One of the great challenges for public historians in LGBTQ history is finding and developing interpretation of the history of sexuality for public audiences at current historic sites. This article answers this challenge by repositioning historic house museums as sites of some of the most important LGBTQ public history we have, by using the Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a case study. At this house museum, we can re-see historical interpretation through a queer lens and take on histories that have been until recently “slandered, ignored, and erased” from our public narratives of the past.1
Much of the research included here is the result of significant support thanks to a Korzenik Fellowship from the Friends of the Longfellow House and a Summer Research Award from Temple University Office of Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs. Thanks to my research assistants Grace Tang and Helen Lewandowski and to the incredible current and former staff at the Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site (LONG) including Jim Shea, Beth Law, Kate Hanson Plass, Garrett Cloer, Nicole Mello, the late Anita Israel, and especially the fantastic Christine Wirth. Dwight Pitcaithley was also essential in helping me with early context for the history of the site. The talented students in my Spring 2018 Women in US History course, especially Alecia Caballero, worked to edit and transcribe letters of Fanny Coolidge Stone to Alice Mary Longfellow, held in the collections at LONG. Sharon Speedline at the Newburyport Public Library Archival Center was also essential in helping me piece together Stone’s biography.