LGBT history exhibition to tour eastern, midwest,
and southern states
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
February 7, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- The San Francisco Public Library
is taking one its most popular exhibitions to the road.
Out at the Library, an archived collection of gay history by
the library's James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, has been
packaged for a tour of the country's eastern, Midwest and southern
"This is very exciting," said the exhibit's curator,
Barbara Levine. "There aren't many exhibits like this in
the country. This is very important for people to see.''
The exhibit coincides with the Hormel Center's tenth anniversary,
and was funded entirely by $250,000 in donations. San Francisco
Curator Catherine King said the exhibit was the most successful
of the library's many projects in fundraising and public reaction.
"Hopefully, this experience could lead to more exhibits
traveling in the future," said King. "We're hoping more
people will become aware of our
While the exhibit is bound to receive a warm welcome when it
begins its journey at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Community Center in New York City, its reception in cities like
Atlanta and Dallas could be chillier.
But Levine doesn't expect too much controversy to brew.
"Hopefully there will be some healthy dialogue," said
"Controversy? We can't really know until we get there.''
While the exhibit is national in scope, archivists with the Hormel
Center have focused on northern California artifacts like an appointment
book and hand-edited draft of a speech by Harvey Milk, San Francisco's
first openly gay supervisor.
The original artifacts won't be making the cross-country trip.
Archivists compiled panels with photographs and accompanying
histories that could be easily packed and shipped. The original
materials will stay with the Hormel Center where the general public
can access its contents with the help of an archivist.
Other highlights include leather boots worn by Dr. Mary Edwards
Walker, the U.S. Army's first female surgeon, who also happened
to be a cross dresser. Volume six of Der Eigene, an early 20th
century periodical advocating sexual relationships between men
and boys has also been included.
The exhibit also includes original pulp paperbacks like "Warped
Desire," "Odd Girl Out" and "The Gay Year,"
along with early correspondence between prominent gay authors.
Out at the Library is scheduled to travel until June 2007, and
curators have not decided if the exhibit will have a permanent
home in San Francisco.
Other tour stops include Minneapolis, Swarthmore, Pa., and Provincetown,
Mass., where the exhibition will coincide with the one-year anniversary
of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision to overrule a law
banning gay marriage.
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