Milk’s letters making big news

CHICAGO – Two revealing letters from gay rights advocate Harvey Milk, set to cross the block July 28 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, are breaking news across the nation.

Among the news outlets covering the upcoming auction include MSNBC, Chicago NOW, Windy City Times and the San Francisco Citizen. The letters show Milk suspected he was about to be discharged from the U.S. Navy for being gay. Milk became the first openly gay man to hold public office in the state of California. He was assasinated in 1978. Sean Penn won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Actor for portraying Milk in the self-titled movie.

The letters were sent in the mid-1950s to Milk’s friend Patrick Mormon. Milk joined the Navy during the Korean War and served aboard the submarine rescue ship WSS Kittiwake as a diving officer. in 1955, he was discharged for undisclosed reasons.

The first of two letters sheds light on the history of his discharge and the ethics of outing homosexuals in the 1950s for young gay men in the Navy. The second letter discussed Milk’s intentions to be “marry” an unnamed lover.

The letters are estimated to bring between $2,000 to $4,000 during Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ Fine Books and Manuscripts auction, 1338 W Lake St.

The letters will be on display July 26-27. A catalog is available at