“A Strange Sort of Being”

The Transgender Life of Lucy Ann / Joseph Israel Lobdell, 1829–1912


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About the Book

Born in 1829 to a working-class family in upstate New York, Lucy Ann Lobdell was not your average girl. Donning her brother’s clothes, she worked on the farm and in her father’s saw mill, and demonstrated marksmanship skills that earned her the nickname “The Female Hunter of Delaware County.” After leaving home, she moved to the frontier, married a woman, and lived for sixty years as a man named “Joe.” Because of nineteenth century social restrictions and gender expectations, Lobdell endured forced marriage, arrest, and incarceration in an insane asylum. Although twentieth-century scholars have labeled her a lesbian, this study incorporates queer theory, analysis of stories about Lucy and Joe, and Lobdell’s own writings to reveal that he was actually a transgendered man.

About the Author(s)

Bambi L. Lobdell, Ph.D., teaches English and women’s studies at the State University of New York, Oneonta.

Bibliographic Details

Bambi L. Lobdell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4805-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8845-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. “Some Do Call Me a Strange Sort of Being”      25
2. The Singing Teacher of Bethany      59
3. The Queer Couple      90
4. “A Man in All That the Name Implies”      124

Appendix A. Narrative of Lucy Ann Lobdell, the Female Hunter of Delaware and Sullivan Counties, N.Y.      155
Appendix B. Lunacy Testimonials      184
Appendix C. Wise’s “Case of Sexual Perversion”      199
Appendix D. Excerpt from The History of Meeker County      203
Chapter Notes      211
Bibliography      224
Index      229

Book Reviews & Awards

“Highly recommended”—Choice