The Gay Coloring Book - George Haimsohn


[HAIMSOHN, George.]
The Gay Coloring Book.
First edition. Tall 8vo. 34pp illustrations throughout. Yellow illustrated stapled card wrappers. Washington D.C.: Guild Press, 1964.
Wrappers a trifle rubbed with the middle leaf loose. A well survived copy.

A copy of an immensely scarce queer treasure The Gay Coloring Book published by Guild Press in 1964. This elegant pamphlet would’ve been sent mail-order to circumvent the harsh censorship laws in the US in the early 1960s.

The gorgeous illustrations that we’re invited to colour centre around the jolly dandy ‘Percy’. On the first page we’re introduced to a picture of our hero with the caption: ‘My name is Percy. Color me Gay’. The reader is instructed to colour his favourite suit ‘chartreuse’ and as for Percy’s apartment ‘color the drapes orange, the lamp peach and the rug cherry. Do it up fruity.’ The following pages walk the reader through an array of all-male spaces and cruising spots such as the gay bar, the park, the bathhouse and the alley, with the suggestion to ‘color it dangerous’.  The last page sees a bedraggled Percy with the caption ‘Color me Drafted’, a poignant reminder of the fate for American young men in mid 60s America.

The Gay Coloring Book was one of the first offerings from publisher Herman Lynn Womack. His Guild Press would play a major role in expanding legal protections for gay publications against obscenity laws in the US. A unique piece of queer publishing history and what fun too!

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