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Behind the Scenes: Processing LGBT Collections



We were thrilled recently to host a visit from Judith Armstrong, close friend of LGBT Committee Ambassador Kay Tobin Lahusen. Judith stopped by the Library to take a look at The Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers and Photographs and to meet Laura Karas who is about to begin processing the collection. Laura has just completed work on the ACT UP, Gran Fury, and Joseph Sonnabend archives, which she worked on as part of the Library's MAC AIDS funded project to process and digitize AIDS activist collections. Due to her amazing work, Laura is about to move on to work on another project processing the Gittings and Lahusen Papers. Laura will organize the hundreds of boxes in the collection into a coherent body of materials that future scholars can easily consult for research. Judith took some great snapshots so that Kay could get a sense of her collection onsite and the people doing the work. Pictured above are Laura Karas and Melanie Yolles, the Head of Manuscripts processing, with a picture of the 1965 Mattachine march on the Pentagon. Melanie has done tremendous work here for many years in the processing and promotion of LGBT collections. She herself processed the Martin B. Duberman Papers, among many others. The Gittings and Lahusen Papers are a truly monumental resource in LGBT civil rights. They are incredibly rich in documentary photographs, flyers, letters, newspapers, journals, and ephemera documenting the on-the-ground struggles and strategizing of LGBT activists in the 60s and 70s. They will be central for scholars in years to come in writing the history of modern LGBT culture and consciousness. More pictures from Judith's visit below:


Laura with The Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers awaiting processing.


Left to Right: Jason Baumann, Coordinator of LGBT Collections; Laura Karas, Archivist; Melanie Yolles, Head of Manuscripts Processing.


Melanie in Laura's processing workspace.


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