The Stonewall Riots were a flash point in LGBTQ history. After the riots that took place at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, the LGBTQ civil rights movement went from handfuls of pioneering activists to a national movement mobilizing thousands.
Throughout 2019, The New York Public Library is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Through a major exhibition, a series of programs, book recommendations, and more, we invite you to learn more about the emergence of the modern LGBTQ movement, as well as culture, issues, and activism today.
Discover the emergence of the LGBTQ civil rights movement throughout the 1960s and 70s through the photographs of Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies—pioneering photojournalists who captured the pivotal events of this era and change the ways LGBTQ people perceived themselves—alongside items from the Library’s vast archival holdings in LGBTQ history.
FEBRUARY 14–JULY 13, 2019
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Rayner Special Collections Wing & Print Gallery, Third Floor
Curator Jason Baumann shares a behind the scenes look at the exhibition and puts the Stonewall Riots in context as a turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights.
The Library After Hours: Pride
FRI, JUN 21, 2019 | 7 PM
Emily Bass: Scenes from The Plague War—the Martin Duberman Fellowship Lecture
THURS, JUN 27, 2019 | 6:30 PM
PLUS! Discover more related events at your local library. From March through August 2019, the Library will be hosting a series of programs at locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—from community conversations to panel discussions, film screenings, youth events, and more.
This powerful collection -- which captures the energy, humor, and humanity of the groundbreaking protests that surrounded the Stonewall Riots -- celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ rights movement, both in the subjects of the photos and by presenting Lahusen and Davies' distinctive work and perspectives in conversation with each other.
Drawing from the New York Public Library's archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots.
To learn more about Stonewall specifically, and the history of LGBTQ activism in general, check out these core texts from the Library’s collections.
LGBTQ writers talking about their own experiences, in their own words.
Coming out stories, while an essential part of the canon, are just a tiny part of the complicated, beautiful world that is LGBTQ literature.
Discover over 150 stories of trans and gender non-conforming lives with our new book list for all ages.
LGBTQ characters come to the forefront in these eight books, which are set during the two decades immediately preceding Stonewall.
Celebrate Pride Month with Japanese manga featuring LGBTQ characters and themes.
Stonewall 50: Special Podcast Episodes
Two special episodes of the Library Talks podcast are being released exploring the past, present, and future of the Stonewall Riots through the Library's archives. The episodes feature Stonewall 50 exhibition curator Jason Baumann, When Brooklyn Was Queer author Hugh Ryan, Schomburg Center curator Megan Renee Williams sharing the story of Stormé DeLarverie, Eric Marcus on documenting queer history, archival audio clips featuring icons Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Miss Major, a new interview with Kay Tobin Lahusen, and more. The first episode is out now. Subscribe to hear the second part on June 23, 2019.
Digital Collections & E-Resources
The Library has digitized more than 3,000 images from our collections, all freely available in the Library’s Digital Collections. Images include many of the images you see in this exhibition by Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, as well as rare portraits of Walt Whitman and Gertrude Stein, posters from ACT UP and Gran Fury, and Robert Giard’s portraits of LGBTQ writers. Explore these and many other images in the Digital Collections.
The Library also provides excellent electronic resources for researching LGBTQ history including the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, the American Civil Liberties Union, and The Alternative Press Index and Archive.
LGBTQ Research Collections
The New York Public Library has one of the premier collections of LGBTQ history in the world. These collections include the publishes record of both academic and popular literature, rare books, little magazines, historic newspapers, and major archives. Explore the collections through the Stonewall 50 Research Guide.
The Library also intensively collects the social history of the AIDS crisis, which has so disastrously impacted LGBTQ communities.
Highlights include: ACT UP New York, W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Black Gay and Lesbian Archive, William S. Burroughs, Martin B. Duberman, Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay history papers and Photographs, International Gay Information Center, Jonathan Ned Katz, LGBTQ Periodicals Collection, Charles Ludlum, Mattachine Society of New York, Walt Whitman , and Virginia Woolf.
If you’d like to explore our physical collections, here are three easy steps to get started:
Discover research items using the Library’s online catalog. The catalog can be accessed online from any computer or at the computers in any of our research rooms.
How to Support the Library’s LGBTQ Initiative
When you donate to the LGBTQ Initiative, you provide critical funds to help the Library build, preserve, and increase access to its LGBTQ collections—not only for New Yorkers, but for people across the country and around the world.
Your contribution will also make you a Friend of the Library, and you'll enjoy special benefits such as discounted tickets and exclusive invitations to member events.
To join the LGBTQ Initiative, click here.
Major support of the Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 exhibition and related programming is provided by The New York Community Trust, Hermes Mallea and Carey Maloney, and the TD Charitable Foundation and TD Bank. Additional support is provided by Time Warner and the Magnus Hirschfeld Endowment Fund.
Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, Jonathan Altman, and Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.