We, Too, Must Love
We, Too, Must Love is Ann Aldrich’s second book of Kinseyesque reporting on New York City lesbians in the 1950s. At the time of the book’s original publication, in 1958, it was revolutionary. Any public debate or information on lesbians at the time had been strictly in medical and psychological terms. This in-depth look at the lives of lesbians in New York City was both shocking and lifesaving. The most poignant aspect of the book is that the text was written by a lesbian woman. She’s giving her observations and experiences in the lesbian community a powerful voice. As the back of the book declares, “The effect on women was electric.” This new pressing from The Feminist Press includes letters written to the author from lesbians, confused or angry parents, gay men, and friends that are both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
The key element of the book, for me, is that it, first and foremost, declares that lesbians are not a homogenous group. Many different forms of identity, education, social mobility, political commitments, professional aspirations, and sexual desires are portrayed with equal importance. It shows how all of these variants allow smaller communities to develop and, in each of those groups, even smaller cliques and couples emerge.
We, Too, Must Love is a fascinating read and provides a rare look into an era of queer history.