Art History Talk: Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack) and Her Era

[Image description: A rectangular graphic with a blue background for the upper half and an orange background for the lower half. Large orange text reads "Art and History from a Queer Perspective," and small white text reads "Series 6." White text reads "Monday, December 13 - 6:00-8:00 p.m.," "Instructor: Liz Bradbury, MFA," and "Snacks by Trish Sullivan." Dark blue text reads "Class #2: Anne "Gentleman Jack" Lister and Her Era." The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center logo is in white, and the address "522 West Maple Street at Bayard Rustin Way, Allentown, PA 18101" is to the right of the logo in white. The right side of the graphic features six images featuring art depicting one or two white women.]

The second class of Series 6 of "Art (and) History From a Queer Perspective" focuses on Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack) and her era, with a special presentation by “Lister Sister” Michelle Mecham, on decoding Anne’s fascinating diaries.

While it’s sometimes hard to provide solid evidence that a person in the 1800s was actually gay, that is not the case with this fascinating woman. Diarist Anne Lister has been called the “First Lesbian”, because her (literally) 5 million words of eye opening journal entries (circa 1835) describe not only her well-adjusted understanding of her lesbian identity, but graphic descriptions written in code of making love to many women, including Ann Walker, whom she wooed and “wedded." Lister’s and Walker’s in-church commitment has been recognized as the first same-sex marriage in Britain, and Anne Lister’s life is the subject of the show “Gentleman Jack," a BBC TV series. 

In this class, instructor Liz Bradbury, MFA will talk about Anne Lister’s life and a bit about other queer figures in history that were part of her era. Included in this class will be a presentation by Michelle Mecham, a “Lister Sister” who is part of the decoding project of Anne’s Diaries, organized by the Shibden Hall Anne Lister Museum. 

Women attending this event are encouraged to bring a donation of gently-used or new professional clothing or uniforms for the YWCA’s Perfect Fit for Working Women program (one of the Center’s neighbors, just across the street). The YWCA has more than a 100-year primary mission history of working for women’s rights and against racism.

Sit back, prepare to laugh, view slides, listen, learn about and discuss the lives and work of LGBTQ+ artists and other key figures in history. Consider the LGBTQ+ imagery of mainstream artists in various eras. After the class, there is also a social opportunity to discuss interesting things with old friends -- or meet new ones. 

The series has drawn a diverse and intergenerational group of LGBTQ+ folks. It’s a good place to bring old friends, meet new people, or bring someone on a nice first date!

The series is free and open to the public. Registration not required. Themed snacks will be provided, courtesy of Trish Sullivan.

For more information about the series, contact instructor Liz Bradbury at 610-432-5449 or [email protected].

December 13, 2021 at 6:00pm - 8pm
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
522 W Maple St
at Bayard Rustin Way
Allentown, PA 18101
United States
Google map and directions
Gabby Hochfeld ·

Will you come?