Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles

Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A LGBTQ History of the University of Chicago is a research project of the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality that documents the experiences of LGBTQ individuals and communities at the University from the early twentieth century through the present day.

With plans to collect approximately 100 oral history interviews from alumni, faculty, and staff, and to mine local and national archives for a campus exhibition in Spring 2015, students and faculty involved with this initiative are building on the Center's highly successful research project and publication "'On Equal Terms': Educating Women at the University of Chicago" which ran from 2004-09.

Over the next two years, we will use this space to share our findings and highlight the courses, programs, student work, and digital history stories associated with this research.

Image credit: Chicago Maroon collection, University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03416-001, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Who We Follow

Alfred Finnie staged his first drag ball in 1935 as a place where mostly black and working-class gay men and lesbians could socialize on Chicago’s South Side. In the 1950s, the balls became gala events reported on by the national black press.

Source: The Chicago Defender, Nov. 10, 1951 and Nov. 14, 1953, via Allen Drexel, “Before Paris Burned: Race, Class, and Male Homosexuality on the Chicago South Side, 1935-1960,” in Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories, edited by Brett Beemyn, New York: Routledge (1997):¬†pp. 119-144.