The Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library holds over 100 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. A PDF of the guide is also available.
ACT UP New York records, 1969; 1982–1997
100 linear feet. Records of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), 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
1 linear feet. Both gay and straight correspondents make reference to gay life in the United States in the pre-Stonewall era.
Afrekete records, 1993–1998
1 linear feet. Afrekete was created to fill a perceived gap within African American and lesbian and gay writing; the records consist of publishing-related documents such as correspondence, submissions, editorial notes, and marketing files.
AIDS activist videotape collection
454 videotapes. This videotape collection offers extensive coverage of AIDS activism, including footage of ACT UP demonstrations, AIDS conferences, and oral histories of founders and members of the Gay Men's Health Crisis.
AIDS poster collection, 1986–1993
2 linear feet. The AIDS Poster Collection contains posters related to AIDS awareness campaigns organized by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR): Art Against AIDS; Day Without Art, a project of Visual AIDS; and the World Health Organization.
Roger Austen papers, 1977–1984
1 linear foot. Manuscripts and correspondence of the literary historian and biographer of the 19th century homosexual writer Charles Warren Stoddard.
Bradley 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.
Arthur Bell papers, 1970–1978
2 linear feet. Research notes and press clippings reflect the career of this freelance journalist reporting on the gay liberation movement, including an interview with Christopher Isherwood. Bell’s activities as chairman of the publicity committee of the Gay Activists Alliance are also documented.
Copy Berg papers, 1890s–1998
62 linear feet, 75 sound recordings, and 14 videotapes. 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.
Billy Wilder Blackwell papers, 1969–1974
1.7 linear feet. The theatrical performer and director’s scrapbooks of press clippings document both mainstream and gay press coverage of the gay rights movement from 1969–1974.
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.
Charles Boultenhouse and Parker Tyler papers, 1927–1994
12 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials documenting Boultenhouse and Tyler’s 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.)
Perry Brass papers, 1968–1974
.42 linear feet. The papers include a private journal, literary and college notebooks, scripts of poems, and other writings of this author and gay rights activist.
Howard J. Brown papers, 1924–1974
ca. 8 linear feet. Brown, who came out in 1973, was one of the organizers of the National Gay Task Force, a New York City Health Services Administrator, and author of Familiar Faces, Hidden Lives.
Butterworth Farm collection, 1958–2009
7 linear feet. Butterworth Farm is an intentional, "back to the land" community. The collection contains photographs documenting the daily activities of life on the farm and a small amount of personal papers of two of the farm's original founders, Allen Young and Carl Miller.
Truman Capote papers, ca. 1924–1992
17 linear ft. The collection includes manuscripts of many of his works, correspondence, printed matter, photographs, artwork, sound recordings, and personal miscellany.
Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee records, 1973–1986
.42 linear ft. The Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee formed in 1970 with the purpose of planning an event for the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The records primarily consist of organizational correspondence and minutes of meetings.
Robert Clement papers, 1971–1977
3 linear ft. Miscellaneous correspondence, papers, and photographs of the founder of the Church of the Beloved Disciple in New York City.
Aaron Cohen poems, 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.
Ted Cronin papers, 1979–1991
.21 linear feet. Ted Cronin (d. 1992) was a designer, artists' book collector, and gallery owner in New York City. His papers include correspondence relating largely to gay activism and AIDS awareness.
Tony Davis ACT UP records, 1988–1996
11 linear feet. Files collected and maintained by Tony Davis, an active member of ACT UP New York, 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.
Stephen Donaldson papers, 1965–1998
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.
Martin B. Duberman papers, 1917–1992
92 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.
David W. Dunlap papers, 1933–1999
4 linear feet. The David W. Dunlap Papers contain printed copies of this New York Timesreporter while he was assigned to the gay, lesbian, and AIDS beat.
Roy Eddey (Motive) papers, 1964–1979
1 linear foot. The collection documents the history of Motive as a magazine of gay liberation from 1964 to 1972, in particular the creation of one of the two final editions of the magazine in 1971.
Estate Project for Artists with AIDS records, 1989–1999
9 linear feet. These records document the first national organization formed to address the protection of America's cultural heritage during the AIDS crisis. The records contain administrative, legal, and financial files, as well as subject and project files.
David B. 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.
Israel David Fishman papers, 1970–1997
5 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.
Gay Activists Alliance records, 1970–1983
10 linear feet. The records reflect the activities of the homophile organization in New York City, which was dedicated to the achievement of civil rights for gays through militant, non-violent means, and which became a leader in the gay liberation movement during its more militant phase following the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
Gay Alliance of Brooklyn records, 1971–1973
.42 linear feet. Minutes of general meetings and of the governing board, constitution and by-laws, and records of various committees of this branch of the Gay Activists Alliance.
Gay Male S/M Activists records, 1981–1986
.84 linear feet. Committee minutes and collateral papers, by-laws, and other administrative records of this nonprofit educational and service organization founded in New York City in 1981.
Gay Men’s Health Crisis records, 1975–1978, 1982–1999
169 linear feet. The Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), America's oldest AIDS organization, formed in 1982, serves to educate the public about HIV/AIDS, provide care services for People with AIDS (PWAs), and advocate at all levels of government for fair AIDS policies. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, and reports regarding GMHC's safe sex education programs and client services.
The Gay Report typescripts and questionnaires, circa 1979
4 linear feet. The papers consist of typescript drafts of the text of The Gay Report arranged by chapter title, and original copies of the gay male section of the questionnaire returned by respondents. (The lesbian section of the questionnaire can be found in the Karla Jay Papers). >
Gay Switchboard of New York records, 1972–1983
8 linear feet. Administrative records, telephone logs, and internal and external ephemera generated by the Gay Switchboard of New York, Inc., for the period between March 1972 and July 1983. The logs reveal the social, political, and recreational concerns of the New York gay community before the impact of AIDS.
Gaysweek records, 1978–1979
2 linear feet. The collection consists of make-up sheets and miscellaneous correspondence and records, the bulk comprising make-up sheets for issues published in the period February–December 1978 and January–March 1979.
Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen gay history papers and photographs, 1855–2009
79 linear feet. Personal and professional papers of these gay civil rights pioneers include Gittings' extensive correspondence with Frank Kameny and other activists in the homophile and gay rights movement, records of her editorial work on The Ladder, interviews conducted for Lahusen's book, The Gay Crusaders, and her photographs documenting forty-five years of gay rights activism.
Dorothee Gore papers, 1904–1982
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.
Gran Fury collection, 1987–1995
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 recordings, 1970–1989
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.
Doris Grumbach papers, 1939–1995
33 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts, and related material document the personal and professional life of the literary critic and author of Chamber Music, Coming Into the End Zone, and many other works.
John Hammond and Bruce Eves papers, 1965–1994
.42 linear feet. The papers document the personal and professional lives of the activists who maintained the International Gay Information Center. The papers consist of personal correspondence, financial and legal papers, and notes for the walking tours Hammond conducted in New York City.
Robin Hardy papers, 1964–2001
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 collection, 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 sadomasochism and master/slave relationships.
International Gay Information Center collection, 1951–1994
Sound and video recordings, periodicals, photographs, printed ephemera, books, posters, and artifacts, donated by the International Gay Information Center. Personal papers and organizational records from the IGIC collection are given separate entries on this list.
International Gay Information Center records, 1974–1989
14 linear feet. The records include correspondence, minutes, financial and office material, checklists of periodicals, and card files enumerating the published books collected by the IGIC before its collections were donated to the New York Public Library.
Don Jackson papers, 1969–1970
.5 linear foot. The papers consist of correspondence and typescripts of articles sent by Jackson to the editor of Gay Power.
Karla Jay papers, 1961–1992
13 linear feet. Correspondence, typescripts, and other items chiefly document Jay's work as a professor of English and as author and co-editor 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.
Arnie 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, writings, research notes, audiotapes, moving picture films, and textile designs reflect 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.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Periodical collection, 1952–1999
182 linear feet. Contains approximately 2000 titles initially composed of periodicals collected by the International Gay Information Center (IGIC). Additional materials have been added, including titles from the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen gay history papers and photographs.
Marvin Liebman papers, 1990–1996
.84 linear feet. A conservative strategist and fund raiser for the Republican Party, Liebman came out as gay in 1990. Papers consist chiefly of drafts of his memoir, I've Been Everywhere But Home (published in 1992 with the title Coming Out Conservative), other writings, and a videotaped interview.
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.
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 that came to be known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Morty Manford papers, 1962–1986
22 linear ft. Correspondence, subject files, writings, sound recordings, photographs, and other papers of the prominent gay activist and a founder of the Gay Activists Alliance.
Lawrence Mass papers, 1958–2008
14 linear feet. Personal and professional correspondence of a physician and writer, co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, living in New York City.
Mattachine Society of New York records, 1951–1976
11 linear feet. The records reflect the origin and development of the homophile movement, especially in New York, and of the struggle to achieve through peaceful means the social integration of gays and the removal of legal sanctions discriminating against gays in housing, employment and assembly.
Martin Michel collection, 1963–1984
.5 linear foot. Ephemera, including marketing mail, booksellers' catalogs, booklets, and guidebooks, collected by the New York City resident.
New York Native records, 1981–1988
4 linear feet. The records of this bi-weekly New York City newspaper include editorial correspondence, make-up sheets, and ephemera issued by gay and other organizations. Included are copies of correspondence from the public to the "Carbon Copies" department commenting on issues affecting the gay community.
David E. Newton papers, 1973–1974
.42 linear feet. Newton's correspondence with officers and members of gay and lesbian organizations in the U.S. and with publishers and others relative to his research for a proposed book on gay and lesbian social organizations.
Jack Nichols papers, 1962–1994
.4 linear foot. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, press clippings, and ephemera of the gay rights activist, author, and co-editor of Gay, one of the earliest gay news weeklies.
Old 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 and congregants.
People with AIDS Coalition records, 1981–1993
30 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.
Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS records, 1988–1996
15 linear feet. Correspondence, minutes, financial records, grant applications, project proposals, exhibition catalogs, and photographs of a not-for-profit organization that raised funds to support organizations providing health care to people with AIDS, to medical research, and to public education initiatives.
Harold Pickett papers, 1965–1988
3 linear feet. Personal and editorial papers of Harold Pickett (1947–1988), founding editor ofNew York City News and writer for several gay periodicals.
Richard Plant papers, 1916–1998
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.
Walter Porczak papers, 1969–1985
4 linear feet. Typescript drafts of his plays and other writings, as well as miscellaneous correspondence from friends, and materials relating to his memorial service.
Craig Rodwell papers, 1940–1993
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 Bookshop.
Allen Roskoff papers, 1972–2004
3 linear feet. A gay rights activist living and working in New York City, Roskoff’s personal papers consist of subject files that document his interest in political and social activism from 1972 to 2004.
Vito Russo papers, 1969–1990
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 co-founded 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.
Sam Staggs papers, 1974–1984
4 linear feet. The papers include correspondence, make-up sheets, tear sheets, and photographs. The correspondence is with freelance writers, photographers, illustrators, editors, and others and reflects the editorial policies and philosophy of Sam Staggs, and of his predecessor, John Devere, as editor-in-chief (1982–1984) of Modernismo Publications, Ltd., publishers of Mandate, Honcho, and Playguy magazines.
George Stambolian papers, 1955–1992
6 linear ft. Correspondence, essays, lectures, manuscripts, interviews, and clippings document Stambolian's work as an author, editor, educator, and important figure in the gay literary world of the 1980s.
Lester Q. Strong papers, 1941–2001
11 linear feet. Correspondence, manuscripts and audiotaped interviews with a variety of gay artists, writers, and other figures 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, 1973–1984
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.
Frank Thompson photograph albums, 1940–1953
.5 linear feet. Two scrapbooks containing photographs of Frank Thompson and various friends in New York City and Vermont, as well as Germany and Sicily during Thompson's service in the United States Army during World War II.
Francis Toohey papers, circa 1977–1989
.5 linear feet. Chiefly photographs shot or collected for use in the magazine Hit Parade. Most of the photographs depict artists and performers, including female impersonators.
Karen Umminger and Sara Strandtman papers, 1992
.67 linear feet. Videotapes, wedding ephemera, and copies of print media document the wedding of this lesbian couple and the controversy it sparked after their wedding announcement appeared in the local newspaper.
Carl Van Vechten papers, 1833–1965
161 linear feet. Papers reflect Van Vechten's social life and professional career as a writer, photographer, and patron of the arts; they also document Van Vechten's literary and artistic circle of friends and colleagues.
Donald Vining papers, 1926–1996
3.5 linear feet. Correspondence, diaries, novels, play scripts, stories, articles, scrapbook, and two videotaped interviews of the author ofA Gay Diary, including extensive diary digests and correspondence between Vining and Richard Purinton, his lover of forty years.
Elizabeth Wade White papers, 1901–1994
9 linear feet. Elizabeth Wade White (1906–1994) was an author, self taught scholar, amateur poet, and activist. Her papers document her passion for political action and the welfare of others, as well as the difficulties of coming to terms with her sexuality and her position in life.
Women's Action Coalition (WAC) records, 1989–2003
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.