Rebellious Love: Exploring Queer History, Art and Literature at The Rosenbach | Behind the Bookcase tour (in-person)

Date / Time

  • October 13, 2022
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Behind the Bookcase tours are sponsored by William and Anna Marie Petersen




For many centuries, Queer people have faced marginalization by mainstream society.  Yet their obstacles have also given them unique perspectives on the human experience, and inspired important contributions to art, literature, politics, and social organizing. In this tour, we will meet Queer people from history, and consider how their diverse sexualities and identities shaped their lives and informed their work. Among other items from our collection, you will view (and even handle!) a letter documenting an historic meeting of Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman in Camden, New Jersey, where the two shared a kiss; read romantic love letters exchanged by the legendary film actress Marlene Dietrich and the playwright Mercedes de Acosta; and page through Acosta’s personal Bible (which doubled as her scrapbook devoted to the elusive actress Greta Garbo).  We will also examine rare books and manuscripts illuminating the lives of Harlem Renaissance figures Langston Hughes and the Philadelphian Alain LeRoy Locke, and view a commonplace book that once belonged to the Chevalier d’Éon, an influential nonbinary person who was a soldier, courtier, and spy.  The tour will conclude with a consideration of what comes next in the movement to win full acceptance for Queer people, and how LGBTQIA+ rights intersect with other issues including racial justice.  Celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month with The Rosenbach as we uncover our often-hidden but always-fascinating history as Queer people! 

About Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours at The Rosenbach

Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours offer unparalleled access to see, and even touch, rare and important items not usually on view to the public. Each program is dedicated to a different author, theme, or topic and grants a truly hands-on experience with materials in The Rosenbach’s inspiring collection.

See all upcoming tours hereSpace is limited and advance registration is strongly recommended.