In 1970, working for LOOK magazine, Charlotte Brooks traveled to Minnesota to photograph Michael McConnell and Jack Baker for a profile on committed same-sex relationships. Activists for gay rights, McConnell and Baker can be seen in these photographs enjoying domestic life, relaxing in a park, attending church, socializing with friends, and carrying signs and leaflets in support of equality.
Jack Baker and Michael McConnell at home, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Charlotte Brooks, 1970. //www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.52127/
Jack Baker and Michael McConnell. Photo by Charlotte Brooks, 1970. //www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmscd.00422/
Jack Baker and Michael McConnell at church. Photo by Charlotte Brooks, 1970. //www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ds.09634/
LOOK magazine published the article that included six of the images from Brooks’s assignment in a special issue on “The American Family” in January of 1971. Later that year, McConnell and Baker successfully applied for a marriage license after legally changing Baker’s first name to “Pat Lyn,” a gender-neutral alternative to his birth name. With a Methodist minister officiating, McConnell and Baker became the first legally married same-sex couple in the United States, although their marriage was not officially recognized by the federal government until last year — several years after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling made same-sex marriage legal in the United States.
The following contact sheet shows images of McConnell and Baker holding hands, and of the two holding signs for FREE, or Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, a student group that Baker served as president. This is one of thirty-nine contact sheets comprising Brooks’s assignment (referred to as a “job”) that researchers can view in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room, together offering a glimpse into the lives of two pioneering activists for marriage equality.
Male couples. Photos in contact sheet by Charlotte Brooks, 1970. //www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.41875/
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. One way to commemorate this anniversary might be to explore the online collection Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938. More than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of formerly enslaved people are available online. These narratives were collected in […]
Given her accomplishments as an aviator, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, it should come as no surprise that Amelia Earhart was frequently photographed. The Prints & Photographs Division’s collections include a number of images of Earhart, including some photographs of her sitting in a cockpit looking relaxed and self-assured. […]
The recent organization and cataloging of the more than 90,000 black-and-white and color images in the Congressional Quarterly Photograph Collection enables researchers to explore U.S. Congressional activities as well as a variety of governmental initiatives, policy issues, and Capitol Hill neighborhood doings. The photos date primarily from 1988 to 2005 and were created by photographers […]
When I envision how to research a photograph or any other image, one methodology I come back to over and over consists of ever-widening circles, with the photo in question at center. Picture, if you will, a stone thrown in a still pond and the ripples flowing outwards, growing ever wider. Today’s stone is the […]
In the Library’s latest Free to Use and Reuse set of images drawn from the collections, the focus is on the horse, and all the myriad ways these noble animals have been part of our lives, including sports, recreation, agriculture, transportation, and so on. I spotted one image that for me, and maybe for many […]
Below is an interview with Elizabeth Lindqwister, the summer 2019 Liljenquist Family Fellow, and Prints & Photographs Division staff members, Karen Chittenden and Micah Messenheimer, about creating a Story Map focusing on the Civil War experience of Susie King Taylor. Many courageous people are pulling double and triple duty in this time of quarantine for […]
The following is a post by Kristi Finefield, Reference Specialist in the Prints & Photographs Division, and member of the Picture This blog team. As the Library of Congress marks its 220th year, we take the opportunity to explore one example of its efforts to sustain and celebrate the arts in its physical spaces. Above […]
The following is a post by Kristi Finefield, Reference Specialist in the Prints & Photographs Division, and member of the Picture This blog team. Images have a way of opening our eyes to new aspects of a well-known story. When I think of singer Marian Anderson, an image of her performing at the Lincoln Memorial […]
Spring has arrived. While some of us may have an opportunity to carefully step outside and view blossoms in our own neighborhood, others may not. Wherever you are, you can take a virtual stroll among the shoots and blossoms planted among the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division. Many images of gardens can be […]