5 recommended library resources for LGBT+ History Month

February has seen the celebration of LGBT+ History Month in the UK and you may have enjoyed one of the many fantastic events put on by the University’s Staff Pride Network or the University’s Students’ Association. LGBT+ History Month may be near the end but I wanted to highlight just some of the library resources available to staff and students of the University that will allow you to study and research LGBT+ history further.

1. Books, journals, articles, etc.

The Main Library is co-hosting a ‘micro-exhibition’ with student groups Project Myopia and LiberatEd with a pop-up book display on the ground floor this week. A LGBT+ History Month Resource List has also been put together to highlight the wide range of LGBT+ books available at the University Library. This is just a selection of titles available at the Library and you can use DiscoverEd to find more.

You can also use DiscoverEd to search for and find a large range of journal articles and journals on LGBT+ related research. Or you can go further in your research by using some of the bibliographic databases the Library has access to that will allow you to search for journal articles, abstracts, book reviews, book chapters, reports and proceedings, etc.

2. What to watch?

You can use some of the Library’s moving image and video streaming databases to search for and view films, documentaries, news programmes, interviews, plays, TV programmes, etc.Academic Video Online is a multidisciplinary collection of videos that allows you to analyse unique and valuable content from over 500 producers and distributors around the world. With 1000s of videos already available on the site, around 400 new titles are added to the site every month. The site is easy to search and browse but why not start by looking at all the videos grouped under the subject area LGBT Studies, which includes documentaries, films, interviews and more.

Alternatively, why not try Box of Broadcasts (BoB), where you can view or listen to previously recorded TV or radio programmes from over 60 stations, you can also record programmes yourself, create clips and create playlists. From documentaries such as Queer as Art, Prejudice and Pride: The People’s History of LGBTQ Britain, Stonewall Uprising, Queerama, I’m Coming Out or Young, Trans and Looking for Love to films such as Milk, Breakfast on Pluto, Carol, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Beautiful Thing, The Danish Girl, Happy Together or Cabaret (and they are just a small number of the programmes available, search BoB for more).

3. What did the papers say?

The Library subscribes to a large number of online newspaper archives that will allow you to see what events were being reported on at the time and how they were being reported. Read full text articles, compare how different newspapers were covering the same issues and stories, track coverage of relevant news stories.

From 29 June 1969 issue of New York Times. From ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

You can search individual titles, such as the New York TimesThe Times, The Guardian and The Observer, The Scotsman, The Washington Post or cross-search a large range of titles, such as British Library Newspapers (that covers both local and national papers) or UK Press Online (which covers popular or tabloid press).

All online newspaper archives available via the Library can be accessed from the Newspapers & Magazines database list and magazines (or periodicals) can also be a rich resource for historical research. Why not try searching American Periodicals, British Periodicals or an individual title’s archive, such as The Vogue Archive to see how magazines were talking about and reporting on LGBT+ rights and issues.

Want to look at more recent coverage LGBT+ issues and stories? The Library also subscribes to databases, such as Factiva and Nexis UK, that allow you to search and access the full text of a large number of UK and international newspapers from around the 1980s up to date. You can access these, the databases mentioned above and many other newspaper archives and magazine archives from Newspaper & Magazines Databases.

4. What do the archives tell us?

Primary sources reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer and they enable you to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period. Primary sources can include diaries, correspondence, historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, newspaper and magazine articles, statistical data, speeches, audio and video recordings, art objects, etc.

Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters

Drag. N.d. Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters from Archives Unbound.

This collection of periodicals from Archives Unbound focuses on newsletters issued by gay and lesbian political and social activist organizations throughout the United States and on periodicals devoted to gay and lesbian political and social activist agendas – the “public” face of gay and lesbian activism. In addition, this collection includes serial literature on its “private” face, exploring the challenges and complexities of building gay and lesbian communities inside and outside of a “straight” world, the need for psychological reinforcement through support groups in an effort combat an often hostile environment, and the yearning for spiritual confirmation of one’s identity and life choices. The collection is sourced from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) Historical Society in San Francisco and covers the years 1947-2004.

The above database is just one of 265 primary source collections available to you via Archives Unbound. It presents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents covering a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to 20th century political history.

Also within Archives Unbound you may want to look at:

  • Homophile Movement: Papers of Donald Stewart Lucas, 1941-1976
  • In Response to the the AIDS Crisis
  • Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin and the Daughters of Bilitis
  • Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin: Beyond the Daughters of Bilitis

As Archives Unbound covers such a vast range of subjects and collections, searching through the whole database will provide material perhaps from some surprising areas (so it’s very worthwhile doing this).

You can access Archives Unbound and a large number of other primary source databases covering various different time periods and events via the Primary Source database list.

5. In the University Library’s own archives

The University of Edinburgh holds world class collections, including rare books, archives and manuscripts, art, historical musical instruments and museum objects.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) on the 6th floor of the Main Library is your gateway into these unique collections and through them you can access the University’s BLOGS (Bisexual, Lesbian, or Gay Society) archives from November 1973 to June 1999. The collection of papers include the society’s constitution, yearly registration forms, grant applications, information sheets, and corresepondences to and from EUSA.

Take Care Campaign postcard. LHSA Ref: GD22

The Lothian Health Services Archives (LHSA) are also part of the University’s collections. LHSA holds 11 individual collections, covering the period 1983-2010, which chart the unprecedented rise of HIV/AIDS in Edinburgh and Lothian.  They document the medical and social responses to the disease at a local level combining the records of the NHS, local government, charities and campaign groups; and demonstrate the external approach subsequently taken to tackle the disease across the region. These important collections were added to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) UK Memory of the World Register in May 2011.
Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS Collections.

I did just quick surface level delve to see what we might hold on this theme. If you are interested in finding more material we might hold then take a look at the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) website which gives information on how to find material in their collections or go and speak to staff at the CRC enquiry desk on the 6th floor, Main Library (alternatively you can find their email and phone number on their website).

Access to online library databases and journals are only available to current students and members of staff at the University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for School of Social and Political Science

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