As a Child
Eva asked, "why are some roses red and some white," "I will tell you, Eva," he replied, "when you can tell me why sister's hair is black and yours is golden." The answer made a profound impression on Eva, and she pondered it "in the unfathomable deeps of her baby brain." She began questioning everything that grew or sang or moved in the woods. "Eva is of a different temper," her father noted a couple years later. "She is an exact scientist, and insists on knowing the name and the how and the why of every leaf and flower and insect that crosses our path." She even wanted to know what the birds were saying.'
Richard Le Gallienne
Eva with her faithful
Behind Closed Doors
As early as the mid 1920s NY reporters were already hinting more and more about Eva's sexual orientation. A critic for The Swan noted that when the script called for her to show feminine tenderness or to reciprocate masculine ardor, she was not on sure ground. "The soft, feminine note is missing," he explained, "a matter of temperament, probably."
It was not without danger for women to love other women. Most psychologists of the day argued that same-sex love was dysfunctional and that women afflicted with love for other women were abnormal. In some parts of the country, in fact, living a lesbian life was grounds for being committed to an insane assylum. These condemned women were thought to be suffering from androphobia (fear of men) and were labeled "twisted," "inverts," and "degenerates."
This homophobia sharply challenged Le Gallienne's attitudes. As she grappled with this confusion within herself, she recalled the plight of her father's friend, Oscar Wilde--the tragedy,