This is one of my working timelines of LGBTQAI+ activity centered in the Northampton area. ALL THE STORIES REPRESENTED ON THIS TIMELINE I HOPE TO SHARE IN THE FUTURE. It functions as a rough (well this one is REALLY rough) outline for organizing my work and has gone through multiple drafts. I compiled these several decades of timelines in 2004 from my notes . Each timeline is also organized thematically. They can be laid side to side and carry over the decades. Each timeline fits within a larger Valley context. It is not complete nor definitive. AND this one runs out about the time marriage was legalized and Nhamp was about to celebrate its 350th b’day. I have a fantasy that someone(s) with Excel spreadsheet talent will transcribe it into a document, which, pie-in-the-sky, could become the basis for interactive content.
If you were part of this past activity please share that story. Show us a picture. Tell us here in comments or through the email contact tab above, or let me know where you can be contacted if I or a trained interviewer have questions. And here it gets ghostly problematic: See the notation “community electronically?” It means, starting in the early 2000s people and organized activity increasingly communicated through the internet and little of that activity, if any, has left a record!! Unless maybe over the last twenty years you saved it to a floppydisc/CD/memorycard/DVD/thumbdrive or copied some of it onto paper.
Do you have letters, T-shirts, buttons, photos, posters, newspaper clippings, meeting notes, recordings, zines, tattoo designs, piercing memoirs, musings on identity or transitioning, or any other items that document this history? If you are the administrator or member of an online lesbian/queer/trans group in the Valley please strategize how to create a record of your group for future (LGBTQAI+ or “just doing research :)”) historians. This might be copies of public event publicity and or a brief non-confidential summary of group activity, major changes or policy decisions. I have an on-paper bias, since I’ve struggled over the decades with rapidly changing technology, but the current plethora of personal copier/printer/scanners should make this pretty easy.
Please share them, as copies or as gifts to any of the many interested archives in the Valley or to this project. If there are items you can’t part with now, please make arrangements to have them given to an archive after your death. More information at end of this post.
If you are interested in this history as a student or researcher, please share here whatever you find: the stories regarding this place and activity, or the resources others can use to discover the stories; scans of documents, location of documents in archives, including periodical holdings, interview transcripts, articles or books.
As an independent scholar I have very limited access to the extensive literature now available through academic library database subscriptions, particularly scholarly accounts and interpretations of events that occurred here or elsewhere in the Valley. What are you finding that should be included in a queer Northampton bibliography? Where are these documents available?
Would you be interested in drafting a blog bibliography or source listing for researchers? More simply, as you read some of the posts are you finding broken links? Let me know. Please add your comments on the post or email me through the blog contact.
Archival resources. The Valley is rich in repositories, though none of them are as rich in resources as they need to be to house and process all possible collections. They range from small local historical societies and private collections to large concentrations of documents with regional and even global content. They each have particular focus and try to avoid duplication.
There has been a gradual change in attitude so that many now welcome some part of the LGBTQAI odd-by-any-other name history, whether as that of a citizen of a town, an alum of a college, as feminist or lesbian, or a political activist in Western Massachusetts. Mechanisms have been developed to preserve some privacy if you choose to donate your papers, though archives can’t keep the FBI out.
I am happy to talk with anyone about the options available or passing on documents donated to me . “A Guide to Donating Your Papers” from the Valley Women’s History Collaborative is a good introduction, though the list of archival resources is incomplete. http://vwhc.org/donor_guide.pdf
Archives interested in preserving this history;
__The Archive Project. POB 302 Hadley, MA 01035. (413) 585-0369. Contact Phil Gauthier, archivist. email@example.com. The Project doesn’t have a webpage. Hours by appointment only. Private collection of mostly Amherst-Northampton area gay records including local ACT UP and Queer Nation chapters, gay organizations and the Northampton Pride March. Includes some regional material as well.
__Sexual Minorities Archive in Holyoke.
__Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn.
__Special Collections and University Archives, Du Bois Library, UMass, Amherst. Western Massachusetts history to include LGBTQAI.
__Sophia Smith Collection as well as the College Archives, Smith College, Northampton. Women’s history globally to include Valley feminists and lesbians.
__Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges all preserve college group and alumni records.
__Your Local Town library, historical society/museum, or community college may also welcome LGBTQAI+ documents.