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LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Collection

Collection Information

Size of the Collection

Over 3,000 rare books and pamphlets and scarce serial titles.

History of this Collection

Established in mid-1990s as a result of a gift of gay and lesbian books, pamphlets, and serials. Additional gifts and purchases have been added to the collection since then.

Overview/Highlights of Collection

Special Collections has a strong collection of gay and lesbian books, pamphlets, and serials. There are many publications documenting the beginnings of the gay rights movement and the emergence of the LGBT community in California and America.

Items in the serials collection include an extremely rare copy of the first issue of the first lesbian serial published in America (Vice Versa, 1947), and complete or near-complete runs of a number of pre-Stonewall gay and lesbian serials, such as ONE Magazine (Los Angeles, 1953-1972), Mattachine Review (San Francisco: Mattachine Society, 1955-1966), and The Ladder (San Francisco/Reno: Daughters of Bilitis, 1956-1972), as well as the publications of many other early gay organizations such as the Society for Individual Rights (San Francisco 1964-1976), the Association for Responsible Citizens (Sacramento 1965-1967), and the Janus Society (Philadelphia 1964-1969). Also included are a number of the serials that sprung up immediately following the Stonewall Riots, including Gay Sunshine (San Francisco), Fag Rag (Boston), Gay Insurgent (Philadelphia), Gay Power (New York), and Gay Liberator (Detroit). Additionally, Special Collections also houses a number of examples of the wave of lesbian/feminist publications from organizations and publishers springing up in the 1970s, such as The Amazon Quarterly (Oakland), The Furies (Boston), Lesbian Tide (Los Angeles), and Womanspirit (Wolf Creek), to name a few.

Examples of significant literary works owned by the department range from works like Margaret Sweat’s Ethel’s Love-life (NY, 1859), to such privately published works as the Paris edition of Robert McAlmon’s Distinguished Air (1925), to a number of examples from the first wave of openly gay and lesbian novels of from the late 1920s and 1930s, such as G.S. Donisthorpe’s Loveliest of Friends (1931), Anna Weirauch’s The Outcast (1933), Gale Wilhelm’s We Too Are Drifting (1935), Lilyan Brock’s Queer Patterns (1935), and the anonymously published Diana: A Strange Autobiography (1939).

Pamphlets in the collection may be located through the library catalog by searching:

LGBTQIA+ history and culture collection

Serials in the collection may be located through the library catalog by searching:

LGBTQIA+ serial collection