October is LGBTQ+ History Month! This monthly celebration began in 1994 when high school teacher Rodney Wilson began efforts to create a month focused on gay and lesbian history.
A Joseph Davis of Haverhill was the subject of an early colonial documented case of gender nonconformity. In 1652, Davis received a fine for “putting on women’s apparel.” George Wingate Chase writes about Davis in his 1861 History of Haverhill, Massachusetts: From its First Settlement, in 1640, to the Year 1860. Chase uses language of his time to describe Davis, but does quote the record that documents Davis’ encounter with the law. On page 54, Chase writes:
Under the date of 1652, the Portsmouth Court Record thus refers to him: “Whereas it doth appear that Joseph Davis of Haverhill was presented for putting on women’s apparel and going from house to house in the night time.”
Chase’s History of Haverhill is available at the library, and is available electronically through Internet Archive.
HPL reference librarian Gwen Junghanss recently put together a list of books that cover LGBTQ history in the HPL collection. Click here for the full list. These are a few recent selections:
We currently offer appointments in the building and curbside pickups of library materials. Learn more about these options here!