We, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people (LGBTQ), all the subdivisions of the sexual and gender minority community, exist in America. The places we remember and hold dear, those places that have become part of our identity, also exist. Still. Many of them.
At Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters, the site's LGBTQ history began long before its preservation as a historic site. There have been LGBTQ members of the Longfellow family as long as there have been Longfellows. Harry Dana, the grandson of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, preserved many of his families’ important documents — as well as his own. As a gay man and a public figure in his own right, Harry Dana was not only preserving queer history, he was creating it at the same time.
The site's archives hold the rich family history that Harry Dana worked to preserve. The personal papers of Longfellow family members held in the archives give insight into the intimate relationships of Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892), Alice Longfellow (1850-1928), and Harry Dana (1881-1950).
These papers have allowed staff to explore the site's LGBTQ stories; this page explores the many stories that have emerged from this archival research. Queer history is a key piece of the broader history of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters. Join us in exploring the lives of LGBTQ people, and the resonance of these stories today.
Last updated: June 14, 2021