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Men without MapsSome Gay Males of the Generation before Stonewall$
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John Ibson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226656083

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226656250.001.0001

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The Real Outlaws: The Male Couple before Gay Liberation

The Real Outlaws: The Male Couple before Gay Liberation

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 The Real Outlaws: The Male Couple before Gay Liberation
Source:
Men without Maps
Author(s):

John Ibson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226656250.003.0002

Males sharing moments of sexual pleasure were one thing in American culture in the generation before Stonewall, but men who shared domestic space, apart from a few specific settings, were something else again, transgressors more troubling still. Part One introduces several such male couples, characterizing them as genuine cultural outlaws who apparently posed particular threats to their society’s dominant culture. How the outlaws comported and considered themselves, the author maintains, provides fresh insight into queer culture before “gay liberation” as well as into the harsh workings of American culture at large. Among those featured are Lee Fuller and Frank Leach, seemingly mundane middle class men of Monrovia, California; considerably less mundane poet Robert Duncan and painter Jess Collins; and San Francisco Bay Area typesetters Thomas Rolfsen and Chalmer Cochran. The centerpiece of Part One is the coupling of modernist furniture designer Edward Wormley and theater professor Edward Crouse, their involvement beginning during their Midwest boyhoods, thereafter documented by their sometimes-daily correspondence that ended only when late in middle age they realized their lifelong dream of sharing a home. The Wormley-Crouse letters, housed in Cornell’s rich Human Sexuality Collection, is by itself a priceless document, heretofore unused, of twentieth-century queer life.

Keywords:   Chalmer Cochran, Edward Crouse, Lee Fuller, cultural outlaws, domestic space, Edward Wormley, Frank Leach, Jess Collins, Robert Duncan, Thomas Rolfsen

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