Whitmore, George, 1945-1989Variant names
George Davis Whitmore was a poet, playwright, critic, novelist, and freelance writer. He was born in Denver, Colorado, on September 27, 1945, and received a BA degree in English and Theatre from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1967. Awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, he pursued graduate studies in the Theatre Department at Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont, then moved to New York in 1968 and began a career as a writer. Whitmore was affiliated with a literary group known as the Violet Quill, whose seven members are regarded as one of the strongest collective voices of the gay male experience in the post-Stonewall era. He died in New York from AIDS-related complications on April 19, 1989.
From the description of George Whitmore papers, 1959-1995 (bulk 1967-1989). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702183375
George Davis Whitmore was a poet, playwright, critic, novelist, and freelance writer, whose lifetime of publishing began with his essays appearing in school literary magazines and ended with his major volume on the AIDS epidemic. He was born in Denver, Colorado, on September 27, 1945, to Lowell and Irene Davis Whitmore. Raised in Denver, he received a BA degree in English and Theatre from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1967. Whitmore was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and pursued graduate studies in the Theatre Department at Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont. He remained at the college from 1967 to 1968, after which he moved to New York.
Once in the city, Whitmore found employment as an editorial and administrative assistant at two non-profit agencies, Planned Parenthood (1968-1972) and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York (1972-1981); both positions gave him experience in writing copy, reviewing books, and turning out concise feature articles under deadline. Concurrently, Whitmore maintained a parallel career as a freelance writer, reporter, and critic for several gay periodicals including The Body Politic, Christopher Street, Gay Sunshine, and Gaysweek, as well as serving as contributing editor and literary critic at the San Francisco Advocate from 1974 to 1976. In addition, he wrote on topics of interest to the gay community for other magazines such as the Soho Weekly News, Harper's Weekly, and the Washington Post Book World . His book-length study of Henry David Thoreau was published by the Gay Academic Union in 1977-1978.
Whitmore also worked in fiction throughout his life, composing poetry and short stories that were published in both gay and straight periodicals, as well as issued under his own imprint, the Free Milk Fund Press, which was headquartered in his Upper West Side apartment. He received a New York State CAPS grant for poetry in 1976, and regularly presented his poems at public readings during the 1970s and early 1980s. Three of Whitmore's plays were produced in New York: The Caseworker (1976), Two Plays for Three Women: Flight/The Legacy (1979), and The Rights (1980), and three of his novels were also published there: The Confessions of Danny Slocum (1980), Deep Dish (serialized between 1980 and 1982), and Nebraska (1987). The latter, loosely based on Whitmore's childhood memories, was developed from an earlier unproduced play and written during his residencies at the Edward Albee Foundation (1983) and the MacDowell Colony (1985). Whitmore was a member of a literary group known as the Violet Quill, whose seven authors, as men creating literature for men, are regarded as the strongest voices of the gay male experience in the post-Stonewall era. Christopher Cox, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, Edmund White, and Whitmore met several times in 1979, 1980, and 1981, to read aloud from and discuss their works in progress, as well as those by their friends. Also on their agenda were discussions of how they could work together to promote recognition, acceptance, and publication of gay literature beyond the boundaries of their own community.
In the 1980s, Whitmore worked as a freelance reporter and features writer for popular magazines and newspapers including Travel and Leisure, House and Garden, House Beautiful, and the New York Times ; his specialty was covering people, places, and events connected with art, design, and architecture. At the same time, his personal and professional communities were rapidly being overtaken by the shadow of the AIDS epidemic, as gay male friends and colleagues around him began to sicken and die. Whitmore's response was perhaps his most important contribution to non-fiction literature: three interrelated articles and one book that focused on human face of AIDS. Relying on his reporting skills and journalism contacts, he fashioned the first article for a general public already frightened by rising morbidity statistics: "Reaching Out to Someone with AIDS," a profile of the daily life of an AIDS patient and his volunteer advocate, appeared in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, May 19, 1985, some months before President Ronald Reagan publicly acknowledged the disease. A second article, "Someone Was Here," ran in GQ the next year. Whitmore reused the title for his 1988 book, Someone Was Here: Profiles in the AIDS Epidemic, which expanded on his Times article by looking at the lives of patients' families and medical professionals as well as the patients themselves, thereby emphasizing the toll of the disease on both the heterosexual and homosexual populations. The book's epilogue was published in advance in the January 31, 1988, issue of The New York Times Magazine . In that essay, "Bearing Witness," Whitmore revealed that he too was a victim of AIDS, having been diagnosed a year after the publication of his "Reaching Out" article. He was 43 years old when he died in New York on April 19, 1989, from AIDS-related complications.
From the guide to the George Whitmore papers, 1959-1995, 1967-1989, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
|creatorOf||George Whitmore papers, 1959-1995, 1967-1989||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|referencedIn||Coleman Dowell Papers, 1925-1993||Fales Library & Special Collections|
|creatorOf||Whitmore, George, 1945-1989. George Whitmore papers, 1959-1995 (bulk 1967-1989).||Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library|
|associatedWith||Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997.||person|
|associatedWith||Duberman, Martin B.||person|
|associatedWith||Labelle (Musical group)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, N.H.)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Sassoon, Sybil, 1894-1989.||person|
|associatedWith||Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862.||person|
|associatedWith||White, Edmund, 1940-||person|
|associatedWith||Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983.||person|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Gay men's writings, American|
|Violet Quill (Group of writers)|