Partner Stewart Mitchell, buried together

Queer Places:
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, Stati Uniti
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Richard David Cowan (1909-October 23, 1939) was the lover of Stewart Mitchell and committed suicide on October 23, 1939. He was friends with Gerald Murphy and Sara Wiborg Murphy, a friendship that began after Cowan's 1934 summer trip to Europe, when Cowan and his then companion, Dudley Poore, were invited to sail from Antibes on the Murphy's yacht. An affectionate friendship developed between Cowan, a landscape architect, and Murphy, in which they collaborated on selecting plantings for Murphy's estate in East Hampton, Long Island.

We can get a glimpse into middle-class gay worlds through the life of Richard Cowan, who graduated from Cornell University in 1933 and went to live in Boston at the invitation of Stewart Mitchell, an editor of the literary magazine the Dial. Mitchell rented Cowan an apartment, and Cowan wrote in his diary that “I love S. very much,” but he added that he was “incapable of being true to anyone person.” He recorded his encounters with young men he met at the Symphony or the Copley Theatre or the Boston Public Garden: Met a Dartmouth boy on the Common one night after the Symphony. His name was Jack . . . . He was a bit obvious but I liked him. He claimed he loved me etc. Stayed at his home one Saturday night while visiting some friends of his I met George, a Dartmouth boy . . . . He called me the next day & I went to the movies, with him—and that started that. I think I really did love him at first and he—very passionately—said he loved me.

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