"A Blushing Debutante": 内森•阿普尔顿's Gender Crossing



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This carte de visite photograph depicts Harvard undergraduate 内森•阿普尔顿 dressed for his part as "Emily" in the farce 格Bagshaw & 布拉德肖.

N小姐. 阿普尔顿走上舞台

Within a scrapbook documenting his student years at Harvard, 内森•阿普尔顿 (1843-1906) carefully arranged a series of photographs depicting himself and his friends dressed in women’s clothing. 在这张特写照片中, 阿普尔顿坐在椅子上, 宽大的裙子在他周围展开, head bent over a piece of embroidery in his hands. Curls emerge from the lace cap on his head. A basket of knitting sits on the table beside him. This was the costume he wore playing the character of Emily, "一个陷入困境的好姑娘," in a production of John Maddison Morton’s play 格Bagshaw & 布拉德肖. 的 farce was performed at the Hasty Pudding Club’s annual Strawberry Night on 13 June 1862, at which attendees were promised "Galaxies! 美貌与才华!" In the playbill for the evening, 阿普尔顿 is credited as "N小姐. 阿普尔顿 ...脸红的初涉社交界的少女."

Gender-Crossing on the 19th Century Stage

成立于1770年, the Hasty Pudding Club is a social organization at 哈佛大学ersity with a long tradition of theatricals. In his history of the Club’s theatrical productions, Anthony Calnek observes that crossdressing for the stage was an integral part of Club culture, with a great deal of money put into costumes and some club members specializing in "female impersonation." In an era of homosociality -- where many social clubs, 私立学校, and institutions of higher education (including 哈佛大学ersity) were single-性 -- such gender-crossing performances were a regular feature of amateur theatricals.

对于一些参与者来说, theatrical cross-dressing was a transient passion; for some -- like the acclaimed actress, and native Bostonian Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876) -- it could be the cornerstone of a professional acting career. Cushman became famous for playing male characters, particularly "her great character of Romeo!" first played opposite her sister Susan’s Juliet. 对于一些, these opportunities for playful and professional gender-crossing may have provided a socially-sanctioned way to exist in a liminal space where allowances were made not only around what today we would call gender identity but also around same-性 desire. Cushman, 例如, lived openly in romantic relationships with a number of women during her lifetime. For the fans who flocked to her performances, these relationships were accepted as an aspect of her celebrity.

N小姐. 阿普尔顿 sat before the photographer’s lens long before our present understanding of gender identity -- a sense of oneself as trans, 独联体, 非, 或者性别流体——开始成形. A photograph alone cannot tell us how 内森•阿普尔顿 felt when he dressed for the stage. We don’t know from this 图像 whether playing the character of Emily resonated within him or whether it altered his self-understanding. Yet historians of gender and 性uality remind us that it is not necessary to know what 阿普尔顿 thought or felt about his performance to situate 图像s like this in the context of queer history. 的 gender-crossing performances of 阿普尔顿 and his clubmates remind us that ambiguities around, 以及对, 性别规范一直伴随着我们.


今年, 6月28日, we mark the anniversary of a now-celebrated rebellion outside of the Stonewall Inn in New York City, where 同性恋 and trans­gender youth -- many of them people of color -- resisted arrest during a police raid. 的 half century of political activism and historical research that followed has brought the lives of lesbian, 同性恋, 双性恋, 变性人, and otherwise queer Americans "out of the closet and into the street" -- helping us to see that non-normative experiences and expressions of gender, 性, and 性uality have existed throughout American history. A special pop-up exhibition at our 1154 Boylston St. location will highlight just a few items from our collection that are relevant to LGBTQ+ history. 的 exhibit will open Thursday 6 2019年6月 and close Tuesday 11 June. Gallery hours are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and admission is free.


的 内森•阿普尔顿剪贴簿 contain a wealth of material on 阿普尔顿’s Harvard career and classmates. 的 阿普尔顿家族文件,1303-1941 also contain information on 内森•阿普尔顿.

Calnek,安东尼. 的 Hasty Pudding 的atre: A History of Harvard's Hairy-Chested Heroines. 仓促布丁俱乐部,1986年.

加里森,我是劳埃德·麦克金. An Illustrated History of the Hasty Pudding Club 的atricals. 剑桥:仓促布丁俱乐部,1897年.

历史项目. Improper Bostonians: Lesbian and Gay History from Puritans to Playland. 波士顿:灯塔出版社,1998.

美林,丽莎. When Romeo Was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and Her Circle of Female Spectators. 大学. 密歇根出版社1999年版.

由于乔安娜. How Sex Changed: A History of Trans性uality in the United States. 新教育. 哈佛大学. 出版社,2004.

奥拉姆,艾莉森. 她的丈夫是个女人! Women's Gender-Crossing in Modern British Popular Culture. 劳特利奇,2007.

Shand-Tucci,道格拉斯. 的 Crimson Letter: Harvard, Homo性uality, and the Shaping of American Culture. 纽约:St. 马丁,2004.