Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Paul R. Deslandes
This thesis analyzes the lives and relationships of four Vermont men using the following collections: letters between Cyrus Pringle and his assistant, Frank Estey (1899-1906); diaries from University of Vermont student, Chester Way (1918-1919); Middlebury alum Lyle Glazier’s autobiography (1911-1950); and Middlebury’s Dean of Men, Burt Hazeltine’s photo albums (1891-1974). Through these collections, the thesis tracks and elucidates the trajectory of sexual categories in Vermont and New England, explores the opportunities and limits of same-sex desire, and investigates how male-intimacy operated and materialized in the homosocial spaces that these men had access to. Each collection of sources reveals the instability of male identities and relationships in the first half of the twentieth century. By looking at the lives of these men, we can begin to understand the transition in American life in which a discourse of sexual categories and identity entered and ultimately cemented in cultural and social understandings of sex.
All four men covered in this research were affiliated with Vermont colleges and universities. As such, special attention is paid to undergraduate institutions as spaces of identity formation and opportunities for same-sex desire. Homosocial spaces within undergraduate life included fraternities as well as extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, or college organized social events. Outside of university specific life, the experiences of these men also point to the influence of New England’s rural geography as an opportune landscape for physical and sexual play between male youth. Through these individual stories, we can construct a regional example of masculinity and same-sex desire and explore the volatility of sexual identity in early twentieth century New England.
Number of Pages
Tobin, Michael B., "“had A Great Time Fooling With The Boy”: Narratives Of Same-Sex Desire And Masculinity In New England, 1890-1940" (2023). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 1730.
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