an effort to share the materials of the Lesbian Herstory
Archives with those who cannot travel to New York City, several
exhibits have been created that suggest the depth and breadth
of our holdings. Queer Covers,
Keepin’ On, and Audre
Lorde are traveling exhibits that have been shared with
communities through out the USA and Europe.
The most recent addition to the traveling exhibits is a donated
exhibit from ILGO, which is a brief history of the work of the
Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization.
Exhibits of Lesbian History and treasures continue to travel
out of the Archives
and onto the walls of community organizations around the world.
To request a traveling exhibit for your community, please
contact the Exhibit Coordinator:
By Mail: 484 14th Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11215
By Phone: 718-768-3953
By Fax: 718-778-4663
We ask that if you request an exhibit for a fee- based event,
that you pay us as you do for any other presentations.
Queer Covers: Lesbian Survival Literature
Curated by Morgan Gwenwald and Micki Trager
Queer Covers focuses on mainstream publishers and on those representatives of the classic lesbian pulps that were best known and most widely available from 1939 through 1965. The cover art in this exhibit represents only a small part of our collection of several hundred volumes. These covers can be seen as lesbian camp, or butch/fem icons.
The Archives also has many paperbacks from the early 60s
onward that are from porn publishers. These pulp novels with
lesbian content, discounted by the politically correct of
earlier days, had been tucked away under mattresses, in the
backs of bookcases, and secreted in boxes in the backs of
closets. Joan Nestle, one of the Archives' founders, called
these works "survival literature."
Although tame by today's standards of lesbian literature and erotica, these volumes were so threatening then that women hid them, burned them, and threw them out. At the same time, they were cherished and passed from woman to woman in the underground community. They helped form many a fledgling lesbian's idea of what life might be like for her..
These days every variety of sexual activity, described in great detail, is available from lesbian writers. Lesbian pulp was one of the starting points for these publishing movements and influenced many lesbian writers and publishers. Lesbian survival literature is one of the cornerstones and most-examined portions of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. We would be happy to receive contributions of your pulps when you are through with them... pass it on.
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