With Gay American History, Jonathan Ned Katz published the first book of documents relating to homosexuality in American history. This fascinating and compendious source ranges from the sixteenth century up to present times; its texts include everything from denunciations of sodomy in colonial America to modern protests against homosexual persecution. By demonstrating the important presence of same-sex desires, friendships, and sexual practices throughout Western history, this book was crucial in opening up new fields for investigation.
I would love to be able to see this document myself and analyze it's content; however, this picture of the "Phallus impudicus" drawing is not clear enough to tell much about it. This same drawing does appear in Thoreau's Garden by H. Peter Loewer. In this volume, we can learn more about ferns and berries, goldenrods and grasses. More relevant to this post, readers can even get a glimpse of the "disgusting ... yet very suggestive" fungus (Phallus impudicus) that Thoreau railed about in October 1856, pondering "Pray, what was Nature thinking of when she made this? She almost puts herself on a level with those who draw in privies." Loewer used as his reference the index in the Dover two-volume reprint of Thoreau's Journals, which is somewhat incomplete.
The question I pose is this: Is Thoreau chronicling the plants in his garden, or is he presenting a critique of Whitman's Leaves of Grass? It is a question I would love to ponder further along with the relevant documents.