A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture by Will Fellows

By Will Fellows

From huge towns to rural groups, homosexual males have lengthy been impassioned pioneers as keepers of tradition: rescuing and restoring decrepit structures, revitalizing blighted neighborhoods. Will Fellows explores this genuine and intricate size of homosexual men's lives by means of profiling early and modern preservationists from through the usa, highlighting contributions to the bigger tradition.

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In 1931 Charleston, South Carolina, became the first city in the nation to adopt a historic-district zoning ordinance; in 1944 it became the first to publish an inventory of its historic buildings. Whatever his own nature may have been, architect Albert 20 In Search of Gay Preservationists Simons exudes a strikingly gay ethos in his foreword to that inventory volume, This Is Charleston: “No Charlestonian can be expected to speak or write about his city objectively, for it is so much a part of the background of his mind and emotions that detachment is never possible.

Most of his personal papers were destroyed following his death. In light of Appleton’s voluminous scrapbook-making penchant from childhood and his visionary archive building as an adult, it’s hard to imagine such destruction being committed for any reason other than “straightening” his biographical record. Perhaps Appleton himself decided that his professional accomplishments should be the sole basis upon which his contributions are judged. And so, in his case as in many others, one must read between the lines.

Where have we come from? Who has gone before us and what were their lives like? From childhood they have been unusually attracted to old things and old people, grandparents and others. “I’ve always been interested in older people and their ideas, in ‘oldish’ things and restoring them,” says Jack Richards. “Growing up, I felt more at home in the company of older people than with people my own age or even my parents’ age,” says Russell Bush. ” They are the ones to whom old family things have been passed down, especially those items considered sentimentally or historically significant but unwanted by others.

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