to a big party about three weeks ago. . . . The house is beautifully furnished with things that he and his wife have picked up in all parts of the world. They love gay people, and there were about twenty 'boys' and 'girls' there. A typical Hollywood gathering." A lively series of snapshots of gay life across America, decades before Stonewall.