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OSU Queer Archives: SCARC's LGBTQIA+ Rare Books

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

LGBTQIA+ in the Rare Books Collection

This page highlights the books in SCARC's Rare Books Collection that have LGBTQIA+ themes or topics in them. This includes books from the Personal Library of Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, McDonald Rare Book Collection, History of Atomic Energy Collection, the History of the Pacific Northwest Collection, and the History of Science Rare Book Collection. They are categorized into six different categories: magazines and newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, HIV/AIDS, music and arts, and personal accounts. Some books contain negative depictions of and attitudes towards queer people and homosexuality, and are noted within the item description. 

For more information about this content, check out the blog posts on SCARC's Speaking About History blog about these books or about the exhibits that showcased the materials: Celebrating Pride (June 2024-August 2024) and Celebrating Queer History Month (September 2024-November 2024) (Link Forthcoming). 

~Jozie Billings, Student Archivist, 2023-2024


Magazines and Newspapers

Cover of Off Our Backs: Volume IV Number 10
Cover of Kaliflower Series 2
Cover of the Lavender Network from October 1990
Cover of Kaliflower Volume 5
Cover of Off Our Backs: Volume 1 Number 20
Cover of the Lavender Network from September 1990
Front Page of Call to Women
  • The Lavender Network published in Eugene, Oregon. 
    • Call number: HQ75 .L39 in SCARC only
    • September and October 1990 Issues. Published by Ronald B. Zahn. "Oregon's Lesbian and Gay Magazine." One issue features a cover story on homophobia in the US Navy. 
    • Additional issues of the Lavender Network are available in the Lavender Network Newsmagazine collection
  • Off Our Backs news journal self published in Washington, D.C.A spread of Off Our Backs issues
    • Call number: HQ1101 .O34 in SCARC only
    • Volumes included were published 1970-1978. Large collection of one of the longest-running feminist newspapers, co-founded by Marilyn Webb, which only ceased publication in 2008. First created as a news source published every three weeks, it then moved to a general monthly that included other information besides news such as fiction, art, letters, etc, often with themed issues with a radical feminist slant. While focusing generally onAn open copy of Off Our Backs feminism and women, there was some content by and for lesbians. Among the most notable columns present here is "survival," a nonsexist how-to guide, covering spermicides, nutrition, fertility, and home breast exams. Despite the emphasis on the collective, there was some unrest beginning as early as 1971, when the lesbian element of the collective left to found their own periodical, Furies.
  • Kaliflower published by the Free Print Shop 
    • Call number: HQ971.5.S36 K34, v.2 1977 or v.5 1980 in SCARC only
    • Series 2 (1977). Volume 5 (1980) is selections from the original newspaper printed from 1969-1972 that were then bound and republished as a set in 1980. Both volumes include an assortment of prose, comics, art, and advice about communal living from the Kaliflower Commune in San Francisco. Represented in this collection due to their practice of "mutual marriage," a form of polyamory, and their value of gay liberation.
    • The title page for Kaliflower Volume 5  Artwork from Kaliflower of two women with a block of text
    • The above two images are from volume five. The orange cover seen above this list is from series 2, and the grey cover is from volume 5. 
  • Call to Women from Liaison Committee for Women's Peace Groups in London, United Kingdom. 
    • Call number: HQ1101 .H47 in SCARC only
    • Published in 1965. Focus on peace movements that called for nuclear disarmament.

Music and Arts

Cover of Come Out Comix
Cover of the Turned On Woman Songbook
  • Come Out Comix by Mary Wings
    • Call number: PN6727.W5648 Z46 1974 in SCARC only
    • Titled "Coming out: one person's experience: the story of a "new lesbian"" in library's catalogue .
    • Published in 1974 by Portland's Women's Resource Center in Portland, Oregon. The second lesbian comic ever published, the Comix are composed of four parts of the comic Coming Out, which follows the story of a woman coming to terms with her own sexuality. The four parts are titled: "Part I - The Inner Struggle," "Part 2 - Retreat from XY-Land," "Part III - A Crunch," and "Part IV - Coming Out."
    • Page 8 from Come Out ComixPage 9 from Come Out Comix
  • Turned on Woman Songbook by Ruth Mountaingrove
    • Call number: M1977.W64 M6 in SCARC only
    • Published in 1975. "A songbook by the lesbian feminist, Ruth Mountaingrove (b. Ruth Shook), which includes the words and music for 27 original songs interspersed with personal anecdotes concerning each song’s inspiration and Ruth’s journey from married Philadelphia mother to lesbian feminist living on an Oregon commune. Song titles include, “Winter Solstice,” “Brave, Brave Woman,” “Be a Woman for Yourself,” “Prayer to the Goddess,” etc. With photographs of Ruth and her partner, Jean Mountaingrove, commune life, nature, and women gathered together singing.
    • Ruth Mountaingrove (1923-2016) was an accomplished writer, poet, artist and photographer who became an important photo-documentarian of the lesbian community in Oregon. She and Jean Mountaingrove published “WomenSpirits,” a popular magazine on feminism and spirituality and her photographs were exhibited widely."
    • Page 30 from Turn On Woman SongbookPage 31 from Turned On Woman Songbook

Fiction and Queer Pulps

Cover of the Strange Path
Cover of Queer Corners
The cover of The Men Between
Cover of Purple 6
The cover of Davy
Cover of We Too Are Drifting
Cover of Hemlock and After
  • Queer Pulps
    • The Strange Path by Gale Wilhelm
      • Call number: PS3545 .I362 T67 1953 in SCARC only 
      • Lesbian Pulp Fiction. Originally published in 1938 as Torchlight to Valhalla, this edition printed in 1953. A woman turns down the opportunity for marriage with two men and discovers her sexuality when she meets Toni. Wilhelm also wrote We Too Are Drifting (listed below under General Fiction) 
    • The Men Between by Lynwood Bright
      • Call number: PS3552.R4628 M3 1966 in SCARC only
      • Gay Erotic Fiction. Published in 1966. Contains negative depictions of queerness. The title page has the phrasing "the Man Between," and that is what is featured in the library's catalogue.
    • Davy by Edgar Pangborn
      • Call number: PS3566 .A56 D381 1964 in SCARC only
      • Science Fiction, Queer Pulp. Published in 1964. A bildungsroman about the titular character Davy with many references to gay male love, and the author is often subject to queer readings despite not being out.  
    • Against the Law by Peter Wildeblood
      • Call number: HQ76 .W51 1957 in SCARC only
      • Queer Pulp. Published in 1957. A story of a man who was incarcerated for homosexuality in England.
    • Purple 6 by Henry Brinton
      • Call number: PR6052.R4455 P87 1962 in SCARC only
      • Suspense Fiction, Queer Pulp. Published in 1962. Within the book, when a security breach occurs, investigations into individuals occurred, specifically on their sexuality and sexual activities. This plot point was most likely inspired by the Cambridge Five affair, a group of UK Double agents during the soviet era who were majority queer.
  • General Fiction
    • We Too Are Drifting by Gale Wilhelm
      • Call number: PS3545 .I362 W4 1935 in SCARC only
      • Lesbian Fiction Novel. Published in 1935. Wilhelm, an Oregon native who lived in San Francisco most of her life was a pioneering lesbian author. Her most prolific years were in the 1930s and 1940s. 
    • Queer Corners by Donald Olson
      • Call number: PS3565.L825 Q43 1999 in SCARC only
      • Gay and Lesbian Fiction. Published in 1999. Based on the anti-gay campaigns in Oregon in the early 1990s. 
    • Hemlock and After by Angus Wilson
      • Call number: PR6045.I577 H4 1956 in SCARC only
      • Gay Fiction. Originally published in 1952, this printing is from 1956. A prominent English writer faces a failing marriage while attempting to come to terms with his sexuality amid other events. 


Cover of It Could Happen to You
Cover of Guide to Women's Publishing
Cover of Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof your Child
Cover of Homosexuality bibliography: supplement


Cover of AIDS: The American Roads of Denial
Cover of The Aids Plague
Cover of The AIDS time bomb
  • AIDS: The American Roads of Denial by Richard Carper
    • Call number: RC607.A26 C27 1990 in SCARC only 
    • Published in 1990. Positive depiction of homosexuality. First hand account of man who was living with AIDS. He discusses the stereotype of it being a "homosexual disease," and how that affected him as someone who received it from intravenous drug use. The book details his own story including his walk from Medford, Oregon to Washington, D.C. in order to raise awareness and educate people about AIDS. 
  • The AIDS Plague by Dr. James McKeever
    • Call Number: RC607 .A26 M234 1986 in SCARC only
    • Published in 1986. Neutral depiction of homosexuality. From a fundamentalist physician. Combines AIDS information and education with religious aspects from Christianity. Does not blame "homosexuality" but rather all deviant sexual behavior outside of marriage. 
  • The AIDS Time Bomb: vaccination related disease and other important health topics imperative for good health and longevity (Second Edition) by John West 
    • Call Number: RM235.5 .W47 1994 in SCARC only
    • Published in 1994. Neutral to negative depictions of homosexuality. Ascribes vaccines as the main cause of AIDS infection and utilizes microzymian theory. Directed at medical practitioners.