Friday, February 07, 2014

Gay History: George and Edward's Photos

The History Project in Boston is devoted to documenting and preserving the history of the LGBT community of Boston and these two charmers above are an example of how fragile such a history can be. They are George Chapin Scott and Edward F. Bernier. George died in his 80s in 2005 and, whilst he was already known to The History Project and had already donated material to them, after his death his personal belongings and photographs were ejected unceremoniously from his apartment and found on the ground outside by a neighbourhood woman called Julie Katz. Julie should stand up and take a bow because she rescued all that she could carry from the pile in front of the building and gave it over to the care of The History Project.
Edward died tragically young in a road accident at the age of 31 but many of the photos show happier times among the small gay community of the area and these ones in particular certainly raise a smile depicting a band of very gay young men enjoying the beach at Provincetown, MA.
This kind of thing happens so many times. A gay man dies, without a surviving partner and without children and a landlord, or perhaps an unsympathetic family is left to deal with their belongings and a vital and fascinating glimpse of gay life and history is just thrown to the kerb. Once again, Julie Kazt, we salute you!
The archive was pointed out to me by the wonderful Boobob96, originator of many posts on this blog including a mention of his own gay history collection featuring Roger and Frank; as well as the post which has perhaps generated more traffic to this blog than any other in which he pointed us to photos from the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive, including a very popular photobooth kissing scene.

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