A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
This collection supports the research needs of MSU faculty, students, and visiting scholars interested in the interdisciplinary aspects of gender and sexuality studies.
Collecting controversial material pertaining to gender and sexuality studies, such as sexually explicit content, is supported as a method for using primary source material in order to document historical shifts in the social construction of sexual and gender identities.
Special Collections is committed to collect material representing the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, and to aid in its preservation, discoverability, and accessibility.
B. History of the Collection
Special Collections began collecting material from the post-Stonewall "Gay Liberation Movement" in the early 1970s, and as a response to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front student group on campus.
During this time period the collection took steps to document several local and regional movements. Such as the Detroit Gay Liberator newspaper, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, activities on the MSU campus such as the Everywoman Weekends that featured speakers, performers, and workshops for the lesbian community. Many of the posters, schedules, leaflets, and ephemera collected meant to complement the American Radicalism Collection which followed several social movements of the 1970s.
In the 1980s-1990s, the focus shifted to include issues of diversity within MSU. In order to ensure that LGBT people were included in the discussion and policy making of the University, a task force was formed to examine the climate for LGBT faculty, students and staff. 1992, saw the publication of Moving Forward, a university-wide Gay and Lesbian task force report supported by the Office of the Provost. Thus, the MSU Libraries responded with a commitment to build and expand upon the existing LGBT materials housed in Special Collections. Some of the material collected during this time included rare books, popular culture, and archival materials. The timeline reflected in the collection also expanded to include the 1950s rise of the homophile movement, pulp fiction, periodicals, and comic books.