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Frederick Gerald Haxton (1892 – November 7, 1944), a native of San Francisco, was the long term secretary and lover of novelist and playwright W. Somerset Maugham.

He and Maugham met at the outbreak of World War I when they both began serving as part of a Red Cross ambulance unit in French Flanders.

Maugham, and to a lesser extent Haxton, had been affected by the trial of Oscar Wilde. Common to men who were either homosexual or in the case of Maugham who had sexual relationships with both men and women, (Maugham had had an affair with the actress Sue Jones before meeting Haxton and later had a child with Syrie Wellcome whom he married) neither spoke of their situation for fear of recrimination.

However in November 1915 Haxton and another man, John Lindsell, were arrested in a Covent Garden hotel and charged with gross indecency. Military policemen, whilst looking for deserters, had burst into the hotel room of Haxton and Lindsell to find them committing a homosexual act that was not buggery. On December 7 that same year both men were indicted under the same law that had been used to prosecute Oscar Wilde. However, unlike Wilde, when the two men appeared in the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey on December 10 they were both acquitted.

In 1914, W. Somerset Maugham met Gerald Haxton, a young American who would be his companion until his death in 1944, and in 1926, Maugham bought Villa Mauresque, at St. Jaen, Cap Ferrat, on the French Ri viera, where he would live, when not traveling, for most of the rest of his life. Haxton died in a private room in the Doctors Hospital, New York. Maugham later placed this dedication in his 1949 compilation, A Writer's Notebook: In Loving Memory of My Friend Frederick Gerald Haxton, 1892 -1944.

Haxton left the country shortly thereafter, and on attempting to in February 1919 he was deported from Britain as an undesirable alien and was never allowed to enter the country again. The papers providing reason or reasons for this deportation were placed in a special access category for 100 years and are still closed from the public view.

Because Maugham and Haxton traveled abroad during most of World War I and chose to live on the French Riviera in the villa "Mauresque", they were able to carry on their relationship despite Haxton's deportation. They lived at Mauresque almost exclusively until they were forced to flee the advancing Germans at the commencement of World War II.

It is thought that Haxton’s flamboyant nature, said to be portrayed in the character Rowley Flint in Up at the Villa, was the key to Maugham’s invitational success with the members of society wherever the pair traveled.

Haxton continued as Maugham's constant companion for 30 years. In May 1944 he was admitted to Doctor's Hospital, New York, with tubercolosis and Addison's disease; in August, the U.S. Seventh Army occupies the Villa Mauresque; Gerald Haxton dies on 7 November. Maugham later placed the following dedication in his 1949 compilation, A Writer’s Notebook: "In Loving Memory of My Friend Frederick Gerald Haxton, 1892–1944".


Frightened by the Oscar Wilde trial, Somerset Maugham (January 25, 1874 – December 16, 1965) avoided treating homosexual themes and characters in his novels and plays.

Maugham was an extremely productive writer who both mastered and gained popular success with novels, short stories, and plays. In 1908, he had four plays running simultaneously on the London stage; before he died, his novel Of Human Bondage (1915) had sold over ten million copies; and from Orientations (1899) to Creatures of Circumstances (1947), he was regarded as a master of the well-made short story, especially for stories such as "Rain" and "The Colonel's Lady."

Nevertheless, when assessing his long career, Maugham declared that he was "in the very first row of the second-rate."

Maugham was born in Paris, the son of the solicitor and legal adviser to the British embassy. Orphaned by the age of ten, he was sent to Whitstable, Kent, to be cared for by his uncle. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, which later received his books, some manuscripts, an endowment, and his ashes; at Heidelberg University, where he did not take a degree; and St. Thomas's Hospital, London.

Staged group shot featuring Somerset Maugham and Gerald Haxton probably c. 1920. Maugham & Haxton arrived in Hollywood towards the end of 1920, but Maugham did not find the set-up or the remuneration satisfactory. He continued on a few occasions to write for the screen but never felt he mastered the technique, although his own works have been filmed more than any other author writing in English. Eventually Maugham declared he would not right for the pictures again, though a disastrous attempt was made for David O.Selznick Productions in 1944, The Hour Before the Dawn, cementing the author's opinion that it was not the medium for him. Photographs of Gerald Haxton are uncommon.

W. Somerset Maugham by George Platt Lynes

by George Platt Lynes

by George Platt Lynes

by George Platt Lynes

In 1897, he received his medical MRCS and LRCP, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), a realistic depiction of conditions in the London slums and the inadequacy of medical attention, turned him from medicine to literature.

Except for Liza, Maugham's early novels are largely forgotten. He began writing for the stage in 1903 and achieved considerable success with his light comedy, Lady Frederic (1907). He continued his stage success with Our Betters (1917), The Circle (1921), and For Services Rendered (1932). In 1933, he retired from the theater, largely because the topics he wished to treat were not welcomed by theater managers and sponsors.

In 1915, he fathered a daughter, and in 1916, he married her mother, Syrie Wellcome. He and his wife were frequently apart, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1927.

During this period, Maugham achieved success as a novelist. Of Human Bondage (1915) fictionalized his own early years in the life of Philip Carey, and The Moon and Sixpence (1919) used the life of Gauguin as the basis for the story of Charles Strickland, a stockbroker who goes to Tahiti to paint and to escape conventional norms of society.

Cakes and Ale (1930), famous for its fictionalization of Thomas Hardy, and The Razor's Edge (1945), which turns to the asceticism and mysticism of India in tracing its protagonist's search for self-perfection, are his best-known later works. Ashenden (1928) grew out of his service as an intelligence agent in World War I.

In 1914, Maugham met Gerald Haxton, a young American who would be his companion until his death in 1944, and in 1926, Maugham bought Villa Mauresque, at St. Jaen, Cap Ferrat, on the French Riviera, where he would live, when not traveling, for most of the rest of his life. Haxton died in a private room in the Doctors Hospital, New York. Maugham later placed the following dedication in his 1949 compilation, A Writer’s Notebook: In Loving Memory of My Friend Frederick Gerald Haxton, 1892 -1944.

In 1940, Maugham fled France on a coal boat and lived out the war in America. In 1946, with a generosity surprising those who had experienced his caustic wit, Maugham founded the Somerset Maugham Award, which enabled young writers to travel.

Maugham carefully avoided treating homosexual themes and depicting homosexual characters in his works, possibly because, as the American novelist, Glenway Wescott, pointed out, "Willie's generation lived in mortal terror of the Oscar Wilde trial."

Citation Information
Author: Higdon, David Leon
Entry Title: Maugham, William Somerset
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated July 12, 2005
Web Address
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date December 16, 2012
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates

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Date: 2012-12-16 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've always wondered, what is the correct pronunciation of his last name, Maugham?

Date: 2012-12-16 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
if you go to the Wikipedia entry ( they have a pronaunciation.

Date: 2012-12-16 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Duh, don't know why I didn't think of that first off! Too lazy in my brain, I guess. Thanks, I figured that was how it was pronounced, but sometimes names can trip me up.


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