HICK: A Love Story
Written by Terry Baum and Pat Bond
Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR’s wife, wrote 2336 letters to Lorena Hickok. Their correspondence began in 1933 when they fell in love and only ended with ER’s death in 1962. Hick was a famous journalist when she met ER. But as time went on, she abandoned her career in journalism and even subordinated her own happiness to this relationship. Meanwhile, Eleanor, radical and outspoken, evolved from being First Lady of the U.S. to First Lady of the World.
This story was uncovered in 1978, when biographer Doris Faber opened 18 boxes willed to the FDR Library by Lorena Hickok. These letters make clear that Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok had had a passionate lesbian relationship. Pat Bond, the late pioneer lesbian performer and storyteller, was moved to create a solo play based on Faber’s biography, LORENA HICKOK AND ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, A LOVE STORY. Pat had been in love with Eleanor Roosevelt since she was seven years old.
In 2011, the Crackpot Crones’ performance in the National Queer Arts Festival was also a benefit for the Pat Bond Memorial Old Dyke Award (which Terry founded). In keeping with the theme, Carolyn created a short excerpt from Pat Bond’s play, and Terry played Hick. The audience loved the scene, and Terry felt deeply drawn to Hick and her story. She wanted to write her own play, to bring out different aspects of this very important love relationship. Both Crackpot Crones feel strongly that this is an important part of lesbian history that is too little known, so we decided to produce this new play, which includes excerpts from Pat Bond’s play. The Crackpot Crones are thrilled to bring Hick to life as she struggles to love and support the greatest American woman of the 20th century.
In developing HICK, Terry researched Lorena Hickok’s papers at the FDR Library and talked to people who knew her. Baum uses ER’s letters and Hick’s own writing to recreate Hick’s life. This is a powerful part of our lesbian history – an astonishing and unexpected love story that we all should know.