San Francisco: Pan-Graphic Press, 1959. Offset, with black and white illustrations. 8 3/8 x 5 1/2 in. Saddle- stapled in unmarked red faux leather wraps. 54 pp. Very good. Item #5746
A slim volume of gay short stories and poetry published by Pan- Graphic Press in 1959, originally from Der Kreis, a Swiss gay magazine published from 1932 to 1967.
Pan-Graphic was established in 1954 by Hal Call, a gay rights activist, WWII veteran, and a key member of the Mattachine Society, the country’s first “homophile” organization. After nearly fifteen years of public organizing with Mattachine, Call moved towards private ventures which included Pan-Graphic Press and later the Adonis Bookstore, opening in 1967 as the first publicly gay bookstore in the United States.
Der Kreis was an important early gay journal, albeit an aggressively assimiliationist one. As John Andrews wrote in a 1961 issue of Der Kreis, “The goal of Der Kreis is the complete integration of gay men into existing society. Its respect is to be gained through special effort and strict accommodation to prevailing norms.” Andrews, a pseudonym of Samuel Steward, aka Phil Andros, tattoo artist, sex artist, and English professor, contributed frequently to the magazine, though he disagreedly with its conformist politics.
Pan-Graphic became the premier gay publishing service of its time. Call worked to mail their work to people in towns “lacking progressive bookstores.” The need for discretion may be the reason for this volume’s bindings being unmarked and untitled. This volume contains four short stories, four poems and five black and white illustrations centered around gay love, sex, and relationships.
An artifact of 1950’s gay life, illuminating the clandestine modes of publication and distribution required for gay literature at the time, as well as the international scope of the gay press.