Leonard “Len” Keith and Joseph “Cub” Coates were a queer couple living in the rural village of Havelock, New Brunswick during the early 20th century. While keeping their sexual identities closeted, they captured their decades-long relationship via photographs. This remarkable material is as important socially and historically as it is unique in the photographic canon of eastern Canada. The collection of photographs and the historic narrative is a rare opportunity to visually explore our province’s considerably hidden LGBTQ+ past. The images also underscore the era’s stylistic and technical change from formal studio portraiture to more candid, animated, and “real” photos, as personal portable cameras were becoming more readily available during the early 20th century.
Curated by Dusty Green and Meredith J Batt, and organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the NB Queer Heritage Initiative.