Angus Trumble’s 1950 In Retrospect


"The first gay liberation organization, known somewhat enigmatically as The Mattachine Foundation, was established in Los Angeles. The tenth Duke of Devonshire, 55, died suddenly at Eastbourne. Wisely, Shirley Temple announced her retirement from show business. T. S. Eliot said he objected to television...."

For this issue, our regular contributor delves headlong into 1950, chronicling the firsts of the era (credit cards, Peanuts, antihistamines) and what appeared to be the end of times (Truman’s decision to develop the H-Bomb, the first rumblings of McCarthyism).

Angus Trumble (1964–2022) was the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. He was also a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, as well as a curator at the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Trumble wrote several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004) and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010). In 2015, he was named a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022, he was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater, Trinity College, Melbourne.