My published books:

See my published books

Queer Places, developed in 3 volumes, United States of America (1), United Kingdom (2), and Rest of the World (3), is a mix of travel guide and historical trivia; while I tried to give as much as possible the necessary info for you to find the queer places to explore, the book is above all a tool to help you deciding if you want to really visit the place. Queer Places gives you the background of the location, who lived there, who loved the place and made it unique. It gives you an address, sometime a website, and other nearby queer places.

Houses, Schools and Burial Places of LGBTQ key figures. Also LGBTQ architect projects and musuems holding LGBTQ artists. Including LGBTQ friendly hotels and restaurants.

My Books on Amazon:

Queer Places: New historical tome tells us where our ancestors lived and died
by David-Elijah Nahmod
Elisa Rolle is an historian who has done her homework. The openly lesbian writer and editor is authoring a series of books which document the history of Queer culture and the people who made that culture happen. Her 2014 book “Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story At A Time,” chronicles the lives and loves of those who came before us. With that book, Rolle took us on a journey back in time, across the 20th, 19th and 18th centuries – and much further back – to revisit the lives of people who were known or believed to have been LGBT. That book was a fascinating read which offered a few startling surprises, such as the inclusion of blind/deaf author/educator Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, the woman who taught Keller how to read braille and to communicate. Other than Sullivan's short lived, failed marriage in 1905, she and Keller lived together exclusively for 49 years. Is it really a stretch to believe that they may have loved each other? In Rolle's latest book “Queer Places: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ People Around the World,” Volume 1, Rolle serves as our travel agent, taking us on a trip to all fifty states. Rolle is our tour guide as we visit the homes, birthplaces and gravesites of many of the historical figures we learned about in her earlier book. Volume 1 covers the U.S. The yet to be published Volume II will trace the steps of LGBT people in the United Kingdom, while Volume III will journey across the rest of the world. Queer Places begins with Keller and Sullivan. Rolle takes us to Ivy Green, the Alabama estate where Keller was born in 1880. As we see the house where Keller lost her sight and hearing, and where she first met Sullivan, the author once again recounts the story of their relationship. Rolle then continues onward, letting us know where other Queer Alabamians lived, and where LGBT people can go to find other Queers when visiting the state. Later on in the book, in the section devoted to Washington DC, Rolle shows us where Keller and her "lifelong companion Annie Sullivan" rest together at the National Cathedral. Rolle divides the book state by state. Countless LGBT lives are remembered as we visit the places where each of them lived, worked and died. Hundreds of historical photographs are included. But Rolle goes much further. She also lets the current LGBT generations know where they can go to find others like themselves while travelling--yes Virginia, there really are gay bars and bookstores in Alaska. Rolle walks through the streets of various neighborhoods in numerous cities, such as New York. Iconic buildings like the Dakota, among others, are photographed by the author in all their glory as she lists the names of famous historical LGBT figures who once occupied those elegant homes--many were forced to live closeted lives during their earthly sojourns. Rolle doesn't forget the sunshine state either. She opens the Florida section of Queer Places by naming the state's gay villages: Key West, South Beach, and even Wilton Manors, home of SFGN. Readers will be taken to the various Key West Homes of Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) the acclaimed playwright who wrote Southern Gothic tales of madness, which were often infused with less than subtle references to homosexuality. Williams' success was all the more impressive when we realize that he lived an openly gay life as early as the 1940s. Rolle then takes us on a street by street tour of the Island city, showing us where other famous Queer writers penned their works. As she continues her journey across SoFla, readers will learn that the state was in fact a haven for LGBT people for nearly a century. The California chapter is most interesting. Old-time Hollywood was a cesspool of homophobia, where queer stars and directors were sometimes forced into fake marriages if they wanted to keep their careers. Rolle remembers those often-lonely lives as she visits graves of fondly remembered film icons. She also pays tribute to those we loved, like Judy Garland, the great singer and gay male icon. Rolle came to San Francisco and visited the Castro, showing her readers our beloved Castro Theatre among other historic locales. She strolled over to Valencia Street. Long before the tech bros took over, Valencia served as an early mecca for lesbians. Anyone remember Amelia's, one of the first women-only bars? When in San Francisco, Rolle urges, be sure to visit the GLBT Historical Society in order to learn the complete stories of our many iconic places. At 600 pages, Queer Places is an exhaustive and brilliant work. Readers might wonder if there's a single street in the country that Rolle didn't visit. Is there an historical archive whose records she failed to study? Rolle is without a doubt our most important historian.

California's icons, esoterica, homes and historical whodunnit in one vital volume
by Jesse Archer
I've followed Elisa's blog, her exhaustive book on gay romance, Days of Love, and her Rainbow Awards, and this series adds immeasurably to her work as a passionate documentarian of queer life, history, iconography, and eye-popping esoterica. Inside the book is a link to google maps... where readers can find the sites listed within - notable addresses, locales, museums, bookstores and bars; homes of, and decorated by, Billy Haines, a star who abandoned acting to be with his life partner Jimmy Shields; the home of discreet gay silent star Ramon Novarro - where he was murdered by rent boys in 1968; George Cukor's notorious party pad; what remains of Rudy Valentino's retreat (subsumed by the 101 freeway); and so many of the graves, gossip and goings on of the famous, infamous, and forgotten gays and lesbians who created the California we know. Elisa unearths so much in this slim, eminently readable volume, you'll undoubtedly want to investigate her findings further - whether on foot, by car, on the web, or at the local archive. Queer California is an essential tool for anyone curious about the topic but also a grand jumping off point for researchers, thesis writers, historians, students, and amateur sleuths!

Queer Places by Elisa Rolle
by Ryan Field
Now for a completely different topic, and one that totally celebrates queer culture. I rarely read print books these days, but this one just came in and I wanted to share it. I don’t know how Elisa does this or where she finds the time, but it’s amazing. And I’m serious. Amazing. It’s a comprehensive non-fiction book with facts and history that’s filled with information. Here’s part of the blurb from Amazon. Queer Places, developed in 3 volumes, United States of America (1), United Kingdom (2), and Rest of the World (3), is a mix of travel guide and historical trivia; while I tried to give as much as possible the necessary info for you to find the queer places to explore, the book is above all a tool to help you deciding if you want to really visit the place. Queer Places gives you the background of the location, who lived there, who loved the place and made it unique. It gives you an address, sometime a website, and other nearby queer places. This will be on my coffee table for a long, long time.

A fascinating collection of LGBTQ facts and history
by Matthew Solari
Queer places is a meticulously laid out encyclopedia of fascinating facts and intriguing information on LGBTQ history and queer locations. I’ve lived in my neighborhood 30 years and had no idea of how many amazing places were right in my own back yard! This is book that is simply impossible to put down. It’s clear and concisely written with a fresh style from an author that truly loves the material and is passionate about sharing it. Not only is it a cherished addition to my library, but a book that I find myself constantly picking up and re-reading.

Blanche, Hat, Malpractice and Seal
by Jeffrey Manley
Author Elisa Rolle, who chronicles the lives and travels of notable members of the LGBT community, has posted some of her reviews and ramblings relating to Brian Howard, Waugh's contemporary from Oxford days. These miscellaneous excerpts apear to have been first published in her ongoing series of books Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time and Queer Places: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ People Around the World. In the Brian Howard excerpts she mentions, for example, that he lived at Cobblestone House (formerly Nore House) near Godalming, Surrey which was later occupied by actor Dirk Bogard. The house is described in detail and a visit by Waugh's friend and fellow writer Daphne Fielding during Bogard's residence is mentioned (Queer Places, v. 2): A great platonic love of [Brian's] was Daphne Fielding, and although she never saw him at Nore, when she went to stay with Dirk and Tony (Anthony Forwood), she “was conscious of Brian all the time, and his own very particular atmosphere seemed to dominate even Dirk's.” In another excerpt from Rolle's books (Queer Places, v. 3) she describes Waugh's connections with Brian: He was one of the Hypocrites group that included Harold Acton, Lord David Cecil, L. P. Hartley and Evelyn Waugh. It has been suggested that Howard was Waugh’s model for Anthony Blanche in “Brideshead Revisited.” Waugh wrote, to Lord Baldwin: "There is an aesthetic bugger who sometimes turns up in my novels under various names -- that was 2/3 Brian [Howard] and 1/3 Harold Acton. People think it was all Harold, who is a much sweeter and saner man [than Howard]." In the late 1920s, he was a key figure among London’s "Bright Young Things" - a privileged, fashionable and bohemian set of relentless party-goers, satirised in such novels as Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 "Vile Bodies" where the character of Miles Malpractice owes something to Howard. .... In 1929 he was famously involved in the "Bruno Hat" hoax when the fashionable Hon Mr & Mrs Bryan Guinness promoted a spoof London art exhibition by an apparently unknown German painter Bruno Hat ... [During WWII] he referred to his commanding officer as “Colonel Cutie” (a trait Evelyn Waugh gave his rebellious rogue Basil Seal in the novel "Put Out More Flags") ... Evelyn Waugh wrote: "I used to know Brian Howard well—a dazzling young man to my innocent eyes. In later life he became very dangerous—constantly attacking people with his fists in public places—so I kept clear of him. He was consumptive but the immediate cause of his death was a broken heart." As described in another of Rolle's "Ramblings," Howard committed suicide in 1958 a few days after his companion, according to Rolle, died accidentally from gas inhalation at a villa in the South of France occupied by Brian's mother. Waugh wrote to Bloggs Baldwin in the same letter where he discusses Brian's death that his companion had "gassed himself." A footnote refers to a postcard sent 2 months later in which Waugh corrects himself on this point, noting that Brian's companion "died suddenly but naturally in his bath" (Letters, p. 505-06).

Rolle's Ramblings (More)
by Jeffrey Manley
Elisa Rolle, chronicler of the LGBT community in a series of books describing their lives and locations, has posted from her books another entry mentioning Evelyn Waugh. See earlier post. This is from Queer Places, v 2 (2016) and describes the area around Canonbury Square where Waugh lived briefly with his first wife in the late 1920s:
Canonbury is a residential district in the London Borough of Islington in the north of London...A dark red brick, traffic free estate, it was praised as an example of municipal architecture, but acquired a bad reputation and has since been extensively redeveloped to improve security for residents...Many significant figures from the arts and literary worlds have lived on the square, including George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh and Samuel Phelps. Notable queer residents at Canonbury Square: • Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), King James I’s Lord Chancellor, lived in Canonbury Tower, 1616-1626. • Evelyn Waugh (October 28, 1903- April 10, 1966), writer, lived at 17a Canonbury Square; he left after a couple of years in 1930, claiming he was tired of having to explain to friends why he was livng in so appalling a district. Waugh lived also at 145 North End Road. • Duncan Grant (1885-1978) and Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), painters and designers, lived at 26a Canonbury Square, N1 from 1949 to 1955. The source for Waugh's statement of the reasons for his leaving the area is not cited (Literary London: A Street by Street Exploration of the Capital's Literary ..., By Ed Glinert, n.d.r). He may well have said that somewhere to cover up the fact that he vacated the flat after his first wife dropped him and later married another man, John Heygate. According to Dudley Carew, Waugh's friend from Lancing days, Waugh was no longer using the flat in the late summer of 1930 and allowed Carew (whose own marriage had also recently broken up) to move in. Carew remained there until 2 April 1931, and he recalls that, shortly thereafter, Waugh wound up the lease. Rolle has also written about Waugh in another of her books. This is in Days of Love (2014) which "chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples through history." Among the entries is one entitled "Evelyn Waugh & Hugh Lygon" at p. 375. This item may not yet have been posted on the internet among Rolle's "reviews and ramblings", but it can be accessed on Amazon. It describes Lygon as "the inspiration" for Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited and claims that he and Waugh were lovers on the strength of the suspicions of Prof A L Rowse, whose book Homosexuals in History (1983) is cited. It is odd that Rolle chose this "couple" for inclusion in her book because Waugh's homosexual affairs at Oxford with two other men (Alastair Graham and Richard Pares) are much better documented. She mentions both of these men in her later book Queer Places, v 2 (p. 109) in an entry on Piers Court where she describes them as Waugh's partners in his "most lasting of...several homosexual relationships." Waugh's biographers are inconsistent on whether Waugh and Lygon were lovers. Most recently, Paula Byrne has said that they were and Philip Eade is more doubtful. In the book by Prof Rowse, cited by Rolle, discussion of Waugh is limited to a brief citation of Brideshead Revisited as reflective of homosexuality among those of his generation at Oxford (p. 318), but the book doesn't even mention Hugh Lygon.

Postscripts: In Poets’ Corner lies a man held high in Edith Wharton’s esteem
by Steven Slosberg
Poets’ Corner in Stonington Cemetery is a shady resting place for a garden variety of, at last count, some 20 literary folk, including poets, novelists, editors, historians, artists, biographers and essayists, as well as a children’s author, a travel and food writer, a drama critic and a radio screenplay wordsmith. Those touted as the best-known denizens are, naturally, the two Pulitzer Prize-winning poets: Stephen Vincent Benet, who won two Pulitzers for poetry, and James Merrill. A recent story in the New York Times book pages led me back to Poets’ Corner to check in on among the more obscure, and likely least known, of the literati settled there: Gaillard Thomas Lapsley. On March 26, The Times, as part of its series celebrating 125 years of its Book Review, published a short piece noting that the first time a photo appeared on the Book Review’s front was the Aug. 12, 1905, issue, and the author selected was Edith Wharton. “The photograph,” the story read, “as exquisitely composed as a scene from ‘The House of Mirth,’ features Wharton in a lace tea dress at her desk.” “When this issue appeared,” the story went on, “‘The House of Mirth,’ was captivating — and dividing — New York with its less-than-flattering depiction of high society ... Initially the Book Review wasn’t a fan, writing in April 1905 that ‘it develops in a rather grim fashion,’ but allowing that ‘we must be grateful for these glimpses of the inner circle, given by one who has the magic password.’ By June 1905, the Book Review was raving about the novel, and by August literary New York could talk of little else.” Gaillard Thomas Lapsley was Edith Wharton’s literary executor. He was also, in his own right, a graduate of Harvard who, after teaching there for several years, went to England, where he was elected a fellow and lecturer at Trinity College in 1904. From 1919 until 1929, he was a tutor of the college and in 1931 was named a reader in constitutional history. He lived from 1871 until 1949, when he died in his apartment at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City. He was a relative of the Stickneys, a prominent New York family that settled in Stonington in the early 20th century, and he often spent weeks each summer in Stonington. And, as it happened, he was the grandson of Emma Willard, the American women’s rights activist who dedicated her life to education and founded the first school for women’s higher education, the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, N.Y., which opened in September 1821. She traveled extensively promoting education for women and died, at age 83, in 1870 in Troy. In 1895, the seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in her honor. Finding Lapsley’s marker in Poets’ Corner is no easy task, shaded and rather obscured by a large rhododendron, and if my late friend, Ashbel Green, a longtime and much esteemed editor at Knopf in New York, who also has his place in Poets’ Corner, had not told me who he was and where to look years ago, I would not know he was there. Few do. Lapsley’s engraved flat marker, a 6-foot-by-3-foot slab of weathered stone, is just to the right of the headstone for Stephen Vincent Benet and his wife, Rosemary Benet, and set back a bit from that of Meredith Mason Brown, a lawyer and scholar, biographer of Daniel Boone and former president of the Stonington Historical Society. A series of books called Queer Places, written by Elisa Rolle and dedicated to pointing out houses, schools and burial places of LGBTQ key figures, has this to say about Lapsley: “He was a close friend of Henry James and Edith Wharton and was appointed Wharton’s literary executor in her will. He corresponded with Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner. “After the death of his mother in 1888, Howard Sturgis (an American ex-pat novelist in Britain who wrote about same-sex love) moved with his lover, William Haynes-Smith, into a country house named Queen’s Acre, near Windsor Great Park. Their home was a familiar retreat for many other bachelors in Henry James’ circle, including Arthur Christopher Benson, Percy Lubbock and Gaillard Lapsley. “Gaillard Thomas Lapsley was the son of Howard Lapsley and Katherine A. Willard. He was graduated from Harvard in 1893 and originally studied law. After teaching there for many years he went to England and became an authority on medieval constitutional history. “Although ‘The County Palatine of Durham,’ published in 1900, was his only book, a selection of his articles was published posthumously in a volume entitled ‘Crown, Community and Parliament in the Later Middle Ages.’ “A memorial brass located on the north wall of the Trinity College Ante-Chapel reads (translated from Latin): ‘This inscription commemorates Gaillard Thomas Lapsley. A Fellow of the College for forty-five years, he served as Lecturer and Tutor, and in his writing and lecturing shed light on the origins of our laws and constitution. An American citizen, he loved the British way of life. At length he returned to his native country, where he died in 1949 at age seventy-six.” In Poets’ Corner, the marker reads: “In loving memory of Gaillard Thomas Lapsley. Born November 14, 1871. Died August 17, 1949. “Lecturer in History at Harvard University. Fellow, lecturer and tutor of Trinity College and reader of Constitutional History at the University of Cambridge. “A man of wide culture and strong faith.” “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” If those dates on his stone are correct, and why wouldn’t they be, he was 77 when he died, not 76 as Trinity College, alas, memorialized him.
Postscripts: In Poets’ Corner lies a man held high in Edith Wharton’s esteem | Guest Columns |

About: Elisa's website — — is one of the most comprehensive online journals dedicated solely to LGBT literature, art, and film ever created. A successful, multi-lingual career woman in her own right, Elisa’s job takes her all around the world, yet she somehow manages to find time to review books, run competitions, write articles and interview authors for her site. In the last few years, Elisa also launched the Rainbow Awards, an online annual awards event that judges hundreds of LGBT titles in dozens of categories.