Pre-1970 LGBTQ+ Titles

Flash back with these pre-1970 books by LGBTQ+ authors or featuring LGBTQ+ characters.

The Stonewall uprisings were a series of violent confrontations that began the morning of June 28, 1969, between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village in NYC. As the riots progressed, an international gay rights movement was born, but members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc (LGBTQ+) community have always existed. This list includes novels and non-fiction memoirs published before 1970 by LGBTQ+ authors or with an LGBTQ+ connection.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Erin Fragola

Outreach Coordinator

Perkins Library


by Samuel R. Delany

DB 16378, Available as BARD Download

Alien invaders disrupt Earth’s communications and data flow with an unknown battle code Babel-17. General Forester and the Cosmic Poetess, Rydra Wong, must find a way to discern the inner meaning of the aliens’ bizarre communications weapon or watch the human race perish. Nebula Award. 1966.

Download Babel-17, DB 16738

Brideshead Revisited

by Evelyn Waugh

DB 53981, BR 18644, Available as BARD Download

Waugh’s classic exploration of faith, tradition, and moral values in a rapidly changing Britain. Charles Ryder narrates the story of an aristocratic English Catholic family between the First and Second World Wars. Charles first meets alcoholic Sebastian Flyte at Oxford and later falls in love with his married sister, Julia. 1944.

Download Brideshead Revisited, DB 53981

Download Braille, Brideshead Revisited, BR 18644

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by Tennessee Williams

DB 17016, BR 11565, DB available as BARD Download

Big Daddy, a rich Mississippi Cotton Planter dying of cancer, is surrounded by his family on his sixty-fifth birthday: Big Mama, his loud garrulous wife; Cooper, his greedy older son: Brick his younger son who is a withdrawn alcoholic; and his two sons’ wives, Maggie and Mae. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Pulitzer Prize. 1955.

Download Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, DB 17016

Download Braille, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, BR 11565

The Charioteer

by Mary Renault

DB 17005, Available as BARD Download

Set in England in the midst of World War II, this sensitive novel tells the story of Laurie Odell, a wounded survivor of Dunkirk who attempts to reconcile his homosexuality with his standards of moral conduct. He finds he must make a choice between an idealistic young Quaker hospital attendant or a more sophisticated navy officer alert to the complications of their situation. Some strong language. 1959.

Download The Charioteer, DB 17005

Confessions of a Mask

by Yukio Mishima

DBC 1363, Available as BARD Download

Mishima’s protagonist discovers that to survive as a homosexual in post-war Japan, he must live behind a mask of propriety. Some descriptions of sex. 1958.

Download Confessions of a Mask, DBC 1363

Dusty Answer

by Rosamond Lehman

DBC 8666, Available as BARD Download

Dusty Answer is Judith Earle’s story – above all her consuming relationship with the Fyfe family, each of whom falls in love with Judith, transforming her young womanhood. 1927.

Download Dusty Answer, DBC 8666

Fire from Heaven

by Mary Renault

DB 31707, Available as BARD Download

A fictionalized version of the first twenty years of Alexander the Great’s life in the fourth century B.C., from childhood to his succession of his murdered father, King Philip of Macedon. 1969.

Download Fire from Heaven, DB 31707

The Folded Leaf

by William Maxwell

DB 35964, Available as BARD Download

Frail, unathletic Lymie Peters, who lives with his widowed father in a Chicago kitchenette apartment, has no close friends until Spud Latham moves into town from Wisconsin. Spud welcomes Lymie into his family and the two form a bond that lasts through high school and into college. When Spud’s new girlfriend Sally joins the duo, misunderstanding and jealousy threaten to destroy the deep friendship. 1945.

Download The Folded Leaf, DB 35964

Giovanni’s Room

by James Baldwin

DB 12503, Available as BARD Download

Homosexuality and the physical aspects of male love are explored in a Paris setting where the narrator, a young American, is involved both with a woman and man, and is eventually compelled to make a choice. 1956.

Download Giovanni’s Room, DB 12503

The Last of the Wine

by Mary Renault

DB 29082, Available as BARD Download

A novel that recreates ancient Greece, including the prevalence of male homosexuality, in the story of a young Athenian of a wealthy family. Some descriptions of sex. 1956.

Download The Last of the Wine, DB 29082

The Mask of Apollo

by Mary Renault

DB 29294, BR 16662, Available as BARD Download

Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, this novel is narrated by an actor who meets Plato and becomes devoted to one of his pupils. 1966.

Download The Mask of Apollo, DB 29294

Download Braille, The Mask of Apollo, BR 16662

Memoirs of Hadrian, and Reflections on the Composition of Memoirs of Hadrian

by Marguerite Yourcenar

DB 14387, Available as BARD Download

A fictional autobiography in the form of a letter written by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his seventeen-year-old grandson, Marcus Aurelius, who eventually becomes emperor. A vivid reconstruction of the intimate life of the emperor and his entourage. 1963.

Download Memoirs of Hadrian, and Reflections on the Composition of Memoirs of Hadrian, DB 14387

Mrs. Dalloway

by Virginia Woolf

DB 21624, BR 11925, Available as BARD Download

The events of a single June day in which Clarissa Dalloway, a London society woman, meets the old lover whom she did not marry. Virginia Woolf, an early rebel against the traditional rules of novel writing, uses interior monologue and stream of consciousness to reveal the most private lives of Mrs. Dalloway and her family and friends. 1925.

Download Mrs. Dalloway, DB 21624

Download Braille, Mrs. Dalloway, BR 11925

Myra Breckinridge

by Gore Vidal

DB 28061, BR 7435, Available as BARD Download

An erotic fantasy in which Myra, who was once Myron, seduces both Rusty Godowsky and his girlfriend, Mary-Ann Pringle. Intended to be a satire on the lunacy of Hollywood, this was once considered a highly controversial work. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Followed by “Myron.” 1968.

Download Myra Breckinridge, DB 28061

Download Braille, Myra Breckinridge, BR 7435


by Djuna Barnes

DB 44449, Available as BARD Download

The story of a femme fatale, Robin Vote, whose elusive and enigmatic spirit ruins the lives of her husband, “Baron” Volkbein, their child, and the two women, Nora and Jenny, who are obsessed with her. With an introduction by T.S. Eliot. Some strong language. 1936.

Download Nightwood, DB 44449

Orlando, A Biography

by Virginia Woolf

DB 23691, BR 9501, Available as BARD Download

Fantasy about a young Elizabethan nobleman who, by book’s end, has been transformed into a young woman. The author examines English literary and social history through the three hundred years of Orlando’s life, and the transformation emphasizes Woolf’s belief that women are the intellectual equals of men. 1928.

Download Orlando, A Biography, DB 23691

Download Braille, Orlando, A Biography, BR 9501

Other Voices, Other Rooms

by Truman Capote

DB 13741, BR 12635, LT 2370, Available as BARD Download

In this, Truman Capote’s first novel, a twelve-year-old boy seeks out the enigmas of life and death when he is summoned to meet the father that abandoned him at birth. 1948.

Download Other Voices, Other Rooms, DB 13741

Download Braille, Other Voices, Other Rooms, BR 12635

The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

DB 11341, BR 17780, DVD 312, Available as BARD Download

A beautiful youth has his portrait painted by an artist with a flair for the morbid. The portrait becomes the mirror of its innocent appearing subject’s inner life. 1891.

Download The Picture of Dorian Gray, DB 11341

Download Braille, The Picture of Dorian Gray, BR 17780

Unnatural Death

by Dorothy L. Sayers

DB 60488, Available as BARD Download

A chance remark overheard in a London restaurant leads to the revelation that a wealthy elderly woman did not die of natural causes three years before but was murdered. Lord Peter Wimsey and his friends, Detective-Inspector Parker and garrulous Miss Climpson, have a difficult time catching the killer. 1927.

Download Unnatural Death, DB 60488

The Well of Loneliness

by Radclyffe Hall

DB 16709, Available as BARD Download

An intelligent young woman struggles against her sexual preferences for her own sex. Considered a forbidden topic when the novel was first published in the 1920s, the subject of lesbianism is delicately handled. 1928.

Download The Well of Loneliness, DB 16709


Contemporary Massachusetts Authors


Refugee Reads


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