April 23, 2014: Like most parts of the United States, Missouri has long been home to a thriving—if largely hidden—LGBT population. Yet, it has been only recently that formal attempts have been made to capture and preserve that history.
Efforts in Missouri's three largest cities—St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield—have yielded not only a wide-ranging trove of remarkable historic value but also distinct approaches to building these archival collections.
At the Midwest Archives Conference to be held in Kansas City, MO April 24-26, representatives from each repository will discuss their techniques for reaching these communities, what they’ve been able to collect, and how they make it available to their users. From arrests of pre-twentieth-century female impersonators to Hollywood film stars speaking out against hate to magazines published by rural lesbian separatists, these collections run the gamut of Missouri’s LGBT history and are as varied as the state in which they were created.
Perhaps most importantly, these materials meaningfully enhance and purposefully augment the long-standing coastal orientation of American LGBT history.