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Preface to the 2014 Edition
C
herry Grove is the story of how a small strip of a barrier
island off the Atlantic coast near New York City, nothing more than
a sand spit, really, became the premier lesbian and gay summer colony
in the world, and the only one that has a large gay majority, be-
tween the years 1930 and 1990. How could such a vibrant community
have been created under the oppressive conditions that existed for gay
people at that time? There was no written account, so I decided to
research the Grove history myself.
All around me, intimately connected despite the absence of the
Internet at that time, was a network of other gay and lesbian intellec-
tuals like Jonathan Ned Katz, Allen Berubé, John D’Emilio, Martin
Duberman, George Chauncey, Elizabeth Kennedy, and Madeline
Davis, to name just a few, who were re- creating, via slide shows and
books, the histories that we had never learned in school and were
starving for. For us this was a labor of political conviction and love,
not necessarily a career move. For one thing many of us were scholars
outside of universities; even those of us who were academics had no
certainty that our work would be accepted as legitimate.
Looking back, I still find the work that my generation of gay lib-
erationist intellectuals created a mighty proud achievement. We re-
spected LGBT people of varied experience and with their support as
narrators and archivists, we produced an outstanding body of work
using empirical and theoretical approaches that have both descen-
dants and ongoing power. Specifically, each time I open the pages of
Cherry Grove I think “well done.” I hope that others will have similar
pleasure in reading this history.
People often ask me if— this book having proved my fascination
with and attachment to Cherry Grove— I still summer there or at
least visited regularly. The answer as of this writing, nineteen years
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