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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

LGBTQ Collections: Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections Relating to LGBTQ topics

Williams Nichols Collection

Approximately 100 linear feet of manuscripts, memorabilia and ephemera collected primarily by Louisville activist David Williams. David Williams began collecting in 1982 and in 2001 donated the Williams Nichols Collection to the University of Louisville. He continues to add materials on a monthly basis. The collection emphasizes regional movements and organizations based in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee, including Community Health Trust, Fairness Campaign, Gays and Lesbians United for Equality, Dignity-Louisville, LAMBDA Louisville, and Louisville P-FLAG. It is particularly strong on topics such as AIDS, but also includes anti-gay diatribes and material issued under the guise of research data.  The collection also includes files on court cases such as Dorr v. First Kentucky National Corp. and Pedriera vs. Kentucky Baptist Homes. Ephemeral material includes protest banners and posters, fund raising materials, matchbook covers, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. The collection also includes runs of pioneering gay and lesbian publications One Magazine, The Mattachine Review, The Ladder, and Vector, as well as feminist publications such as Sojourner.

More detailed information is available in the Williams Nichols Collection finding aid

The Laundry Book

“The Laundry Book,” a 1920s compilation of holograph and typescript essays, poems and watercolors created by members of a London literary group self-styled The Launderers who were active in London around 1924-1934. The account, written and assembled by Joanna Giles, gives playful insight into an artistic community of young people, their work, drug use, and other aspects of their lives between the World Wars, including allusions to homosexual relationships and potential prosecution.  The Laundry Book is profusely illustrated with dozens of postcards, letters, photographs, original drawings, and press cuttings. Contributors in addition to Joanna Giles include writer Brain Hill, writer Laura Pendred, painter Kathleen Stenning, writer Mary Gigs, Gilbert Beith, writer Naomi Jacob, painter Colin Gill, actress Joan Garstin, writer Antonia White and Tony Earnshaw-Smith. For more information, see the University Libraries catalog record for the book.

VOICES of Kentuckiana records

VOICES of Kentuckiana is an inclusive community chorus based in Louisville, Kentucky. Formed in 1994, VOICES is part of the wider gay and lesbian liberation movement and provides opportunities for gays, lesbians and supportive others to perform music that is meaningful to their community. Source: VOICES of Kentuckiana homepage (

The records of VOICES of Kentuckiana date to the earliest days of the chorus, in 1994, and include administrative information such as correspondence, meeting minutes and newsletters, as well as documentation of performances, including recordings and programs. This collection also includes memorabilia such as T-shirts, Frisbees, and bracelets.

More detailed information is available in the Voices of Kentuckiana Records finding aid.

Fairness Campaign records

Records of the Fairness Campaign include materials documenting efforts to pass the Fairness ordinance and other efforts related to justice for LGBTQ people. The collection includes committee meeting records, PAC records, questionnaires of political candidates, and discrimination/harassment incident reports; records of political actions including events and campaigns, lobbying records, and letter writing campaigns/petitions; correspondence and public relations including publications, media advertising, press releases, signage, and ephemera; photographs of a wide variety of social events, political rallies, and demonstrations; and research/reference files including surveys and analysis reports, information about associated and opposition organizations, and news clippings. More detailed information is available in the Fairness Campaign Records finding aid.