Protestors from lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity Stonewall, carrying a banner reading 'Lesbian & Gay Rights are Human Rights' during the Gay Pride parade in London, England, United Kingdom, 6 July 1996

The Stonewall Riots Didn’t Start the Gay Rights Movement

Giving Stonewall too much credit misses the movement’s growing strength in the 1960s, sociologists note.
A physician administers leeches to a patient. Colour reproduction of a lithograph by F-S. Delpech after L. Boilly, 1827.

Why Did the Victorians Harbor Warm Feelings for Leeches?

Medical authorities wrote about leeches as if they sucked blood out of the goodness of their hearts.
Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, 1977

“No Unescorted Ladies Will Be Served”

For decades, bars excluded single women, claiming the crowds were too “rough” and “boisterous” and citing vague fears of “fallen girls.”
Artifacts from a 19th century American brothel

What Reformers Learned When They Visited 1830s Brothels

Middle class members of the New York Female Moral Reform Society visited brothels to save women from sin. What they actually encountered surprised them.
disco backlash

The Night They Drove Disco Down

On July 12th, 1979, a promotional event turned into a violent fracas, marking the beginning of the end of disco. Some say it was fueled by anti-gay anger.
5 types of vacation

The Five Types of Summer Vacation

Each of them has a distinctive structure and a complex history.
Antebellum sex education

Who Gets To Speak Publicly About Sex?

Frederick Hollick's case involved not only his controversial sex-positive arguments, but also the question of who should be privy to medical knowledge about sex.
J Edgar Hoover

The Truth About J. Edgar Hoover’s “Cross-Dressing”

The story of J. Edgar Hoover dressing in women's clothing is part of American myth. But does this story tell us more about Hoover or about the nature of gossip?
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Knowledge and Nostalgia at the Museum: From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler imagines the museum as a site of hands-on learning and intimacy with the past.
Businessmen

The Secret Gay Business Network of Midcentury America

In the 1940s and 50s, a life of business travel represented a sense of freedom for gay men that would have been impossible in earlier decades.