Honors College Theses

Publication Date



History (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Haberland


For the purpose of this thesis, I examine the violence inflicted upon Perry Norman and the factors that led to his tragic death by lynching in 1915. My research includes an assessment of nationwide components that contributed to the perception of Queer individuals and the violence inflicted upon Queer people during this time period in the United States. In addition, the thesis will interrogate the public’s perception on a more local scale by examining the reaction of Dent County, Missouri in the wake of Perry Norman's murder through careful research of available local records of the time. It is a murder that provides insight into the unfortunate fate of many rural Queer Americans who found no comfort from the harsh reality of Queer existence in the early 1900s. Previous scholarship focuses on the rise in ease of access to Queer existence during the 1940’s and moves forward in time to the gay liberation movements of the late 1960s. This study considers the history of Queer individuals in early twentieth century America. My research focuses particularly on the violence experienced by Queer individuals who lived in rural areas and who often were confined by and suffered under the ideologies of religious communities. My thesis will contextualize this violence in conjunction with larger national perceptions of Queer individuals, as well as more local ideologies.