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Michigan State University

WS491 - Fall 2017 - Queer Literary Histories - Kristin Mahoney: What are vertical files?

Vertical file with contents

Vertical files

Vertical files are a way for libraries to organize items not cataloged individually, such as newspaper clippings, brochures, advertisements, or presentation handouts.

Special Collections has two extensive series of such material: the American Radicalism Vertical Files (ARVF) and the Popular Culture Vertical Files (PCVF).

Nearly 2000 topics are covered, with about 100 relating to LGBTQ issues. The vertical files are especially useful for local events and organizations.

You can identify these files with a keyword search. For example:

  • ARVF and gay
  • PCVF and lesbian
  • ARVF and transgender

Here are just a handful of LGBTQ topics in the vertical files:

  • Detroit Area Gay-Lesbian Council
  • Gay Pride Marches in Michigan
  • Lansing Women's Chorus
  • Michigan Lesbian/Gay Democratic Caucus
  • Michigan Organization for Human Rights
  • Michigan State University Lesbian/Gay Council
  • Statewide Lesbian Political Action Committee (1979)
  • Stonewall II Riot (New York, NY: Oct. 19, 1998)
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