Len & Cub
Published: April 5, 2022
Non-Fiction / History & Philosophy / Queer Lit
Paperback: 9781773102641 $24.95
Leonard "Len" Keith and Joseph "Cub" Coates grew up in the rural New Brunswick village of Havelock in the early 20th century. The two were neighbours, and they clearly developed an inseparable relationship. Len was an amateur photographer and automobile enthusiast who went on to own a local garage and poolhall after serving in the First World War. Cub was the son of a farmer, also a veteran of the First World War, a butcher, contractor, and lover of horses. Their time together is catalogued by Len’s photos, which show that the two shared a mutual love of the outdoors, animals, and adventure. Photographs of Len and Cub on hunting and canoe trips with arms around each other’s shoulders or in bed together make clear the affection they held for each other. Their story is one of the oldest photographic records of a same-sex couple in the Maritimes.
Dusty Green (he/they) grew up in northwest New Brunswick and holds degrees from St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Green has previously worked at the New Brunswick Provincial Archives and Fredericton Region Museum. He is currently manager of communications and marketing at the New Brunswick Lung Association. While working at the Provincial Archives, Green came across the photos of Len and Cub and created a photo book that would be the precursor of Len & Cub: A Queer History.
Green founded the Queer Heritage Initiative of New Brunswick (QHINB) in 2016, with Batt joining in 2018 and currently serving as president. QHINB is an archival and educational initiative that aims to collect and preserve archival records of 2SLGBTQ+ history in the province. Since then, they have conducted oral history interviews and worked with numerous 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and organizations to ensure that New Brunswick’s queer history has a permanent home in the Provincial Archives.
“An archive to treasure. This story of love and companionship pulls us across time and reminds us of the queer possibilities that have long blossomed in New Brunswick and beyond.” — Craig Jennex, co-author of Out North
“The photos alone make this book a must-have for those interested in uncovering the queer histories of rural New Brunswick. The affectionate photos of Len and Cub together convey the essence of a relationship never recognized during their lifetimes. An important contribution to Canadian queer historiography.” — Ed Jackson, co-editor of Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer
“The unapologetic gaze of Len Keith and Cub Coates endures in these amazing photographs, regardless of how we interpret their lives today.” — Literary Review of Canada
“How these men were treated and how their love was seen cannot be explained by it being a different time (though it remains profound and beautiful and unambiguous how deep lies the affection), but by the profound mystery of why ignorance and hate flourish, and how, somehow, healthy adult love can have a hierarchy or a class system.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“This is powerful, and instructive, for queer people who seek to be responsive to the suffering of those who may not be marginalised by virtue of their sexual orientation or gender identity but on account of their race, caste, or disability or diagnosis.” — News Nine
“This is a remarkable book and a work of public-facing scholarship in the purest sense. It takes something from behind closed doors and shares it with the world to change how we understand those that came before us and our own relationship with the past.” — Broken Pencil