The publication in 2005 of a book of found photographs focused attention on a rural cross-dressers' resort in New York's Catskill Mountains named “Casa Susanna.” At the time of publication, the editors knew very little about the people in the photographs, and no one was identified. Interest in these anonymous trans* women intensified when playwright Harvey Fierstein's play, Casa Valentina, based on Casa Susanna, opened on Broadway nine years later. This article discusses how magazines, photographs, newsletters, private correspondence, and personal ads in private and institutional trans* archives can be used to identify these trans* women and other members of the early MtF cross-dressing community. It proposes a research methodology that uses aliases and identification codes, originally intended for protection and anonymity, to connect archival holdings to individuals, deepening our understanding of the lived experience of early community members.

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