AbstractIn this article about an organized group of homosexual students at all-male 1920s Dartmouth College — the boys of Beaver Meadow — Nicholas L. Syrett points to the possibility of a gay rural identity and community at the very time when most queer historiography has focused on urban space as the precondition for gay community. In looking at this group of students he examines the classed and racial makeup of its members, arguing that while they may well have lived in a rural space, the means by which they constituted their gay identity were predicated on the same classed (and implicitly raced) status that allowed others in major cities to claim similar identities. Finally, Syrett explores the significance of the boys’ membership in a college fraternity and their participation in Dartmouth’s theatre program, dwelling in particular on what both of these activities — read alongside their homosexuality — can tell us about 1920s ideals of masculinity at an all male-college. Drawing on archival documents from Dartmouth College, “The Boys of Beaver Meadow” contributes to a growing body of work that seeks to problematize the urban/homosexual connection and does so in a specifically historical context, in this case 1920s New England.
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