Novel by Klaber ’67 Portrays 19th-Century Woman Who Lived Her Life as a Man

William Klaber ’67

William Klaber ’67 is the author of a new novel, The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, published by Greenleaf Book Group Press. This fictional memoir is based on the real-life Lucy Ann Lobdell who, in 1855, decided to live the rest of her life as a man. She was involved in what may have been the first same-sex marriage in America when she married Marie Perry and made history when she was put on trial in Minnesota for wearing men’s clothes.

Fictional memoir by William Klaber '67

Fictional memoir by William Klaber ’67

While Lobdell promised to write her own memoir about her adventures in male attire, her account was never found, and Klaber decided to take on the task for her, combining extensive historical research with a creative touch. The book had its beginning at the Wesleyan Writers Conference, and the author shares his relationship with Lobdell’s story in the book’s afterword.

A review of the novel in Publishers Weekly says, “What makes the story stand out is the author’s skill in imagining the life of a transgender woman in a time when women had virtually no power in the world and when different sexual orientations were considered grave mental illnesses. . . . A unique and important book.”

Klaber is a part-time journalist who lives in upstate New York, just a short trip upstream from where Lobdell lived more than 150 years ago.

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu 

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