An Artist Embedded: The (Musical) Spark in My Life

31 Mar 2016
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia


Dr. Fryer with group at organ, 1967. John Fryer papers [3465]. Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Dr. Anonymous at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in 1972. Photo by Kay Tobin, courtesy New York Public Library Collections.


Members of the Works Progress Administration protesting the cutbacks and ending of the employment of writers. Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Ain Gordon. Photo by Andrew Eccles.

Through the two-year Center-funded project An Artist Embedded in History, Obie award-winning playwright Ain Gordon "embeds" himself in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's daily functions, in order to reflect on the processes of how history gets documented and preserved. Together, Gordon and Historical Society staff are exploring, via a series of public events with visiting artists and scholars, how historical events are related to contemporary issues in the US.

During his residency, Gordon is developing a new play that profiles Dr. John Fryer, known as "Dr. Anonymous," one of the pioneers of the LGBT rights movement. On March 31, Gordon will present recordings from the Historical Society's Fryer collection and discuss his upcoming play, followed by a performance by the Arch Street United Methodist Church Choir .