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23 April 2008

Peter Stratford (? - 1929), literary critic, Sufi.

Deresty Morton, a New Zealander, moved to the United States in 1904. In 1906 she became Peter Stratford.

During the Great War, he worked with US government medical forces in New York. He later worked at a variety of jobs from heavy manual labor to literary criticism. He employed Beth Rowland, a minor Hollywood screen writer, as a secretary, and after a friendship of two years, they married. He soon left her to go to the west coast in an attempt to help his tuberculosis, and she followed. After his death she claimed that it took her four years to realize that he was not really a man, and when she did so she moved out.

Peter was also exchanging emotional letters with Alma Thompson, another screen writer, who was a student of mysticism and wrote to Peter who was known as a Sufi. She also wrote with concern for his affliction.

He died of the tuberculosis in Oakland, California, and on his death-bed ‘admitted his sex’ to the doctors. His body was unclaimed by his wife.

*Not the author of books on psychedelics.
  • “Woman Lived As A Man, Wed to One Of Her Sex” New York Times. May 4, 1929. reprinted in Jonathan Ned Katz (ed). Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1983, Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1994: 454-5.
  • Brett L. Abrams. “Latitude in Mass-Produced Culture's Capital: New Women and Other Players in Hollywood, 1920-1941”. Frontiers: A journal of Women Studies. 25,2. 2004: 78.

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