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Gay History Scholarship
(earliest to latest)
1974 GAU cover BoleriumCROP.jpg

Bert Hansen, “Coming Out, pp. 68-72, in The Universities and the Gay Experience, Proceedings of the Conference Sponsored by the Women and Men of the Gay Academic Union.  New York: GAU, 1974 (105 pages).  [A complete PDF with a new introduction by John DEmilio is available on OutHistory at  Downloadable reprint of the entire book is available here on the “Gay History Documents tab.]

​​      Although my personal essay is more a document of history than of scholarship per se, the book itself was, as its title proclaimed, an intervention of the gay experience into the academic world.  My work on this self-published book included collecting and editing the presentations, designing the book, typesetting all galleys, doing paste-up of all pages, contracting with the printer, selling copies at the second annual conference, and fulfilling mail orders.



“Book review: G. J. Barker-Benfield, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life: Male Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century America (1976),” The Body Politic (a monthly gay-community newspaper, Toronto, Ontario), October 1976 (3 pages in reprint).


“Essay Review: The Historical Construction of Homosexuality: Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the 19th Century to the Present (1977),” The Radical History Review 20 (Spring/Summer 1979), 66‑71.

“Book review: Vern Bullough, Homosexuality: A History (1979),” The Body Politic (a monthly gay-community newspaper, Toronto, Ontario), March 1980, p. 31.

“American Physicians’ Earliest Writings About Homosexuals, 1880-1900,” The Milbank Quarterly 67 (1989), Supplement 1, pp. 92-108.

“New York City Epidemics and History for the Public,” in  AIDS and the Historian: Proceedings of a Conference at the National Institutes of Health ed. Victoria A. Harden and Guenter B. Risse (Bethesda, MD: NIH, 1991), pp. 21-25.

“American Physicians’ ‘Discovery’ of Homosexuals, 1880-1900: A New Diagnosis in a Changing Society,” Chapter 6 in Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History ed. Charles E. Rosenberg and Janet L. Golden (Rutgers University Press, 1992), pp. 104-133; second printing, 1996.

      This expanded version of the 1989 Milbank Quarterly article sets the medical literature into the

context of social history.

“American Physicians’ ‘Discovery’ of Homosexuals, 1880-1900: A New Diagnosis in a Changing Society,” Chapter 1 in Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of Medicine and Public Health ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald L. Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), third edition, pp. 13-31. 

      This chapter in a widely used teaching anthology reprints the prior item.  In “De-medicalizing the Medical Humanities” (The European Legacy 16:3, May 2011, 317-326), Otniel E. Dror of The Hebrew University discusses this chapter as his primary tool in using history to challenge the thinking of medical students. Link to Drors article .

S_Josephine_Baker_MD in suit Wiki common
1942 Alan Hart pipe and sig.jpg

“Public Careers and Private Sexuality: Some Gay and Lesbian Lives in the History of Medicine and Public Health,” American Journal of Public Health 92:1 (January 2002), pp. 36-44.  ePub and PDF versions are now free at the AJPH website.

      This study explores the careers of five physicians

active in public health and medicine during the first half of the 20th century to illustrate interactions between private and professional life.

      An examination of these individuals, who might today be variously designated as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, suggests how historical understanding can be enriched by a greater willingness to consider intimacy and sexual life as potentially relevant to career and achievements, with the stories of Sara Josephine Baker, Harry Stack Sullivan, Ethel Collins Dunham,

Martha May Eliot, and Alan L. Hart.


“The Personal, the Scholarly, and the Political:  How Liz Fee’s Early Career Integrated Activism around Sex, Homosexuality, and AIDS,” American Journal of Public Health 109:6 (June 1, 2019), pp. 870-871.

      Note that Liz Fee was one of the presenters in The Universities and the Gay Experience, 1974, above.

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