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Gittings-Lahusen
archives to be housed at N.Y. Public Library

Gittings-Lahusen
archives to be housed at N.Y. Public Library

Pioneering LGBT activist Barbara Gittings's archive of letters, photos, manuscripts, and publications will be held and preserved by the New York Public Library. The materials were donated by Gittings and her partner, photojournalist Kay Tobin Lahusen. Gittings died in February.

In addition to personal papers, the collection includes fliers, T-shirts, buttons, press clippings, and sound and video recordings.

Gittings is well known for founding the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national organization for lesbians. She also edited the group's publication, The Ladder.

"The collection donated by Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen is a remarkable firsthand chronicle detailing the battles of gays and lesbians to overcome the prejudice and restrictions that were prevalent prior to the activism and protest movements that started in the 1960s," NYPL president Paul LeClerc said in a statement. "It also provides an invaluable view of an era of dynamic change in which new ideas flourished and new freedoms were gained in all corners of society."

The archive also features a collection of Lahusen's photographs, documenting demonstrations of gay activism, early picketing, parades, political campaigns, and cover photos for The Ladder.

The collection will remain at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Other historical collections housed by the library include the International Gay Information Center Archives and the records of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP/NY. (The Advocate)

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