“There is considerable evidence to suggest that cross-dressing women fought in the early American wars.”
It’s detail like this that makes Marie J. Kuda’s multiple contributions to Out and Proud in Chicago singular. The Oak Park historian, archivist, writer and activist leads an elite list of contributors to a new book that’s the companion to both WTTW’s recent documentary and to the Web site www.ChicagoGayHistory.org.
On Sunday, Kuda will join Out and Proud editor Tracy Baim at a discussion and book signing at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park. The show, tell and sell event is one in a series of book signings across Chicagoland this month, timed both to publicize the one-of-a-kind history project broadcast this summer on public television and to mark the 20th anniversary of Coming Out Day (Oct. 11).
Kuda, who was appointed by Mayor Harold Washington to Chicago’s first Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues and who was inducted by Mayor Richard M. Daley into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, matter-of-factly tells us in an e-mail interview that she has 22 signed articles in this book, a few original and most reprints. What Kuda didn’t point out is that her byline appears more frequently than that of her 10 fellow contributors, as does her credit line for many of the 224-page hardcover’s historical illustrations.
This is the same woman who, at the Oak Park Public Library, presented the program “Eleanor Roosevelt: A Second Life?” and who has penned the Web piece “Was Hemingway’s mother a lesbian?”
So don’t be surprised, then, to find Kuda’s Out and Proud bylines on “A Gay President” (Abraham Lincoln) and “Tormented Architect” (Louis Sullivan).
Meet Marie J. Kuda and Tracy Baim at Centuries & Sleuths on Sunday at 2 p.m. The book is $30.
-Helen Karakoudas and Deb Quantock McCarey