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CUGALA Purchases

With the funds generated by the CUGALA (Cornell University Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association) Library Endowment, the Library has been able to purchase the following items over the 99-00 academic year:

Chrystos. IN HER I AM. Vancouver: Press Gang, 1993. Poetry by a Native American lesbian author, with a long inscription by Chrystos including her lipstick trace!

Corinne, Tee, ed. THE POETRY OF SEX: LESBIANS WRITE THE EROTIC. Austin: Banned Books, 1992. Poetry by lesbians of many different backgrounds, with brief autobiographical notes by each, and an inscription by Corinne.

de Winters, Damon. AUNTIE BIGOT & HER FRIENDS. SF: Wild Horse Press, 1978. Cartoon book geared toward children, exposing anti-gay bigotry.

Dickson, Jan. CLARA & CONCHA IN A NURSING HOME ROMANCE. N. pl.: the author, 1977. Comic book lesbian nursing home romance!

DRAGAZINE. #1-10, 1991-97. A complete run of the wonderfully loony, slick drag zine. Preserving the history of some of the more outrageous parts of the lbgt community.

Griffin, Carolyn Welch, et al. BEYOND ACCEPTANCE: PARENTS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS TALK ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1986.

Hunter, B. Michael, ed. SOJOURNER: BLACK GAY VOICES IN THE AGE OF AIDS. NY: Other Countries, 1993.

Mecca, Tommi Avicolli. BETWEEN LITTLE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: THE NEW GAY/LESBIAN/BISEXUAL STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL POWER. Portland, OR: Williams, 1993. (gets the award for best title.)

Scoppettone, Sandra. HAPPY ENDINGS ARE ALL ALIKE. NY: Harper & Row, 1978. Important lesbian teen novel.

van Campe, Honey. THE DRAG QUEEN’S COOKBOOK & GUIDE TO SENSIBLE LIVING. New Orleans: Winter, 1996. A fun look at drag sensibility, in a big colorful book with lots of pictures!

They are now here for your research use, edification, and enjoyment. Come take a look at them! They will be in Olin Library or in the Human Sexuality Collection, 2B Kroch Library.

Contact: Brenda J. Marston, Curator, Human Sexuality Collection
ph: (607) 255-3530
fax: (607) 255-9524

Cornell Library Opens the Papers of Lesbian Writer Valerie Taylor

For Release: September 11, 1998

Ithaca, NY — The papers of well-known lesbian author Valerie Taylor, who died in 1997, have been donated to Cornell University Library’s Human Sexuality Collection and are being opened to the public on Sept. 22.

Born Sept. 7, 1913, in Aurora, Ill., Velma Tate published her first lesbian novel, Whisper Their Love, in 1957. She used the pen name Valerie Taylor, and came to be known widely by that name. Among her numerous classics published during the 1950s and 1960s were: The Girls in 3-BStranger on LesbosA World Without MenUnlike OthersThe Secret of the BayouJourney to Fulfillment, and Return to Lesbos.

Taylor continued to write novels and poetry into the 1990s. Her more recent books include Love ImagePrismRipening, and Rice and Beans. Her writing appears in numerous anthologies including Intricate Passions and The Poetry of Sex: Lesbians Write the Erotic. Although much of Taylor’s poetry is still unpublished, Two Women Revisited (published first in 1976) includes her poetry along with works by Jeannette H. Foster. Studs Terkel included an interview with Taylor in his 1995 book Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century By Those Who’ve Lived It.

An activist for peace and justice, Taylor was a co-founder of Mattachine Midwest in 1965 and of the Lesbian Writers’ Conference in Chicago in 1974. In 1992, she was inducted into the City of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. She moved to Tucson in 1978 and became active in a Quaker meeting, environmental activities, and advocacy for the elderly. For many years, she did public speaking as a gay Gray Panther.

Taylor was 84 years old when she died on October 22, 1997 in Tucson, Arizona. Her executor, artist and author Tee Corinne, decided to place Taylor’s papers with Cornell Library’s Human Sexuality Collection, an archival program that actively collects material documenting the history of sexual politics at a national level. Cornell provides researchers with access to primary sources about the emergence of the gay liberation movement in America and has a special collecting initiative to improve documentation of the lives, sexuality, and sexual politics of bisexual women and lesbians.

Taylor’s papers include drafts of her published and unpublished poetry and novels, and correspondence from publishers and fans. There are also letters and some unpublished manuscripts from friends and fellow authors, including poet Will Inman, Lee Lynch, Jeannette H. Foster, Jean Sirius, May Sarton, Tee Corinne, and Elsa Gidlow. Personal friend Marie Kuda has given the Library copies of her correspondence with Taylor, as well as additional articles and correspondence. The collection as a whole will allow researchers to study both this unique individual and the larger issues in her life, including the development of lesbian literature, small press publishing, and activism for peace, lesbian and gay rights, women’s rights, and social justice over a 40 year period.

Curator Brenda Marston is enthusiastic about this gift. “What a full picture the papers provide of a remarkable woman’s life — from her childhood through a marriage and divorce, motherhood, pioneering lesbian activism, a literary career, and finally, letters in the last years of her life from her many readers and fans, friends, publishers, and her grandchildren.” Marston says, “Looking through her papers, one gets an immediate sense of how active Valerie was and how engaged in life.”

Taylor’s papers will used at Cornell within an active teaching and research environment. Amy Villarejo, Cornell assistant professor of Women’s Studies, has studied the expressions of incipient gay and lesbian activism evident in Valerie Taylor’s early works and in other mass market paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s. Villarejo observes that, “Taylor’s papers are a window on that transition from hidden longings to loud protest, and they will prompt us to reconsider the conception of ‘progress’ that is seen to be inaugurated in 1969 with Stonewall.”

Now fully processed, Valerie Taylor’s papers are available in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, housed in the Carl A. Kroch Library on the Cornell University campus. The Division is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. A collection guide to assist researchers will be available in the reference room and also on the web site of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

On Tuesday, Sept, 22, Marston and archivist Patrizia Sione will officially open the collection. People interested in Valerie Taylor, especially those who may like to use her papers for their own research or teaching, are invited to the opening reception at 4:30 p.m., in the lecture room of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, on the bottom level of Carl A. Kroch Library.

Contact: Brenda J. Marston, Curator, Human Sexuality Collection
ph: (607) 255-3530
fax: (607) 255-9524

Collection Highlights