Gay and Lesbian Collections
This Division holds approximately forty collections pertaining to
the history and culture of gay men and lesbians, and to the history
of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Gay and lesbian history and AIDS history
are not a single subject; however, because of their interrelationships,
both types of collections are included in this guide.
Information Center Archives
The International Gay Information Center (IGIC), incorporated in
1982, was a successor to the History Committee of the Gay Activists
Alliance. The collections acquired by GAA and subsequently IGIC included
organizational records, personal papers, periodicals, books and other
materials from a wide range of sources. The IGIC Archives operated
as a community-based repository until 1988, when the organization's
directors gave the collection to The New York Public
The IGIC Archives consists of five major subgroups: I. Organizational
Records and Personal Papers, II. Audiovisual Materials, III. Periodicals,
IV. Books, and V. Ephemera.
Brief descriptions of each subseries can be found below. A more
comprehensive listing of the materials in the collection can be consulted
in the Manuscripts and Archives reading room.
I. Organizational Records and Personal Papers
Approximately 81.5 linear feet, 1944-1991. Includes the records
of the Mattachine
Society of New York, Gay
Activists Alliance, Gay Switchboard and other
organizations; and the personal
papers of Arthur Bell, Billy Blackwell, Perry Brass, Walter Porczak
II. Audiovisual Materials
Over 300 items. ca. 1970-1983. Includes primarily audiotapes (interviews,
meetings, forums, lectures, radio broadcasts, performances, and a
few commercial recordings.) There are also approximately forty videotapes,
consisting primarily of public access cable channel programs.
Approximately 2000 separate periodical titles (tens of thousands
of pieces), comprising over 150 linear feet of holdings, 1953-1989.
Includes publications from forty-seven states (all except Idaho,
South Carolina and West Virginia) and twenty-seven countries (including
Argentina, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and South
Africa). Complete list of titles available in reading room. Most
titles are not yet cataloged in CATNYP, the Library's online catalog.
An estimated 4,000 volumes. While most titles were published after
1950, some works date from the late 19th Century. Included are works
of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, biography and erotica; the
books are primarily in English, but the collection contains publications
from numerous countries. All of the books are cataloged in CATNYP,
the Library's online catalog.
Approximately 150 linear feet. Most materials date from 1969 to
the present, but a few earlier items are included. This series contains
flyers, programs, posters, announcements and mailings from around
400 organizations worldwide; articles and other printed materials
topically arranged ("bars/baths," "philately," "religion"); postcards,
comic and coloring books, and artifacts such as the Trivia Game (Camp
Edition), t-shirts, banners, and buttons.
Most of the collection is now available for research. The only exceptions
are that a small quantity of unarranged ephemera and unprocessed
recent additions are not accessible, and a few files have been closed
for a period of time to protect the privacy of living (or presumed
living) individuals, or at the request of the donors.
Related Collections in the Manuscripts
and Archives Division
ACT UP/NY Records, 1969; 1982-1997
77 linear feet. Records of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, founded in
March 1987 in New York City as an organization committed to direct action
to end the AIDS crisis. Available on microfilm.
Leo Adams Papers, 1928-1952
.9 linear foot. Correspondents (both gay and straight) make reference to gay
life in the United States in the pre-Stonewall era.
AIDS Activist Videotape
Extensive coverage of AIDS activism, includes footage of ACTUP demonstrations,
AIDS conferences, and oral histories of founders and members of the Gay Men's
Health Crisis. This collection is still in process. 640 tapes are available
and Adolescents Network of New York (AANNY) Records, 1987-1999
25 linear ft. Administrative correspondence, board minutes, publications,
program files, fundraising materials, printed matter and photographs of a coalition
of youth and health service providers concerned about the impact of the HIV/AIDS
epidemic on adolescents.
Austen Papers, ca. 1977-1991
.4 linear foot. Manuscripts and correspondence of the literary historian and
biographer of the 19th century homosexual writer Charles Warren Stoddard.
Ball Papers, 1985-1994
1 linear foot. Journal, correspondence and writings of the first recording
secretary of ACT UP, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1995.
Copy Berg Papers,
67 linear feet. Correspondence, art work, photographs and other materials
of this artist and gay rights activist who publicly challenged the U.S. Navy's
decision to discharge him due to his homosexuality.
Ted Bloecher Papers, 1950-2000
15.5 linear feet. Correspondence, personal journals, writings, theater memorabilia, and reference files reflecting the daily life of an actor and singer in New York City, gay life before and after the Stonewall Riots, and thirty years of UFO research.
Boultenhouse and Parker Tyler Papers, 1927-1994
35 boxes. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs and other materials documenting
their involvement in and contribution to the arts, their social life with friends
and colleagues, and their relationship of almost thirty years.
David Louis Bowie Diaries, 1978-1993
1 linear foot. Illustrated diaries of the daily activities and sexual encounters
of a Queens resident who died of AIDS-related causes. (Restrictions apply.)
Howard Brown Papers, 1924-1974
ca. 8 linear feet. New York City Health Services Administrator and author of
Familiar Faces, Hidden Lives. Brown, who came out in 1973, was one of the
organizers of the National Gay Task Force.
Aaron Cohen Papers, 1979-1989
.17 linear foot. Poetry by a teacher of stage movement, resident of New York
City and Rochester, who died of AIDS-related causes.
Collection, ca. 1969-1989
2.3 linear feet. Photographs (color slides and black-and-white prints and negatives)
documenting the gay liberation movement in the years immediately following
the Stonewall riots.
Tony Davis ACT UP Records, 1988-1996
13 linear feet. Files collected and maintained by Tony Davis, an active member of ACT UP/NY, and one-time chair of its Treatment and Data Committee.
Day Without Art (NYPL) Collection, 1994-1995
.83 linear foot. Messages, envelopes and artifacts by staff members of The
New York Public Library addressed to friends, family members and others who
died of AIDS-related causes.
11 linear feet. Papers documenting Donaldson's career as a writer, editor
and activist noted for his interest in gay and bisexual politics, the sexual
victimization of male prison inmates, Indian religions and punk rock music
Duberman Papers, 1917-1992
41 linear feet. Personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts,
photographs, audiovisual and printed materials of the historian and
playwright, author of Stonewall and founder of the Center for Lesbian
and Gay Studies at the City University of New York.
Stuart Edelson Papers, 1966-1993
4 linear feet. Manuscripts and correspondence of a New York sculptor and writer
who died of AIDS-related causes.
Feinberg Papers, 1976-1994
10 linear feet. Correspondence, writings, other personal papers,
and photographs of the author of Eighty-sixed, Spontaneous Combustion,
and Queer and Loathing.
Fierce Pussy Collection, 1991-1994
.2 linear foot. Posters and stickers pertaining to lesbian and gay rights and
visibility, and to AIDS.
Lowe Fisher Collection, 1988-1991
2.3 linear feet. Material relating to ACT UP demonstrations attended by Fisher
in Albany, New York City, Atlanta and Maine.
Israel David Fishman Papers, 1970-1994
3 linear feet. Correspondence, notes, ephemera and printed materials of Israel
David Fishman, a founding leader of the American Library Association Task
Force on Gay Liberation.
4.6 linear feet. The collection includes personal letters and
notes, scrapbooks, photographs, and memorabilia documenting her personal
life and her life in the women’s military during World War II.
1.25 linear feet. Correspondence, press releases, posters, stickers,
fliers, printed ads, billboards and bus signs documenting the work
of this AIDS activist art collective.
Rudy Grillo Sound
1 linear foot. Fifty-six audiotapes and related material. Many of the tapes
are from the WBAI program "Gay Rap" on which Grillo frequently
appeared, particularly on the topics of gay and lesbian activism and of
gay and lesbian music and composers
33 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts and related material
documenting the personal and professional life of the literary critic
and author of Chamber Music, Coming Into the End Zone and many other
Robin Hardy Papers,
18 linear feet. Personal and editorial correspondence and papers, photographs,
and sound and video recordings reflecting Hardy’s writing and research for
the gay press as well as work as editor and producer of action/adventure fiction.
Includes his research files for The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate
of Gay Brotherhood
John Edward Heys Papers, 1969-1990s
3 linear feet. Correspondence, photographs, videotapes and printed ephemera
relating in part to the early gay newspaper Gay Power. See also the large collection of John Heys Papers in the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Frank Hogan Papers, 1971-1992
.92 linear foot. Correspondence, manuscripts and ephemera of the writer/playwright.
Some materials pertain to sado-masochism and slave/master relationships.
13 linear feet. Correspondence, typescripts and other items chiefly
documenting Jay's work as a professor of English and as author and
coeditor of books on the experiences of lesbians and gay men.
Arthur Johnson Papers, 1980s-1990s
.75 linear foot. Literary manuscripts and related material of Arthur J. Johnson
("Julian"), an African-American writer and resident of Washington,
DC, living with AIDS.
Kantrowitz Papers, 1958-1995
14 linear feet. Personal papers and organizational records concerning Kantrowitz
's activities as a writer, college professor and gay rights activist, including
correspondence, published and unpublished writing, diaries, and records kept
as an officer of the Gay Activists Alliance, Christopher Street Liberation
Day Committee, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Jonathan Ned Katz Papers, ca. 1947-1995
46 linear feet. Correspondence (temporarily restricted pending review by
donor), writings, research notes, audiotapes, moving picture films, and
textile designs. They reflect Mr. Katz's personal life and career as author,
playwright, gay rights advocate, teacher, textile designer, and as chronicler
and historian of the gay, lesbian, and Black experience in America.
Aldyn McKean Papers, 1978-1994
3.4 linear feet. Aldyn McKean (1948-1994), a gay rights and AIDS activist, was a founding member, spokesman, and grassroots organizer for ACT UP. His papers contain administrative files, writings, correspondence, printed matter, video recordings, and artifacts documenting his participation in several AIDS activist organizations, including ACT UP New York, United for AIDS Action, and Third Wave International, as well as a small amount of personal papers.
Jeanne Manford Papers, 1972-1995
1 linear ft. Correspondence, memoranda, flyers, photographs, speeches,
and printed material relating to her work as a founder of the organization
came to be known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
22 linear ft. Correspondence, subject files, writings, sound recordings,
photographs and other papers of a prominent gay activist and a founder
of the Gay Activists Alliance.
D. Mass Papers, 1966-1995
14 linear feet. Personal and professional correspondence of a physician
and writer, co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, living in New
Martin Michel Collection, 1963-1984
.5 linear foot. Ephemera, including marketing mail, booksellers' catalogues,
booklets and guidebooks.
Papers, ca. 1965-1993
.4 linear foot. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, clippings and ephemera
of the gay rights activist, author and co-editor of GAY, one of the earliest
gay news weeklies.
Catholic Church Records, 1960-1981
1.3 linear ft. Chiefly letters on liturgical matters and lay issues
written to the Most Reverend Armand Constantine Whitehead, a priest
and subsequently bishop of the Old Catholic Church in America. This
offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church is notable for its rejection
of the doctrine of Papal infallibility and its acceptance of gay clergy
People With AIDS
Coalition Records, 1987-1993
58 linear feet. Records of a non-profit organization in New York City founded
by persons living with AIDS for the purpose of developing programs of caring,
support and empowerment of others living with AIDS.
Harold Pickett Papers,
3 linear feet. Personal and editorial papers of Harold Pickett
(1947-1988), founding editor of the New York City News and writer for
several gay periodicals.
16 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, research files, news
clippings, personal papers, printed matter, photocopies, photographs and audio
recordings documenting the literary activity and academic career of the author
and educator best known for his book The Pink Triangle (1986), a study
of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.
7 linear feet. Correspondence, subject files and other materials reflecting
Rodwell's career as a gay rights activist and founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial
Vito Russo Papers,
3.5 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts and other papers of Vito Russo,
activist in gay and AIDS causes and the author of The Celluloid Closet . (Under
terms of Russo's will, restrictions apply.)
Joseph A. Sonnabend Papers, 1963-2004
9.4 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts, research files, notes, conference materials, and interviews of the pioneer AIDS researcher and community activist who cofounded the AIDS Medical Foundation (later to become the American Foundation for AIDS Research, or amfAR), Community Research Initiative on AIDS, and the PWA Health Group.
Stambolian Papers, 1955-1992
6 linear ft. Correspondence, essays, lectures, manuscripts, interviews and
clippings documenting Stambolian's work as an author, editor, educator, and
important figure in the gay literary world of the 1980s.
Lester Q. Strong
11 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts and audiotaped interviews with
a variety of gay artists, writers, and other figures and of significance in
gay cultural circles.
Testing the Limits Records, 1987-1995
7 linear feet (plus video recordings).
Organizational records and video footage shot by this videographers collective dedicated to the documentation of all aspects of the struggle for health care and civil rights for people with AIDS. Videos currently available for viewing consist of camera originals documenting AIDS activism, chiefly demonstrations by ACT UP New York.
Thirteenth Moon Records, 1973-1982
27 linear feet. Records of the feminist literary journal. Although not self-defined
as a lesbian press, Thirteenth Moon was founded by a lesbian poet (Ellen
Marie Bissert) and frequently published works on lesbian themes.
Toohey Papers, 1978-1988
Chiefly photographs shot or collected for use in the magazine Hit Parade.
Most of the photographs depict artists and performers, including female impersonators
James Turcotte Papers, 1969-1992
1.5 linear feet. Poetry, fiction and journals of a New York writer who died
of AIDS-related causes.
Donald Vining Papers, 1926-1996
3.5 linear feet. Correspondence, diaries, novels, play scripts, stories, articles, scrapbook, and two videotaped interviews of the author of A Gay Diary,
including his extensive Diary Digests and correspondence between Vining
and Richard Purinton, his lover of forty years.
Coalition (WAC) Records, 1992-2003
20 linear feet. A direct action organization founded in 1992 by members of the
New York art world in support of women's rights. The records contain administrative records, committee files, subject files, photographs, printed material, video and sound recordings, as well as posters, placards, banners, and props used during protest demonstrations.
Collections in Other Divisions of
The New York Public Library
Almost every division in the Research Libraries reports some pertinent
holdings. For example, the Science,
Industry and Business Library collects materials pertaining to
public health, and houses the printed subject files of GMHC as well
as posters from AIDS-related organizations across the country. The Photography
Collection houses works by Bruce Cratsley, Robert Giard, Bruce
of Los Angeles, Joe Caputo and others. In a preliminary, informal survey,
other units such as the Jewish
Division and the Map Division in
the Humanities and Social Sciences
and both the Dance Division and
the Billy Rose Theatre Division at
the New York Public Library for the
Performing Arts have indicated that they have related materials,
often in significant volume. Several units in the Branch
Libraries (particularly the Muhlenberg and Jefferson
Market Branches) have particularly strong circulating collections
of gay and lesbian material.
The General Research Division's Gay
and Lesbian Studies: A Research Guide is an excellent resource
for anyone beginning research in this area.