ArticlePDF Available

The Parable of Kitty Genovese, the New York Times, and the Erasure of Lesbianism

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The 1964 rape and murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese in New York City shocked the city, the nation, and the world, but not because a young white woman had been viciously assaulted in public. Media attention instead focused immediately on “thirty-eight witnesses”—men and women living nearby in seemingly safe, semi-suburban Kew Gardens—who allegedly did not want to “get involved” by going to her aid. The New York Times reported that, despite their awareness of the brutal assault that took place just outside their apartment windows, no one called the police. In subsequent articles from the Times the failure of these witnesses to act became symptomatic of a city in a crisis of apathy and an example of a psychic illness threatening the body politic. Unlike other contemporaneous tales of urban crime that offered detailed descriptions of the young women involved, the victim in this case—a twenty-eight-year-old Italian American bar manager who lived in Queens with her female lover—was reduced rhetorically to a chalk outline on the sidewalk: editor A. M. Rosenthal’s accounts in the New York Times erased her from the story. Why were the details of her life omitted from the narrative of her death? In this article I argue that the pervasive homophobia of the era, including at the nation’s most powerful newspaper, transformed Kitty Genovese into a cipher because of her intimate relationships with women. Filling in some of the blanks of her life provides a fuller portrait of a vivacious young woman about whom little is known. The Genovese narrative, problematic from its inception, not only incorrectly condemned the Kew Gardens “witnesses” but also suppressed the uncomfortable facts of Genovese’s life in service to the construction of a contemporary parable, one whose origins are located in the volatile interplay of changing discourses of race, gender, sexuality, and pathology in mid-1960s America. As expressed in coverage in the New York Times, concerns over nonnormative gender and sexual expressions intersected with fears of growing apathy among the populace. Both were used to warn of the dangers of urban “sickness.” The absence of information about Genovese’s lesbianism in the press accounts of her death was not due to any sensitivity about printing the sexual histories of the female victim of a violent crime. The heterosexual involvements of two young white women killed in New York City six months before Genovese were prominently featured in stories about their deaths. The contrast with Genovese—also a young white woman living and working independently in the city—is glaringly apparent. Few facts about her made it into print beyond her age, home address, and place of employment. One of the reasons why Genovese’s private life was erased can be discerned from analyzing the Times’ coverage of homosexuality in the early 1960s. Larry Gross and Charles Kaiser, among others, have documented the antigay bias in the Times in the early 1960s; furthermore, there were at least a dozen Times articles from 1960 to 1964 that promoted the notion of homosexual pathology to the paper’s readers, a remnant of early twentieth-century medical opinion updated and promulgated in the Cold War era by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. An accurate depiction of Genovese and the female lover who mourned her likely would have shifted the focus of media attention to her sexuality and torpedoed the Times’ emphasis on urban apathy. Kitty Genovese’s same-sex relationships placed her at the margins of contemporary social norms and almost certainly would have disqualified her as a sympathetic victim had they been made public. This was true even ten years after her death. Despite revelations of her lesbianism in 1974, Genovese remained a blank slate. The Times would not incorporate the details of her personal life until 2004, when her lover Mary Ann Zielonko discussed their intimate relationship in interviews with a freelance reporter and on National Public Radio. It was only then that the erasure of Genovese’s life began to be reversed. Since 1964 the story of Kitty Genovese and the Thirty-Eight Witnesses has been told and retold. It has surfaced in news accounts...
Content may be subject to copyright.
273
Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 23, No. 2, May 2014
© 2014 by the University of Texas Press
DOI: 10.7560/JHS23206
The Parable of Kitty Genovese, the New York Times,
and the Erasure of Lesbianism
MARCIA M. GALLO
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Th e 1964 rape and murder o f Catherine “Kitty” Genovese in
New York City shocked the city, the nation, and the world, but not because a
young white woman had been viciously assaulted in public. Media attention
instead focused immediately on “thirty-eight witnesses”—men and women
living nearby in seemingly safe, semi-suburban Kew Gardens—who allegedly
did not want to “get involved” by going to her aid. The New York Times
reported that, despite their awareness of the brutal assault that took place
just outside their apartment windows, no one called the police. In subse-
quent articles from the Times the failure of these witnesses to act became
symptomatic of a city in a crisis of apathy and an example of a psychic illness
threatening the body politic. Unlike other contemporaneous tales of urban
crime that offered detailed descriptions of the young women involved, the
victim in this case—a twenty-eight-year-old Italian American bar manager
who lived in Queens with her female lover—was reduced rhetorically to
a chalk outline on the sidewalk: editor A. M. Rosenthal’s accounts in the
New York Times erased her from the story.1
I wish to express my gratitude to editor Mathew Kuefler and the two anonymous review-
ers for the Journal of the History of Sexuality. I also am indebted to Bonnie S. Anderson, Ann
Cammett, John D’Emilio, Martin Duberman, Lisa Duggan, Elaine Elinson, Lynn Fonfa,
Estelle Freedman, Stephanie Gilmore, Ann Holder, Dennis McBride, Leisa Meyer, Jennifer
Terry, and Polly Thistlethwaite for their encouragement, comments, and critiques. Many
thanks to my UNLV colleagues, especially Barbara Brents, Lynn Comella, Joanne Goodwin,
Ann McGinley, Anita Tijerina Revilla, Michelle Tusan, and Elspeth Whitney. Ian Baldwin
contributed valuable research assistance, and UNLV’s College of Liberal Arts provided sum-
mer research funding in 2010 and 2011. Finally, I want to acknowledge the contributions
of copanelists and commentators at the following seminars and conferences: 2007 Radcliffe
Summer Seminar on Gender History; 2011 Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and
the Humanities; 2012 Far West Popular Culture/American Culture Association; and 2012
Western Association of Women Historians.
1 Martin Gansberg, “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police,” New York Times, 27
March 1964, 1; Charles Mohr, “Apathy Is Puzzle in Queens Killing,” New York Times, 28
March 1964, 21; Editorial, New York Times, 28 March 1964.
274 m arcia m. Gallo
Why were the details of her life omitted from the narrative of her death?
In this article I argue that the pervasive homophobia of the era, including at
the nation’s most powerful newspaper, transformed Kitty Genovese into a
cipher because of her intimate relationships with women. Filling in some of
the blanks of her life provides a fuller portrait of a vivacious young woman
about whom little is known. The Genovese narrative, problematic from its
inception, not only incorrectly condemned the Kew Gardens “witnesses”
but also suppressed the uncomfortable facts of Genovese’s life in service to
the construction of a contemporary parable, one whose origins are located
in the volatile interplay of changing discourses of race, gender, sexuality,
and pathology in mid-1960s America. As expressed in coverage in the New
York Times, concerns over nonnormative gender and sexual expressions
intersected with fears of growing apathy among the populace. Both were
used to warn of the dangers of urban “sickness.”2
The absence of information about Genovese’s lesbianism in the press
accounts of her death was not due to any sensitivity about printing the
sexual histories of the female victim of a violent crime. The heterosexual
involvements of two young white women killed in New York City six
months before Genovese were prominently featured in stories about their
deaths.3 The contrast with Genovese—also a young white woman living
and working independently in the city—is glaringly apparent. Few facts
about her made it into print beyond her age, home address, and place of
employment. One of the reasons why Genovese’s private life was erased
can be discerned from analyzing the Times’ coverage of homosexuality
in the early 1960s. Larry Gross and Charles Kaiser, among others, have
documented the antigay bias in the Times in the early 1960s; furthermore,
there were at least a dozen Times articles from 1960 to 1964 that promoted
the notion of homosexual pathology to the paper’s readers, a remnant of
early twentieth-century medical opinion updated and promulgated in the
Cold War era by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. An accurate depiction of
Genovese and the female lover who mourned her likely would have shifted
the focus of media attention to her sexuality and torpedoed the Times
emphasis on urban apathy. Kitty Genovese’s same-sex relationships placed
her at the margins of contemporary social norms and almost certainly
would have disqualified her as a sympathetic victim had they been made
public. This was true even ten years after her death. Despite revelations of
2 A. M. Rosenthal, “Study of the Sickness Called Apathy,” New York Times Magazine, 3
May 1964, 24; Robert C. Doty, “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide
Concern,” New York Times, 17 December 1963, 1.
3 “2 Girls Murdered in E. 88th St. Flat,” New York Times, 29 August 1963, 1; Alfred E.
Clark, “Girl Got Phone Threat 10 Days before Murder,” New York Times, 30 August 1963,
13; Homer Bigart, “Killing of 2 Girls Yields No Clue: Police Question 500 in a Month,” New
York Times, 27 September 1963, 1, 34; Marilynn S. Johnson, “The Career Girls Murders:
Gender, Race, and Crime in 1960s New York,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 39, no.
1/2 (2011): 244–61.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 275
her lesbianism in 1974, Genovese remained a blank slate. The Times would
not incorporate the details of her personal life until 2004, when her lover
Mary Ann Zielonko discussed their intimate relationship in interviews with
a freelance reporter and on National Public Radio. It was only then that
the erasure of Genovese’s life began to be reversed.
The consTrucTion of a conTemporar y parable
Since 1964 the story of Kitty Genovese and the Thirty-Eight Witnesses has
been told and retold. It has surfaced in news accounts, editorials, best-selling
books and graphic novels, popular songs, movies, and theatrical produc-
tions, as well as in textbooks and academic articles. Most often deployed to
illustrate a universal truth, it functions as the antithesis of good-neighbor
behavior. As journalist Joe Sexton wrote in the Times in 1995, “The killing
of Kitty Genovese was first a tragedy, then a symbol, then a bit of durable
urban mythology.” Fordham University professor Harold Takooshian, who
has organized a number of commemorative symposia on the Genovese case,
asserts that “the Genovese tragedy became . . . a valuable parable, a short
‘story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle’ about street
crime.” It discourages the “ugly side of human nature,” as one commentator
noted in 1984 during the proceedings of the first Fordham symposium, the
Catherine Genovese Memorial Conference on Bad Samaritanism. Using the
New Testament parable of selflessly caring for one’s wounded enemy as their
focal point, the conference participants—including then–US surgeon general
Dr. C. Everett Koop—addressed the policies and practices necessary to com-
bat what Genovese and the Thirty-Eight Witnesses had come to represent.4
“Her name, once known only to her family and the people she served at
the bar, has taken on instantly understood meaning to all who have heard it,”
A. M. Rosenthal wrote in 1999. “The Kitty Genovese story, the Genovese
case, has become both a quick, puffy cliché for apathy and cowardice about
the suffering of others, and an intellectual and religious puzzlement: what
does it mean to me?” The man most responsible for the creation of the
parable reminded his readers of the importance of individual examinations
of conscience. He also revealed his detachment from Genovese the person.
“I was interested only in the manner of her dying,” he asserted. “That is the
4 Joe Sexton, “Reviving Kitty Genovese Case, and Its Passions,” New York Times, 25
July 1995, B 1; Harold Takooshian, “The 1964 Kitty Genovese Tragedy: Still a Valuable
Parable,” PsycCRITIQUES 54, no. 10 (2009), http://www.psyccritiques.apa.org (accessed
23 February 2010); “Catherine Genovese Memorial Conference on Bad Samaritanism,”
Fordham University, March 1984, transcript of proceedings, author’s personal collection;
Frances Cherry, “Kitty Genovese and Embedded Theorizing,” in The “Stubborn Particulars”
of Social Psychology: Essays on the Research Process (London: Routledge, 1995), 27–28; Maureen
Dowd, “Twenty Years after Kitty Genovese Murder, Experts Study Bad Samaritanism,” New
York Times, 12 March 1984, B 1; see also Ellen Goodman, “Social Control and Criminal
Activity,” Boston Globe, 9 March 1984, 23.
276 m arcia m. Gallo
power of the Genovese matter. It talks to us not about her, a subject that
was barely of fleeting interest to us, but about ourselves, a subject never
out of our minds.” As true crime theorist Melissa Jane Hardie observed of
Rosenthal, “His interest was aroused not by the murder victim but by his
fantasy of the reader reading the story.”5
A growing number of writers over the last decade have examined the ways
in which Genovese’s death was used to construct a modern parable. Feminist
media scholar Carrie Rentschler has pointed out that the first front-page
story the Times printed about the case quoted a Queens police investigator
who stated that Genovese had died needlessly, sacrificed because the “good
people” who saw the attacks had failed to do what was right. In the paper’s
coverage of the case and in his writings later that year, Rosenthal explicitly
sought to awaken the consciences of “good people” everywhere, beginning
with himself. Rosenthal admitted: “I find it difficult to make a clean and totally
honest distinction between my interest in the story as a newspaperman and a
peculiar, paradoxical feeling that there is in the tale of Catherine Genovese a
revelation about the human condition so appalling to contemplate that only
good can come from forcing oneself to confront the truth.”6
The Genovese parable has proven remarkably resilient despite the many
questions that have been raised about the accuracy of the Times’ account,
beginning with the number of witnesses. Among the skeptics has been at-
torney Joseph De May of Kew Gardens. For over a decade De May reviewed
the newspaper reports and court documents on the case, posting them on
a neighborhood website. He has concluded that no more than a handful of
neighbors glimpsed the attacks on Genovese during the early morning hours
of that Friday the 13th in March 1964. Just as significant to the narrative of
the Genovese case, some of these witnesses insist that they did call the police.7
Building on his work, in 2007 a team of British psychologists led by
Rachel Manning published a review of the Genovese case and its impact
on studies of helping behavior. Manning and her colleagues acknowledge
that “the parable of the 38 witnesses has taken on a life of its own” but
insist that the error made by the news media in exaggerating the number
of actual witnesses must be challenged. They believe that the Times’ version
of events, taught in psychology classrooms worldwide, has led to incorrect
5 A. M. Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case (1964; repr., Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1999), viii; Melissa Jane Hardie, “Dead Spots in the Case of
Kitty Genovese,” Australian Feminist Studies 25, no. 65 (2010): 337–51.
6 Carrie A. Rentschler, “An Urban Physiognomy of the 1964 Kitty Genovese Murder,”
Space and Culture 14, no. 3 (2011): 310–29; Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 43.
7 Brooke Gladstone, “The Witnesses That Didn’t,” WNYC On the Media, 27 March
2009, http://www.onthemedia.org/2009/mar/27/the-witnesses-that-didn’t/transcript/
(accessed 1 November 2010); Charles E. Skoller, Twisted Confessions: The True Story behind
the Kitty Genovese and Barbara Kralik Murder Trials (Austin, TX: Bridgeway Books, 2008).
See also Carrie A. Rentschler, “The Physiognomic Turn,” International Journal of Com-
munication 4 (2010): 233.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 277
assumptions about why and when people come to the aid of someone in
danger. Writing about the “lure” of myths in classic psychology, Christian
Jarrett notes that “this version of what happened, shocking as it is, has
subsequently served textbook writers well, seeking as they do to link
experimental research with the real world in an engaging way.” Feminist
philosopher Laura Hengehold agrees: “The problem is that millions of
young women have read this story about the radical abandonment of a
raped woman as if it were not just a journalistic report but a truth about
the ‘normal’ human behavior that educated women could expect their fel-
low citizens to demonstrate if they find themselves in a situation similar to
Genovese’s.”8 My own engagement with Kitty Genovese began in precisely
this way. As a thirteen-year-old small-town girl with dreams of living a
grown-up life in New York City, I was riveted by the story of her death in
my local newspaper. She has haunted me for nearly five decades. In 1964
and beyond, Kitty Genovese provided a stark lesson of the cost of female
independence, a reminder of the brutal price that could be exacted from
women who boldly inhabit public space on their own terms.
Today, despite challenges to the number or accuracy of the witnesses,
the tragic tale of Kitty Genovese and her uncaring neighbors still functions
for many people as a parable of apathy. Initially, however, the fatal attacks
received little notice. On 14 March 1964 there was a brief report in the
New York Times “police blotter” section deep inside the paper. Within the
next week, Rosenthal, then metropolitan editor at the Times, learned of
a murderer in Queens, Winston Moseley, who had confessed to a second
killing despite the fact that another man had been charged with the crime.
Rosenthal asked about it during lunch with the city’s police commissioner,
Michael J. Murphy, on 23 March 1964. Murphy described the dozens of
neighbors who refused to get involved in the Genovese case. Rosenthal
was well aware that Murphy had emphasized the unresponsive witnesses
in Kew Gardens as a way to divert attention from the double confession. It
was a potentially embarrassing police error at a moment when the depart-
ment was under scrutiny from the press, especially for its failure to find the
murderer of the two young “career girls” slain in Manhattan the previous
August. Rosenthal’s interest was piqued by the number of neighbors who
did not intervene, and he assigned Martin Gansberg to investigate.9
Gansberg relied on Queens police, who complained about the lack
of assistance they received as they went door to door in the hours and
days after the murder, interviewing more than three dozen neighbors.
8 Rachel Manning, Mark Levine, and Alan Collins, “The Kitty Genovese Murder and the
Social Psychology of Helping: The Parable of the 38 Witnesses,” American Psychologist 62, no.
6 (2007): 555–62; Christian Jarrett, “Foundations of Sand?” Psychologist 21, no. 9 (2008):
756, http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk (accessed 18 July 2012); Laura Hengehold,
“When Safety Becomes a Duty: Gender, Loneliness, and Citizenship for Urban Women,”
WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 39, no. 1/2 (2011): 48–69.
9 Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 13–14.
278 m arcia m. Gallo
Although the same detectives on whom Gansberg relied had learned about
Genovese’s lover and roommate, Mary Ann Zielonko, immediately after
Genovese’s death and had subjected Zielonko and the couple’s friends to
intrusive and sometimes salacious questioning, the official story as told by
the Times did not mention the two women’s relationship. The result of
Gansberg’s reporting was a front-page story that appeared on 27 March
1964. Its headline screamed: “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Po-
lice.” The story’s subheading established the central concern: “Apathy at
Stabbing of Queens Woman Shocks Inspector.” The main components
included a recitation of what had happened in the early morning hours
of 13 March 1964 on Austin Street in Kew Gardens taken from police
records of the confession of Winston Moseley, a twenty-nine-year-old
African American business-machine operator. There also were details of
the neighborhood and its inhabitants, including statements from those
who had spoken to Gansberg about the events, comments from the police
officers investigating the crime, and a very brief summary of who Cath-
erine “Kitty” Genovese was and how she had come to the attention of
the killer. The story began: “For more than half an hour, 38 respectable,
law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in
three separate attacks in Kew Gardens. Twice the sound of their voices and
the sudden glare of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened
him off. Each time he returned, sought her out and stabbed her again.
Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness
called after the woman was dead.”10
The initial story was followed, two days later, by another that emphasized
the apathy of Genovese’s neighbors. In it, Times writer Charles Mohr quoted
“behavioral specialists” on the reasons why the neighbors didn’t contact
the police. That the silent witnesses lived in bucolic Kew Gardens, which
was largely white and middle class in 1964, made their indifference all the
more shocking. Numerous media accounts followed, all of them focused
on the bystanders. None discussed the victim. The narrative circulated
widely and caught the attention of the public. It also provided discursive
space for examining other pressing social issues. A letter to the editor of
the Times, for example, drew parallels between the apathy of Genovese’s
neighbors and the irritation some white New Yorkers felt “when others’
sufferings and demands threaten to impinge upon their daily lives, as in the
civil rights movement.” An editorial in one of the nation’s leading black
newspapers, the New York Amsterdam News, used the Genovese case to
take aim at recent comments from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. In July
10 Gansberg, “37 Who Saw Murder,” 1. The discrepancy between the number of wit-
nesses in the Times’ headline (thirty-seven) and the story’s opening sentence (“For more
than half an hour, 38 responsible, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and
stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens”) can be explained by the author’s
assertion at the end of the paragraph that “one witness called after the woman was dead.”
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 279
1964 Hoover claimed that racial violence in the US South was “no worse”
than violence in the North. The editors of the Amsterdam News replied:
Certainly here in New York we have our Kitty Genovese murders and
others which shake the conscience of our city. But the man charged
with the murder of Kitty Genovese is already in jail awaiting his fate
. . . . We would ask Mr. Hoover: Where are the murderers of
Emmett Till? Where are the murderers of Medger Evers? Why
haven’t the persons who bombed to death four little Negro girls in
Sunday School been apprehended? Who killed Col. Lemuel A. Penn?
Where are the three civil rights fighters who disappeared into thin air
in Philadelphia, Mississippi?11
Rosenthal also used the Genovese case to express his growing concerns
about race, class, and community. In May 1964 he expanded on the Times
initial coverage and weighed in with a lengthy piece in the paper’s Sunday
Magazine, reaffirming his version of the story. The article, titled “Study of
the Sickness Called Apathy,” was incorporated into a short book, Thirty-
Eight Witnesses, published later that year. Rosenthal framed his writing on
the case as a treatise on personal responsibility for solving social problems.
Explaining that, initially, he had not noticed the short report of her murder
in his paper, Rosenthal admitted that “if Miss Genovese had been killed on
Park Avenue or Madison Avenue an assistant would have called the story to
my attention.” Never commenting directly on the racial aspects of Geno-
vese’s murder, Rosenthal used it to sound a warning for the inhabitants
of a city he feared was becoming increasingly divided and distrustful. “It
seems to this writer that what happened in the apartments and houses on
Austin Street was a symptom of a terrible reality in the human condition—
that only under certain situations and only in response to certain reflexes
or certain beliefs will a man step out of his shell toward his brother,” he
wrote. Perhaps the death of an innocent would shock New Yorkers into
self-examination, he seemed to suggest.12
The victim at the center of the narrative, however, posed a problem. Any
aspects of Genovese’s life that might have made her less than sympathetic
to the paper’s readership had to be suppressed for the emphasis on apathy
to take precedence. For example, Rosenthal stated that Genovese “lived
alone,” though he was well aware of her lover and roommate. Furthermore,
despite the fact that the photograph of Genovese used by Rosenthal and the
11 Mohr, “Apathy Is Puzzle,” 21; “40 Shun Pleas of Girl in N.Y. after Attack,” Chicago
Tribune, 6 May 1964, 12; “The City: Not Getting Involved,” Time Magazine, 15 May
1964; Jerry Cohen, “Big-City Americans Turn Backs on Distress Calls,” Los Angeles Times,
31 May 1964, B 1; “N.Y. Stabbing Is Re-enacted,” Washington Post, 2 August 1964, B 6;
Matt Weinstock, “Other Side of Non-involvement,” Los Angeles Times, 9 August 1964, 17;
“We Must Care,” Arlene Teichberg, Letters to the Times, New York Times, 16 May 1964,
SM 22; “Look Closely,” New York Amsterdam News, 18 July 1964, 20.
12 Rosenthal, “Study of the Sickness,” 71–74; Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 16.
280 m arcia m. Gallo
Times in subsequent accounts was actually a cropped mug shot taken in 1961
after her arrest for gambling at Ev’s Eleventh Hour Tavern, her previous
entanglements with the criminal justice system were never reported in ac-
counts of the case until Moseley raised them in legal proceedings years later
(see fig. 1). Perhaps the Times editor treated them as insignificant details.
In a bizarre twist of fate, however, murderer Moseley’s court-appointed
defense attorney, Sidney Sparrow, was the same lawyer who had represented
Genovese in the gambling case. Yet the Times did not include information
on Genovese’s gambling arrest or her connection to Moseley’s defense at-
torney. In 1964, as a lesbian with a criminal record, she likely would have
been perceived as a transgressive woman who deserved her awful fate.13
13 Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, vii; Mike Lanzone, interview with the author, 19
September 2010, Las Vegas, NV; Albert A. Seedman and Peter Hellman, Chief! Classic
Cases from the Files of the Chief of Detectives (New York: Arthur Fields, 1974), 140–41;
Figure 1. This photograph of Kitty Genovese, taken at her arrest for gambling in 1961,
was cropped and reused in the New York Times and also as the cover image for A. M.
Rosenthal’s Thirty-Eight Witnesses in 1999. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 281
The media emphasis on apathy instead immediately unleashed a tor-
rent of private accusations and public soul-searching, all centered on the
perceived growing dangers of city living. As Rosenthal insisted in 1999,
“Even now, I do not know a great deal more about her life. Her life was
not the reason that I wrote about her, or that millions of people came to
know her name and have never forgotten it, and that for more than three
decades she has affected my life and work, which for most journalists are
pretty much the same thing.” The erasure of Genovese’s life ensured that
her death was what would be remembered.14
The life and deaTh of KiTTy Genovese
As a victim, Catherine Genovese was atomized, frozen in time and space. In
life she had been vibrant. Called “Kitty” by her family and friends, she was
the eldest of five children in a close-knit Italian American family. Outgoing
and independent, she chose to live in New York City despite her family’s
move to the suburbs. By the early 1960s, when she was in her midtwenties,
Genovese was living in Queens and managing Ev’s Eleventh Hour Tavern,
a sports bar in Hollis. Her best friend, Mike Lanzone, remembered that he
met her shortly after she started working at Ev’s and said that she was easy
to talk to, a friendly and good-natured person who often lent money to
bar regulars that she rarely was paid back. Lanzone also remembered that
she had been romantically involved with a woman.15
Early in the spring of 1963, Genovese met Mary Ann Zielonko; soon
they became lovers and saw each other often. By that summer they had
found a one-bedroom apartment and moved to 82-70 Austin Street in
Kew Gardens. Their second-floor apartment was in a row of two-story
Tudor-style townhouses adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station.
Both women were delighted with the safe, secure setting: near enough to
work and the city but with the feeling of a village. With a residential mix of
older European immigrants and some younger white men and women, Kew
Gardens was known as a “good” neighborhood. Although their first year
together was not easy—Zielonko later said, “We both had struggles with
our sexuality, as did many people back then,” and Lanzone remembered
them quarreling often—they stayed together. They planned to celebrate
their first anniversary on 13 March 1964.16
Sexton, “Reviving Kitty Genovese Case,” B 1, B 4; Skoller, Twisted Confessions, 67, 228;
Rentschler, “An Urban Physiognomy,” 324.
14 Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 16.
15 Lanzone interview; Patrick Rogers, “Bearing Witness,” People, 24 July 1995, 24;
Jim Rasenberger, “Kitty, 40 Years Later,” New York Times, 8 February 2004, sec. 14, 1–3;
Skoller, Twisted Confessions, 22; Joshua Zeitz, “The Terrible Death of Kitty Genovese,”
American Heritage, 13 March 2006, http://www.americanheritage.com/places/articles
/web/20060313-kitty-genovese (accessed 31 October 2010).
16 Mary Ann Zielonko, telephone interview with the author, 16 July 2009; Mary Ann
Zielonko, “Remembering Kitty Genovese,” Sound Portraits, 13 March 2004, http://
282 m arcia m. Gallo
Around three o’clock that morning, Genovese was driving home from work
when Winston Moseley spotted her. Moseley later told police interrogators
that he had gone out that night looking for “a woman . . . alone.” He said
that he saw Genovese on Queens Boulevard and followed her for a few blocks,
parking his car on the street less than a block from her home. Genovese saw
him as she got out of her car and ran toward the corner of Austin Street and
Lefferts Boulevard, the tree-lined semicommercial street around the corner
from her apartment. She likely was heading for Old Bailey’s, the bar on the
corner, but it had closed early that night after loud fights. Moseley caught
up with her, grabbed her, and stabbed her in the back. She began screaming
for help. The sounds alerted at least one neighbor in the Mowbray Arms, the
midrise apartment building directly across the street. The neighbor lifted his
window and shouted at Moseley, interrupting the assault. Moseley ran down
the street, jumped in his car, and drove a few blocks away. He then removed
his knit cap, put on a fedora, and returned to Austin Street.17
Genovese made her away back toward her apartment, bent over and
bleeding from the wounds Moseley had inflicted. She was able to reach the
small entranceway inside one of the two-story buildings near her apartment
and then collapsed. Moseley caught up with her inside the building. He
stabbed her in the throat to keep her from screaming, then cut open her
blouse and skirt and attempted to rape her. Unable to penetrate her, he ran
off with her wallet and wristwatch, leaving her bleeding but still breathing.
A nearby neighbor called police, who arrived within minutes, but Genovese
died on the way to Queens General Hospital. Zielonko was awakened by
police at about four o’clock in the morning and taken to the hospital to
identify the body. She also was questioned by the police, as were their gay
and straight friends, and the interrogations turned ugly. “They wanted to
know what we did in bed together,” she said. “They wanted the details.
And I told them.” Afterward, she began drinking heavily, unable to accept
what had happened. A few days later, Genovese’s family buried Kitty near
their home in Connecticut.18
Ironically, Moseley was arrested in another Queens neighborhood a few
days later by neighbors who alerted police to a burglary in progress. Under
soundportraits.org/on-air/remembering_kitty_genovese/ (accessed 14 March 2004);
Lanzone interview; LuLu LoLo (Lois Pascale Evans), interview with the author, 21
June 2011, New York; Liz Goff and Aaron Rutkoff, “Remembering Kitty Genovese,”
Queens Tribune Online, 11 March 2004, http://www.queenstribune.com/feature.
RememberingKittyGenovese.html (accessed 24 March 2006); Jeff Pearlman, “Grief Was
Private for Public Murder,” Newsday, 14 March 2005, 7.
17 Indictment No. 542/64, Queens County, Memorandum of Law, The People of the State
of New York v. Winston Moseley, June 1964.
18 Appellant’s Brief, Court of Appeals, State of New York, The People of the State of New
York v. Winston Moseley, 1 March 1965; Skoller, Twisted Confessions, 24–25; Brent Curtis,
“Woman Recalls Partner’s Brutal Murder,” Rutland Herald and Times Argus, 14 March
2004, 1.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 283
questioning, he confessed to assaulting and killing Genovese as well as two
other women: one, a white teenager named Barbara Kralik in July 1963, and
the other, a young black woman, Anna Mae Johnson, just two weeks before
he attacked Genovese. His confession in the Kralik case caused a flurry of
media interest because Queens police were holding a suspect in custody for
her murder at the time that Moseley confessed. Despite Moseley’s confes-
sion, Alvin Mitchell was tried and convicted of the crime. As was too often
true regarding press coverage of nonwhite victims, Anna Mae Johnson’s
death was barely mentioned by the media. In June 1964 Moseley was tried
and convicted of murder in the first degree and received a death sentence.
On appeal, the sentence was reduced to life in prison, in part because of
errors made by his court-appointed attorney in not presenting effective
evidence of Moseley’s mental incapacities. His trial and sentencing received
a significant amount of media coverage.19
The killing of Kitty Genovese, heightened by the apathy of the reported
thirty-eight witnesses, added greatly to growing fears of crime circulating
among New Yorkers in 1964. Genovese became an important addition to
then-current cautionary tales of young “career girls” who lived alone or
with roommates and worked in the city. The high-profile double murder
of two young white women in Manhattan the previous summer had only
stoked the rising tensions over random violence. Marilynn S. Johnson writes
that all of these murders “occurred as the city’s crime rate was just begin-
ning its historic upward trajectory.” Underscoring the volatile interplay of
changing discourses and demographics, Johnson notes that for many white
New Yorkers, “rising crime rates appeared to be a direct result of the shift-
ing racial makeup of the postwar city, as blacks and Puerto Ricans replaced
whites who were leaving working-class neighborhoods for the suburbs,”
much as Kitty Genovese’s family had done.20
“ai r of fear Grips sedaTe easT side
On the morning of 28 August 1963, Janice Wylie, aged twenty-one, and
Emily Hoffert, aged twenty-three, two friends who were recent graduates
of Smith College, were brutally killed by an intruder in their third-floor
apartment on East 88th Street. Wylie also was sexually assaulted. They
shared an apartment just two blocks from Wylie’s parents with a third young
woman, Patricia Tolles, also twenty-three. Wylie’s father discovered the
two badly mutilated bodies. It was the day of the March on Washington
for Jobs and Freedom, which Janice Wylie had hoped to attend; instead,
19 Skoller, Twisted Confessions, 15–17, 30–33, 227–28; Seedman and Hellman, Chief!,
125–27, 129–35; “Lawyer Says Client Murdered 3 Women,” New York Times, 3 April 1964,
22; “Moseley Is Found Guilty of Murder,” New York Times, 12 June 1964, 44; “Moseley
Execution Delayed,” New York Times, 11 August 1964, 22.
20 Johnson, “The Career Girls Murders,” 244–61.
284 m arcia m. Gallo
she heeded her father’s warnings about possible violence and remained in
New York. She was at home that morning only because she had agreed to
cover a coworker’s midday shift.21
Times writer Gay Talese summarized the responses of wealthy white
Manhattanites three days after the two women’s bodies were discovered.
“Murder was the topic yesterday in boutiques, in East Side restaurants, in
Bloomingdale’s, in some small, expensive delicatessens patronized by many
girls who, between college and marriage, work for a few years in New York
and share East Side apartments.” The story described the fears of the young
women with whom he spoke and their concerns about their safety in the
days after the gruesome killings. In his final paragraphs, Talese supplied
warnings about apathy similar to those that would reappear nine months
later in Rosenthal’s treatise on Genovese’s death: “An elderly woman, and
a long-time New York resident, took all the fear and apprehension rather
philosophically. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘we’re all horrified, but these things hap-
pen. If they happened in Brooklyn or Harlem—where they happen every
day—we wouldn’t hear a thing about it. So now it happened in a “good”
neighborhood. Well, I’m sorry, but believe me, in a few days in New York
it’ll only be the poor girls’ parents and friends who will care.’”22
A potent sense of unease permeated New York City as the search for the
killer of the two women stretched from days to weeks and then months. It
became an increasingly pressurized situation for police given the publicity
surrounding the case and its victims. In April 1964, a few weeks after Queens
detectives questioned Genovese’s murderer, Moseley, about involvement
in “the Wylie case,” Brooklyn police arrested a nineteen-year-old black
man, George Whitmore, Jr., and charged him with the attempted rape of
a Brooklyn nurse. After questioning by police, Whitmore confessed to the
murders of Wylie and Hoffert as well as to two others. He soon recanted
his confessions, however, claiming extreme mistreatment at the hands of the
police while in custody. It was too late. Marilynn Johnson writes: “Whit-
more’s ordeal with the justice system would last nine years and become
one of the most infamous wrong-man cases of all time.” Two years later,
Richard Robles was charged and convicted of the crime.23
Wylie’s father quickly became the spokesperson for the two murdered
women, giving extensive newspaper and television interviews and working
closely with police investigations. Press accounts of these two “career girls”
emphasized the young women’s accomplishments and physical attractive-
ness, especially Janice Wylie. The 29 August 1963 front-page article in the
21 Ibid. See also Bernard Lefkowitz and Kenneth G. Gross, The Victims: The Wylie-Hoffert
Murder Case—and Its Strange Aftermath (New York: Dell, 1969).
22 Gay Talese, “Air of Fear Grips Sedate East Side,” New York Times, 31 August 1963, 29.
23 Johnson, “The Career Girls Murders,” 244–45; T. J. English, The Savage City: Race,
Murder, and a Generation on the Edge (New York: Harper Collins, 2011), 378; English,
“Who Will Mourn George Whitmore?,” New York Times, 13 October 2012, A 21.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 285
Times reported that “Miss Wylie was 5 feet 6 inches tall. She had blonde
hair and green eyes. She had attended the Nightingale-Bamford School
for girls 5 to 18, at 20 East 92nd Street. Mrs. Frederick Woodbridge, the
headmistress, said last night that Miss Wylie had been ‘a beautiful and very
popular’ student. Miss Wylie, who wanted to be an actress, studied at the
Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre on East 54th Street and
appeared in 20 playhouse productions. She had also acted in summer stock,
Mr. Wylie said.” Some stories were accompanied by professional headshots
showing Janice Wylie as a glamorous young woman. Others were overtly
sexualized. Alfred Clark’s article of 30 August 1963 noted that “Miss Wylie,
a slender blonde, was asleep nude in her bed when the intruder entered.”
As if to suggest that such habits somehow were relevant to the brutal as-
saults she suffered, a second reference to Wylie’s sleeping nude appeared
one month later in another front-page story in the Times. Furthermore,
and in stark contrast to the media silence surrounding Kitty Genovese’s
love life, Wylie’s and Hoffert’s interests in the opposite sex had been made
clear in the first Times article about their murders. “Last night, at 8:15
o’clock, a young man wearing a brown sweater and khaki trousers came to
the building to date one of the girls. He made his way through a crowd of
shocked residents who had gathered outside the building. The police took
him to the apartment. They did not release his name.” A 27 September
1963 Times article went further, giving Wylie’s father the opportunity to
discuss his daughter’s love life. “I knew most of the men Janice dated,”
Wylie said. “They were a very decent crowd. There was only one that I had
any deep inner disapproval of. . . . He had an iron-clad alibi. He was 3,000
miles away at the time.” The article went on to quote Wylie about the hor-
rible details of discovering his daughter’s mutilated body bound together
with that of her roommate’s. The story then weirdly veered from fact to
fiction by adding a homophobic twist to the tale. The symbolism of the
tied bodies suggested that the killer might have been a homosexual. Also,
the bindings were not torn as a man might tear them from the bedsheet,
but seemed to have been cut with scissors.”24
This suggestion that the killer could have been “a homosexual” likely was
an oblique reference to lesbian acquaintances of Janice Wylie’s. As they did
when investigating Genovese’s death, police questioned women as well as
men who were rumored to have dated or been sexually attracted to Wylie,
including a female manicurist whom she had accused of making a pass at
her and a lesbian classmate at the Neighborhood Playhouse drama school
she attended. The media emphasis on sensational aspects of Janice Wylie’s
life—including descriptions of her in some press accounts as an aggressively
extroverted “party girl”—coincided with accounts of her passion for the
theater, seen as a natural environment for social deviants. The implication
in late September 1963 that the career girls’ murderer might have been
24 “2 Girls Murdered”; Clark, “Girl Got Phone Threat”; Bigart, “Killing of 2 Girls.”
286 m arcia m. Gallo
homosexual also came on the heels of coverage in which homosexuals were
identified in a 10 June 1963 Times story as security risks and just weeks
after they were featured in a story about spy scandals. In December 1963
the New York Times also featured pejorative front-page coverage of the
growing gay community in Manhattan.25
“GrowTh o f over T homosexualiTy in ciTy
provoKes wide concern
Reorienting himself newly to life in New York City after years spent abroad,
A. M. Rosenthal was alert to the city’s many changes, not the least of which
was a pronounced increase in the visibility of gay people on its streets. It
was at his urging that an experienced Times reporter was assigned to explore
the reasons behind the “growth of overt homosexuality” in New York City.
It was an early example of the kinds of stories Rosenthal would promote as
he set about to engineer major changes at the newspaper.26
The 17 December 1964 front-page essay by Robert C. Doty popular-
ized expert beliefs about the pathology of homosexuality just three months
before Genovese’s death. It warned readers that “as public attitudes have
become more tolerant, the homosexuals have tended to be more overt, less
concerned with concealing their deviant conduct.” Focusing on the streets
and nightspots of Greenwich Village, the essay debated whether the public
was becoming more liberal in tolerating same-sex public displays of affec-
tion and highlighted the assessments of medical and sociological theorists
as well as law enforcement officials regarding the whys and wherefores of
the sickness of homosexuality. Doty reported:
The city’s most sensitive open secret—the presence of what is probably
the greatest homosexual population in the world and its increasing
openness—has become the subject of growing concern of psychiatrists,
religious leaders, and the police. . . . Commenting yesterday on the situ-
ation, Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy said: “Homosexuality is
another one of the many problems confronting law enforcement in this
city. However, the underlying factors in homosexuality are not criminal
but rather medical and sociological in nature. The police jurisdiction in
this area is limited. But when persons of this type become a source of
public scandal, or violate the laws, or place themselves in a position where
they become victims of crime they do come within our jurisdiction.”27
Doty’s article was full of fatuous stereotypes about “inverts” who were
“most concentrated—or most noticeable—in the fields of the creative and
25 Lefkowitz and Gross, The Victims, 90–94; Joseph Goulden, Fit to Print: A. M. Rosenthal
and His Times (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1988), 397–98.
26 Goulden, Fit to Print, 81, 92.
27 Doty, “Growth of Overt Homosexuality,” 33.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 287
performing arts and industries serving women’s beauty and fashion needs.”
In addition to linking organized crime to gay bars, Doty also interviewed
religious leaders and psychiatrists about the “problem that has grown in the
shadows.” He quoted one unnamed leader of the New York chapter of the
homophile group the Mattachine Society, as well as gay activist Randolfe
Wicker. In April 1963 Wicker had organized a tiny demonstration for gay
civil rights at the US Army Induction Center at Whitehall Street in New
York City, perhaps the first public protest of its kind held in the city. A few
heterosexual members of the League for Sexual Freedom helped bring the
demonstrators’ numbers to seven. Despite the small size of the protest, such
stirrings of public actions by gay people and their allies in the early 1960s
in cities like New York were enough to make the mainstream media begin
to take notice. “Sexual inverts have colonized three areas of the city,” Doty
warned. “The city’s homosexual community acts as a lodestar, attracting oth-
ers from all over the country.” In its zeal to understand the makings of the
modern homosexual, much of Doty’s article focused on psychiatry, especially
the findings of Dr. Irving Bieber and colleagues at New York Medical Center.
Their study, based on a small sample of 106 male homosexuals who were
compared to 100 heterosexual men—all of whom were under psychiatric
care—blamed same-sex desire on “disturbed early family relationships.”28
The Times’ spotlight was entirely on gay men, causing the leaders of
the Daughters of Bilitis, the national lesbian rights organization with an
active local chapter, to complain angrily to the editors. They received
no response. However, when the group held its biannual convention in
New York in June 1964, the Times sent staff to cover it. The next day,
the paper ran a short report tucked away on a back page and headlined
“Homosexual Women Hear Experts.” Again, the story emphasized the
opinions of psychologists and psychiatrists about causes of and possible
cures for homosexuality. The brief notice marked the first time that the
Times acknowledged the existence of a lesbian rights organization, none-
theless, and provided contact information for it.29
Lesbianism rarely received much public notice in the Times in the early
1960s; when it did, the “problem” was invariably connected to conven-
tional gender norms. For example, one small article in December 1961
by Emma Harrison, headlined “Women Deviates Held Increasing” and
following the first American Psychoanalytic Association meeting, focused
specifically on lesbian sexuality. “The problem of homosexuality in women
is increasing,” it began, quoting Dr. Charles Socarides, who complained
28 Ibid. See also Jack Nichols, “Randolfe Wicker,” in Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and
Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, ed. Vern L. Bullough (Binghamton, NY: Harrington
Park/Haworth, 2002), 273–81; Irving Bieber, Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of
Male Homosexuals (New York: Basic Books, 1962).
29 “Report Round-Up, Part Two,” Ladder 8, no. 11 (1964): 11–21; “Homosexual
Women Hear Psychologists,” New York Times, 21 June 1964, 54.
288 m arcia m. Gallo
that “this psychic problem of women” had been ignored by his profession
and by society. He blamed a purported rise in the number of lesbians on
increasing male homosexuality and alleged that it “indicated the possibility
of some compensating drive in women.”30
Contrary to Socarides’s complaint, female sexual pathologies had long
received a great deal of medical attention. As scholars such as Lisa Duggan,
Estelle Freedman, Jennifer Terry, and others have shown, an obsession
with defining and containing women’s gender as well as sexual noncon-
formities and their link to criminality can be traced to the late nineteenth
century and continued throughout the early twentieth century, aided and
abetted by newspapers, magazines, paperback books, and films. The widely
publicized 1892 “lesbian love murder” of Freda Ward by Alice Mitchell
in Memphis, Tennessee, for example, became not only a media sensation
but also an influential American cultural narrative, and the representation
of Mitchell as a “Sapphic slasher” helped popularize theories of female
deviance. By the midtwentieth century, growing popular representations
of lesbians associated female same-sex desire with criminality and perver-
sion in movies and pulp novels.31
The same concerns were still much in evidence in the early 1960s and
seen in Dr. Irving Bieber’s 1962 book Homosexuality. A firm believer in the
power of psychoanalysis to “cure” homosexuality, Bieber was influential in
the construction of the December 1963 Times essay. He also published an
article warning parents about their children’s “prehomosexual tendencies”
in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in August 1964. In “Speaking
Frankly on a Once Taboo Subject,” Bieber asserted that “nothing less than
our self-interest as parents and enlightened citizens” required readers of the
New York Times to discuss homosexuality, specifically its prevention. “To
prevent childhood homosexual symptoms from developing—or possibly
even to ‘immunize’ youngsters against then—it is necessary to consider the
behavior of parents.” Bieber’s advice was mostly directed to the parents of
boys; girls were dispensed with rather abruptly. Not surprisingly, given the
article’s generally misogynistic commentary, it was mostly mothers who
were blamed for inadequately training their daughters in domestic duties.
30 Emma Harrison, “Women Deviates Held Increasing,” New York Times, 11 December
1961, 10.
31 Lisa Duggan, Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (Durham, NC:
Duke University Press, 2000); Estelle Freedman, “The Prison Lesbian: Race, Class, and the
Construction of the Aggressive Female Homosexual, 1915–1965,” Feminist Studies 22, no.
2 (1996): 397–423; Jennifer Terry, An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homo-
sexuality in Modern Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). See also Elizabeth
Lunbeck, “‘A New Generation of Women’: Progressive Psychiatrists and the Hypersexual
Female,” Feminist Studies 13, no. 3 (1987): 513–43; Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy:
Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (Chicago: University of Chica-
go Press, 2008); and Martin Meeker, “A Queer and Contested Medium: The Emergence of
Representational Politics in the ‘Golden Age’ of Lesbian Paperbacks, 1955–1963,” Journal
of Women’s History 17, no. 1 (2005): 165–88.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 289
For example, Bieber emphasized that “prehomosexual girls” were likely to
be ignored by their mothers and “may not even be permitted in the kitchen
while Mama presides over the stove and exercises her role as Queen Bee.”32
News and feature articles about the insidious growth of homosexuality
intersected with coverage of random violence and apathy, even in “good”
neighborhoods. Both were used as examples of urban sickness. In response
to Bieber’s article, one reader wrote to the Times: “Let all these parents
be tried for murder,” echoing the outrage voiced in popular reactions to
press accounts of the purported failure of Genovese’s neighbors to come
to her aid. The Times’ emphasis on these pathologies alerted readers to the
dangers lurking on the streets of Greenwich Village, in the shadows of Kew
Gardens, and even in their own homes.33
Four months later, the homophile press responded. The Daughters of
Bilitis featured a searing critique of the Times’ coverage of gay men and
lesbians in the December 1964 issue of the Ladder. In it writer Philip Gerard
took particular aim at Rosenthal:
The Times is an extremely influential newspaper, especially in New
York City, with an awe-inspiring power to create public opinion. One
may say it creates more than public opinion—it creates the public
consciousness. A story printed in the Times becomes part of current
folklore, whether true or not. Part of the Times’ power comes from the
fact that in the past it kept the livelier sex and crime stories down to a
few short paragraphs in the back pages. . . . At least that was the policy
until a year ago, when a new city editor named Rosenthal began to beef
up the front page with local crime stories which cumulatively created
the impression dangerous characters were prowling the city’s streets.
The reply gave voice to the frustrations shared by most gay activists at yet
another “front-page ‘background’ article, filled with hearsay, impressions,
and quotes from unidentified sources,” a story “geared to building a pic-
ture of a middle-class surrounded by growing bands of menacing outsiders
from the worst elements of society.” Gerard also denounced the “Speaking
Frankly” piece written by Bieber. “One Sunday morning, lolling on their
couches with the fat Sunday paper filled with comforting ads for food,
drink, clothing, and furniture, Times readers who are parents got quite a
shock when they turned to the magazine section and found an article by
Dr. Irving Bieber telling them parents are responsible for making happy
little babies into sick, miserable, perverted homosexuals.”34
The fact that articles such as these were given such prominence was espe-
cially frustrating given the dearth of coverage of the growing gay and lesbian
32 Irving Bieber, “Speaking Frankly on a Once Taboo Subject,” New York Times, 23
August 1964, SM 75.
33 “I Weep . . . ,” Letters, New York Times, 20 September 1964, SM 12.
34 Philip Gerard, “Symptom of The Times,” Ladder 9, no. 2 (1964): 9–12.
290 m arcia m. Gallo
movement. As Daniel Chomsky and Scott Barclay have detailed, “From the
end of World War II through 1965, the New York Times published a little
more than two front-page articles per year that made any reference to lesbians
and gays. And the Times devoted little more attention for the next 20 years.
Lesbians and gays were essentially invisible during this period.” Furthermore,
they assert, “the news media largely ignored compelling events that seemed
to merit attention. For example, the Stonewall riots in 1969 did not make
the front page of the New York Times despite the fact that they occurred
over several nights within 35 blocks of the Times’ own front door.”35
A rare indication that the Times was aware of challenges to expert
opinions of homosexuality appeared in November 1967 in a front-page
story headlined “Episcopal Clergymen Here Call Homosexuality Morally
Neutral.” The article summarized a meeting at the Cathedral of Saint
John the Divine in Manhattan that brought together ninety local clergy
as part of “Project H, a day-long symposium on the church’s approach
to homosexuality”—an offshoot of the organizing begun by homophile
activists in 1965 in San Francisco. Rev. Walter D. Dennis, the black canon
of the cathedral, who was pictured in the article, said that the meeting
had resulted in agreement that same-sex relationships were not necessar-
ily deviant. “A homosexual relationship between two consenting adults
should be judged by the same criteria as a heterosexual marriage—that is,
whether it is intended to foster a permanent relationship of love.” This
endorsement was tempered by noting that the clergy did not believe that
“homosexuality should be encouraged or that homosexual acts, like other
extramarital sexual relations, cannot also be ‘promiscuous.’”36
Four years later, early in 1971, the Times published an unsigned article
titled “The Changing View of Homosexuality.” This brief but significant
piece noted oppositional voices from within medicine, “fed by the vocal
segment of the homosexual population—such groups as the Gay Liberation
Front, the Mattachine Society, and the Daughters of Bilitis”—that “the ‘sick-
ness’ one finds in the homosexual community is largely a result of society’s
‘sick’ attitude toward this form of sexual expression.” In addition to naming
organized gay groups, it quoted not only Bieber and other purveyors of the
homosexuality-as-pathology point of view but also such progay authorities
as Los Angeles psychiatrist Dr. Judd Marmor and UCLA psychologist Dr.
Evelyn Hooker. Referring to Hooker’s work, the article mentioned that
“many of the homosexuals she has studied reveal, on psychological test-
ing, no ‘demonstrable pathology’ that would differentiate them in any way
from a group of relatively normal heterosexuals.” The article ended with
a bold quotation from New York psychologist Lawrence LeShan: “The
35 Daniel Chomsky and Scott Barclay, “The Mass Media, Public Opinion, and Lesbian
and Gay Rights,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 6 (2010): 387–403.
36 Edward B. Fiske, “Episcopal Clergymen Here Call Homosexuality Morally Neutral,”
New York Times, 29 November 1967, 1.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 291
Gay Liberation movement is the best therapy the homosexual has had in
years.” The following year, historian and playwright Martin Duberman
wrote a long analysis titled “Homosexual Literature” for the Times “as one
who has not only read the literature but lived the life.” He took aim at the
“morass” of scientific literature claiming to unearth and explicate the causes
of homosexuality and, quoting psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, reminded Times
readers that “the characteristic tendency of modern psychiatry is to brand
as sick that which is merely unconventional.”37
The increasing visibility of gay writers and activists by the early 1970s,
as well as the studies produced and statements issued by progressive psy-
chologists and psychiatrists, helped weaken the long-perceived link between
homosexuality and pathology. When the American Psychiatric Association
(APA) voted unanimously in 1973 to remove homosexuality from its list
of mental illnesses, even the Times highlighted the historic shift. As New
York activist Barbara Gittings noted, however, “a stroke of the pen doesn’t
change attitudes.” Drs. Bieber and Socarides were among the most vocal
opponents of the action and worked to have the policy change overturned.
“Mindful of the need for continuing education,” Gittings remembered three
decades later, “the APA gave the National Gay Task Force exhibit space at
several later conventions.” In 1976 she was among the activists at the APA
convention in Miami who reframed the “sickness” paradigm in the exhibit
they presented titled “Homophobia: Time for Cure.”38
The parable of KiTTy Genovese and The erasure of lesbianism
Within the somewhat more open cultural context of the mid-1970s, in-
formation about Genovese’s personal life began to surface in the media,
but the times (and the Times) had not yet evolved to the point where such
details could be incorporated into the parable of one of America’s most
famous crime victims. It was not until 2004 that her erasure was reversed. In
an interview given to Times freelance writer Jim Rasenberger for an article
published to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Genovese’s murder,
Zielonko openly discussed their relationship for the first time. Rasenberger
wrote: “Ms. Genovese’s death hit hardest, of course, among those who
loved her. This includes Mary Ann Zielonko, the young woman who moved
with her to Kew Gardens—and who had the grim task of identifying her
remains.” Despite the extensive media attention given to Zielonko’s brief
37 “The Changing View of Homosexuality,” New York Times, 28 February 1971; Martin
Duberman, “Homosexual Literature,” New York Times, 10 December 1972, 7.
38 Barbara Gittings, “The Vote That ‘Cured’ Millions,” Gay & Lesbian Review World-
wide 14, no. 4 (2007): 17–18; Richard D. Lyons, “Psychiatrists, in a Shift, Declare Ho-
mosexuality No Mental Illness,” New York Times, 16 December 1973, 1. See also Charles
Kaiser, “When the New York Times Came Out of the Closet,” New York Review of Books, 25
September 2012, http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/sep/25/ (accessed 22
June 2013).
292 m arcia m. Gallo
and poignant remembrances of her lost lover, A. M. Rosenthal never men-
tioned their relationship or Genovese’s lesbianism publicly.39
As Philip Gerard noted, the New York Times played a significant role in
shaping American culture; in the early 1960s it “reflect[ed] a popular at-
titude of an era, nurtured by certain psychiatric and psychoanalytic studies
which ‘prove’ homosexuals are sick.” Gerard compared the paper’s reliance
on experts like Bieber in 1963 to a Times article from 1910 that featured
phrenological studies asserting with all the authority that science could
then command that “Negroes were subnormal.” Yet fifty years later, Gerard
wrote, “The Times has become foremost among newspaper defenders of
the Negro’s rights and dignity.” He concluded by asking, “Will the editors
in 2011 regard the slant of the [1963] story with the same embarrassment
as current editors must regard the first?”40
His question was prescient. In April 2009 the 1963 article on ho-
mosexuality was transposed to more current attitudes in a Times story
about vast preparations for a “Rainbow Pilgrimage” then under way. The
article described a new marketing campaign to promote the city “as a
rite of passage for the gay and lesbian traveler” being unveiled by New
York City tourism officials.
Before Stonewall—a clash of protesters and the police after a violent
raid on a Greenwich Village bar in June 1969—the city was a gay
destination, but certainly not one promoted by its officials, nor par-
ticularly welcomed by the wider public. Consider these excerpts from a
front-page article in The New York Times in 1963 under the headline
“Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern.”
The article’s language, from sources and reporter alike, is outdated at
best, derogatory at worst, and many of its assumptions and assertions
are long discredited.41
A series of short quotations from the original 1963 article followed, with
little or no comment, as though any reader in 2009 would recognize the
absurdity of the statements made. By this time, the Times had greatly al-
tered its coverage of gay and lesbian issues. Rarely was it noted, however,
that these radical changes in the paper and in society happened only after
decades of courageous and consistent activism, beginning with challenges to
the nearly unanimous belief at midtwentieth century—enshrined in science
and promoted by the news media—that same-sex sexuality was pathologi-
cal. The silence shrouding Kitty Genovese cannot be disaggregated from
the prominence of this belief.
When the late radical feminist poet Adrienne Rich challenged scholars
to confront the institution of heterosexuality in all of its manifestations, she
39 Rasenberger, “Kitty, 40 Years Later,” 1–3; Zielonko, “Remembering Kitty Genovese.”
40 Gerard, “Symptom of The Times,” 12.
41 “‘Deviates’ and ‘Inverts,’” New York Times, 12 April 2009, WK 3.
The Parable of Kitty Genovese 293
emphasized the erasure of lesbians from history and contemporar y culture:
“The destruction of records and memorabilia and letters documenting
the realities of lesbian existence must be taken very seriously as a means of
keeping heterosexuality compulsory for women, since what has been kept
from our knowledge is joy, sensuality, courage, and community, as well as
guilt, self-betrayal, and pain.” She quoted historian Blanche Wiesen Cook:
“In a hostile world in which women are not supposed to survive except in
relation with and in service to men, entire communities of women were
simply erased. History tends to bury what it seeks to reject.”42 Until 2004
history buried the truths of Kitty Genovese’s life. Her lover’s willingness
to speak openly to reporters was not without personal risk, though the
changes in coverage of lesbians and gay men at the Times and beyond may
have emboldened her to share the secrets she had kept for decades.
The same year that Zielonko revealed her intimate involvement with
Genovese, the New York Times featured numerous stories of campaigns
to gain state and federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Sympathetic
portrayals of gay and lesbian couples openly seeking social acceptance of
their partnerships had begun to make these relationships more palatable
for consumption. In March 2004 a comparison was drawn by the Times to
the historic US Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia: “Calling marriage
one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that
Virginia had to let interracial couples marry. Thirty-seven years from now,
the reasons for opposing gay marriage will no doubt feel just as archaic,
and the right to enter into it will be just as widely accepted.”43 The media’s
transformation of same-sex couples from pathological to normative provided
discursive space and perhaps even sympathy for Mary Ann Zielonko, the
woman whose love for Genovese had been unfit to print for forty years.
“There are two tragedies in the story of Catherine Genovese,” A. M.
Rosenthal wrote in 1964. “One is that her life was taken from her, that
she died in pain and horror at the age of twenty-eight. The other is that in
dying she gave every human being—not just species New Yorker—an op-
portunity to examine some truths about the nature of apathy, and that this
has not been done.”44 I argue that there is a third tragedy: the suppression
of important aspects of Genovese’s life, which included her female lover,
perpetuating a legacy of homophobia that silenced even while reinforcing
the media’s power over representations of what it deems acceptable sexuality.
42 Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” Signs: Journal
of Women in Culture and Society 5, no. 4 (1980): 631–60, at 649n46, quoting Blanche W.
Cook, “‘Women Alone Stir My Imagination’: Lesbianism and the Cultural Tradition,” Signs:
Journal of Women in Culture and Society 4, no. 4 (1979): 719–20.
43 “The Road to Gay Marriage,” Opinion, New York Times, 7 March 2004, http://www
.nytimes.com/2004/03/07/opinion/the-road-to-gay-marriage.html (accessed 23 Septem-
ber 2012). Dozens of articles, opinion pieces, features, and letters appeared in the Times in
2004 on same-sex marriage.
44 Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 67.
294 m arcia m. Gallo
abouT The auThor
marcia m . Gallo is the author of Different Daughters: A History of
the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (Carroll
& Graf, 2006; Seal, 2007) and a forthcoming book on the story of Kitty
Genovese and the thirty-eight witnesses for Cornell University Press. She
is assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
where she teaches US cultural history, public history, historical research,
and writing.
... Catherine (popularly known as "Kitty") Genovese was a 28-year-old woman who was murdered by a 29-year-old serial murderer, Winston Moseley in a knife attack in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York in the early morning of March 13, 1964(Gallo, 2014. This incident received increased media attention but the caption of those media reports caused a lot of damages and panic. ...
... The news reports of this incident by The New York Times and the numerous debates in which gender had consistently featured had caused a lot of damages, including fear among girls and women. Such fear can be found in Gallo's (2014) article where she uses herself as an example of one of those young women who had lived in fear as a result of the misrepresentations of the Genovese incident: ...
... As previously noted, the bystander effect was not the only debate that emerged following the Genovese incident, rather the changing discourses of gender, race, sexuality and pathology in the American society in the mid-1960s (e.g., Gallo, 2014) in addition to alienation, anomie, moral decay, dehumanization resulting from urbanization and existential despair among others (Darley & Latané, 1968). Violence against women and the hesitation to assist a female victim, especially when the woman is viewed as intimate to the man, was stressed (e.g., Cherry, 1995). ...
Article
The murder of Catherine (Kitty) Genovese in New York in 1964 by Winston Moseley has generated numerous academic publications. One of the major focal points in the debates is the role of gender in bystanders' reactions to violent incidents. Analysts drew on experiments that found that men did not intervene in incidents involving a man as a perpetrator and a woman as a victim to explain the lack of intervention in the incident by the so-called 38 bystanders falsely reported by The New York Times in 1964. This current article analyzed three videos containing four different assaults that occurred on the busy streets of Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom to assess whether the gender of the perpetrators and victims affected bystanders' reactions or not. In Incident 1 and Incident 2 involving men as perpetrators with female victims, none of the male and female bystanders physically intervened. In Incident 3 involving a man as a perpetrator and a woman as his victim, both male and female bystanders intervened to save the victim. However, in Incident 4 involving a woman as a perpetrator with a male victim, nobody intervened instead, some of the bystanders laughed at the male victim. The article concludes that while gender seemed to have determined intervention in Incident 3 (saving a female victim from a violent man) and its lack in Incident 4 (leaving a male victim to save himself from a violent woman), other factors could be responsible for lack of intervention in Incident 1 and Incident 2 and these include the duration of the assault, the level of violence applied by the perpetrator and bystanders' perception of their own safety. The implications of the bystanders' reactions were highlighted.
... Although this passive-neighbor narrative has been discredited (Manning, Levine, & Collins, 2007), the Kitty Genovese story has become a powerful legend for urban apathy toward the suffering of others (Rosenthal, 1999). Importantly, this legend treats the victim's sexual identity as an inconsequential element of the Kitty Genovese parable (Gallo, 2014) despite the possibility that "concerns over nonnormative gender and sexual expressions" could have altered the scale of public/media compassion toward the victim (Gallo, 2014, p. 274). We know that people are ordinarily responsive to other's misfortune (Batson, Chang, Orr, & Rowland, 2002), unless the victims have behaved in ways that allow onlookers to excuse the crime against them (Gillmor, Bernstein, & Benfield, 2014). ...
... Such passivity is believed to be caused by a diffusion of responsibility because, in this situation, the actors cannot be singly held accountable for their inaction. The authenticity of the bystander effect is not in doubt: numerous older (e.g., Latané & Darley, 1970;Tice & Baumeister, 1985) and more recent replications attest to its robustness (e.g., Garcia, Weaver, Darley, & Spence, 2009; van Bommel, van Prooijen, Elffers, & van Lange (2014); Voelpel, Eckhoff, & Förster, 2008, 2014. Even the evidence from CCTV footages of 81 real-life violent incidents-involving 764 potential interveners-confirms that increasing numbers of passive bystanders hinder an orientation toward intervention cf. ...
Full-text available
Article
Compassionate feelings for people who are victimised because of their perceived sexual deviance (e.g., gay men) may be incompatible with support for heterosexual norms among heterosexual men. But, passivity (even indifference) towards such victims could raise concern over heterosexual men’s gay-tolerance attitude. Two classic social psychological theories offer competing explanations on when heterosexual men might be passive or compassionate towards gay victims of hate crime. The bystander model proposes passivity towards victims in an emergency situation if other bystanders are similarly passive, but compassionate reactions if bystanders are responsive to the victims. Conversely, the social loafing model proposes compassionate reactions towards victims when bystanders are passive, but passivity when other bystanders are already responsive toward the victims’ predicament. We tested and found supportive evidence for both models across two experiments (Ntotal = 501) in which passivity and compassionate reactions to gay victims of a purported hate crime were recorded after heterosexual men’s concern for social evaluation was either accentuated or relaxed. We found that the bystander explanation was visible only when the potential for social evaluation was strong, while the social loafing account occurred only when the potential for social evaluation was relaxed. Hence, we unite both models by showing that the bystander explanation prevails in situations where cues to social evaluation is strong, whereas the social loafing effect operates when concern over social judgement is somewhat muted.
... 11,panels 5,6,8 and 9. murderer Winstone Moseley drops out of the narrative entirely, as do his later black women victims who never achieved Genovese's fame as the victim who 'could have been anyone' (Cherry, 1995). The newspaper stories of Kitty Genovese's death often pivoted on this idea that she could have been anyone, and that a high number of witnesses had seen her murder but had done nothing (ibid.; Gallo, 2014;Manning, Levine and Collins, 2007). Yet, importantly, for social psychological understandings of the bystander effect, court records suggest that Moseley's murder of Genovese could not have been witnessed by as many people as the Psychology textbooks suggest (ibid.). ...
... Yet, importantly, for social psychological understandings of the bystander effect, court records suggest that Moseley's murder of Genovese could not have been witnessed by as many people as the Psychology textbooks suggest (ibid.). Most central to our concerns is the erasure of Genovese's lesbianism in news accounts, without which she would not have become such an iconic victim (Gallo, 2014). In other words, both Moore and Gibbons's novel and Social Psychology textbooks have long been projecting a heteronormativity onto Genovese's character that has been demanded by the paranoid fantasy of a morally corrupt New York City, which the narratives require. ...
Article
One of the clearest signs that Psychology has impacted popular culture is the public’s familiarity with the Rorschach ink-blot test. An excellent example of the Rorschach in popular culture can be found in Watchmen, the comic/graphic novel written by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1987). In the mid-20th century Psychology had an especially contentious relationship with comics; some psychologists were very anxious about the impact comics had on young people, whereas others wrote comics to subvert dominant norms about gender and sexuality. Yet historians of Psychology have had almost nothing to say about this popular and critically acclaimed novel. We read Watchmen here for its narratives that most concern the history of Psychology. We focus on such themes as anti-psychiatry, sexual violence, homophobia, lesbian erasure and social psychological research on bystander intervention. We argue it is possible to align Psychology and comics more closely despite their sometimes contentious history. In doing so we demonstrate the active role of the public in the history of the Rorschach, and the public engagement of Psychology via comics, and also reveal what is possible when historians consider comics within their histories.
... As of this date, it remains unclear as to how well college institutions account for and address gender and sexual orientation identity whether it be through programmatic initiatives or even just surveys of student behaviors and experiences. Gallo (2014) point out that the Kitty Genovese parable was deliberately framed so as to exclude her "lesbianism." Paradoxically, perhaps, bystander intervention programs, the primary tactic of sexual assault prevention, tend to focus on cis-gendered heterosexual populations. ...
Article
By presenting institution-level variables of 118 universities across 50 states and the District of Columbia, we provide a descriptive overview of the types of programs and sexual assault-related data. Specifically, we examine correlations between policies and practices related to sexual assault prevention and reports of rape. As expected, we found that universities with policies pertaining to affirmative consent, alcohol, and inclusive definitions of assault, combined with practices like mandatory training and transparency with campus climate survey findings, also have higher reports of sexual assault.
Full-text available
Article
This article analyzes how news photographs and textual accounts of the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder and its 38 witnesses formulated the problem of crime in the city as one of failed witnessing in urban conditions. It analyzes the press images of Austin Street in Kew Gardens and a police portrait of the victim as facialized surfaces that journalists and editors used to interpret the failure of witnesses who were said to have watched or heard Winston Moseley’s assaults on Genovese. In years since, the number of witnesses has been called into question, as has the claim that Genovese’s neighbors did not call the police or offer direct assistance. In reviewing a case made famous through the construction of its 38 witnesses, the author shows how crime scene photography and victim portraiture played their part in conjuring the witnesses and their presumed inaction. Through these representations, this famous story of failed witnessing created an urban physiognomy of the Genovese murder whose truths lie not in the veracity of the witnesses themselves but in the ability of news and police photography to spectate the crime scene and murder victim for readers.
Full-text available
Article
This article argues that an iconic event in the history of helping research -- the story of the 38 witnesses who remained inactive during the murder of Kitty Genovese -- is not supported by the available evidence. Using archive material, the authors show that there is no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive. Drawing a distinction between the robust bystander research tradition and the story of the 38 witnesses, the authors explore the consequences of the story for the discipline of psychology. They argue that the story itself plays a key role in psychology textbooks. They also suggest that the story marks a new way of conceptualizing the dangers of immersion in social groups. Finally, they suggest that the story itself has become a modern parable, the telling of which has served to limit the scope of inquiry into emergency helping.
Article
With the publication of the first paperback originals and the founding of the first lesbian civil rights organization in the first half of the 1950s, the lesbian politics of representation emerged as a distinct and articulate political discourse. Ann Aldrich, probably the most widely-read lesbian non-fiction writer of the 1950s, and members of the Daughters of Bilitis, the most visible lesbian organization of the era, engaged in a lively debate that spanned nearly ten years, from 1955 until at least 1963. Emerging from the exchange, which often was quite contentious, were new ideas about how lesbianism should be portrayed to the mainstream American public. But, as this article proposes, from the debates also grew a shared understanding of the complex relationship of media representation to the social processes of identity acquisition and community formation, what is called in this article the politics of communication.
Article
Democratic theorists assume that government policy responds to public opinion. But public opinion may be influenced by other political actors through the mass media instead. Scholars agree that the news media have become more attentive to and supportive of lesbian and gay rights over time, and they identify several factors as explanations for the change. While events, the gay rights movement, official statements, and government action may have had an effect, coverage was contingent on the decisions of news institutions and media owners to devote attention to them. There have been few studies on the media's impact, but decisions to cover the gay rights movement appear to have moved public opinion. Despite setbacks, continued debate over gay rights is likely to generate favorable media attention and lead to increased public support for lesbian and gay rights over time.
Foundations of Sand When Safety Becomes a Duty: Gender, Loneliness, and citizenship for Urban Women
  • Jarrett Christian
: 555–62; christian Jarrett, " Foundations of Sand? " Psychologist 21, no. 9 (2008): 756, http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk (accessed 18 July 2012); Laura Hengehold, " When Safety Becomes a Duty: Gender, Loneliness, and citizenship for Urban Women, " WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 39, no. 1/2 (2011): 48–69. 9 rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 13–14.
Basic Books, 1962). 29 " report round-Up, Part Two Homosexual Women Hear Psychologists The changing View of Homosexuality Homosexual Literature The Vote That 'cured' Millions Psychiatrists, in a Shift, Declare Homosexuality No Mental Illness
  • Nichols Ibid
  • Wicker
Ibid. See also Jack Nichols, " randolfe Wicker, " in Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, ed. Vern L. Bullough (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park/Haworth, 2002), 273–81; Irving Bieber, Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals (New York: Basic Books, 1962). 29 " report round-Up, Part Two, " Ladder 8, no. 11 (1964): 11–21; " Homosexual Women Hear Psychologists, " New York Times, 21 June 1964, 54. 37 " The changing View of Homosexuality, " New York Times, 28 February 1971; Martin Duberman, " Homosexual Literature, " New York Times, 10 December 1972, 7. 38 Barbara Gittings, " The Vote That 'cured' Millions, " Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 14, no. 4 (2007): 17–18; richard D. Lyons, " Psychiatrists, in a Shift, Declare Homosexuality No Mental Illness, " New York Times, 16 December 1973, 1. See also charles Kaiser, " When the New York Times came Out of the closet, " New York Review of Books, 25
Other Side of Non-involvement We Must care, " arlene Teichberg, Letters to the Times Look closely
  • Matt Weinstock
Matt Weinstock, " Other Side of Non-involvement, " Los Angeles Times, 9 august 1964, 17; " We Must care, " arlene Teichberg, Letters to the Times, New York Times, 16 May 1964, SM 22; " Look closely, " New York Amsterdam News, 18 July 1964, 20. 12 rosenthal, " Study of the Sickness, " 71–74; rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses, 16.