August 12th People

August 12th

08-12-1880 – 10-07-1943 Radclyffe Hall – Born in Bournemouth, England. She was an English poet and author, best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness. The novel has become a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature. Hall was a lesbian and spent much of her Radclyffe Halltwenties pursuing women she eventually lost to marriage. In 1907 at the Homburg spa in Germany, she met Mabel Batten, a well-known amateur singer of German romantic songs. Batten was 51 to Hall’s 27 and was married with an adult daughter and grandchildren. They fell in love and when Batten’s husband died, they set up residence together. In 1915 Hall fell in love with Mabel Batten’s cousin Una Troubridge (1887-1963), a sculptor who was the wife of Vice-Admiral Ernest Troubridge, and the mother of a young daughter. Batten died in 1916, and in 1917 Hall and Una Troubridge began living together. The relationship would last until Hall’s death in 1943.

08-12-1907 – 01-18-1960 Gladys Bentley – Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was an American blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance. She moved to New York at the age of 16. Her career as a performer skyrocketed when she appeared at Harry Hansberry’s Clam House on 133rd Street, one of New York City’s most notorious gay speakeasies, in the 1920s. Bentley was a lesbian, cross-dressing performer. In the early 1930s, she headlined at Harlem’s Ubangi Club, where she was backed by a chorus of drag queens. She dressed in men’s clothes, played the piano, and sang her own raunchy lyrics to popular tunes of the day while flirting outrageously with women in the audience. Bentley was openly lesbian during her early career, but during the McCarthy Era, she started wearing dresses and married a man named Charles Roberts.

08-12-1867 – 05-31-1963 Edith Hamilton – Born in Dresden, North German Confederation (now Germany) to American parents. She was an American educator and internationally-known for her first book, The Greek Way, published in 1930 when she was sixty-two. It was an immediate success. Her other books include The Roman Way (1932), The Prophets of Israel (1936), Mythology (1942) and The Echo of Greece (1957). At the age of twenty-nine, Edith Hamilton became the first headmistress of The Bryn Mawr School. She retired after twenty-six years and spent the winter in her home in Mount Desert Island, Maine with Doris Fielding Reid, who became her life partner. In 1924, the couple moved to New York City, where they remained until 1943. They then moved to Washington, D.C. Hamilton considered the high point of her life to be a trip to Athens in 1957, at the age of ninety to hear her translation of Aeschylus’s Prometheus performed at the ancient Odeon theater of Herodes Atticus. King Paul of Greece awarded her the Golden Cross of the order of Benefaction, Greece’s highest honor, and the mayor of Athens made her an honorary citizen. Hamilton died three months before her ninety-sixth birthday. Four years after her death, Doris Fielding Reid published Edith Hamilton: An Intimate Portrait. Reid died on January 15, 1973. Both women are buried at Cove Cemetery in Hadlyme, Connecticut.

08-12-1942 Reverend Dr. Jane (Janie) Spahr – Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a retired minister that married more than a dozen same-sex marriages when such unions were legal in Rev. Dr. Jane SpahrCalifornia. She was put on trial by the Presbyterian Church and found guilty of violating the Presbyterian constitution and her ordination vows for performing those ceremonies. Days after President Obama announced support for same-sex marriage, the Presbyterian Church’s Northern California governing body refused to rebuke her for performing same-sex weddings. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted 74-18 in favor of same-sex weddings. Rev. Spahr said, “To turn my back on the love and lifelong commitments of these wonderful couples would have gone against my faith, the ministry where I was called, and most of all, against God’s amazing hospitality and welcome, where love and justice meet together.” She describes herself as a lesbian, feminist, and a Presbyterian minister committed to justice issues for the LGBT community.

08-12-1859 – 03-28-1929 Katharine Lee Bates – Born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. She was an American songwriter and professor of Katharine Lee BatesEnglish literature at Wellesley College. She is most remembered for writing America The Beautiful. She lived in Wellesley with Katharine Corman, a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley Economics department. The couple lived together for twenty-five years until Corman’s death in 1915.

08-12-1928 – 02-02-2021 Maureen Colquhoun – Born in England (exact place unknown). She was a British economist and Labour Party politician. She Maureen Colquhounserved as a councilor in West Sussex from 1971-1974 until she was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Northampton North in 1974. At the 1979 general election, she lost her seat to a Conservative. Following her defeat, she returned to the House of Commons where she worked as an assistant to Labour MPs. She was elected to Hackney London Borough Council in 1982-1990. Colquhoun was Britain’s first openly lesbian MP. She published an autobiography Woman in the House (1980).

08-12-1992 Cara Delevingne – Born in Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom. She is an English model and actress. Delevingne won the “Model of the Year” awards at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and 2014. Her first major acting role was a Margo Roth Spiegelman in the romantic mystery film Paper Towns (2015). She has designed two fashion collections for DKNY and Mulberry. Delevingne is openly bisexual. In June 2015, she confirmed she was in a relationship with American musician Annie Clark, best known by her stage name St. Vincent. In September 2016, the two had separated.

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