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Special Collections: LGBTQI+ Resources: Archival Material

This guide will help you navigate the LGBTQI+ collections in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP)

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Searching for Archival Material

Archival material includes unpublished records such as letters, diaries, financial records, and photographs. Information about our archival collections may be found online in the Subject Guide to the Collections. You can also browse the A-Z list of archival collections (the link is below). Our finding aids are processed at different levels. Some include item-by-item level descriptions and others are processed at the folder or box level. 

Archival LGBTQI+ Collections

The University of Rochester has figured in local LGBTQ+ community organizations since the formation of the Gay Liberation Front in 1970 by a group of U of R undergraduates and individuals from the greater Rochester community. Most of RBSCP’s LGBTQ+ collections focus on the experience of young gay cisgender men, the political struggle for gay and lesbian rights at both a grassroots community level and a state and national level, and the impact, advocacy, and ephemera of the AIDS crisis. RBSCP also holds the collection of Margaret “Midge” Costanza, Rochester’s first councilwoman and later Presidential Advisor to Jimmy Carter, and the professional papers of other politicians who helped advance gay rights at the state and national level. The majority of the material dates from the 1970s-1980s.

We are working to grow our collections in more inclusive ways by developing better metadata and description for personal collections of local activists in the gay rights movement, and on securing the preservation of personal memoirs and materials of this pivotal time in national and Rochester history. We are actively seeking to increase the representation of LGBTQ+ people of color, transgender people, and 21st century queer folks in our collections.

Links to Finding Aids

Exhibits and Special Projects Manager, RBSCP

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Jessica Lacher-Feldman
Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, Rush Rhees Library, 2nd Floor