LEX Copyright Iroda / LEX Copyright Office

by William Klaber


The riveting true story of Lucy Lobdell, who, in 1855, left her home and family, cut her hair, changed clothes, and went off to live her life as a man. By the time it was over, she was notorious.

At a time when women did not commonly travel unescorted, carry a rifle, sit down in bars, or have romantic liaisons with other women, Lucy Lobdell boldly set forth to earn men’s wages. Lucy Lobdell did all of these things in a personal quest to work and be paid, to wear what she wanted, and love whomever she cared to. But to gain those freedoms she had to endure public scorn and wrestle with a sexual identity whose vocabulary had yet to be invented. In this riveting historical novel, William Klaber captures the life of a brave woman who saw well beyond her era.

This is the fictionalized account of Lucy’s foray into the world of men and her inward journey to a new sexual identity. It is her promised memoir as heard and recorded a century later by William Klaber, an upstream neighbor. Meticulously researched and told with compassion and respect, this is historical fiction at its best.

Originally self-published in 2013, the author sold approximately 16,000 copies in print and e-book of THE REBELLION OF MISS LUCY ANN LOBDELL and garnered fantastic reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, all speaking to the fact that the book is not only a beautifully rendered read, but also a terrifically well-researched piece of historical fiction.

The book has an interesting backstory, as well. The author became interested in this story when he moved into a farmhouse where Lucy Lobdell once lived and learned of her legend from a local historian. From there, he excavated primary source documents that he used to reconstruct Lucy's life.

We have recently heard that the book will be included in ELLE Magazine’s Readers Prize Picks in their March issue.

WILLIAM KLABER is a part-time journalist. He lives in upstate New York on a hill overlooking Basket Creek, a short way upstream from where Lucy Lobdell lived 160 years ago.

Terrific Praise Attached!


“A well-crafted ‘memoir’ of an unforgettable person.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An intriguing novel . . . believable and pointed.”—American History Magazine

“In THE REBELLION OF MISS LUCY ANN LOBDELL,William Klaber takes us on high-spirited journey of joy and hardship through a 19th century America that few of us could have ever imagined. Lucy Lobdell seems destined to live out a life of adventure from the moment she crosses over into a forbidden and secret world. Beautifully told, by the time I finished I felt I knew not only Lucy, but had a far better understanding of the America of her times. A first class novel about an truly unforgettable woman.”—Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

“William Klaber has created a complicated and heartbreaking heroine, or do I mean hero? Whether Lucy is living as a man or a woman, working as a music teacher or a hired gun, I was utterly absorbed in her adventures. A wonderful debut.”—Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“A superb novel. I feel as if I have walked through 19th century America at Lucy's side, celebrated and grieved with her. Klaber tells the story of her adventures with grace and invisible artistry. This is beautiful retelling of a remarkable story, and a fitting tribute to its subject.”—Imogen Robertson, author of The Paris Winter

Publisher’s Weekly:

*The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell

William Klaber

In Klaber's fictional memoir set in 1855 and based on a true story, Lucy Ann Lobdell—after being deserted by her husband and leaving her young daughter, Helen, in the care of her family—leaves Basket Creek, N.Y., and begins a new life—as a man. As Joseph Israel Lobdell, Lucy moves first to Honesdale, Pa., and teaches music, then to what was then Minnesota Territory, doing odd jobs. After being outed as a woman both in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Lucy ends up in the Pennsylvania poorhouse, where she resumes living as a man. Lucy later marries Marie Louise Perry by a justice of the peace who doesn't know Lucy's true gender, and she finally ends up committed to an insane asylum. All that is true and verifiable. What makes this story stand out is the author's skill in imagining the life of a transgender man in a time when women had virtually no power in the world and when any identity other than straight and cisgender was considered a grave mental illness. By serving as Lucy's voice—not to mention doing what was obviously a great deal of historical research—the author becomes her advocate and encourages readers to do the same. A unique and important book.