Graphic Illustration by DOUG DOBEY
by Brian Burns and Judd Proctor
“Poet and Writer, Radclyffe Hall”
Born in 1880 in England, Radclyffe Hall is best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness, a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature. Hall herself was an open lesbian. In her twenties she pursued a variety of women. One was singer Mabel Batten. She gave Hall the nickname John, which stuck for the rest of her life.
But in 1915, Hall fell in love with Batten’s cousin, Una Troubridge. They lived together until Hall’s death in 1943.
Hall’s important novel, The Well of Loneliness, was considered scandalous at the time because it spoke of lesbian love. Banned in England, a London magistrate deemed it obscene and ordered it destroyed. The book was allowed in the U.S. only after a lengthy trial.
“Cruisin’ the Castro”
The Castro District in San Francisco is steeped in gay history, and for sixteen years there was no better tour guide than Trevor Hailey and her “Cruisin’ the Castro” walking tour.
Hailey started it up in 1989, after attending a lecture by the leader of the Chinatown walking tour. “It was like a light-bulb went off,” Hailey said, “I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do.”
Her enthusiastic tour included Harvey Milk’s camera shop, the Castro Theater, and Twin Peaks – the first gay bar with windows. Crowds were riveted by her anecdotes, which touched on the lavender cowboys of the 1800s.
Hailey retired in 2005, after leading an estimated 4,000 tours. She died in 2007, but not before writing herself into the Castro history books.
“The Susan B. Anthony Commemorative Stamp”
Born in the farming community of Adams, Massachusetts, in 1820, Susan B. Anthony would be remembered for improving the lot for American women. She is best known for her crusade for women’s suffrage, which resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
In 1851, she met fellow activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Their intense attraction made them a formidable team in the women’s rights movement. Anthony described their relationship as “a most natural union of head and heart.”
A three-cent postage stamp was issued in her honor in 1936, commemorating the sixteenth anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The stamp was printed in purple with a portrait of Anthony looking to the left. Her name is printed underneath, with the words “suffrage for women” at the bottom in white gothic. The stamp was issued in sheets of a hundred.
Her causes and personal life focused on women until her death in 1906. Her last public words were, “failure is impossible.”