gayeleanorroosevelt:

with Amelia Earhart, 1935 (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

This fallow little blog has been getting much attention lately, due to Ken Burns’ blissfully ignorant portrayal of Eleanor’s queerness in his new documentary about the Roosevelts. Suffice it to say my opinion of this continued erasure is scornful, so I hope the scattering of documents presented here can continue to be a source of truth for those seeking it.

gayeleanorroosevelt:

with Amelia Earhart, 1935 (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

This fallow little blog has been getting much attention lately, due to Ken Burns’ blissfully ignorant portrayal of Eleanor’s queerness in his new documentary about the Roosevelts. Suffice it to say my opinion of this continued erasure is scornful, so I hope the scattering of documents presented here can continue to be a source of truth for those seeking it.

"And now there’s you," Signorina had said… So they must think Mlle Julie cares for me more than for Laura. Insensate thought!
No, not more. But she cares a little. And diffrerently.
Just as I cared for her differently.
And now I understood it was that difference I wanted.

From Olivia, a semi-biographical account of life at an all-girl French boarding school (lots of wish-fullfillment in those few words) published anonymously by Dorothy Strachey in 1949 (but written in 1933).

Similarly to Mädchen in Uniform the (very short) novel recounts the growing passion of a young student, Olivia, for her not-quite-disinterested-yet-unavailable teacher, Mlle Julie. Crucial - and highly entertaining - differences between Winsloe’s story and Strachey’s include

  • Mlle Julie doesn’t reject Olivia, like it is implied Fräulin von Bernburg does, because she thinks loving women is a horrible sin which should be avoided at all costs, but … because she is in a relationship with her school’s other headmistress
  • said other head mistress, however, is ‘seduced’ into mistrust for Mlle Julie by a new teacher who wants her all for herself and so alludes to
  • Mlle Julie’s supposedly frequent affairs with some of the female staff members as well as several former and current students
  • among them above mentioned “Laura”, who some have claimed to be (this is semi-autobiographical, after all) none other than Eleanor Roosevelt!
  • who actually went to the school of Mlle. Marie Souvestre, on whom Mlle Julie is based. Other pupils of Mlle Marie Souvestre? (This is just getting better) Natalie Barney.
  • and the icing on the cake: Olivia is dedicated to Virginia Woolf.

If you’re still putting together your Christmas wishlist, how about adding the pulp edition of this Virginia-Woolf-dedicated, Eleanor-Roosevelt-alluding, real-life-account of L Word-worthy trials and tribulations of an all-girl-boarding school? Or rather an application form for that school?

(via butch-in-progress)

New York Daily News, 1945

New York Daily News, 1945

greenfield-digitalhistory:

Eleanor Roosevelt surrounded on each side by students from the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry at Bryn Mawr College - Learn more:http://brynmawrcollections.org/greenfield/exhibits/show/the-summer-school-for-women-wo/introduction

greenfield-digitalhistory:

Eleanor Roosevelt surrounded on each side by students from the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry at Bryn Mawr College - Learn more:http://brynmawrcollections.org/greenfield/exhibits/show/the-summer-school-for-women-wo/introduction

(Source: greenfieldhwe)

drcjsnider:

Political cartoon of Eleanor Roosevelt - ‘Incense Burners’ Weekly Smoker with First Lady.”  1930s

drcjsnider:

Political cartoon of Eleanor Roosevelt - ‘Incense Burners’ Weekly Smoker with First Lady.”  1930s


Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt with members of the Women’s Land Service and triplet lambs, in Rotorua, New Zealand, 1943

Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt with members of the Women’s Land Service and triplet lambs, in Rotorua, New Zealand, 1943

poesizing:

incisiveogressprisms:

nooffswitch:

If you say Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian everyone nods knowingly and you get featured on all the big gay sites.

If you pose with her picture and say she was bisexual people freak out and send you anons detailing in various ways how you are wrong, she was a lesbian and not a dirty bisexual OR they tell you how to unfair it is to try and say what peoples sexualities were after they died.

Unless they are proclaimed monosexual of course.

Seriously?

I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people were not offended because they think bisexuals are “dirty.” They were offended because one of the very, very few lesbian historical figures, and I would wager one of the most if not the most prominent in the entire United States, was suddenly being misidentified as bisexual. We have no indication of any attraction Roosevelt felt for men or of a romantic aspect to her marriage with FDR. Instead we have documentation of a long term relationship with a woman.

Taking a woman for whom all evidence points to her being a lesbian and calling her bisexual does not make you radical. You are taking a woman who we have no reason to believe was attracted to men and saying she felt het attraction. In a society that expects all women, including and especially lesbians, to feel het attraction, this is not a revolutionary or queer act. In fact it is something of a violent act. Taking a lesbian and calling her bi is conferring het attraction on her which, surprise, is a form of straightwashing! So as a bisexual I can pretty confidently tell you that you are completely misinterpreting the situation, which could have been a learning experience for you.

this is so complicated because 

a) who “nods knowingly” when you say a major female historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt were lesbians / queer? a small bunch of lesbians - while all the straight people freak out and tell them to stop trying to make everyone gay - the suggestion that Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationships with / attractions to men need to be “defended” from erasure by lesbians when 99% of the world regards those relationships and attractions as infinitely more valid than her relationships with / attractions to women comes off as really offensive 

b) the reasons why we (we, “lesbian historians” of sorts) think Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian and care about this fact enough to tell people about it are not unbiased, they’re indeed tinged with biphobia and with a more general understanding of chaste white upperclass lesbianism expressed primarily through “female friendships” as the queer female sexuality

Yep.

Eleanor Roosevelt on horseback trip with Lorena Hickok

Eleanor Roosevelt on horseback trip with Lorena Hickok

fyeah-history:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s pistol licence, 1957

fyeah-history:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s pistol licence, 1957

(via school-marm-charm)

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