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Lost History

June 2024
1min read


On the back cover of the December 1997 issue of American Heritage , you mention that the illustrator J. C. Leyendecker “created the ‘Arrow Collar Man’ . . . wholly from the artist’s imagination.” One of the models for this American icon was Charles Beach, who was Mr. Leyendecker’s lover for nearly fifty years.

The Arrow Collar Man was the male equivalent of the Gibson girl. No publisher would hesitate to acknowledge that Charles Dana Gibson’s wife was one of his models. Why is it so difficult to make public that a gay man could find equal inspiration in the person who shared his life? The most unfortunate aspect of your lapse is that it is yet another example of the systematic erasing of gay history from the collective memory.

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