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Outlaw Marriages - The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples
Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples
Author: Rodger Streitmatter
Product Code: 0334 ISBN: 978-080700334-3
Binding Information: Cloth 
6 X 9 Inches (US)
Copyright Date Ed: 
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Price: $26.95 In stock.

The engaging and untold stories of fifteen prominent same-sex couples who defied cultural norms and made signifcant contributions to American history.

Screen legend Greta Garbo owes much of her success to her partner, Mercedes de Acosta, who taught the actress how to dress and speak like Hollywood royalty. Frank Merlo weaned Tennessee Williams off a diet of drugs and casual sex so the playwright was able to create his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Iconic American poet Walt Whitman dotted his master work, Leaves of Grass, with references to his lover and his muse, Peter Doyle. Robert Rauschenberg urged Jasper Johns not to ignore a bizarre dream he had but instead to act on it and paint the American flag-as he had done in the dream. Frances Clayton gave up tenure at an Ivy League university to help her partner, Audre Lorde, reinvent herself as a pioneering poet who gave voice to women of color around the globe.

For more than a century before gay marriage became a hot-button political issue, same-sex unions flourished in America. Pairs of men and pairs of women joined together in committed unions, standing by each other "for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health" for periods of thirty or forty-sometimes as many as fifty-years. In short, they loved and supported each other every bit as much as any husband and wife.

In Outlaw Marriages, cultural historian Rodger Streitmatter reveals how some of these unions didn't merely improve the quality of life for the two people involved but also enriched the American culture.

Among the high-profile couples whose lives and loves are illuminated in the following pages are Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith, literary icon Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, author James Baldwin and Lucien Happersberger, and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Couples featured: Walt Whitman & Peter Doyle, Martha Carey Thomas & Mamie Gwinn, John Marshall & Ned Warren, Jane Addams & Mary Rozet Smith, Bessie Marbury & Elsie de Wolfe, J. C. Leyendecker & Charles Beach, Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas, Janet Flanner & Solita Solano, Greta Garbo & Mercedes de Acosta, Aaron Copland & Victor Kraft, Tennessee Williams & Frank Merlo, James Baldwin & Lucien Happersberger, Jasper Johns & Robert Rauschenberg, James Ivory & Ismail Merchant, Audre Lorde & Frances Clayton

Read the prologue
In the Media

Click here to read a recent review of Outlaw Marriages on

For a review in Publishers Weekly, click here to read a Q&A with Rodger Streitmatter in Publishers Weekly's "PW Tip Sheet".

Click here to read a Q&A with Rodger Streitmatter in LGBT Today.

Click here to read a recent review of Outlaw Marriages in Gay City News

To watch a live interview with Streitmatter on Let's Talk Live, a local D.C. talk show click here

To read a recent review of Outlaw Marriages by PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), here

To read a review from Portland's PQ Monthlyhere

Review   Publishers Weekly - February 1, 2012
“The volume will have particular appeal to readers of gender studies, but these stories ultimately prove that true partnership is gender blind.”
Review   EDGE - May 15, 2012
"Outlaw Marriages is a thoroughly interesting look at gay and lesbian love, life and relationships."

"Outlaw Marriages gloriously outs same-sex couples through history and celebrates their love and impact in theater, arts, and social change. If you love the guilty pleasure of reading People magazine for your celebrity-couple news, you'll love this book. And the fact-checking is flawless!"—Kate Clinton, humorist

"[A] nice gift for just the right couple."—Kirkus Reviews

"15 love marriages that dared not speak their name defied laws and mores, flouted conventions, and live today in Streitmatter's essential, well-documented history."—Booklist

"Streitmatter absorbingly details the public and private lives of notable same-sex couples, deftly examining affairs, betrayals, and disappointments, as well as the enabling power that the right marriage, recognized or not, provides."—Publishers Weekly

"An engaging and well-researched volume with broad appeal to the LGBTQ crowd (especially couples) as well as social historians." –Library Journal

"In Outlaw Marriages he distills a wealth of information down to a lively and effective series of double portraits.”—The Gay and Lesbian Review

“…Streitmatter expertly threads together the historical backgrounds and incredible courage of these couples… it’s a damn good bunch of stories told in a very approachable 160-ish pages.”—The Stranger

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