Tuesday, September 1, 1998

CITY PAGES
Person: Lisa Vecoli
In a litter-strewn hallway just outside a St. Paul specialty bookstore, Lisa Vecoli confronts a friend. "I'm going to be pissed if I find out you're buying out from under me," she says, only half joking.

With an alphabetized list and a checkbook at the ready, the long-haired, pickup-driving bibliophile is prepared to make sacrifices in pursuit of her passion: Lesbian pulp fiction of the '50s and '60s.

Like other pulp novels of the post-World War II era, those with gay content featured titles and cover art designed to woo readers on the spot. Women's Barracks, published in 1950 as an allegedly "frank autobiography of a French girl soldier," is credited with being the first lesbian paperback original. It drew criticism from the 1952 U.S. House Subcommittee on Pornographic Materials, and caught Vecoli's eye at a suburban bookstore in 1992.

"This looks like it could have lesbians in it," Vecoli remembers thinking.

Read more here.