A Not-Too-Distant Mirror

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Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s  by Will Fellows and Helen BransonGay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s
by Will Fellows and Helen Branson
University of Wisconsin Press.  186 pages, $26.95

 

GAY BAR is a queer little book by a queer little woman who, yes, owned a gay bar on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in the 1950’s. The book is a rediscovery, having been published more than half a century ago (in 1957) by a company owned by the early gay rights activist Hal Call. Now, writer-historian Will Fellows has repackaged the book, with a new introduction and copious notes and commentary. Fellows knew of the book but had never seen it before commencing his research. He found it at the Quatrefoil Library in St. Paul, Minnesota. He then traveled to Los Angeles to use the myriad resources at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, the world’s oldest, largest glbt archive, to find material to supplement the rather slim volume originally written by Helen Branson.

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