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Lesbian Author Marker First for Ohio

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A new historical marker honoring lesbian author and literary patron Natalie Barney in Dayton is the first in Ohio to note a person's sexual orientation.

Barney, a wealthy Dayton native who hosted a literary salon in the Left Bank of Paris for most of her life, was honored in a ceremony on Sunday near the downtown library, according to the Dayton Daily News.

"The marker was unveiled Sunday, Oct. 25, in a ceremony at Cooper Park attended by city commissioners, Ohio Historical Society officials and members of state and Dayton area gay rights organizations, which led the effort to recognize Barney for both her place in history and her pioneering openness about her sexuality," reported the Dayton Daily News.

"Of Ohio's 1,250 historical markers, it's the first to indicate a person's sexual orientation."

Barney frequently hosted the likes of Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald in her Paris salon. She published her first book of lesbian love poems, Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes, in 1900. Her father, who disapproved, purchased all the copies and destroyed them.

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