Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Jonathan Ned Katz talks new book, LGBTQ history, state of the world
by Carrie Maxwell
2021-05-05

This article shared 844 times since Wed May 5, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Author, historian and activist Jonathan Ned Katz will come out with a new book, The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, on May 18. The biography is centered on the life of Adams, a Jewish lesbian immigrant, and also includes her long-lost book, Lesbian Love.

"I started this book-writing journey right after Donald Trump was elected," said Katz. "At the same time, I was reading about Eve in a New York Times book review. I asked myself, why was I unaware of this fascinating woman. That was part of the reasons why I wrote this book.

"Also, she was a rebel and resister, and it seemed to be the perfect time to know more about people like her. My own lack of knowledge about any Jewish history also spurred this on because I grew up in a secular, atheist home where this information was not passed down to me."

In terms of Katz's research process, he started looking into what was already known about Adams because he "did not want to reinvent the wheel."

Katz discovered that lesbian playwright Barbara Kahn had already done a lot of research on Adams to produce three off-off-Broadway plays about her. This prompted Katz to reach out to Kahn.

"Barbara ended up putting me in touch with Eve's relative Eran Zahavy who lives in Israel," said Katz. "Eran's grandfather, Eve's brother who was able to escape to Israel and survive World War II, had tasked him with finding out what happened to Eve during the war. My correspondence with Eran produced a treasure trove of information for the book. There was also a thesis by Martha Rice that was really helpful to all of us. Everyone was so cooperative throughout my whole research process."

What surprised Katz about Adams' life were the FBI reports that were filled with anti-Semitic and homophobic language. Katz added that the FBI was surveilling Adams for selling radical literature and "palling around with famous notorious anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman who were expelled from the United States in Dec. 1919."

Katz said the FBI was looking for reasons to expel Adams. He added that in the past he was also surveilled by the federal government and also has an FBI file for going to some socialist discussion clubs while he was attending Antioch College in the late 1950s. This made Katz feel a kinship with Adams because both of them were unfairly targeted by the government.

Additionally, Katz said it was illuminating knowing Adams was the oldest child in her family and that this might be why she felt the need to take care of the women she met and became romantically involved with.

Adams also had a Chicago connection that Katz highlighted in the book. She lived here for a couple of years in the early 1920s and ran a queer, bohemian friendly café called The Grey Cottage, at 10 E. Chestnut St., in what was then called the Towertown (now the Gold Coast) neighborhood.

"I was fascinated that Eve and her woman friend Ruth Norlander opened The Grey Cottage and advertised it as Chicago's Greenwich Village Café," said Katz. "It surprised me that Greenwich Village already had this reputation in the early 1920s. It would have been fun to go there."

Not long after Adam's left Chicago, she was deported from the United States to Europe where she lived for the rest of her life until she died in a Nazi concentration camp.

Katz said that while he was writing the book he was aware of the parallels between the Nazi's and the rise of fascism/white nationalism within today's GOP.

Specifically that the federal government spread lies about Adams just like the GOP has done to an increasing degree in recent years against the political left. The FBI, at the direction of a young J. Edgar Hoover, also used Adams lesbian identity and the fact that she wrote Lesbian Love against her during her deportation hearings. Katz said that as far as he can tell the FBI did not have a warrant when they raided Adams' room and seized her writings and that this should concern everyone who values free speech.

"It was very spooky," said Katz. "Studying the rise of fascism in Europe and how recently there have been more and more reports of anti-Semitism, shootings at synagogues and killing of Black people by white supremacists and the police in the United States. It was on my mind all the time while working on this book."

In one harrowing chapter, Katz wrote about Adam's desire to escape from the Nazi's.

"I felt an increasing desperation with Eve and her companion Hella Oldstein," said Katz. "Eran was very helpful to me as I constructed this chapter. He contacted Oldstein's family who found the file of letters in Switzerland from Eve to Hella's family that included Eve and Hella's pictures and Eve's expired passport that she had given to an Oldstein family member as a memento.

"The letters allowed me to convey the menace that was in the air and getting worse and worse as the Nazi's got increasingly tense. Adding the timeline of all the atrocities the Nazi's were doing in Europe as these letters were being written was also important to show how dangerous it was at the time. It was important to show the larger picture of what was going on and how it deeply affected her life."

Katz said reading these letter helped him understand the Holocaust better because before this it was abstract concept. This was despite Katz knowing a Holocaust survivor who talked about his escape from Germany.

When asked how Katz got access to Adams' Lesbian Love book, he said a woman named Eve Alvarez found a copy of the book in the lobby of her building in Albany, New York and took possession of it. After a number of emails between Katz and Alvarez, he was able to convince her that he "was a serious, responsible historian who would not sensationalize this and that I was going to treat Eve and her book with the respect they deserved. That promise prompted Alvarez to send the book to Katz. It is the only known copy of the book in existence."

Katz's favorite essays in Lesbian Love are "How I Found Myself" which is Adams' memoir of her first sexual experience with a woman in Poland and "An Adventure" because "I strongly suspect that Little Jimmie, a working-class woman, is actually Eve in the story. She talks about going to work in the garment industry and a place in the country that the union had so the workers could take a vacation."

He is also the author of Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality, The Invention of Heterosexuality, Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary and Gay American History: Lesbian and Gay Men in the U.S.A.

Among Katz's other endeavors is as OutHistory's director. The website, launched in October 2008, features LGBTQ US history.

"OutHistory presents careful, original research on the subject," said Katz. "I have managed to have a scholarly career without any degrees. It has been very hard for me to get access to the best research, libraries and more recently databases. As a lefty, I want to make sure there is good quality information available free of charge. I am very proud of the original discoveries we have published on the site."

As for the future of this country, Katz said he is really worried because of the attempted coup/insurrection on Jan. 6 by Trump and his supporters that resulted in people's deaths, other violence and preventing the peaceful transfer of power

"There have always been anti-democratic forces, lynch mobs, murderous police and people who do not get mental health services who shoot people in this country," said Katz. "There are also a lot of angry white people that is partly a class issue and is tied in with racism and prejudice. This is a real problem that we cannot ignore going forward. Our democracy depends on us keeping our eyes open and staying vigilant."

See jnkart.com/ and outhistory.org/ .

To view Katz's Eve Adams Alterpiece, visit jnkart.com/portfolio/2020/ .


This article shared 844 times since Wed May 5, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

BOOKS Grandma, Grace Jones are heroes in non-binary author's children's book
2021-06-22
Non-binary author, alternative hip hop artist, mother and activist Ris iRAWniQ Anderson has published the children's book in Charlie's Best Work Yet. Charlie's Best Work Yet tells the semi-autobiographical story of Charlie—a shy, artistic ...


Gay News

New book: Majority Leader Hoyer unsung hero of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal
2021-06-22
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — In a new book, LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States, authored by Dr. Christopher Pepin-Neff, LGBTQ researcher and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Sydney and first lobbyist for Don't ...


Gay News

First active pro football player comes out as gay
2021-06-21
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player in history to announce that he is gay, according to Outsports. "What's up people," Nassib posted on Instagram. "I'm at my house in ...


Gay News

The Cost of Pride: Research goes inside LGBTQ movement's two decades of progress
2021-06-21
--From a press release - Sydney, Australia — With LGBTQ Pride Month upon us, new University of Sydney research released today paints a vivid picture of how the LGBTQ community has achieved groundbreaking advancements over the past two decades. The study ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Fritzie Fritzshall, Auschwitz survivor, innovator in Holocaust education
2021-06-20
--From a press release - As a Survivor of the Holocaust and the President of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Fritzie Fritzshall devoted her life to combatting hatred and prejudice, inspiring people to become Upstanders instead of bystanders, and speaking ...


Gay News

WNBA: Chicago Sky notch fifth straight win
2021-06-20
On June 19, the Chicago Sky won their fifth consecutive game, 91-81 over the Connecticut Sun at Chicago's Wintrust Arena. Winning that many consecutive games has only been achieved three times in franchise history. There has ...


Gay News

BOOKS Precious Brady-Davis has arrived
2021-06-18
Recently honored by Mayor Lightfoot and the LGBTQ Advisory Council as a community leader who has "helped build the foundation for a more welcoming, equitable and inclusive Chicago," Precious Brady-Davis wants to do it all. She ...


Gay News

"Chicago: Where comics came to life (1880-1960)" at Chicago Cultural Center
2021-06-18
--From a press release - "Chicago: Where comics came to life (1880-1960)" opens Saturday, June 19 at Chicago Cultural Center. The new exhibition celebrates Chicago as the comics capital of the world. Current exhibitions include ...


Gay News

Senate hearings for Gina Ortiz Jones, Shawn Skelly; historic if confirmed
2021-06-16
--From a press release - Washington, DC — The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold confirmation hearings for two LGBTQ presidential nominees this Wednesday and both will make history if confirmed. Gina Ortiz Jones, nominated for Under Secretary of the Air ...


Gay News

U.S. women's soccer team beats Jamaica 4-0
2021-06-16
Carli Lloyd's 24-second strike—the second quickest goal in the United States women's national team history—helped her team beat Jamaica 4-0 on June 13, ESPN.com reported. Lindsey Horan, Midge Purce and Alex Morgan all added goals for ...


Gay News

LGBTQ pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes to be honored at Stonewall Inn on June 24
2021-06-16
--From a press release - (New York, NY, June 15, 2021)... On June 24, 2021, The International Imperial Courts of the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico and the National LGBTQ Task Force will again come together to honor LGBTQ pioneers, trailblazers, and ...


Gay News

Chicago History Museum to mark Juneteenth with event, free admission
2021-06-14
The Chicago History Museum will celebrate Juneteenth with free museum admission for all and a virtual event, "Resounding Liberty: Remembering Juneteenth." The virtual celebration includes a civic talk on the history and national impact of Juneteenth; ...


Gay News

New book sets the record straight on Act Up New York
2021-06-10
Novelist, playwright, nonfiction writer, journalist, screenwriter, LGBTQ+-rights activist and AIDS historian Sarah Schuman preserves the power of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) while laying everything out about ...


Gay News

Lambda Literary Award winners announced
2021-06-09
On June 1, Lambda Literary announced the winners of its 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. The winners were selected by a panel of more than 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from more ...


Gay News

First gay Black man elected to office in Texas
2021-06-06
On June 5, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez was elected to represent District 2 for the San Antonio City Council—making him the first openly gay Black man elected to any office in Texas history, KEN5.com reported. McKee-Rodriguez, 26, defeated ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.