‘Gay Grand Duke keeps Paris guessing’ and other golden oldies

A collection of 50 ‘gay’ vintage adverts and newspaper articles from 1900s – 1950s is currently up for sale

‘Gay Grand Duke keeps Paris guessing’ and other golden oldies
23 May 2012 Print This Article

If you were to see the headline ‘Half of Berlin gay as other half starves’ today you may well be surprised.

While the title ‘Gay Grand Duke keeps Paris guessing’ would sound like an exciting celebrity revelation nowadays.

Sadly these headlines aren’t from a glossy celeb magazine, but are from a collection of articles published in major metropolitan newspapers during the early half of the 20th century. 

Now someone has gathered a collection of 50 ‘gay’ vintage full page adverts and newspaper articles from 1900s – 1950s and is putting it up for sale.

You can see a selection below. But some of our other favories include ‘The gay return of the shuttlecock’ from the San Francisco Chronicle in 1923 while the New York Times headline ‘The gayest week of New York’s social season’ actually wasn’t about the city’s pride festival.

Meanwhile with gay marriage equality being debated everywhere from USA to Croatia, you might think ‘Those queer weddings’ is a current headline. But in fact it’s on top of an old report on strange marriage customs from the past.  

All the presentations are comical, ironic and offer you an insightful peak into the early 20th century.

Of course, this meaning of the term ‘gay’ was used in everyday popular culture right up to the late 1960s – remember the Flintstones theme tune? 

As well as The Flintstones, the word was used widely in theatre and Hollywood, with the Ivor Novello musical Gay’s the Word and the Fred Astaire movie The Gay Divorcee.

In the 1938 movie Bringing Up Baby, when asked why he is wearing women’s clothing, the character played by Cary Grant, famously replied: ‘Because I just went gay all of a sudden!’

Many believe the new sense of gay, meaning homosexual, was quite recent, when in fact it dates at least to the 1920s and perhaps even earlier. 

This early existence is as a slang and self-identifying code word among the LGBT community, only entering the mainstream of English in the late 1960s.

The original collection is priced at $2,500 (€2,000). All pieces in the collection are suitable for framing.

If you are interested in buying, or want more information you can contact the seller here.

See a slideshow of a sample of the collection below: 

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