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Charles Allyn Weeks letters and photographs

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-Coll-49

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.

Dates

  • 1963-1964, undated

Conditions Governing Access

Because one of the subjects of this collection is still living and has not consented to its public access, this collection is restricted. Researchers with a serious interest in working with these materials may apply for access, and an accommodation that preserves the subject's privacy may be worked out.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may exist. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

Extent

.08 Linear Feet (2 folders)

Overview

While abroad for work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in the early 1960s, American Charles Allyn Weeks began a romantic relationship with a Dutch university student several years his junior. The Weeks collection is comprised of 11 letters sent from the Dutchman in Amsterdam to Weeks in Philadelphia, plus 15 black and white photographs of the pair with their poodle Parké taken in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Allyn Weeks (1925-2007), who went by “Allyn” or “All”, was a seaman and civil engineer. He was born in Camden, New Jersey to Linwood Victor Weeks and Marion A. Sharp Weeks, and raised in Berlin, New Jersey. His older brother Linwood V. Weeks (1920-1946) died in a plane crash during World War II. Charles Allyn Weeks entered the U.S. Navy on September 16, 1943 and served aboard the minesweeper U.S.S. Skirmish. He participated in the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and in the foreign service for one year. He was ultimately discharged on November 5, 1945 at Lido Beach, New York. He lived at 1104 Cresswood Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before moving to Burlington, New Jersey, where he died.

While abroad for work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in the early 1960s, he began a romantic relationship with a Dutch university student several years his junior. Weeks lived at Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 49 in Amsterdam.

The Dutch university student lived at Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 120 in Amsterdam. He maintained an office job during the day, and took courses in English, among other subjects, in the evenings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Jack Wilkinson, 2015.
Title
Charles Allyn Weeks letters and photographs, 1963-1964, undated
Status
completed
Author
Jun Rendich
Date
June 20, 2017
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center Repository

Contact:
1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia PA 19107
215-732-2220