Key LGBT Material Now Online Through Culture in Transit

by Caroline Catchpole, Culutre In Transit Digitization Specialist

We are delighted to announce two new collections published on DCMNY from the LGBT Community Center National History Archive, an institution we worked with as part of the Culture in Transit project; the Bar Guides Collection and The Center Records Collection.

lgbt_bgc_01_p1.jpgThe 3 bar guides digitized are part of a wider collection The Center’s Archive holds of gay guides from the USA and worldwide. The ones represented in DCMNY are among the earliest guides held by The Center. Guides such as these assisted Gays and Lesbians, especially those visiting or new to an area, to find where they could meet and interact with other LGBT people. They are a record of where the community met, how the community was divided into subgroups, and often a good indication of where the majority of LGBT people lived at the time.

Today, these guides are an extremely rich resource for researchers and are some of the most heavily used items in their collections; they are a phenomenal resource.

The Center Records Collection is another rich resource of information. Comprised of newsletters and calendars of events, they provide information on The Center and community; groups that met at The Center, classes and services offered and information on the building of and expansion of The Center’s services. Represented in the digitized collection is a ten year period, 1985-1995. The Center was founded in 1983 so these newsletters showcase the Center’s work at an exciting time in it’s history as it was forming and working hard to become established.

It is abundantly evident through the Center Records Collection the success of The Center has its roots in the community. It was created as a community resource – built by the community for the community. Individuals who volunteered their time, money or resources to The Center were at its core, which is reflected in news items and appeals in the newsletters. In addition, the newsletters also served as a space to discuss important local and national events.

Culture in Transit is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


The image above comes from New York City Gay Scene Guide Vol. 1, No. 1.