European Gay Movement & Bookstores
Introduction for European Gay Movement & Bookstores
There were few years during the 1970s – 1990s that I failed to take a break from North America to fly off to one European country or another. As Glad Day Bookshop’s owner I felt it was important to stay in touch with what was happening with gay and lesbian books and periodicals, as well with a then ever growing list of bookshops specializing along the same lines as my own stores. Sometimes this involved buying directly from publishers, especially in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Other times it meant exchange shipments between stores, as was the case with a small bookshop in Piraeus, Greece.
For years I was a dedicated book hunter specializing in pre-World War II German gay and sexual science literature. This, of course, meant frequent trips to Germany and Austria. My German gay literature library, now mostly donated to the Karl Kroch Library at Cornell University, got its start in Boston, just down the street from Glad Day’s first Bromfield Street location. In those days Boston was a serious book town – the used bookshops were all bursting with interesting material given how many universities are in the area with the libraries of deceased academics replenishing the antiquarian stocks of each. It was in Goodspeed’s Bookshop located in the basement of the Old South Meeting House at 2 Milk St. that I found several volumes published by Max Spohr Verlag in Leipzig. Spohr’s publishing house worked closely with Magnus Hirschfeld and, if memory serves, eventually published somewhere between 50-100 gay related titles. Later I found other rare material in places as far afield from Toronto as Seattle, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and Copenhagen.