Lavender Legacies Guide: United States: Rhode Island

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Brown University Special Collections Department
Location: The John Hay Library
20 Prospect Street
Providence, RI 02912
Address:: Brown University, Box A
Providence, RI 02912
Phone: (401) 863-1514
Contact: Rosemary L. Cullen
Hours: See schedule of hours:
Wheelchair Access: yes

The university was founded in 1764.
Information about holdings:
Manuscripts: yes
Organizational records: yes
Printed material: ephemeral, treated archivally
Objects/ephemera: yes
Photographs: yes
Other holdings/notes: approx. 83 cubic ft. total.

Time periods/geographical regions documented:
20th century U.S.A.

Significant People/organizations/subjects documented:
Barrett (Ellen M.) papers
Ellen M. Barrett, a scholar specializing in medieval monastic history, was the first openly gay person, and one of the earliest women, to be ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. Beginning in 1975, when she was ordained deacon, through 1977 when she was ordained priest, the collection documents her path to ordination and the far reaching international reaction to her ordination. The collection covers her subsequent, nearly thirty-year career as priest in the Episcopal Church and her eventual postulancy in an Anglican women's monastic community.

Dickson (James C.) papers, 1988-2002
These papers document the career of James C. Dickson (Class of 1968) as an activist and organizer for disabled individuals, primarily with the VOTE! 2000 Campaign, an effort to increase the number of voters with disabilities. Includes materials Dickson used in his efforts to increase the voting rights of disabled persons and their access to polling places. The materials contain information on poll accessibility, black voters, gay and lesbian voters, voting statistics, the motor voter law, election reforms, methods of voting, and the registration of potential voters when they apply for food stamps, Medicaid or a driver's license. Also consists of material documenting other organizing efforts involving the rights of children, especially children with disabilities, and the medical care of the elderly and people with disabilities.

Gay Pulp Fiction
A growing collection of over 4,600 volumes of gay men's pulp fiction. A small number of lesbian-interest titles are included.The collection began with the acquisition of a large private collection and has been supplemented by works from two other collections of gay literature, the Scott O'Hara Papers, and the James Jackson bequest. See searchable database. Stored off-site.

Gaylactic Network records, 1986-2005
The Gaylactic Network records consist of administrative records, newsletters, correspondence and promotional material for the years 1986-2005 pertaining to and were compiled by Franklin Hummel. The collection covers the activities of both the Gaylactic Network and most of its local member organizations, as well as their annual conference Gaylaxicon.

Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays
The Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays is composed of approximately 250,000 volumes of American and Canadian poetry, plays, and vocal music dating from 1609 to the present day. It is perhaps the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind in any research library. The works of most well-known (and many thousands of little-known) American and Canadian poets and playwrights, from the 18th century to the present day, are held comprehensively. There are significant holdings of early American literature, hymnals, songsters, little magazines, contemporary fine printing, extensive collections on Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe, women's writings, gay and lesbian literature, modern first editions, Yiddish-American literature, and French-Canadian literature. The Collection is fully cataloged, with records available in Josiah, the Library's online catalog.. Includes periodicals, broadsides, recordings, films, electronic resources, manuscripts, prints and photographs.

James Jackson Bequest
Approximately 1,900 titles in the area of gay/lesbian literature, much of it dating from the pre-Stonewall era. The Jackson Collection contains many titles not previously owned by Brown and virtually all are in very good condition and retain their dust jackets. There are a quite a few lesbian-related titles which fills in a gap in our existing holdings and quite a few gay-related science fiction and fantasy titles which complement one of existing collection strengths. Quite a few of the books are signed or inscribed, this being particularly true of the post-Stonewall titles.

John Preston
John Preston authored over 30 books, ranging from fiction and erotica to such important non-fiction titles as Personal Dispatches: Writers Confront AIDS and Hometowns: Gay Men Write About Where They Belong. The Preston archive is especially important in that it contains many thousands of letters between Preston and a vast array of authors that comment upon matters both literary and socio-historical. Among Preston's most prolific correspondents was Ann Rice, author of the Vampire Chronicles, whose papers provide insight into the link between straight/gay and erotic/mainstream fiction.

Metcalf (Edward De Forest) papers
Edward De Forest Metcalf (1924-1968) was a Providence writer of poetry and short stories. Metcalf's papers contain numerous drafts and fragments as well as complete literary works. Included in the papers is a compilation Edward De Forest Metcalf's writings that was published after his death by his father, George T. Metcalf.

Needmor Fund records, 1975-2005
The Needmor Fund is a family foundation established in Toledo, Ohio in 1956 by Duane and Virginia Stranahan with income from the Champion Spark Plug business. It focuses on funding community organizing efforts to create a more equitable and just society. The records document the activities of the Needmor Fund from the the 1970's to the early 21st century and include correspondence, grant applications, pamphlets, seminar brochures, notes from site visits, speeches, and publications. Within the Needmor Fund Collection, the Kathy Partridge papers include material related to gay and lesbian issues.

On Our Backs
The archive of the lesbian periodical, On Our Backs. The library also holds a run of the periodical. See Josiah record.

Scott O'Hara Papers
Literary and personal papers, 1979-1998, of Scott O'Hara (1961-1998), pornographic film actor, author, magazine publisher, also containing publications that include material by or about him. The gay pulp paperbacks acquired as part of this collection are listed in the Gay Pulp Fiction database.

The Richard G. Katzoff Collection
The collection, named in honor of Richard G. Katzoff and housed in the John Hay Library at Brown University, consists primarily of literary works relating to gays and lesbians, with a small component of history and sociology; most are U.S. publications. The core of the Collection is the gift of books, primarily novels dating from the 1970s and 1980s, received in 1991 from the estate of Richard Katzoff, supplemented by the library and personal writings of John Preston, journalist, author and editor of gay literature (the Library also houses Preston's papers). In addition, the Collection includes the publications of Larry Townsend (sadomasochistic fiction and pictorial erotica), many books from the library of Edmund White, an extensive collection of contemporary lesbian fiction, and many other smaller donations of gay and lesbian writings. Materials continue to be added to the Collection by gift and purchase; an endowment has been established for that purpose by the Katzoff family. The more recent acquisitions include a 30,000-item collection of gay pulp fiction dating primarily from the 1950s and 1960s.

Collecting interests:
Literary works relating to gays and lesbians, with a small component of history and sociology; left and right-wing pamphlet collections and manuscript collections of individuals and organizations such as ACT UP/RI. Particular interests include pre-Stonewall literature, and gay men's pulp fiction erotica.

Use requirements
Valid photo ID required, plus registration. Some material may be stored offsite, requiring 2 business days to retrieve; contact the John Hay Library before making travel plans.

Research space, copying, audiovisual facilities, exhibitions, reference assistance on site, telephone reference, and Internet reference (email/web).

Indices, finding aids, collection descriptions:
Internet accessible online catalog:; Online finding aids to manuscript and archival collections: ; In-house manual finding aids. For most up to date information on relevant holdings, see: