On Saturday, just hours after the historic vote in the New York Senate gave gay couples throughout the state the right to marry, I visited one of New York City’s hidden treasures of gay history, the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Park Slope. Tucked away in the middle of a block of brownstones, this library houses two floors of rare books, beautiful posters, old periodicals, and fascinating paraphernalia chronicling the entire printed history of thoughts by and about lesbians. I particular enjoyed perusing the 1980’s posters for gay rights rallies in the city and the stacks of lesbian pulp fiction.
I noticed two NYU Press titles from the 90’s in the stacks: Lesbian Texts and Contexts, a classic collection of lesbian literary theory, and Elizabeth Bowen, a survey of the work of the popular lesbian novelist.
If you’re interested in lesbian culture, gay history, or simply enjoy unique collections of cultural history, the Herstory Archives are a must-visit. The kind proprietors will give you a thorough tour, and you are guaranteed to learn something while you’re there.
And in preparation for your trip, find a copy of Leila Rupp’s Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women to put our modern history of lesbianism into a broader context.