Gershon Legman

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jun 26 14:01:35 UTC 1999

I thought it was worth noting here the fact that Gershon Legman died on
February 23.  Legman was a towering and courageous scholar in the fields
of erotic folklore and bibliography, but he also made some notable
linguistic contributions.  He wrote an excellent introduction to a reprint
of Farmer and Henley, and Jonathan Lighter acknowledges his help in the
front matter to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang.
Of greatest importance to linguists, he published a pioneering glossary of
homosexual vocabulary in 1941, which, among other things, includes the
earliest known unambiguous occurrence of the term _gay_ 'homosexual.'

Legman mentions in his Farmer and Henley introduction that he had an
extensive collection of slang citations.  This, together with other
materials of his, is probably of great importance.  Does anyone know
anything about the disposition of Legman's books and papers?

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro at               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

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