Now Open: The Library Company Of Philadelphia Presents A Historical Look At Its Collections In That’s So Gay: Outing Early America

The Library Company of Philadelphia hosts an exhibition of the gay history in its vast collections now through October. (Image courtesy the Library Company of Philadelphia)

On Locust Street in the heart of the Gayborhood, the Library Company of Philadelphia is a treasure trove of historic material dating back to the days of Benjamin Franklin and William Penn.

In its newest exhibit, That’s So Gay: Outing Early America, the institution chronicles the evolution of same-sex relationships through a 21st-century lens.

This groundbreaking study offers a new take on early American life by scrutinizing same-sex relationships, whether romantic or otherwise. While sex-segregated activities weren’t uncommon way back when, historians now suspect that many such groups may have been more intimate than initially thought.

Through in-depth study of the Library Company’s extensive collection of books, prints, ephemera and photographs, this exhibit addresses questions like “Was Abraham Lincoln gay?” and “Does Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick contain homosexual undertones?”

That’s So Gay: Outing Early America is on view now through October 17. The exhibit will be accompanied by a series of special programs, including a talk by How to Be Gay author David Halperin; a table reading of The Temperamentals, a play about the life of gay activist Harry Hay; and a talk by Marc Stein, author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves.

Admission to see the exhibit is completely free, and more information on events and happenings is available online.

That’s So Gay: Outing Early America
When: Now through October 17
Where: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street
Cost: Free
More info:


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