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Archival collections and materials that document LGBTQ+ histories at Oregon State University, Corvallis, and Benton County

Oregon's LGBTQ+ Histories

There are a number of articles via the Oregon Encyclopedia featuring Oregon's LGBTQ+ Histories, organized by biography, event, group, and institution.

Oregon Experience: Darcelle XV (Season 10 Episode 1005 | 29m 59s) At age 85, Portland’s Darcelle is the nation’s oldest performing drag queen, and operates what is thought to be the country’s longest running drag revue. Throughout her long career she has been a part of revolutionary change within the LGBT community. Today, Walter Cole, as Darcelle XV, remains Portland’s iconic Drag Queen.

Oregon Experience: Portland Pride Anniversary June 2021 (Season 10 Episode 1006 | 3m 15s): June is Pride Month, and usually, Portland celebrates with a waterfront celebration and parade. The first Portland Pride Parade happened 45 years ago in 1976 when a small group of local activists decided to march through the streets. During the filming of Oregon Experience’s “Darcelle XV,” Producer Kami Horton met with some of the pioneers responsible for those early Portland Pride events.

LGBTQ+ Archival Repositories (Independent)

This is not an exhaustive list of LGBTQ+ archival repositories. Rather, we include here a number of unique and important sources for information on LGBTQ+ histories, as a place to begin research and investigation.

Oregon Queer History Collective (name change as of 2024) Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) and Oregon Historical Society LGBTQ+ Collections Guide 
Since 1994, GLAPN has been working to discover and publicize the history of sexual minorities in the Pacific Northwest. GLAPN collects, preserves, documents, and shares as much it is able. The archives helps individuals and groups preserve their own historical data. GLAPN tries to find a home for historically significant materials when they become available, and also gladly partners with organizations in the community to publicize and celebrate the history of all LGBTQ-identified minorities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. GLAPN Is located in Portland, Oregon; the physical collections are house with the Oregon Historical Society. Established by Tom Cook, GLAPN has collected archival materials and oral histories from organizations and individuals active in lesbian and gay issues in the Portland area and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Many of these oral histories were gathered by Portland State University students, from the late 1990s to the present, and are available on OHS Digital Collections (MSS 2988-SR).

“It’s Not Over”: Developing an OHS Exhibition Documenting Forty Years of HIV/AIDS in Oregon
An Oregon Historical Society blog post in which Kayla Blackman, a historian and interpretive specialist at Historical Research Associates, Inc. (HRA), discusses her work on OHS’s exhibition, It’s Not Over: Forty Years of HIV/AIDS in Oregon, which highlights the work of two Oregon-based organizations, Cascade AIDS Project and Our House of Portland, that lead community-based services for those with HIV/AIDS. It’s Not Over highlighted the voices of activists, health care professionals, and members of the LGBTQ community. The exhibition also featured objects and archival materials from OHS’s collections and is an important reminder that the fight against the disease is not over.

​Oregon Lesbian Land Manuscript Collections at the University of Oregon
In the late 1960s and 1970s the “Back to the Land Movement” led many Americans to escape urban life and return to a simpler life on the land, establishing communes and collectives throughout the United States, including Oregon. The scope of these experiences is reflected in the Oregon Lesbian Land Manuscript Collections.

Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project
In the summer of 2018 Professor Judith Raiskin of the University of Oregon Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Linda Long, Curator of Manuscripts in the University of Oregon Libraries, developed a project to interview members of the longtime lesbian community in Eugene, Oregon. The majority of the video interviews were conducted in the summer of 2018 but several more were conducted later that fall and then subsequently the following year. The interviews were transcribed and the videos were prepared for viewing online. Transcripts were also printed and bound and form one of the two parts of this collection, the other being the videos and scanned transcripts, both of which are available online through this finding aid. The bound transcriptions are available for use in the Special Collections and University Archives' reading room in Knight Library, University of Oregon campus.

Outliers & Outlaws
A digital exhibit of composite videos, photographs, and interpretive text that documents a fascinating lesbian history. Based on The Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, this exhibit explores the experiences and contributions of hundreds of lesbians who moved to Eugene, Oregon in the 1960s-90s. These young people dared to imagine a different world and brought it into existence through lesbian spaces, cooperative businesses, cultural collectives, and social and political activism on the cutting edge of the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Most of the narrators in Outliers & Outlaws are now in their 70s and 80s and they tell stories and offer advice that encourage young people to live their own lives freely and authentically. At the heart of this project is the opportunity for intergenerational conversations between queer youth and queer elders. The artist Tee Corinne asserted, “The lack of a publicly accessible history is a devastating form of oppression; lesbians face it constantly.” Outliers & Outlaws offers young people and educators an important history and models for living that is otherwise lost.

Canadian Lesbian+Gay Archives (CLGA)
The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) is the largest independent LGBTQ+ archives in the world. With a focus on Canadian content, the CLGA acquires, preserves and provides public access to information and archival materials including important historical records, personal papers, unpublished documents, publications, audio-visual material, works of art, photographs, posters.

GLBT Historical Society
Located in San Francisco, the archives of the GLBT Historical Society contain approximately 800 collections of personal papers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and organizational records. These collections include unpublished material such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks documenting the lives of both average people and community leaders. They also include the records of many community organizations, businesses and political campaigns. The archives hold over 70 linear feet of ephemera; 5,000 periodical titles; tens of thousands of photographs; approximately 1,000 t-shirts; thousands of posters; more than 500 oral histories; approximately 1,000 hours of recorded sound; and approximately 1,000 hours of film and video. The archives also has extensive holdings of historic textiles, fine and graphic arts, and artifacts.

Lavender Legacies Guide
Published by the Society of American Archivists’ Lesbian and Gay Archives Roundtable (LAGAR), Lavender Legacies is the first formal and comprehensive guide to primary source material relating to the history and culture of LGBT people held by repositories in North America. This guide describes collections containing significant LGBT subject content, as well as repositories that focus exclusively on collecting LBGT material.

The Lesbian Herstory Archives
The Lesbian Herstory Archives is home to the world's largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. Located in Brooklyn, NY, you can plan a visit, take a virtual tour, or access the digital collections from this website. The Archives has both print and non-print materials, such as books, unpublished papers, conference proceedings, newsletters, photographs, slides, periodicals, audio-tapes, CDs, DVDS, videos, films, subject and organizational files, reference tools, artwork, calendars, banners, manuscripts, music, clothing, buttons and more!

The LGBT Community Center National History Archive
Founded in 1990 by volunteer archivist Rich Wandel, the archive provides a look into the lives and experiences of LGBT people throughout the years. The Center Archive contains a wide range of media from as early as 1920, including photography, correspondence, news clippings, radio sound bytes, video broadcasts, and personal journals. The Center is based in New York City, and contains both a physical and digital collection.

Skeivt Arkiv (LGBT Archive of Norway)
A part of the Department of Special Collections at the University Library in Bergen, a department with expertise in storage, preservation and dissemination of archival material, the Skeivt archival collections consist of a number of archives of individuals and organizations as well as books and periodicals. In addition, the Skeivt Arkiv contains a collection of video interviews documenting the lives of people who have been associated with LGBT organization or otherwise can tell about living outside heteronormative expectations. The Skeivt Arkiv also collects Queer stories, written accounts that people can write anonymously and post on our site, and is building up a lexicon called Skeivopedia, which is continually updated with new articles.

The Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP)
The zine archive was first launched in November 2003 in an effort to preserve queer zines and make them available to other queers, researchers, historians, punks, and anyone else who has an interest in DIY publishing and underground queer communities.

The Visibility Project
A national community powered video story collection and photo portraiture series, the Visibility Project combines art, media, and social justice to document the personal experiences of Queer Asian American Women + Trans + and Gender non-conforming folks. The project is on-going, with the goal of creating a diverse archive of Queer Asian American Women + Trans history, and a comprehensive resource guide searchable by region and communities served.

Kinsey Institute at Indiana University
Collection regarding homosexuality, polyamory, transgender, sexuality in Asia, and erotica.

Stonewall National Museum Archives and Library
The Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library (SNMAL) is one of the largest gay archives and libraries in the United States. While there is no direct link to the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, when SNMAL was founded in 1972, the founder Mark Silber used the name “Stonewall” to recognize the fight for LGBTQIA+ liberation that began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. It was a name with meaning then and it has become nearly synonymous with gay liberation efforts since that time. SNMAL presents an ongoing 12-month schedule of exhibitions on LGBTQIA+ themes and public programs, including author presentations, films, panel discussions, and collaborative events at its museum and library in South Florida and in cities across the United States.

Recommended Readings

History of LGBTQ Organizing in Rural Oregon - The Rural Organizing Project emerged out of the campaign to defeat the anti-gay Ballot Measure 9. This interactive timeline (a work in progress!) features some key moments and stories from the history of LGBTQ organizing in rural and small town Oregon from the early 1990’s to today.

"The Rise and Fall of 'No Special Rights" ~ In 1992, the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) sponsored ballot Measure 9 in Oregon, which author William Schultz describes as "one of the most comprehensive — and harshest — antigay measures put to voters in American history." OCA’s "No Special Rights" slogan implied that homosexuals sought "special" rights rather than protection against discrimination. In "The Rise and Fall of 'No Special Rights'," published in the Spring 2021 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Schultz examines Oregon’s anti–LGBTQ rights measures during the late 1980s and early 1990s and a similar campaign, Amendment 2, in Colorado and how they illuminate "a transitional moment in the history of the Christian Right." Shultz argues that the story of these campaigns is ultimately a failure, "albeit an instructive failure….in examining how and why a certain concept — such as 'No Special Rights' — might take hold in one community and not another."

Driskill, Qwo-Li et al. Eds. Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2011.

Hodge, Dino, ed. Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives. Mile End, S.Aust.: Wakefield Press, 2015

Johnson, E. Patrick. Mae G. Henderson. Eds. Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology. New York, 1990.

Kugle, Scott Siraj-Haqq. Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims. New York: NYU Press, 2014.

Matzner, Andrew. O Au Keia: Voices from Hawai'i's Mahu and Transgender Communities. Bloomington: Xlibris, 2001.

Spade, Dean. Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law. Brooklyn, NY: South End Press, 2011.

University-Based LGBTQ+ Archives

Oregon State isn’t the only university with a queer archive! Listed below are a number of other university-based archives with a focus on LGBTQ+ histories.

Oregon Health and Sciences University's "Queering OHSU: Honoring LGBTQ+ History"
"In June of 2019, HC&A launched “Queering OHSU,” an exhibit focused on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) history of the institution. Dating back to the early 1900s, this history had been largely undocumented in the archives’ holdings. Prior to the exhibit opening, I reached out across the University community to gather records that documented this history, conducted offsite research in other local repositories, and oversaw the recording of three oral history interviews on the topic of transgender health. Through these efforts, I hoped to increase the archives’ holdings, uncover hidden stories, and increase the visibility of the archives in new communities. This article speaks to the work completed as part of the project and subsequent outcomes, which include developing additional archival holdings, making positive institutional connections, and bringing in a small but thankful new audience to the archives." From the Oregon Historical Quarterly 2020 article "When the Community is You: Institutional Outreach Through Archival Exhibits"

Arizona Queer Archives
The Arizona Queer Archives (AQA) is the state of Arizona’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) collecting archives of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. AQA works in collaboration with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI), gender non-conforming, and Two Spirit communities throughout Arizona to identify, preserve, and make available records, papers, and ephemera of enduring (and endearing) value that document the distinct histories of these communities.

LGBTQ History Archive at WUSTL
Primary and secondary sources about LGBTQ history at Washington University and in the St. Louis region. Contains an overview of sources for researching the history and culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, at both Washington University and in the the larger St. Louis region.

ONE Archives at USC Libraries
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries is the largest repository of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) materials in the world. Founded in 1952, ONE Archives currently houses over two million archival items including periodicals, books, film, video and audio recordings, photographs, artworks, organizational records, and personal papers. ONE Archives has been a part of the University of Southern California Libraries since 2010.

The Transgender Archives at University of Victoria, BC
The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria is committed to the preservation of the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have contributed to the betterment of transgender and gender nonconforming people. Going back over 100 years, spanning 18 countries across five continents, and at over 320 linear feet / 98 linear meters, University of Victoria’s collections comprise the largest trans archives in the world.

Beinecke at Yale Libraries

Publications from Star Distributors

Cal State Long Beach

Gay literature materials (Arnold T. Schwab Endowment)

Digital Transgender Archive

The purpose of the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) is to increase the accessibility of transgender history by providing an online hub for digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world. Based in Worcester, Massachusetts at the College of the Holy Cross, the DTA is an international collaboration among more than fifty colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, public libraries, and private collections. By digitally localizing a wide range of trans-related materials, the DTA expands access to trans history for academics and independent researchers alike in order to foster education and dialog concerning trans history.

University of Southern Maine

The LGBTQ+ Collection preserves the history of the LGBTQ+ communities in Maine by collecting material produced by organizations and individuals. This physical collection also contains a book collection, is rich in both archival and personal papers, and contains a collection of photographs documenting the LGBTQ+ activism in the 1990s.

Other LGBTQ+ Projects

Though perhaps not technically considered archives or repositories in a traditional sense, these projects are nevertheless committed to preserving queer history and memory.

No on 9 Remembered
In 1992, the Oregon Citizens Alliance asked voters to amend the Oregon constitution to declare homosexuality “abnormal and perverse.” The campaign to defeat Ballot Measure 9 mobilized thousands of Oregonians from all walks of life. In the months leading to the November election in 2022, the Western States Center commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the No on 9 campaign with No on 9 Remembered, a digital project devoted to historical memory. In addition to the thirty stories published, one for every year of the anniversary, No on 9 Remembered also offers a valuable resource section that includes other historical memory projects; documentaries, analysis, and articles.

The Incluseum
The Incluseum is a project based in Seattle, Washington that advances new ways of being a museum through critical discourse, community building and collaborative practice related to inclusion in museums. Since the Incluseum project began in 2012, their work has included workshops, conference presentations, trainings, exhibits, advisory positions, and publications.

LGBTQ Video Game Archive
Self-described as a “curated collection of information about LGBTQ and queerly read game content,” this website contains information about LGBTQ content in digital games from the 1980s to the present. It is part of an ongoing research project by Dr. Adrienne Shaw at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mobile Homecoming
Mobile Homecoming is an innovative and loving response to a deep craving for intergenerational connection. A craving that lives in the hearts of queer black same gender loving elders and visionaries. A craving that has taken over the minds of two young queer black women. Julia Wallace of Queer Renaissance and Alexis Pauline Gumbs of BrokenBeautiful Press have decided to dedicate the next phase of their lives to collecting and amplifying the social organizing herstories of black women, trans men, and gender queer visionaries who have been refusing the limits of heteronormativity and opening the world up by being themselves in the second half of the 20th century.

Queer Foundation
The Queer Foundation (2008-2019) was a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Washington dedicated to improving educational opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. For 14 years the QF held an annual essay contest for high school seniors to promote effective writing by, about, and/or for queer youth. Additionally, the QF published a newsletter called The Queer Foundation Scholar. The organization closed in late 2019, however, the website is digitally archived by the Internet Archive.

OUT Dance Project
The OUT Dance Project is a series of online performances of dance pieces alongside personal stories by rural queers. We collected stories from rural LGBTQIA2S+ people across Oregon about how specific songs have carried them through life-defining moments. A selection of these stories were shared during the online public performances in March of 2021, alongside choreographed dances to the featured songs by a queer dance ensemble. After each performance, we hosted a facilitated talk-back conversation, aimed at building connections between participants, and collectively processing the material of the dances and stories and their implications.

Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West
Curated in collaboration with historian Peter Boag (Vancouver, Washington), the Washington State Historical Society is proud to present the original exhibition Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West. This exhibition shares seldom-spotlighted historical narratives of transgender people in the West. It spans the time period of 1860 to 1940 and explores four central themes, connecting those histories to contemporary aspects of today’s LGBTQ+ community. Stories from the lives of specific individuals who did not conform to gender norms will illuminate the themes of visibility, identity, acceptance, and history.

Queer History South 
A vehicle (network and conference) for locating and sharing the rich, but often under-documented history of southern contributions to LGBTQ history and society.

Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries: Research on "Little" Joe Monahan


Homosaurus is an international database of LGBTQ+ terms, as a means of enhancing catalog records. This database acts as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Using this database increases the discoverability of LGBTQ+ records in our collections and makes them more accessible to digital audiences everywhere.

Q&A: Developing a new Spanish-language controlled vocabulary of LGBTQIA+ terms by Lauren Kirschman, UW News, March 31, 2023

Preserving LGBTQ Historic Spaces

In an effort to bolster the existing scholarship that had been produced, the National Park Service embarked on an effort to create a document that focused specifically on how the agency could address the lack of LGBTQ listings on its two primary designation lists, and among its historic site and park units. Check out this article on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Blog that looks at the theme study for LGBTQ Historic Spaces.

Read the article here: After the Theme Study: Preserving LGBTQ Historic Spaces