Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



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

This article shared 1919 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 and .

To view Katz's Eve Adams Alterpiece, visit .

This article shared 1919 times since Wed May 5, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

PASSAGES Journalist Chuck Colbert passes away at 67
Journalist Charles "Chuck" R. Colbert—who had written for several LGBTQ+ publications, including Windy City Times—passed away June 30. He was 67. He was a freelance journalist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to his biography on The ...

Gay News

BOOKS Inside Sinkhole, a darkly comic coming-of-age fiction
Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder. Breier ...

Gay News

Utah school district removes LGBTQ+ books from libraries
A Utah school district removed 52 books from its library shelves due to parent complaints mainly concerning LGBTQ+-focused material, LGBTQ Nation noted. A spokesperson for Alpine School District tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the district ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies
Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as ...

Gay News

Local non-binary poet wins Stories Matter Scholarship
The Stories Matter Foundation and StoryStudio Chicago have awarded the annual $1,500 Dana Wood Chaney Writers Fund tuition grant to local non-binary poet A. Ng Pavel. The scholarship is awarded each year to a writer working ...

Gay News

GLAAD releases 2022 Social Media Safety Index
GLAAD has released its 2022 Social Media Safety Index (SMSI). The SMSI provides recommendations for the industry at large and reports on LGBTQ user safety across the five major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube ...

Gay News

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 celebrates 50 years of comic conventions
Throwing a successful comic-book conference comes with great responsibility. Just ask any Spider-Man you might run into at the Fan Expos located around the country. The newly titled Fan Expo Chicago swung into Donald E. Stephens ...

Gay News

John Pennycuff's memorial library at Unity Park is graffitied
The John Pennycuff Little Library, at Chicago's Unity Park, was recently sprayed with graffiti. Robert Castillo, Pennycuff's surviving husband, stated on Facebook that some tried to cover the original tagging with their own rainbow-hued graffiti. ...

Gay News

Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman on U.S. Supreme Court
On June 30, Ketanji Brown Jackson marked a milestone in U.S. representation when she was sworn in as the first Black woman in history to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. She also becomes only the ...

Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...

Gay News

Pride Live hosts NYC center groundbreaking, 'Stonewall Day'
On June 24, Pride Live held an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC), which is the first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Park System. Slated to open on June 28, ...

Gay News

'General Hospital,' Kelly Clarkson among Daytime Emmy winners
ABC's General Hospital—already the winningest sudser in daytime history—was named Outstanding Daytime Drama on June 24 while The Kelly Clarkson Show took home the prize for Outstanding Talk Show at the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards. ...

Gay News

Out at CHM: Panelists discuss HIV/AIDS' continued impact on dance community
The Chicago History Museum (CHM) hosted a June 23 panel with doctors and dancers who shared their experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as ideas for continuing to address the disease today. Following the discussion, ...

Gay News

Parker makes history in Sky victory; Cubs, White Sox lose
On June 23, Chicago Sky player Candace Parker made history as the first WNBA player with three career triple-doubles in Chicago's (12-5) 82-59 win over the Los Angeles Sparks (6-10) at Arena. An audience of ...

Gay News

Photos of Chicago's Daniel Sotomayor included in new Smithsonian exhibit
The Smithsonian's first gallery dedicated to Latino history and culture has opened its doors to the public at the National Museum of American History, NBC News noted. Billed as a precursor to a national Latino museum ...


Copyright © 2022 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.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.