Columbia University Archives: LGBT Student Groups

University Archives

Butler Library postcardColumbia University Archives
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Floor
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 854-3786
Fax: (212) 854-1365
E-mail: uarchives@columbia.edu

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Related Collections

Barnard College
The Barnard Archives and Special Collections serves as the final repository for the historical records of Barnard College, from its founding in 1889 to the present day. For more information, please contact archives@barnard.edu.

Health Sciences Library
The Archives and Special Collections at the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library of Columbia University can help you find information about the schools of the Medical Center: College of Physicians & Surgeons, School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine (formerly the School of Dental & Oral Surgery), Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. For more information, please contact hslarchives@columbia.edu.

LGBT student groups

How to find information about LGBT student groups at Columbia

Columbia LGBT records, 1961-1990.

To start your search on LGBT student groups, check out the Columbia LGBT records, 1961-1990. The collection consists of newspaper clippings, publications, correspondence, memos, meeting minutes, and promotional material related to the activities and interests of Columbia's LGBT student groups. It also contains some syllabi, reading material on homosexuality, financial statements, surveys, and a few photographs.

Finding Aids
Below you will find some additional archival collections and publications that are also relevant to the LGBT student groups on campus. To find the materials related to the your research project, you should conduct keyword searches on the finding aid. Look for the "View all" link on the left side navigation. This will allow you to see the full container list or  folder titles in the collections. Then "Find" (Ctrl +F) keywords in the container lists. We have suggested some words in the collection descriptions below (homophile, gay, lesbian, etc.) but don't forget to look for people's names as well.

For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website. If you have any questions about how to find materials or how to access materials, please contact uarchives@columbia.edu.

In order to use the University Archives collections at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), you will be required to register your own Special Collections Research Account before your visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request materials directly from the finding aid: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form.

  • Historical Subject Files
    An artificial collection of printed matter on various topics related to Columbia University. There are a number of LGBT related files in this collection. You can find the following in this collection:
    • Gay, Bisexual, and Lesbian Faculty, Staff, and Supporters at Columbia University,1990s (Box 143, folder 8)
    • Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Project,1990s (Box 214, folder 2)
    • Gay Students at Columbia, 1970s-2000s,undated (Box 224, folder 10-11)
    • Lesbian Bisexual Gay Coalition (LBGC), 1990s (Box 228, folder 4)
    • Lesbians and Gays at Teachers College (LGTC),1990s (Box 228, folder 5)
    • Student Homophile League, 1960s-2000s (Box 235, folder 11)
       
  • Central Files (Office of the President Records)
    An administrative collection of correspondence and reports emanating from the Office of the President. Here are some of the files you can find by searching on "homophile" and "gay" in the finding aid.
    • Student Homophile League files, 1967-1968 (Box 651, folder 19-21)
    • Gay Lounge, 1971-January 1972 (Box 690, folder 9)
    • Gay Lounge, February 1972-May 1972 (Box 690, folder 10)
    • General Alphabetical Gar-Gay, 1972-1973 - includes subjects of Gay Liberation demonstration; Gay People at Columbia ( Box 713, folder 6)
    • Gay Lounge, 1972-1973 (Box 713, folder 18)
    • General Alphabetical Ga-Gay, 1973-1974 (includes subjects: Gay People at Columbia) Box 734, folder 1
    • General Alphabetical Gar-, 1974-1975 (includes subjects: Gay People at Columbia) Box 754, folder 21
       
  • Office of the Provost Records
    These records include documentation on the administration, development, and history of departments, programs, research institutes and centers, schools, and academic services, from 1939 to 2006. Here are some of the items found by searching in the finding for "gay" and "homophile" in the finding aid:
    • Student Homophile League,1967 (Box 66, folder 17)
    • Gym--Family/Gay Memberships,1985 (Box 557, folder 18)
    • Gay Lounge, 1972-1973 (Box 243, folder 9)

In order to use the University Archives collections at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), you will be required to register your own Special Collections Research Account before your visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request materials directly from the finding aid: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form.

  • John D. Cannon papers 1900-1984
    The collection consists of correspondence, memos, publications, reports, press clippings, press releases, sermons and speeches retained by the Rev. John D. Cannon, University Chaplain at Columbia University, 1966-1969. In the course of his tenure at Columbia, Rev. Cannon was considered a new breed of clergyman, whose liberal politics and theology fostered a strong orientation toward progressive social action. In this regard, he was closely identified with many campus protest organizations. Rev. Cannon supported the creation of the Student Homophile League, now the Columbia Queer Alliance, protested the Vietnam War and racial inequality.

  • The Historical Photograph Collection is our largest collection of images and includes portraits of individuals (ca. 34,000 items), images of buildings and grounds (ca. 12,000 items), various university events, student activities and student life, athletics, academics, university symbols, university administration, and campus activity during WWI and WWII. Series XI: Student Activities and Student Life contains images of Columbia student clubs, fraternities, performing groups, publications and student traditions from the 1890s to the 1970s. Search the finding aid for keywords and you can find, for example, the Student Homophile League, ca. 1970s (Box 196)

  • Columbiana Manuscripts, 1572-1986
    This is an artificial collection comprised of correspondence, diaries, lecture notes, essays, administrative documents, minutes, and other documents related to Columbia University. Materials were created by or for students, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, and honorary degree recipients.

There are a number of publications which have been digitized and are now easily searchable online.

  • Columbia Daily Spectator
    You can search the issues of the student newspaper, either by date or by keyword, by visiting the Columbia Spectator Digital Archive. The paper provides articles, opinion pieces and even cartoons to give you a sense of the LGBT issues on campus during the publication's long run (1877 to the present).

  • Columbia University Record Archive
    Beginning as the University Record (September 1973-May 1975) and continuing to this day as the Columbia University Record (July 1975-present), this important university-wide publication, now scanned and fully searchable, is an incredibly rich resource of past Columbia activities, events, scientific research, trustee and faculty appointments, awards and honors, libraries news, departmental achievements, budget and financial reporting, faculty and staff updates, as well as containing informative profiles of campus personalities from 1973 to June 2016.

  • Blue and White Archive
    Columbia University's undergraduate magazine ran in the 1890s and was revived in the 1990s. You can access the digitized copies of  The Blue and White from 1998 to 2013. The University Archives has a mostly completely collection from 1890 to 1893, unfortunately in fragile condition. These older issues have now been digitized for preservation.

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About the images

Top - From a photo of four people walking up steps by Dodge Hall, three are holding signs: "Student Homophile League on Strike!"; "We Demand: Homosexual Studies Institute"; "NROTC Must Go! In Toto! Student Homophile Leage". March 25, 1969. (Scan 1990) Protest and Activism Collection. University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Right - Front page article about chartering of Student Homophile League at Columbia University, 3 May 1967 NY Times. (Scan 4158)  Historical Subject Files. University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.