Pre-Stonewall exhibit of a 1950s gay haven

Safe / Haven: Gay Life in the 1950s Cherry Grove

Are you planning a trip to New York City later this year? The New York Historical Society Museum and Library has a free, outdoor exhibit that might be of interest to you. Entitled, Safe / Haven: Gay Life in the 1950s Cherry Grove, will run from May 14 – October 11, 2021 in the Museum & Library back courtyard. Out of consideration for public health, social distancing is required and timed-entry tickets need to be reserved here.

During weekends and summers in the pre-Stonewall era, gay men and women, including many New Yorkers, traveled to the secluded beach town of Cherry Grove on Fire Island where they found opportunities for sexual exploration and self-expression—behavior that was both stigmatized and criminalized in the US. Together with creative figures like Truman Capote, W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, and Patricia Highsmith, visitors partook in costumed parties, theatrical events, and liberated atmosphere that this gay sanctuary provided. The exhibition explores the gay and lesbian community that flourished during the 1950s in Cherry Grove through some 70 enlarged photographs and additional ephemera from the unique holdings of the Cherry Grove Archives Collection. 

More information about the 70 photographs that comprise this unique exhibit is available here.

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