Today in LGBT History – March 16

Return phone calls, answer emails!   —Sarah Schulman

Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!

Today in LGBT History – March 16

1680 – Legislators of New Hampshire pass the colony’s first capital laws, copied almost word for word from the Plymouth laws of 1671: If any man lie with mankind as he lies with a woman; both of them have committed abomination; They both shall surely be put to death: unless one party were forced, or were under fourteen years of age. And all other Sodomitical filthiness shall be severely punished according to the nature of it

 1885, Australia – Novelist Ida Alexa Ross Wylie (16 March 1885 – 4 November 1959) is born in Melbourne. She is known by her pen name I. A. R. Wylie. She was an Australian-British-American novelist, screenwriter, short story writer, and poet who was honored by the journalistic and literary establishments of her time, and was known around the world. Between 1915 and 1953, more than thirty of her novels and stories were adapted into films, including Keeper of the Flame (1942), which was directed by George Cukor and starred Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. In 1940 she published “My Life With George,” at the time a groundbreaking work about her life with another woman. In the 1930s, Wylie and two pioneering physicians, Dr. Sara Josephine Baker and  Dr. Louise Pearce, settled on a property near Skillman, New Jersey called Trevenna Farm. They lived there together until Baker died in 1945, followed by Pearce, and then later Wylie who died on 4 November 1959 at the age of 74. Wylie and Pearce are buried alongside each other at Henry Skillman Burying Ground, Trevenna Farm’s family cemetery. Dr. Sara Josephine Baker  (November 15, 1873 – February 22, 1945 a pioneering public health specialist best known for capturing “Typhoid Mary.” Dr. Louise Pearce (March 5, 1885 – August 10, 1959), was an American pathologist at the Rockefeller Institute who helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis)

1938 – John Richard “Jack” Nichols Jr. (March 16, 1938 – May 2, 2005) is born. He was an American gay rights activist who co-founded the Washington, D.C. branch of the Mattachine Society in 1961 with Franklin E. Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011). He appeared in a 1967 documentary under the pseudonym Warren Adkins.

 1954 – The Army–McCarthy hearings convene to investigate conflicting charges made by the United States Army and Senator Joseph McCarthy about allegations of preferential treatment that McCarthy and his aide Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986)  had secured for Cohn’s friend David Schine (September 11, 1927 – June 19, 1996). The hearings include inquiries into the supposed security risks posed by homosexuals employed by the federal government and include instances of gay-baiting by Special Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch. Notably, Welch defines a pixie as being “a close relative of a fairy”. “Fairy” is a slang term for “homosexual” and Welch’s remark is interpreted as a jibe at Cohn, a closeted homosexual who later died of AIDS.

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(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at,, Lavender Effect,, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm,, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at Thanks!)


For references and a complete listing today’s events, please go to my blog at

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