Lavender Legacies Guide: United States: Illinois

Back to state listing

Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections - Northwestern University Library
Gerber/Hart Library
Leather Archives & Museum
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archives Network

Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
Location: Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: (847) 491-3635 Fax: (847) 467-7574
Contact: Scott Krafft

Part of Northwestern University.

Current Holdings:
Manuscript material (personal papers) None specifically GLBT
Film, video, or sound Some sound recordings. c. 25 lps
Organization's records None specifically GLBT
Photographs A few hundred, part of manuscript collections
Printed (books, journals, etc.) A couple thousand bound items
Microfilm No
Clippings or vertical files Yes. About 40 filing cabinet drawers
Objects and ephemera Maybe a hundred posters, a few bumper stickers, some buttons, some t-shirts
What specific time period(s) and geographical region(s) do the holdings cover?
Mostly US, mostly 1960-present, but also other countries and as early as the 19th century
There are some 4,000 women's periodicals including a great many lesbian titles, largely from 1965 to the present. Our Women's Monographic Collection contains a wide range of materials on lesbians and a large ephemera collection that also includes lesbian materials. Our Gay Collection is adding historical periodicals (1930's, 1940's ), monographs and ephemera at an increasing rate.
Particularly lesbian materials.

Collection Growth: The institution is willing and able to assume curatorial responsibility for additional material.

Access and Use:
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30-5:00. Saturday 8:30-Noon
Is the site wheelchair accessible? Yes, but difficult without assistance (Assistance always available)

Research space
Reference assistance on site
Telephone reference
Internet reference (e-mail/web)
Copying services
Audiovisual facilities - Some
Exhibitions Loan agreements for exhibits

Indices to the collections:
Our online catalog lists relevant monographs and serials. In house written guides for relevant ephemeral materials.

[Return to Top]

Gerber/Hart Library
Location: 6500 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60626
Phone: (773) 381-8030; Fax: (773) 381-8033
Contact: Lucas McKeever
Internet address
Hours: Thursdays: 6-9 pm; Saturdays: 12-6pm
Wheelchair Access: yes
The Gerber/Hart Library was brought into existence in January 1981 as a joint project of the Gay Academic Union-Chicago Chapter, Gay Horizons, and the Chicago Gay and Lesbian History Project. The organization, spearheaded by Gregory Sprague, achieved independent status on November 20, 1981. First christened "The Midwest Gay and Lesbian Archive and Library," in April 1981 the library changed its name to "The Henry Gerber-Pearl M. Hart Library" in honor of two gay activists from the 1920s.
Mission statement: The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives believes knowledge is key to dispelling homophobia. A lesbian and gay library, archives, and cultural center, G/H is dedicated to meeting the information needs of its unique community in a safe atmosphere that promotes research, exploration, and discovery. G/H's programming policies reflect the diversity and rich history of the lesbian and gay community. A permanent institution, G/H is committed to the sound management of its resources.
Time periods/geographical regions documented:
G/H's monograph stacks contain materials pre- and post-Stonewall. The periodical collections limit themselves to Chicago, Illinois, the Midwest (Ill., Ind., Ohio, Ky., Mo., Kans., Nebr., S.Dak., N.Dak., Minn., Iowa, Wis., Mich.) and international publications.
Significant People/organizations/subjects documented:
Organizational materials include mostly Chicago-based organizations. Manuscripts appear to be the records of Chicagoans.
Collecting interests
Personal papers and records of organizations related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of Chicago, Illinois and the Midwest region of the United States (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan).
Use requirements
Anyone can use library materials in the library, but circulating materials may only borrowed with the purchase of a membership.
Research space, copying, audiovisual facilities, exhibitions, reference assistance on site, telephone reference, Internet reference (email/web), loan agreements for exhibits, and borrowing privileges for individuals.
News about collections
To subscribe to our newsletter, please send an email to with the subject "Subscribe." We are in the process of creating a new logo and website as well as expanding our open hours. Our newsletter and checking our website will be the best way to stay up-to-date!

[Return to Top]

Leather Archives & Museum
Location: 6418 Greenview Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626
Phone: (773) 761-9200
Contact: Rick Storer, Executive Director
Internet address:
Hours: Regular hours are about to be expanded; please call for details.
The Leather Archives & Museum is dedicated to preserving a record of the Leather/SM/Fetish Community: our lifestyles, our communities, our achievements, our history. In 1992, Chuck Renslow (creator of the nation's first leather bar, Chicago's Gold Coast, and the Executive Producer of the International Mr. Leather Contest) asked several leather men and women to join him in forming the Leather Archives & Museum. First in 1993, and again in 1994 and 1995, LA&M presented an exhibition of Leather artifacts in a conference room at the Congress Hotel during the International Mr. Leather Weekend. In November of 1996 the LA&M moved into new headquarters and opened its first permanent public exhibit space. The new space also houses the archival and research collections, making them accessible to serious students. Leatherman Joseph W. Bean arrived in the summer of 1997 to become the first official curator of the LA&M.
Holdings summary
There is a rapidly growing collection of artifacts and memorabilia, as well as archival materials from individuals and organizations. It is almost exclusively a post-World War II collection.
Collecting interests

The policy of the Leather Archives and Museum is to collect and expend its resources in the storage, preservation, restoration and exhibition of the artifacts and evidence of Leather/SM/Fetish lives, lifestyles and organizations, including but not limited to fraternal and commercial organizations, without regard to sexuality, race, gender, orientation or age-group representation.
Use requirements
[None noted.]

Comments about access/use:
Access conditions are about to be expanded; please call for details.


[Return to Top]

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archives Network
Chicago Theological Seminary
5757 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637-1507
Phone: (773) 322-0290
Contacts: Mark Bowman, Project Coordinator; James Carson, Archivist; Doris Malkmus, Archivist
Internet address:
Collecting areas: The LGBTRAN can best be viewed as a "virtual" archives. We serve as a resource for LGBT religious leaders and group on determining how to preserve their historical records. we then provide an information clearinghouse for these archival collections in a central electronic directory for the use of historians, researchers and other interested persons. Extensive information on the history LGBT religious movements is available on our web site. This group's overarching purpose is to ensure the preservation and accessibility of the voices and experiences of LGBT religious leaders and organizations.