Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers by Robert Giard

Collection History

Gays and lesbians in the United States began to mobilize politically in the 1950s with the founding of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in California. This activist impulse spread nationwide, but did not reach critical mass until the late 1960s due to the influence of the African American civil rights, feminist, and anti-war student movements. In the wake of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed in New York City by an alliance of both veteran and youth activists. GAA, along with the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and Lesbian Feminist activists, made major transformations in the politics of sexuality and gender in the United States.

Among the many activist groups that worked to archive this history was the International Gay Information Center (IGIC), which grew out of the History Committee of GAA. The IGIC archives operated as a community-based repository until 1988, when the organization's directors gave the collection to The New York Public Library. The IGIC archives, along with other archives and collections subsequently donated to the Library, such as the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers and Photographs, comprehensively document the gay and lesbian civil rights struggles in New York since the 1950s and have made NYPL one of the most important archives of LGBT history in the United States.

During the 1980s-90s, activists in New York City drew upon the tactics of these earlier LGBT organizations to face the challenge of the AIDS crisis. They renewed these strategies in order to fight social stigma, demand treatment and support for people with HIV/AIDS, and create positive strategies to prevent the spread of the disease. Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP were among the most pivotal of these pioneering organizations. Building upon these growing strengths in LGBT history, the Library expanded its focus to document the history of HIV/AIDS activism in New York City, collecting the archives of major organizations, activists, and artists connected with this social movement.

Related Resources

1969: The Year of Gay Liberation <http://legacy.www.nypl.org/research/chss/1969/>

Carter, David. Stonewall: the Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

Clendinen, Dudley. Out for Good: the Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Crimp, Douglas. AIDS Demo Graphics. Seattle: Bay Press, 1990.

Duberman, Martin B. Stonewall. New York: Dutton, 1993.

Eisenbach, David. Gay Power: An American Revolution. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006.

Gould, Deborah. Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight against AIDS. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2009.

Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS epidemic. New York: St Martin's Griffin, 2007.

Collection Data

Description
Robert Giard (1939-2002) was a self-taught photographer of landscapes and nudes, but it is for his portraiture that he is now best known. After seeing Larry Kramer's 1985 play The Normal Heart, Giard set about to photograph gay and lesbian writers and activists. Against the backdrop of the escalating AIDS crisis and growing public hysteria, Giard sought out those from whom he derived strength and inspiration. The resulting archive includes significant figures from before the Stonewall era to his own contemporaries, and each image highlights the individuality of its subject. Aptly titled Particular Voices, Giard's photographs form a collective portrait, while resisting homogenizing or simplifying the gay and lesbian community. The New York Public Library began acquiring these portraits in 1990, adding to its already significant holdings of LGBTQ materials. MIT Press published a selection of these portraits in 1997, and the following year the New York Public Library mounted Particular Voices: Robert Giard's Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, an exhibition of 110 prints from this collection.
Names
Giard, Robert (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1997
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection
Topics
Authors
Gay men
Lesbians
Gays
Genres
Photographs
Portraits
Physical Description
Gelatin silver prints
Type of Resource
Still image
Identifiers
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 7e148210-c63e-012f-5a52-58d385a7bc34
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4 results found for: 1937