Annotated Bibliography: Lesbians, World War II and Beyond
Berube, Allan. Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women In World War Two. New York : The Free Press, 1990.
Berube's book is a result of over a decade of interviewing gay and lesbian veterans, unearthing hundreds of wartime letters between Gay GIs, and studying thousands of recently declassified military documents. Coming Out Under Fire reveals the tensions that occurred within the military establishment as efforts were made to refine and reform policies dealing with homosexuality as well as the first hand experiences of gay men and lesbian women within this important chapter in American History.
Allan Berube was an independent historian who taught and lectured on gay and lesbian history at the University of California , Santa Cruz, and Stanford University.
Freedman, Estelle B. 1996. “The Prison Lesbian: Race, Class, and the Construction of the Aggressive Female Homosexual, 1915-1965.” Feminist Studies 22 (1996): 397-
Freedman uses the interviews of 40 imprisoned women to explore their experiences with same sex relationships in prison. This article addresses the implications same-sex relationships in prison might have for the sexual identity of the women involved. It also addresses the origins of popular cultures association of women’s prisons with lesbianism.
Estelle Freedman is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Stanford University.
Hartmann, Susan. “Women, War, and the Limits of Change.” National Forum 74 (1995): 15-18.
Hartmann presents a picture of American women as they acquired new responsibilities and opportunities as a result of their work during World War II.
Susan Hartmann is a Professor of History at Ohio State University.
Hegarty, Marilyn E. “Patriot or Prostitute? Sexual Discourses, Print Media, and American Women during World War II.” Journal of Women's History 10 (1998): 112-136.
"Patriot or Prostitute?" examines the mobilization and control of female sexuality in the United States during the World War II era. It examines how print media simultaneously encouraged women to support the war effort by any means necessary as well as warning men of the excessively sexual woman who came to symbolize contamination. "The line between the patriotic 'good' girl and the prostitute or 'promiscuous bad girl' collapsed and produced the 'patriotute'." (Hegarty 1998,112
Dr. Marilyn Hegarty is an Instructor of History at Ohio State University. Her focus is on Women's History and the modern United States.
Honey, Maureen. Creating Rose the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.
Honey's book seeks to understand and explain how the government used media and understandings of class and gender to mobilize the women's war effort. Images such as Rosie the Riveter served to draw an unprecedented number of women into the work force and into traditionally "male" roles. Honey also examines how post-war propaganda was used to turn the previously strong and competent Rosie the Riveter into a childlike, naive, and domestic woman and thus shift cultural understanding towards a more traditional understanding of gender roles.
Maureen Honey is a professor of Women's and Gender Studies and English at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Humphrey, Mary Ann. My Country, My Right To Serve: Experiences of Gay Men and Women In the Military, World War II to the Present. New York : Harper Collins, 1990.
My Country, My Right To Serve is an oral history based on hundreds of interviews with gay men and lesbian women in the military from World War II until the post Vietnam years. Of the 42 interviews 12 are with lesbian women and the remainder with gay men. The interviews are candid representations of each person's experience being a gay man or lesbian woman within the antihomosexual institution of the United States military.
Mary Ann Humphrey was a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve for nine years who had just received notice of promotion to major, but was forced to resign her commission for being a lesbian. She teaches at Portland Community College, in Portland, OR.
Kennedy, Elizabeth Lapovsky and Madeline Davis. Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold. New York : Penguin, 1994.
Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold is a product of 14 years of collaborative research between the authors and the 45 narrators of the story. The book looks at the overall development of the lesbian identity and culture among working class lesbians in Buffalo, New York . The book also seeks to question whether the butch/fem identities of the narratos is a replication of patriarchal gender role relations.
Dr. Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy is the head of the Women’s Studies department at the University of Arizona and was a founding member of the Women’s Studies Program at SUNY, Buffalo where she taught for 28 years. Madeline Davis (right) is an activist and musician and was the first open lesbian delegate to Democratic National Convention of 1972.
Meyer, Leisa D. “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.” In Lesbian Subjects, edited by Martha Vicinus and William D. Rowley, 66-84. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
This is an excerpt from Leisa Meyer’s book Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women’s Army Corp during World War II. This chapter is an extensive history of the political, gender, racial, and sexual assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices that shaped the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corp during World War II.
Leisa Meyer is an Assistant Professor of History at the College of William and Mary.
Minton, Henry. Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Right and Emancipatory Science in America . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Minton uses archival sources and unpublished manuscripts to trace the history of the struggle of American gay and lesbian activists who chose scientific research as a path for decriminalizing homosexuality in the United States . The work of these individuals, which started in the late nineteenth century, was instrumental in challenging the criminal model of homosexuality present in the early twentieth century to the illness model which persisted until the late 1970s when homosexuality was removed as a mental illness from the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual.
Henry Minton is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Windsor, Canada.