Queer Places:
6 Hazel Park, Boston Highland, MA

Frederick Shelley Ryman (1858 – February 5, 1930) was a Pennsylvania-born poet, book collector, and diarist. He later lived in New York. His poems frequently appeared in newspapers and magazines, and he was once lauded as "the Byron of America" and "Poet of the Catskills" (The Elmira Tidings, May 17, 1885). Ryman's forty-four volume diary, started when he was 12 years old, currently housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society, explicitly describes his intimacy with men and women between 1880 and 1929, and has been frequently referenced in studies on sexuality in the nineteenth century. John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman write that Ryman "espoused free-love doctrines, passionately loved the poetry of Walt Whitman, and championed women's rights and equal employment" (Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, 2012).

In 1879 he wrote The Pleasures of Life.

Frederick S. Ryman in 1886 recorded in his diary his fondness for “the Oriental custom of men embracing & kissing each other” and described sleeping with his friend Robert M. Luke's arms around him, drew a clear line between such cuddling and heterosexual intercourse. “I am certain there was no sexual sentiment on the part of either of us. We both have our mistresses . . . & I am certain that the thought of the least demonstration of unmanly & abnormal passion would have been as revolting to him as it is & ever has been to me.” Luke was a clerk at the American Hotel, Catskill-on-Hudson, New York. A Dr. Robert M. Luke of Lockport, Niagara County, New York, died in 1891 of consumption.

Frederick S. Ryman married in 1893 according to a Massachusetts vital record for Boston.

In 1903, Parinirvana, Three Sonnets, appeared in the National Magazine. The Frederick S. Ryman diaries were donated to the Massachusset Historical Society by Walter Muir Whitehill in 1972. Entries record Ryman's thoughts on a various subjects, including religion, William Shakespeare, and women. Some of his notebooks are devoted to specific subjects, such as his "Sonnets to Laura" (his wife), and "Hamlet's Note Book"; diaries containing general thoughts and ideas are called "Notes and Notions" and "Rif Raf".


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