Reading Gay Culture at the Lesbian Herstory Archives

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.

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