Digital Commonwealth

Casa Susanna Photographs

Digital Transgender Archive

From the mid-1950s until 1969, Susanna and her wife Marie operated two resorts for masculine-to-feminine cross-dressers in upstate New York—the Chevalier d'Eon from about 1955 to 1963 and Casa Susanna from 1964 to 1969—and hosted soirees in their New York City apartment. Guests spent the weekends reveling in the freedom to dress in women's clothing and accessories—something they could not do in day-to-day life—talking, performing skits, sharing fashion and makeup tips, and photographing one another. The Casa Susanna collection—340 photographs found by Michel Hurst and Robert Swope at a flea market in 2004—are now part of the Art Gallery of Ontario's (AGO) collection. Located in Toronto, the AGO's collection spans the history of the medium—both the acknowledged canon of photography as well as the broader scope of the medium, and the key role it has played in our visual culture. This collection currently includes a finding aid with image thumbnails; it will also eventually include links to the full images.