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LGBTQ+ History Research at the Archives & Library of the Ohio History Connection

Collection Information and Access

Below is a list of archival collections related to LGBTQ+ history, life, and experiences available for research in the Archives & Library at the Ohio History Connection. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a starting point for research. Collections may include correspondence, personal papers, photographs, video/audio recordings, publications, and more. All collections listed are linked to the Archives Online Collections Catalog for more information. Digitized materials from GOHI collections are available on Ohio Memory. Oral histories are available at GOHI.org.

For questions related to archival collections, please contact Library Services at reference@ohiohistory.org or (614) 297-2011.


GOHI Starter Kits

New to GOHI and not sure where to start? Check out one of our starter kits below to get started!

Pride

Interested in Pride events? Before you dive in, head to our History Blog to learn about the origins of Pride. Pride is one of the most visually documented topics in the GOHI collections. Try a search on Ohio Memory to check out some of the photographs we have digitized. 

MSS 1150 Stonewall Union Records

AV 183 Flaggots Ohio, LLC Collection

AV 276 Lynn Greer Collection

Photo shows a large crowd marching through downtown Columbus with rainbow flags held high.

 

Politics and Protest

Most GOHI collections do include some politics or protest, as unfortunately LGBTQ+ identities are politicized. However the collections below display a larger focus on the political actions of the community. You can also explore Ohio Memory for a selection of the political items we have digitized, or check out this blog post from Ohio activist Julia Applegate (Julia is also featured in the oral history collection.)

MSS 1150 Stonewall Union Records

MSS 1301 AV Columbus Free Press Collection

VFM 6373 Franklin County Marriage Checklist

AV 276 Lynn Greer Collection

Oral history with Charmaine McGuffey

 

Drag

The art of drag is centuries old and means something different to each person who performs. To learn more about this art form in Ohio check out the collections below. You can also see a selection of Dolly Divine's costume pieces on Ohio Memory.

AV 306 David Zimmer photograph collection

MSS 1419 H.I.S. Kings records

Julia Applegate and Luster Singleton of H.I.S. Kings are also featured in the oral history collection.

Photograph shows a handful of items from the H.I.S. Kings Collection.

 

Community

When the rest of the world turns away, LGBTQ+ people have always found each other. Community means chosen families, safe spaces, and long standing institutions. You can check out the History Blog to learn how Midwestern queer folks have used GOHI to find community in modern times or read about Michael O'Brien's Not Ready For Prime Time Bowling League (NRFPTBL), founded in 1978.

SC 5775 Columbus Eagle Bar staff

MSS 1669 AV Michael O'Brien Collection

MSS 898 Ohio State University Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records 

MSS 1533 Robert Berger Collection 

 

Military

Despite discrimination and official policy, LGBTQ+ Ohioans did (and still do) serve in our nation's armed forces. In fact, David Zimmer began his drag performance as a way to entertain his friends during his military service. Learn more through the collections below.

AV 306 David Zimmer photograph collection

VFM 6328 Christina Goddard Graves papers

Our oral history collection includes conversations with Christina Goddard Graves, Joshua Hoffman, Jennifer Isenstadt, and Stephen Snyder-Hill

Image depicts David Zimmer performing in drag during his Korean War service.

 

Faith Organizations

The GOHI collections are not currently strong in representing faith organizations in the LGBTQ+ community, however the resources below may assist in your research.

MSS 1469 First Baptist Church of Granville Collection 

Oral history with Luster Singleton

Black and white image depicts a young man holding a sign reading "The Lord is my Shepard and he knows I'm gay."

 

First Hand Accounts

When documenting the history of the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to seek out first hand accounts, as other accounts of the same story may be discriminatory. Many GOHI collections contain personal accounts, but the collections below focus more specifically on this format.

AV 199 GLBT Life in Central Ohio Panel Discussions 

GOHI Oral Histories

                Static image shows page with six video links.

 

Earlier Years

GOHI is striving to better document the LGBTQ+ community in the pre-Stonewall era. This time period can be very hard to document, and requires a closer look at collections OHC has held for a very long time. If you come across a collection you believe should be categorized as LGBTQ+ related, please contact us at gohi@ohiohistory.org.

MSS 1669 AV Betty Eicher and Mary Parker Brown Papers

AV 298 Laura Cunningham photograph collection [read more here]

Image depicts Ned Ross, as caption says "as we knew her."