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October 31, 2014

Casa Susanna: Candid Snapshots of Cross-Dressers in the Mid-1950s and 1960s

Casa Susanna, located in Hunter, New York, was a getaway for heterosexual transvestites in the mid-1950s and 1960s. Founded by Susanna, aka Tito Valenti, the resort embraced men who dressed like women, providing a safe haven for the exploration of gender roles in a time when it was not common to do so.

Discovered at a New York Flea Market by inveterate collectors Michel Hurst and Robert Swope, the snapshots, clearly taken by the participants themselves, are visually striking and intimate. From doing ordinary household tasks to vamping for the camera, the images are a candid presentation of men playing the roles of many different female stereotypes including the femme fatale, the matron and the proper lady. The collection was later published in the book, Casa Susanna (powerHouse, 2005).
















(Photos © Michel Hurst and Robert Swope—powerHouse Books, via Wright)

4 comments:

  1. These are good photos but not all of them should be dated 1914. It would be better to label them 1914-18 because many of them are clearly from 1916 onward.

    ReplyDelete
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    Fine collection of photos. Many of them really put you in a place, time, moment. You get such a sense of scale in some of them. Also the quality is rather amazing. Those photographers were not hacks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very interesting photos.

    ReplyDelete
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