The Case:

Scouring Manhattan bookstores our contributor came across the 250-page life story of a woman named Diana Fredericks.

The book, Diana: A Strange Autobiography, tells a sympathetic story of how one woman discovers that she is a lesbian. Few books dealt realistically with lesbianism before the 1960’s.

This book came out in 1939 with this note: “The publishers wish it expressly understood that this is a true story, the first of its kind ever offered to the general reading public.”

Experts call this book groundbreaking as one of the first works of gay literature with a happy ending.

History Detectives sets out to find the author. Who is Diana Fredericks? And is this story true?

Document: Diana
Full introduction, publisher’s note and forward to Diana: A Strange Autobiography.

Discuss this story

Season 8, Episode 6

Tukufu Zuberi Location:
California, Washington, D.C., and New York

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