Strong, Lester Q

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Lester Q Strong is an author and editor noted for essays, criticism and oral histories focusing on gay culture and the arts. Lester Quintan Strong was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 3, 1946, the first son of Dale Howard Strong (1914-1983), a World War II veteran and survivor of the Bataan Death March, and Lena Zuber Strong (1908-1996). He lived in New Mexico until 1968, graduating from St. John's College in Santa Fe, where he received a B.A. in Liberal Arts. Moving to New York City, he enrolled in the New School for Social Research and completed an M.A. in Philosophy in 1972.

From 1969 until 1974, Mr. Strong was employed as a copy editor for two American Institute of Physics publications, Physical Review, and Journal of the Optical Society of America. As an editing supervisor for McGraw-Hill from 1974 to 1979, he was responsible for the editing, design and production of titles for publication. Since 1979, he has focused on freelance writing and editing.

Mr. Strong spent several years writing literary criticism of Vardis Fisher's Testament of Man series, which he confessed had a strong influence on his early intellectual life. His essays, "A Darkness Touched by Lights" and "The Myth of Eden," were combined into the book, The Past in the Present: Two Essays on History and Myth in Vardis Fisher's Testament of Man (Revisionist Press, Brooklyn, 1979). His article, "Vardis Fisher Revisited" (South Dakota Review, Autumn 1986), reflected a reinterpretation of that influence.

Mr. Strong came out to his family in 1978, the time at which he began living with his lover, Ted Gerald Rauch. As of this writing, they have continued a strong and devoted relationship. Mr. Strong's first published article, "Hometown Revisited: Gay Liberation Reaches the Provinces" (Gay Community News, September, 1981) about gay Albuquerque, was based on interviews with members of the community. He became interested in the lives of older gay men and women through a local New York organization, Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE). From 1982 to 1987, he was involved with SAGE's Oral History Project, wrote guidelines for the project, conducted interviews with the older gay population, and proposed a book based on SAGE's taped interviews. This interview approach has continued throughout Mr. Strong's literary career.

Not long after his father's death and the chance discovery of his original diary and handwritten manuscript, Mr. Strong began to research his father's World War II experiences. He gathered letters, taped interviews and other materials to document this aspect of his family's history. His investigations brought to light the wartime broadcast by Radio Tokyo of a message to his mother supposedly from his father.

As a freelance writer, Mr. Strong has contributed essays, articles, reviews and interviews to gay and mainstream publications, including Metroline, Out! Magazine, St. John's Review and Southern Voice. The process of using interviews has helped him establish contacts in the gay arts community and in the publishing world and, in 1994, led to the development of his "Gay Arts Beat" columns. The columns highlight the involvement of gay people in the arts and how they are received by the art worlds in which they participate. Described by Mr. Strong as "a series of articles that explore and celebrate the role lesbians and gay men play in the arts", they have appeared in a number of gay publications across the country.

Currently (2004) Strong is serving as a senior editor for Art & Understanding magazine.

From the guide to the Lester Q. Strong papers, 1941-1996, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lester Q. Strong papers, 1941-1996 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Albee, Edward, 1928- person
associatedWith Arendt, Hannah, 1906-1975 person
associatedWith Blumenfeld, Warren J., 1947- person
associatedWith Crisp, Quentin person
associatedWith Fierstein, Harvey, 1954- person
associatedWith Howe, Delmas, 1935- person
associatedWith Lucie-Smith, Edward person
associatedWith Rorem, Ned, 1923- person
associatedWith Senior Action in a Gay Environment (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Strong, Dale person
associatedWith Vining, Donald 1917-1998 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Gay and lesbian studies


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SNAC ID: 55182201