This list highlights a number of resources in the Special Collections and Archives held at Oxford Brookes relating to LGBTQ+ histories. Please note that this list is a work in progress and more items will be added moving forward. If you know of material relating to LGBTQ+ histories in our collections which is not listed here please contact us.
To access the material mentioned here, please email Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the reference numbers associated with each listing.
Publishing in Africa Collection, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair
In 1996 the recently-formed Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) ran a stall at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, an acclaimed event that attracted publishers and writers from around the globe. The presence of GALZ caused great controversy in a country where homosexuality was - and still is - illegal.
For access to material in the Publishing in Africa collection relating to the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, please email Special Collections and quote the reference numbers PIA/2/3/5 and PIA/2/3/6.
Booker Prize Papers, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst as Prize Winner
In 2004, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst won the Booker Prize, making it the first winner with a gay protagonist. Media reaction to the victory was mixed, with certain newspapers condemning both the author’s and protagonist’s homosexuality, as well as the book’s commentary of Thatcherite Britain.
For access to material relating to the 2004 Booker Prize Papers, please contact Special Collections with the reference number BP/1/36.
Other Booker Prize winners with LGBTQ+ themes and/or authors include Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (2019 winner), Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (2020 winner), The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (2020 International Booker Prize winner) and The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka (2022 winner).
Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music
The Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music holds a rich array of material, including letters by, and photographs of, a number of LGBTQ+ Blues musicians such as Clara Smith, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Lucille Bogan. The collection also contains published books and biographies on LGBTQ+ jazz and blues artists. This includes the previously mentioned artists, as well as figures such as Josephine Baker, Billy Strayhorn, Alberta Hunter and Ethel Waters.
Books in the Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music are accessible in the Special Collections reading room and can be searched via LibrarySearch. Photographic and archive material is searchable via our archive catalogue.
Museum of Modern Art Collection
The Museum of Modern Art Collection houses a wide array of material, including the Exhibition Catalogues series. The Exhibition Catalogues cover the work of a wide range of artists, including exhibitions held by many LGBTQ+ artists, including Keith Haring, David Hockney, Robert Maplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg, Claude Cahun and more.
The MOMA Exhibition Catalogues are accessible in Zone C on Level 3 of the Headington library and can be searched via LibrarySearch.
Jan Pieńkowski was a Polish-born artist, who wrote, illustrated, designed, and sculpted. He met his partner, David Walser, early in his career, and they were together for four decades. Pieńkowski is most famous for illustrating the Meg and Mog series, part of which we hold in our collections. He also designed The Booker Prize trophy. Our Booker Prize archive contains letters to and from Pieńkowski in regards to this particular endeavour, including documents concerning the trophy’s design and production.
Edward Thompson autobiography
Edward Thompson was born in Surrey in 1917. Following a short period as an actor, a job he had to quit due to ill health, Thompson began his career in publishing in 1945 at Heinemann, the publishing house. He became the assistant to the Director of Heinemann Educational Books and was responsible for creating Heinemann's drama list. He joined organisations such as the Brighton Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), and later the Gay Community Organisation, becoming an important organiser and cultural figure in the LGBT+ community.
To access the draft of his unpublished autobiography held in our Special Collections, please email Special Collections and quote the reference number ET.