Remembering Miss Gina
April 2, 2021: John "Gene" E. Dawson was well-known to many St. Louisans as “Miss Gina.” He passed in 2020, having just published his autobiography – Farm Boy, City Girl: From Gene to Miss Gina.
His book details life growing up in Depression-era Iowa in a poor farming Irish-Catholic family and his adult years spent living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and St. Louis. He offers a rare glimpse into the Mid-20th Century history of both rural Iowa and of LGBTQIA+ individuals in Middle America-told by one who was there.
Gene was interviewed for the article, "L.G.B.T.Q. in the Midwest, Where the Fight Is Still Happening," which was in The New York Times in May 2019. As well, an excerpt from Gene's book was included in Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America, which was published in January 2021.
The St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community is fortunate to have Gene's memoirs that document his journey and experiences. So often life stories are lost or incomplete.
Gene’s book has received several important honors including:
-Finalist, First Non-Fiction, Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards, 2020
-Runner Up, Nonfiction-Memoir, PenCraft Awards, 2020
-Honorable Mention, LGBT, Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, 2020
-Finalist, LGBTQ: Non-Fiction, American Book Fest Best Book Awards, 2020
-Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Best LGBT Memoir, National Association of Book Entrepreneurs, Summer 2020
Gene’s autobiography is available through Left Bank Books in St. Louis.
Brawley Elected to State Historical Society of Missouri Trustees
November 7, 2020: Steven Louis Brawley has been elected to a three-year term for the State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) Board of Trustees.
Steven is a public historian noted for his research related to LGBTQIA+ and pop culture topics. He is the founder of the St. Louis LGBT History Project and executive vice president of Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS).
A resident of Kirkwood, Missouri, he has 30 years of strategic not-for-profit management experience with a focus on fundraising and marketing. Steven is the author of Gay and Lesbian St. Louis, a frequent lecturer at educational institutions, and a member of the Organization of American Historians. In St. Louis, he serves as community chair of the Missouri History Museum's LGBTQ Collections and Exhibitions Committee.
SHSMO will also serve as the repository for Steven's papers documenting his personal interests and professional career.
Steven is the former board chair of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Alumni Association and the Crime Victim Center of St. Louis. A sixth-generation Missourian, he has a BA from University of Missouri-St. Louis and a MA from Saint Louis University.
Founded in 1898, SHSMO is the premier center for the study of Missouri history and culture with research centers in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, St. Louis, and Springfield Missouri.