Women's barracks

Women's Barracks front cover. A blonde, seemingly sitting down, is shown, from the top of her back upwards, at a three-quarter angle and in profile, showing her right shoulder and part of her right arm and the top of her back. Her hair is tied up with a hair clip at the top of her head and flows down to her nape. A strap of her brassiere is visible over her right shoulder. Her head, turned to her right, partially faces the reader. Her eyes are looking down toward her right. What seems to be a khaki military garment is partially shown, wrinkled, behind her back. Behind the blonde, to the left of the image, stands a brunette in profile, also at a three-quarter angle towards the back of the image, facing left. She has on a khaki military shirt that partially hangs, disclosing her shoulders and the top of her back, and exposing the strap of her brassiere on her left side. She seems to be wearing a khaki skirt. Her hair is up and she holds a cigarette in her left hand, which she stares at. The scene is lit from the top left.
Women's Barracks back cover. WOMEN'S BARRACKS  is a young French girl’s revelations of women living in unnatural intimacy, wearing the uniforms of soldiers, yet unable to suppress the needs of their flesh. For some it was a form of hell. For others a school of strange experience. And for a few a kind of paradise. Here is the story of Ann and Ursula, Claude and Jacqueline, Mickey and Petit, and all the others who wove their tangled web of love, hatred and desire TOLD WITH THE UNCOMPROMISING HONESTY THAT HAS MADE THIS SENSATIONAL BOOK A WORLD-WIDE BESTSELLER!

Title

Women's barracks

Date

Date Copyrighted

Description

Women's Barracks by Tereska Torrės is credited as the first of the mid-century pulp paperbacks to feature a lesbian-themed cover and contain passages describing physical intimacy between two women.

Author Gender / Sexual Orientation

Publisher Type

Physical Dimensions

158 pages
18 cm

Female Protagonists Meet or Introduced to the Reader

Meeting Notes

Ursula and Claude meet in the army barracks

This Book is Discussed in

Adams, Mary Louise. "Margin Notes: Reading Lesbianism as Obscenity in a Cold War Courtroom." Love, Hate, and Fear in Canada's Cold War edited by Richard Cavell, University of Toronto Press, 2004. pp. 135-158.

Schultz, Gretchen. Sapphic Fathers: Discourses of Same-Sex Desire from Nineteenth-Century France. University of Toronto Press, 2014.

More information about contested books

Contested in the U.S.A and Canada by the National Organization for Decent Literature.
The subject of obscenity trials (U.S. or Canada)
The Censorship Board of Ireland lists Women's Barracks twice. The book with the author's name as Torres was prohibited from 15 May 1953, and the same title with the author's name as Torrés was prohibited from 2 February 1960.
In 1952, an Ottawa (Canada) distributor was convicted and charged with distributing obscene literature to newsstands. The Woman’s Barracks was entered as evidence with the passages dealing with lesbians marked for the court’s attention.

Judge McDougall’s comments were:
“This book, which is fiction, purports to deal with the life of a number of French women who enlisted in a French women's army organization during the period of the late war and the action is laid largely in the city of London. It deals almost entirely with the question of sex relationships and also with the question of lesbianism.
A great deal of the language, and particularly the description of two incidents of unnatural relationships between women, is exceedingly frank. The argument advanced before me was that publicity should be given to the question of lesbianism in order that it might act as a deterrent influence, and in this respect would be a matter for public good.
The dissemination of such information is no doubt a matter that should receive proper attention from a medical and psychological standpoint, but the manner in which the material is presented in this book does not comply with those standards in any manner.
In my opinion this book could have no other effect than to deprave and corrupt. I find the accused guilty as charged.” 

Judge McDougall’s comments were cited in the U.S. Report of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials. The Committee spent considerable time discussing the impact of paperbacks on American youth.

For more information about the case see: 
  • Adams, Mary Louise. “Youth, Corruptibility, and English-Canadian Postwar Campaigns against Indecency, 1948-1955.” Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 6, no. 1, 1995, pp. 89–117.
  • "Books, Magazines Obscene, Filthy; Company Fined." The Globe and Mail, Nov 24 1952, p. 3. ProQuest.
  • "Snicker Market" The Globe and Mail, Oct 17 1952, p. 15. ProQuest.

Cover, Back Text

WOMEN'S BARRACKS is a young French girl’s revelations of women living in unnatural intimacy, wearing the uniforms of soldiers, yet unable to suppress the needs of their flesh. For some it was a form of hell. For others a school of strange experience. And for a few a kind of paradise. Here is the story of Ann and Ursula, Claude and Jacqueline, Mickey and Petit, and all the others who wove their tangled web of love, hatred and desire TOLD WITH THE UNCOMPROMISING HONESTY THAT HAS MADE THIS SENSATIONAL BOOK A WORLD-WIDE BESTSELLER!

Cover Art Description

A blonde, seemingly sitting down, is shown, from the top of her back upwards, at a three-quarter angle and in profile, showing her right shoulder and part of her right arm and the top of her back. Her hair is tied up with a hair clip at the top of her head and flows down to her nape. A strap of her brassiere is visible over her right shoulder. Her head, turned to her right, partially faces the reader. Her eyes are looking down toward her right. What seems to be a khaki military garment is partially shown, wrinkled, behind her back. Behind the blonde, to the left of the image, stands a brunette in profile, also at a three-quarter angle towards the back of the image, facing left. She has on a khaki military shirt that partially hangs, disclosing her shoulders and the top of her back, and exposing the strap of her brassiere on her left side. She seems to be wearing a khaki skirt. Her hair is up and she holds a cigarette in her left hand, which she stares at. The scene is lit from the top left.

Cover Art People

Cover Art Hair Colour

Cover Art Clothing and Fashion

Cover Art Background Colour

Cover Art Setting

Cover Art Light/Shadow

Cover Art Gaze

Cover Art Title

Item Relations

Item: Dell Paperbacks Publisher This Item
Item: Torrès, Tereska Creator This Item

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Citation

Torrès, Tereska, “Women's barracks,” The Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection @ Mount Saint Vincent University, accessed December 1, 2022, https://msvulpf.omeka.net/items/show/723.