This is a guest post by Meg Metcalf, women’s, gender and LGBTQ+ studies librarian in the Main Reading Room.
The collections of the Library of Congress tell the rich and diverse story of LGBTQ+ life in America and around the world. To share this story, the Library organized a three-day “pop-up” display from June 8 through 10 featuring selections from its extensive LGBTQ+ holdings. For a quick guided tour, check out the video below.
The materials on display highlighted the creativity, innovation and courage of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history and showcased the work of writers, performers, activists, public figures and service members through books, manuscripts, newspapers, recordings and ephemera. These voices preserve our American story and its international connections.
Materials on display included
- Primary and secondary sources featuring the inspirational lives of activists and community leaders, such as Frank Kameny, Lilli Vincenz, Bayard Rustin and Sylvia Rivera.
- The artistry of iconic cultural figures like Leonard Bernstein, Audre Lorde and Alvin Ailey. From the music of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” to Jonathan Larson’s lyric sketches for “Rent,” these iconic entertainers made their mark on American history.
- LGBTQ+ contributions to the fields of science, technology and business through the work of Sara Josephine Baker, Sally Ride and James Beard.
- The evolution of the printed word and LGBTQ+ publishing through book arts, primary source periodical materials and discoveries in the Library’s Walt Whitman Papers.
- Moving examples of oral histories of LGBTQ+ veterans from the Veterans History Project.
- International LGBTQ+ life through the words and artwork of artists and activists from such countries as Mexico, Armenia, Poland and the Philippines.
- Braille and talking books from the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
- Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt and a display including photographs of the AIDS Quilt Committee at the Library of Congress. June’s pop-up display marked the first time in 25 years that the Library of Congress AIDS Memorial Quilt panel was exhibited at the Library.
Download the full list of exhibit items here.