Finding aid of the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Collection

Loni Shibuyama
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007
Phone: (213) 741-0094
Fax: (213) 741-0220
Email: askone@onearchives.org
URL: http://www.onearchives.org
© 2008
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Collection

Collection number: Coll2008-069

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Loni Shibuyama
Date Completed:
December 17, 2008
Encoded by:
Loni Shibuyama
© 2008 ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen collection
Dates: 1962-2007
Collection number: Coll2008-069
Creator: Gittings, Barbara, 1932-2007
Creator: Lahusen, Kay Tobin, 1932-
Collection Size: 1.1 linear feet. (3 archive cartons).
Repository: ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: News clippings, journal articles, pamphlets, flyers, printed materials from activist organizations, a videocassette and a DVD, relating to pioneering lesbian activists Barbara Gittings and her partner of 46 years, Kay Tobin Lahusen. Active from the 1960s, Gittings marched in the first gay rights demonstrations at the White House, Pentagon and Independence Hall; she worked with Frank Kameny to persuade the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders; and she headed the Gay Task Force of the American Library Association from 1971 to 1986. The collection contains articles by and about Gittings and Lahusen; subject files covering a variety of topics, such as religion, mental health and education; and printed material from several activist organizations, including the Gay Task Force of the ALA, the Homophile Action League, the Mattachine Society, the Gay Activist Alliance and the National Gay Task Force.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

Preferred Citation

Box #, folder #, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Collection , Coll2008-069, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Kay Tobin Lahusen, 2007.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, December 17, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Biography

Barbara Gittings was born on July 31, 1932, in Vienna, Austria, where her father was stationed as a United States diplomat. Returning to the U.S., the family eventually settled in Wilmington, Delaware. She entered Northwestern University and soon came out as a lesbian. She left Northwestern after her freshman year, settled in Philadelphia and supported herself with clerical jobs.
In 1958 she began her long career as a gay rights advocate when she founded the first East Coast chapter of Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) and later edited its national lesbian magazine, The Ladder, from 1963 - 1966. It was around this time when Gittings met the woman who would be her partner for 46 years, Kay Tobin Lahusen. In the mid-1960s, Gittings marched in the first gay demonstrations at the White House, Pentagon and Independence Hall. During the 1970s, Gittings became a charter member of the boards of directors for both the National Gay Task Force (1973) and the Gay Rights National Lobby (1976). At this time, she was also active in the American Psychiatric Association, running gay exhibits at APA conferences and working with prominent gay rights activist Dr. Frank Kameny to persuade the Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Though she is not a librarian, Gittings became involved in the Gay Task Force of the American Library Association, the first gay caucus in a professional association. From 1971 to 1986, she headed the group and campaigned to get positive gay and lesbian materials into libraries and out to users and to end discrimination against gay library workers and patrons. In 2003, the ALA awarded her with a lifetime honorary membership.
Kay Tobin Lahusen is a photojournalist, writer and activist who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1932. She later moved to Boston, where she worked in the reference library of the Christian Science Monitor.
Her life as a gay rights activist began in 1961 when she joined the Daughters of Bilitis, where she met the woman who would become her life partner, Barbara Gittings. Soon after, she moved to Philadelphia to live with Gittings. During the mid-1960s, Lahusen marched in the earliest picket lines for gay rights, and in 1970, she became one of the founding members of the Gay Activists Alliance in New York. She also worked in the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, wrote for the newspaper, Gay, and was active in the Gay Task Force of the American Library Association. In 1972, she co-authored a book of biographies of gay activists, The Gay Crusaders (1972).
Throughout their lives, Gittings and Lahusen continued to advocate for gay rights causes. Their 46-year partnership ended on February 18, 2007 when Gittings died of breast cancer at the age of 74 at their home in Pennsylvania.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Collection contains news clippings, journal articles, flyers, pamphlets, a DVD videodisc, a VHS videocassette, and other materials related to Gittings and Lahusen's activities in the gay and lesbian liberation movement. The collection is divided into two series: (1) Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Personal Materials, and (2) Organizational and Subject Files. The bulk of the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Personal Materials series consists of photocopies of their personal papers, including articles and speeches written by them; other materials include correspondence, and news clippings referencing them. The Organizational and Subject Files series contains news clippings, journal articles, a VHS videotape, a DVD videodisc, and other materials related to Gittings' work on the Gay Task Force of the American Library Association; advocacy on behalf of prominent gay rights activist Frank Kameny; public outreach and education on gay and lesbian issues; and participation in a number of gay rights organizations. The series also includes subject files on such topics as mental health and psychiatry, university education, employment discrimination, families, and religion.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Gittings, Barbara, 1932-2007
Lahusen, Kay Tobin, 1932-
Gay activists--United States--History
Gay and lesbian rights
Gay liberation movement
Gays--Civil rights
Lesbian activists
Lesbians--Civil rights

Related Material

Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers and Photographs, Archives and Manuscripts Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Separated Material

The following publications have been separated from the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen collection and entered into the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives' database:
Tobin, Kay and Randy Wicker. The Gay Crusaders. New York: Paperback Library, 1972.
The Advocate
Armed Forces Informer
Capitol Hill: The Newsletter of the Gay Rights National Lobby
Central Michigan Gayzette
Come Out! A Newspaper By and For the Gay Community
Concern: Newsletter of the Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile
Connexion: UMHE
Daughters of Bilitis / New York Newsletter
Daughters of Bilitis Philadelphia Chapter Newsletter
Dorian Collumns: Dorian Society of Seattle
Eastern Mattachine Magazine
Focus: Orange County
Gay Academic Union Journal: Gai Saber
The Gay Alternative
The Gay Blade
Gay Vue
Gayzette: The Weekly Philadelphia Gayzette
Homophile Action League Newsletter
Homosexual Counseling Journal: The Quarterly Journal of the Homosexual Community Counseling Center
Interchange: National Gay Student Center
The Ladder
Mattachine Midwest Newsletter
Metropolitan Community Church: Community News Calendar
Mother
Motive
New Gay Life
New York Mattachine Newsletter
On the Line: The Newsletter of the Gay Rights National Lobby
One: The Homosexual Viewpoint
One-to-One: A Lesbian / Feminist Journal of Communication
Our Community
The Phoenix: Midwest Homophile Voice
Pursuit & Symposium
Wicce: A Lesbian / Feminist Newspaper

Series Descriptions and Container List

Box: 1 : 1 - 10

Series 1.  Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Personal Materials 1966-2007

Physical Description: 0.2 linear foot.

Series Scope and Content

This series consists of news clippings, correspondence, flyers, programs, typescripts, and other materials by or directly referencing Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen. The bulk of this material consists of photocopies of their personal papers, including articles and speeches written by Gittings and Lahusen, as well as programs from Gittings' memorial service.
Box 1 : 1 - 8

Barbara Gittings 1966 - 2007

Box 1 : 1

Biographical information 1994 - 2006

Box 1 : 2

Correspondence 1967 - 1974

Box 1 : 3

Flyers and programs circa 1975 - 2006

Box 1 : 4

Interviews 1981 - 2006

Box 1 : 5

Memorial service programs 2007

Box 1 : 6

Writings and speeches by Barbara Gittings 1966 - 1990

Box 1 : 7 - 8

Kay Tobin Lahusen 1970 - 2002

Box 1 : 7

Biographical information date unknown

Box 1 : 8

Articles by Kay Tobin Lahusen 1970 - 2002

Box 1 : 9 - 10

News clippings referencing Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen 1969 - 2007

Physical Description: 2 folders.
Box: 1 : 11 - 39 ; 2 : 1 - 28 ; 3 : 1 - 3

Series 2.  Organizational and Subject Files 1962-2007

Physical Description: 0.9 linear foot.

Series Scope and Content

This series consists of news clippings, journal articles, bibliographies, flyers, pamphlets, a VHS videocassette, a DVD videodisc, and other materials related in particular to Gittings' activities in various organizations in the gay and lesbian liberation movement, including the American Library Association's Gay Task Force, the National Gay Task Force, the Homophile Action League, as well as a number of other organizations and activist causes. The series also includes subject files on such topics as religion, university education, family, legal matters, police harassment, and mental health and psychiatry.
Box 1 : 11

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 1967 - 1975

Box 1 : 12

American Library Association Gay Task Force 1970 - 1988

Box 1 : 13

Atlanta, City of. Proclamation: Gay Pride Day June 26, 1976

Box 1 : 14

Bibliographies, book reviews and press material 1967 - 2004

Box 1 : 15

Cartoons 1974 - 1978

Box 1 : 16

Committee to Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals from the Armed Forces 1967 - 1969

Box 1 : 17

Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) 1965 - 1974

Box 1 : 18

Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) 1965 - 1970

Box 1 : 19

Dignity 1971 - 1974

Box 1 : 20

Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations 1967 - 1970

Box 1 : 21

Employment discrimination 1964 - 1975

Box 1 : 22

Essays on Homosexuality, No. 1 and 4 circa 1969 - 1970

Box 1 : 23 - 24 ; 3 : 2 - 3

Film, video and media 1967 - 2005

Box 1 : 23

General 1967 - 2003

Box 1 : 24 ; 3 : 2 - 3

Gay Pioneers 2004

Physical Description: 1 press kit + 1 videocassette (VHS) + 1 videodisc (DVD).
Box 1 : 25

Frank, Barney, State Representative for Ward 5 date unknown

Box 1 : 26

Gay Academic Union (GAU) 1975

Box 1 : 27

Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) 1970 - 1973

Box 1 : 28

Gay Alliance Toward Equality date unknown

Box 1 : 29

Gay Community Pamphlets, Vol. 1, No. 1 and 3 1975

Box 1 : 30

Gay Community Services Center date unknown

Box 1 : 31

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) 1970 - 1972

Box 1 : 32

Gay Nurses' Alliance circa 1979

Box 1 : 33

Gay pride festivals and parade flyers 1970 - 1973

Box 1 : 34

Gay Support and Action Group 1974 - 1975

Box 1 : 35

Homophile Action League 1969 - 1971

Box 1 : 36

Janus Society date unknown

Box 1 : 37

Fryer, John E., MD memorial photograph 2003

Box 1 : 38

Kameny, Frank 1969 - 1971

Box 1 : 39

Karlsson, Gene, Open Letter from 1965

Box 2 : 1

Legislation and legal issues 1968 - 1975

Box 2 : 2 - 4

Mattachine Society 1962 - 1969

Box 2 : 2

Mattachine Society of New York 1965

Box 2 : 3

Mattachine Society of Philadelphia 1965

Box 2 : 4

Mattachine Society of Washington 1962 - 1969

Box 2 : 5

Mental health and psychiatry 1964 - 1975

Box 2 : 6

Minnesota Council for the Church and the Homophile 1970 - 1971

Box 2 : 7

National Committee for Sexual Civil Liberties date unknown

Box 2 : 8

National Gay Mobilizing Center date unknown

Box 2 : 9

National Gay Task Force 1969 - 1980

Box 2 : 10

National Institute of Mental Health Task Force on Homosexuality: Final Report and Background Papers 1972

Box 2 : 11

National Organization for Women 1975

Box 2 : 12

North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO) 1968 - 1969

Box 2 : 13

Parents, children and families 1973 - 1980

Box 2 : 14

People's Party flyer 1972

Box 2 : 15

Philadelphia Gay Movement Conference April 5 - 7, 1974

Box 2 : 16

Police harassment and entrapment circa 1971 - 1980

Box 2 : 17

Queens Liberation Front circa 1971

Box 2 : 18

Religion 1966 - 1976

Box 2 : 19

Society of Individual Rights (SIR) date unknown

Box 2 : 20

Stonewall Chorale program February 9, 1985

Box 2 : 21

Teachers, students and education 1970 - 1976

Box 2 : 22

Tretter (Jean-Nickolaus) Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies 2003 - 2006

Box 2 : 23 - 25

Universities 1965 - 1976

Box 2 : 23

Columbia University Student Homophile League 1967 - 1969

Box 2 : 24

"Gays on Campus," edited by J. Lee Lehmen of the National Gay Student Center for the United States National Student Association 1975

Box 2 : 25

University course descriptions, student papers and educational outreach 1965 - 1976

Box 2 : 26

West Side Discussion Group 1967

Box 2 : 27

Women 1969 - 1974

Box 2 : 28

Leaflets and pamphlets circa 1965 - 1980

Box 3 : 1

News clippings 1964 - 2006