After Many a Season Dies the Oscar Wilde

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THE OSCAR WILDE Memorial Bookshop, founded in the pre-Stonewall year of 1967 and a fixture in New York’s Greenwich Village for 42 years, closed its doors for good on March 29, 2009. It was by most accounts the first bookstore in the United States to carry serious (non-pornographic) gay literature. Having survived the Stonewall Riots and the disco era, the AIDS epidemic and the GLBT publishing boom, in recent years the store’s survival had been threatened a number of times.

Rodwell
Craig Rodwell at the bookshop, ca. 1971. Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen.

The Oscar Wilde was founded by Chicago native Craig Rodwell (1940–1993), a precociously gay youth and activist. Rodwell had his first same-sex relationships while at a Christian Science boarding school and actively sought out same-sex relations while in high school.

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