Letters to Charles Allyn Weeks, 1963 - 1964
The Weeks collection is divided into two files: letters and photographs.
In the eleven letters (written 1963-1964) addressed to his lover Charles Allyn Weeks of Berlin, New Jersey, the young Dutchman enumerates his frustrations with his university coursework and the gay bar scene in Amsterdam. He also reflects on current events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He describes his struggle with anxiety and its somatic manifestations, which lead him to seek help from a doctor. His letters demonstrate an unwavering affection for Weeks, and his letters contain advice regarding the discipline of their poodle, Parké, and discuss what would serve as an appropriate birthday gift for Weeks. Notably, the stamps have been removed from the envelopes that originally contained the letters. This collection by no means contains all of the letters received by Weeks and there lies a gap in the continuity of the letters between December and February. The letters sent from Weeks are not included.
There are fifteen black and white photographs (3 1/2 in. x 5 1/2 in.), of which two pairs are duplicates. They were taken by the professional photographer Ben van Eck in Vondelpark, a popular park and known gay cruising spot in Amsterdam, not far from the couple's residences. The photographs depict the couple sitting on benches, relaxing by Bridge 450, and walking with their toy poodle, Parké.
November 5, 1963
In a response to Weeks’ letter from November 1st, the young Dutchman asks if Weeks would like to receive a ring as a birthday present. He further discusses his surprise regarding the uncharacteristically naughty behavior of their poodle, Parké.
November 8, 1963
The Dutchman gives advice regarding the discipline of the couple’s poodle, which snapped at Weeks' mother.
November 10, 1963
The Dutchman describes the boredom of gay bars in Amsterdam. He writes about his daily schedule, bad weather, interpersonal troubles, and his frustration with unwelcome sexual advances.
November 16, 1963
The Dutchman describes buying a winter coat from his brother after having a fight with his girlfriend, who said it was ugly. He is pleased that Weeks liked his birthday present and that Parké the poodle is improving in terms of his behavior. He opened a letter addressed to Weeks from a colleague who uses “lousy” language.
November 18, 1963
The Dutchman describes accepting a drink from a man in a bar but rebuffing his advances. He also describes getting into a heated argument with his father over a lost umbrella.
November 23, 1963
The Dutchman reacts to the assassination of John F. Kennedy with shock and dismay, even though he insists he never saw the former president in a favorable light.
November 25, 1963
The Dutchman describes everyday life—his work schedule, his English coursework, and his favorite food, macaroni. He passes by a large portrait of the recently deceased John F. Kennedy outside the building where the U.S. Food and Agriculture Exhibition had just taken place.
November 28, 1963
The Dutchman is afflicted with welts that appear on his skin whenever he is nervous—likely a case of anxiety-related hives. His co-workers are afraid that he is contagious, and when he sees a medical professional for the condition he is immediately prescribed sedating anti-anxiety drugs. The medication makes him feel “dull” and sleepy, causing additional problems at work. At the end of the letter, he admits having taken a pill just as he began writing, and then signs off.
November 29, 1963
The Dutchman describes the bureaucratic difficulties involved in sending the ring in the mail, and offers Weeks an alibi (that a friend returned his lost wedding band) in case the package is inspected by postal workers. The ring is to serve as a reminder that a part of him will always be with Weeks, and that his heart is in Weeks' possession.
December 3, 1963
While the anxiety-related hives remain, the Dutchman has ceased taking his medication because it is too strong.
February 10, 1964
The Dutchman responds to Week’s February 4th letter, assuring Weeks that he is not sleeping with anyone in the “gay crowd,” as he is dissatisfied with that community anyway. He describes buying a number of records on sale.
- 1963 - 1964
Conditions Governing Access
From the Collection: .08 Linear Feet (2 folders)