Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



'Lost' lesbian author found
by Marie J. Kuda

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Seventy years after the publication of "Diana: A Strange Autobiography" ( NY, Dial Press, 1939 ) by Diana Fredericks ( a nom de plume ) the author has been identified as Frances V. Rummell ( 1907-1969 ) an educator and author. "History Detectives" a PBS series out of Oregon Public Broadcasting has tracked the book said by historian/author Lillian Faderman to be the "first explicitly lesbian autobiography where the two women end up happily together." She notes that there were other autobiographies that ended unhappily. [ Two such have local connections: "The Stone Wall" by Mary Casal, published by Eyencourt in 1930 when the author was in her sixties, and "I, Mary MacLane" whose books were published in the early years of the last century by Stone, both Chicago publishers. ] Faderman was interviewed for the "History Detectives" segment by Tukufu Zuberi, the PBS "detective" assigned to the case. The program tracks down the stories behind artifacts presented by owners curious to know or verify their histories. The format includes three segments each show and features three other detective/researchers including Wes Cowan who doubles in brass on "Antiques Roadshow."

Zuberi also spoke with Julie Abrams professor of LGBT studies at Sarah Lawrence College who wrote the introduction to the 1995 reprint of "Diana" published by The Cutting Edge in their Lesbian Life and Literature Series. Abrams theorized about the need for anonymity for a lesbian publishing in the 1930s. She noted that "The Well of Loneliness" which was not sexually explicit was banned in Britain and censured in the USA as obscene merely because it was about a lesbian.

The doyenne of lesbian literature, Jeannette Howard Foster writing in her 1956 pioneering opus "Sex Variant Women in Literature" while noting that the "narrative is certainly no literary masterpiece" it is a step forward from the "emotional pleas for tolerance" in Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" ( 1929 ) . She states that the author of "Diana" makes a coolly logical case and a "strong argument for the validity of variant love." Foster equates the book in importance with the better written novel "The Price of Salt" ( 1951 ) by Patricia Highsmith writing as Claire Morgan, generally credited with being the first work to present lesbianism in a positive light. Novelist Valerie Taylor addressing the 1974 Lesbian Writers Conference in Chicago said of the Morgan novel that two women in love eventually overcome all obstacles ( including a resentful husband who has his wife and her lover trailed by detectives so that he can get custody of their child ) to make a lasting relationship.

Zuberi traced "Diana" through the Library of Congress copyright catalog ( not the bibliographic catalog ) ; all pre-1977 records are retained in old card files; those since have been digitized. His extended search ( which can be followed in the program transcript ( detectives/pdf/806 diana.pdf ) eventually turned up Jo Markwyn, a niece of Frances Rummell living in Northern California. Markwyn had never read the book but confirmed that her aunt was indeed a lesbian with a similar history to the protagonist. She also verified that her 32-year-old aunt had been in New York City in 1939, adding that she met Eleanor Roosevelt that Summer who wrote of their meeting in her "My Day" column.

Interestingly, the post-program online chat, among other things, notes that the Library of Congress and Dewey classifications accorded the book and its 1995 reprint should be altered to reflect the new information—it should no longer be classified as a novel under headings of "lesbians in fiction" but "lesbian biography" and its call letters changed accordingly. It's a pity this information did not come to light in time to be noted in the 1995 reprint.

A search of online booksellers has original 1939 "Diana" hardcovers going from $10 to more than $100; paperbacks from the pulp era at a median of $45; and the current reprint from under $20 in paper to $55 in hard cover. Interest in her other books and prices all around may rise now that Frances V. Rummel has been "found" to be Diana.

  Copyright 2010 by Marie J. Kuda

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


MOMBIAN's LGBTQ children's book gift guide 2018-12-12
BOOK REVIEW Honor Girl/Lost Soul, Be at Peace 2018-12-12
A Cradle Song: Part Nine 2018-12-12
Trans author talks 'gender outlaws,'prison breaks in novel 2018-12-12
BOOKS Thom Bierdz talks about sex, and a lot more, In 'Young, Gay & Restless' 2018-12-11
DignityUSA condemns Pope Francis' book 2018-12-10
Historians looking for survey participants 2018-12-05
A Cradle Song, Part Eight 2018-12-05
She Wants It 2018-12-05
Fiction round-up, LGBTQ+ YA fantasy 2018-12-05
SHOWBIZ 'Handmaid,' Kristen Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis 2018-12-04
SPOTLIGHT on The Book of Merman 2018-12-04
Women & Children First Books plans holiday season events 2018-12-04
The Best Party of Our Lives: Stories of Gay Weddings 2018-12-03
DignityUSA responds to Pope Francis' new book, excluding gay people 2018-12-03
Howard Brown editors publish 'holistic' resource on TGNC health, aging 2018-11-28
Feminism meets coffee-table books in 'HERstory,' 'Revolution' 2018-11-28
Remembering Harvey Milk 2018-11-28
Ripe. Letters, by Alan Semrow, seeks to redefine relationships 2018-11-28
BOOK REVIEW Death Checks In 2018-11-28
A Cradle Song, Part Seven 2018-11-27
WORLD Chinese writer, Nigeria suit, anti-trans attack, archbishop's statement 2018-11-27
10 Questions with Vic: Branden Wellington 2018-11-26
A Cradle Song: Part Six 2018-11-21
Sukie de la Croix weaves real-life 'Fairy Tale' 2018-11-19
Poet Marty McConnell to celebrate book launch at The Whistler 2018-11-19
A Cradle Song Part Five 2018-11-14
Author Miriam Frank headlines CTU LGBTQIA+ event 2018-11-14
Brynn Tannehill: Trans activist calls for action in new book 2018-11-14
Queer Eye's Karamo Brown in Evanston Dec. 5 2018-11-07
Ex-Neo Nazi talks about what spurred him to change 2018-11-07
Michelle Obama giving book-tour tickets to groups 2018-11-07
David Jay Collins readings Nov. 9 2018-11-07
A Cradle Song: Part Four 2018-11-07
BOOKS Some of Chicago's LGBTQ-friendly book clubs 2018-11-07
SHOWBIZ Streisand, GLAAD book, Spice Girls, Boy Erased, Rhapsody 2018-11-06
Atwood discusses impact of 'The Handmaid's Tale' at NU 2018-11-05
A Cradle Song: Part Three 2018-10-31
Routledge Handbook of LGBTQIA policy out 2018-10-31
MOMBIAN Children's and YA books on LGBTQ history 2018-10-31

Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.