BURIED TOGETHER

Partner Diantha W. Riddle

Queer Places:
The University of California, Los Angeles, 1147 Murphy Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA

Leila H. Rupp (1902 - August 17, 1991) was a secondary school teacher of American history at Allderdice High School for 43 years.

She was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and attended the University of California and Harvard University. She was a member of the College Club. She is the aunt of lesbian historian Leila J. Rupp: "When I try to explain to my friends why my aunt Leila was so important to me, I usually say that I'm her namesake, that she taught history, and that she lived with a woman, Diantha, for as long as I can remember. They were just like a married couple in our family. We visited them on summer vacations “down the shore,” as we said in New Jersey, though they always rented their own apartment. They had one bedroom, with twin beds. I wrote poems, and Diantha, who taught English in the same Pittsburgh high school where Leila taught, encouraged me. They always dressed similarly, but with certain regular differences: linen dresses with jackets, for example, but different cuts and colors (Diantha's red or yellow, Leila's blue or green). Diantha cooked and Leila washed the dishes, and they teased each other, both claiming to do most of the work. They had other women friends who lived as couples, and when Aunt Leila first met my partner Verta, after Diantha had died, she took her aside, told her how glad she was that I'd found a friend, and asked whether Verta knew she too had had a friend. She called up her new friend, Mary, who came to meet us, and the two of them stood there arm in arm. But later Aunt Leila confided that no one suited her like Diantha. The last time I talked with Aunt Leila she was eighty-nine, in a nursing home, having become extremely confused from what I'm pretty sure was a series of small strokes. I hoped she would talk about Diantha. My father, her younger brother, said she never mentioned Diantha, and he reported that shortly after Diantha died, several different people told him Diantha hadn't been very nice to Leila. When he repeated this to Leila she got furious and forbade him ever to bring up Diantha's name."

Leila H. Rupp died of pneumonia on August 17, 1991, in the Heritage Shadyside nursing home.


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