J. B. Chapin of the Willard Asylum for the Insane to John Lobdell regarding Joseph Lobdell (born Lucy Slater), December 5, 1881.
Born Lucy Ann Lobdell in 1829, Lucy took the name of Joseph (Joe) Israel Lobdell and later married Marie Louise Perry.
In 1879, Lobdell was committed to the Willard Insane Asylum for not conforming to contemporary gender norms. Historians disagree about where this person falls on the LGBTQ spectrum. Some see Lucy as a lesbian who passed as a man. Others believe that Joseph was what we today refer to as transgender.
Pension File of Lucy Slater Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives and Records Administration.
This document is being featured in conjunction with the National Archives’ National Conversation on Civil Rights and Individual Freedom. Click here to see more related records. The “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” in Chicago is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, and the National Archives Foundation.