Bryn Mawr College’s Special Collections Department has extensive collections of rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, and art and artifacts from many time periods and most parts of the world. Listed below are the major holdings that will support research for the Making Public Queer History course.
PUBLICATIONS. The Special Collections Department has good runs of a number of important feminist and lesbian magazines and newsletters from the 1970s & 1980s:
Amazon Quarterly, 1972-1975. A lesbian-feminist arts journal.
Conditions, 1977-1985. Women's literary magazine, with emphasis on lesbian writers.
Heresies: a feminist publication on art and politics, 1977-1981
Off our backs: a women's news journal, 1970-2008
Women: a journal of liberation, 1972-1981
Bryn Mawr College News, 1983 - The College News was reestablished in 1983 as a publication focused on feminist and lesbian issues.
Archives & Manuscripts
Judith Masur Collection. Judith Masur, Bryn Mawr Class of 1965, is a lesbian activist, artist and writer based in the San Francisco area. Her collection includes a large number of brochures, pamphlets, and ephemeral publications relating to LGBT activities and organizations since the late 1960s.
Mary Meigs Papers. Meigs, Bryn Mawr Class of 1939, wrote about lesbian life in her autobiographical novels Lily Briscoe (1981) and The Medusa Head (1983). Her papers include her journals from the late 1970s and 1980s, and correspondence with poet Barbara Deming, with whom she had a long term relationship beginning in the 1950s.
M. Carey Thomas Papers. Thomas's personal papers include the journal she kept while a student at the Howland School and Cornell University, and her letters to friends during those years discussing her romantic relationships with women students. The papers also include her voluminous correspondence with her friend and partner Mary Garrett.
PA NOW Records. The records of the Pennsylvania affiliate of the National Organization for Women includes files on the group's work on behalf of lesbian rights.
There are also a large number of collections of letters and diaries written by students at Bryn Mawr from the 1890s through the 1930s, many of which discuss romantic relationships among the students. The Mary Whitall Worthington Diary includes a number of entries about crushes, and similar references can be found in many other collections.
The College Archives also holds old volumes of the Backsmoker Diaries, a running commentary by students in Debigh beginning in the 1970s. The volumes from the late 1980s include extensive references to lesbian relationships.