Book Launch Reading and Signing: Her Neighbor's Wife
Join us Tuesday, February 4th to celebrate the release of Dr. Lauren Jae Gutterman's new book Her Neighbor's Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage. Her Neighbor's Wifeexamines the personal experiences and public representation of wives who desired women since 1945. Books will be available for purchase and light refreshments will be served.
At first glance, Barbara Kalish fit the stereotype of a 1950s wife and mother. Married at eighteen, Barbara lived with her husband and two daughters in a California suburb, where she was president of the Parent-Teacher Association. At a PTA training conference in San Francisco, Barbara met Pearl, another PTA president who also had two children and happened to live only a few blocks away from her. To Barbara, Pearl was "the most gorgeous woman in the world," and the two began an affair that lasted over a decade.
Through interviews, diaries, memoirs, and letters, Her Neighbor's Wife traces the stories of hundreds of women, like Barbara Kalish, who struggled to balance marriage and same-sex desire in the postwar United States. In doing so, Lauren Jae Gutterman draws our attention away from the postwar landscape of urban gay bars and into the homes of married women, who tended to engage in affairs with wives and mothers they met in the context of their daily lives: through work, at church, or in their neighborhoods.
Dr. Lauren Jae Gutterman is assistant professor of American Studies, History, and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Free and open to the public!