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LGBTQI: Research Guide: Beinecke Rare Books Library

Library guide to assist with research in LGBTQI studies

Beinecke Sources

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has many printed and archival sources for research into LGBTQ history, literature and culture:

Includes the papers of writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas, Larry Kramer, Glenway Wescott and Monroe Wheeler, among many others.

Magazines & other Serials
Includes many significant and rare 20th century LGBTQ serials from the United States and Europe, including The Ladder, Die Freundschaft, Der Kreis/The Circle, Mattachine Review, and more.

Includes prose, poetry and dramatic literature relevant to LGBTQ themes, from the Marquis de Sade's 120 journées de Sodome to Lesbian pulp novels. Rare political and academic works are also present.

Digitized Material
Selected photographs, papers and printed items from the Beinecke's collections have been made available online.


The Beinecke holds a number of archival collections that deal with issues of sexuality and sexual identity. Guides to most of these collections are searchable in Archives at Yale.

Magazines & other Serials

The Beinecke holds one of the most complete collections of Gay and Lesbian serials in the world. Gathered by Knud Rame, a Danish bookseller and astrologer, the Rame collection contains more than 3400 issues of around 200 different titles, dating between 1906 and 1993. This extraordinarily expansive group of periodicals features items in English, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, and Japanese. The earliest item is a 1906 issue of Adolph Brand’s Der Eigene, often called the first true homosexual periodical. The collection advances up to the early 1990s with a run of Christopher Street.

This Rame collection can be divided roughly into one-half homophile movement; one-quarter entertainment/popular culture; and one-quarter pictorial/physique magazines. In addition to further issues of Der Eigene, highlights include a complete run of Menschenrecht/Der Kreis: (1938-1967), a complete run of The Ladder, published by The Daughters of Bilitis (1956-1972), and One Magazine (1953-1972), three seminal lesbian and gay rights movement magazines. Other significant titles and strengths include: Dorian Book Quarterly, Die Freundschaft, Gay Power, Die Insel, Man and Society, Pan, Physique Pictorial, Tangents, Vector, and Vennen. There are a number of specialized underground newsletters, many photostatted and copied, that are practically impossible to find in research libraries. Many of the issues from homophile movements include membership flyers, announcements and other pieces of ephemera.

See the: List of Gay & Lesbian Serials from the Rame Collection (PDF)

These titles are being cataloged in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog. For any titles that are not yet in Orbis, they can be found in the Beinecke Library’s Uncataloged Acquisitions Database.

You can also try searching Orbis for Keyword=LGBTQ + Quick Limits=Serials and Journals for more recently added serials:


Many authors represented by archival collections are present on Beinecke’s books shelves, as well. These authors can be searched by name in ORBIS. Authors who wrote on sexual and erotic themes respresented in Yale collections include the following:

Alibert, François Paul, 1873-
Genet, Jean, 1910-1986
Louÿs, Pierre, 1870-1925
Perceau, Louis, 1883-1942
Pia, Pascal
Sade, marquis de, 1740-1814.

In the realm of general materials relating to sexuality, there are sections of materials in Beinecke that cover a broad spectrum of topics. For example, there are collections of “Tijuana bibles”, sexually explicit cartoon books from the 1920s and 1930s. Search ORBIS for “Tijuana bibles” in KEYWORD; and search for “Tijuana” in Uncatalogued Acquisitions

A number of pulp books on female domination or “petticoat punishment” were added recently. Search ORBIS for the keyword “Mutrix” [the name of the publisher]

The call number Nqa contains a range of books about sexual behavior. Search for “Nqa” in ORBIS in “Call number (local)” for books at Beinecke and other libraries.

Digitized Material

Selected material from various collections at the Beinecke is online in the Beinecke Digital Library.

A few collections with significant amounts of digitized material include the Stein / Toklas collectionm the Carl Van Vechten collection, and the Lesbian pulp novel collection, among others.