Cecil Smith and Paul Goodman

At least two male University of Chicago instructors were dismissed in the 1930s and 1940s after allegations of homosexuality. Although the University was initially reluctant to police the instructors' behavior, it moved decisively when that behavior seemed likely to create bad publicity.

Cecil Smith, an instructor in the Music department, pictured here in the Glee Club, was arrested in December 1944 for "making advances" on a sailor in a theater on Clark Street. Although the University helped Smith hire a defense attorney, it also launched an extensive investigation into his past. Smith was ultimately forced to resign in the spring of 1946 after being arrested when a policeman "saw him in conversation with a friend in a small space enclosed by high bushes near the Art Institute." University President Ernest C. Colwell wrote: "it is our judgment that we simply cannot support on our faculty any member who provides publicity of this sort to the degree that Mr. Smith has done."

Paul Goodman is not documented in this case, but he was openly bisexual when he came to campus in 1936 as a graduate student and instructor in the English department. Although married, he was also known to go cruising in Jackson Park and to have open affairs with male students. Richard P. McKeon, Dean of the Division of the Humanities, told Goodman in 1939 that he would have to resign if he could not keep his sex life off campus. Goodman chose resignation, writing in 1973 that he had been fired "because of my queer behavior or my claim to the right to it."

Cecil Smith in Glee Club

 Photograph, 1926
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf4-01636

Cecil Smith is third from the left in this photograph.

Letter From McKeon to Hutchins
Typewritten letter, January 23, 1945

Office of the President, Hutchins Administration Records