Thanks to the organizers of the #LGBTmedia18 Convening and the NLGJA 2018 Conference for inviting me to talk about the importance of archives and history to journalism and storytelling. Gathered here is a selection of inspiring examples, with a list of archival resources for those covering the LGBT community.

I will update this periodically. Feel free to send suggestions.


A number of publications and podcasts are spinning compelling relevant narratives from historical material, including:



"Timeline enriches our understanding of the present by telling stories of the past. Drawing on the best evidence, sources, and information available, we use the narratives of history to bring context to the news and issues of today. Through text, images, and video we change the way people think about now."


Overlooked (New York Times)

“Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of other remarkable people.”


The Washington Post has launched a new history blog, Retropolis, that will feature daily posts aimed at connecting present-day news with its rich history. Retropolis covers subjects including politics and government, African Americans, women, popular culture, sports and more.




RadioLab’s More Perfect

"Radiolab's first ever spin-off series, More Perfect, connects you to the decisions made inside the court's hallowed halls, and explains what those rulings mean for "we the people" who exist far from the bench. More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings."


The Memory Palace

“An excellent fusion of fact and personalization, this little gem offers up slices of (often offbeat) history to great emotional (and often melancholy) effect. Solid production values, excellent research and solid delivery make this a must listen.”


My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

Today's political debates, particularly on cable news, talk radio and blog comments can be limiting. In this podcast, Bruce Carlson applies as much history as possible to the politics of today.



"Where we ransack the official version of the Civil War, and take on the history you grew up with. We bring you untold stories about covert operations, corruption, resistance, mutiny, counterfeiting, antebellum drones, and so much more. And we connect these forgotten struggles to the political battlefield we’re living on right now."


The Bowery Boys

"New York City history is America's history. It's the hometown of the world, and most people know the city's familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it?"


Making Gay History

"Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews."


Mattachine: A Serialized Story in Gay History

Mattachine is a queer history podcast dedicated to overlooked stories from our past, told in a weekly, serialized format. #ResistanceHistory.



Arcus Foundation Media Library

A decade worth of professional digital photography and video. Register to request access, and then search and add to your cart. Convenings, marches,  sit-down interviews with advocates and members of the community. 


Digital Transgender Archive

Digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world. Based in Worcester, Massachusetts at the College of the Holy Cross, the DTA is an international collaboration among more than fifty colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, public libraries, and private collections. The DTA expands access to trans history for academics and independent researchers alike in order to foster education and dialog concerning trans history.


Storycorps OutLoud

launched in 2014 on the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Dedicated to documenting and sharing stories from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people from across the United States, OutLoud is an extension of our longstanding commitment to preserving LGBTQ stories in a time of profound change in social attitudes about sexuality and gender identity in our country.


"In the Life" Episode Archive

For two decades (1992-2012), In the Life, the first and longest-running national gay and lesbian series on American television, served as a primary news and information source for current social, political and legal issues facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community that received little to no attention by the mainstream media. 



Not just audiovisual. In fact... this vast trove deserves its own section!


Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. It's worth exploring. Try doing some searches and look at individual results but also collections that come up within the results. Doing so yielded the following:


The Pacifica Radio Archives

An extensive collection of programs on LGBT issues, including what they believe to be the first radio program to explicitly address the topic from 1958. That program and others are featured in this collection, whose preservation and access were coordinated between New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation graduate school program, the University of California, Berkeley Moffitt Library Media Resources Center, the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences and the Pacifica Radio Archives in the summer of 2009. 


Rainbow history project

Including the Friends Radio tape collection (1973 to 1982) and “One in Ten People” television show from the 1990s. 


Amazing old documentaries


Bay Area Reporter

Founded on on April 1, 1971, The Bay Area Reporter is a free weekly newspaper serving the LGBT communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of the largest-circulation LGBT newspapers in the United States, and the country's oldest continuously published newspaper of its kind.

ACCESSIBLE VIA Public or University LibrarY

Gale Archives of Sexuality & Gender

Students, educators, and researchers can now engage with a vast resource that connects them to rare and unique documentation of LGBTQ history through fully-searchable newsletters, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, organizational papers, correspondence, an international selection of posters, and other types of primary sources. Selection of materials for this milestone digital program is guided by an advisory board consisting of leading scholars and librarians in sexuality and gender studies.

  • Access via library login, such as New York Public Library

  • A good Slate article about this archive and its significance, by convening attendee Bryan Lowder


Alexander Street: LGBT Thought & Culture

An online resource hosting books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day. The collection illuminates the lives of lesbians, gays, transgender, and bisexual individuals and the community with content including selections from The National Archives in Kew, materials collected by activist and publisher Tracy Baim from the mid-1980s through the mid-2000s, the Magnus Hirschfeld and Harry Benjamin collections from the Kinsey Institute, periodicals such as En la Vida and BLACKlines, select rare works from notable LGBT publishers including Alyson Books and Cleis Press, as well as mainstream trade and university publishers.

  • HARD to gain access. No access via NYPL, BPL, SFPL


These museums and archives are generally open to researchers and could be well worth a field trip. Go visit!  And check their sites for limited digital galleries and samples from the full collections.

The LGBT Community Center National History Archive (New YORK CITY)

The LGBT Community Center National History Archive serves to preserve the history of our community and its rich heritage. Founded in 1990 by volunteer archivist Rich Wandel, the archive provides a look into the lives and experiences of LGBT people throughout the years. The Center Archive contains a wide range of media from as early as 1920, including photography, correspondence, news clippings, radio sound, video broadcasts, personal journals


NYPL Gay and Lesbian Collections & AIDS/HIV Collections (New York CITY)

The Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library holds over 100 collections pertaining to the history and culture of gay men and lesbians, and to the history of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Gay and lesbian history and AIDS history are not a single subject; however, because of their interrelationships, both types of collections are included in this guide.


Lesbian Herstory Archives (Brooklyn)

The Lesbian Herstory Archives is home to the world's largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. “Herstories: Audio/Visual Collections” contains digitized copies of some of the 3,000 oral history cassettes in the Archives' Spoken Word Collection and 950 videotapes in the Video Collection.


ONE Archives at USC Libraries (LOS ANGELES)

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries is the largest repository of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) materials in the world. Founded in 1952, ONE Archives currently houses over two million archival items including periodicals, books, film, video and audio recordings, photographs, artworks, organizational records, and personal papers. It is the mission of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries to collect, preserve, and make accessible LGBTQ historical materials while promoting new scholarship on and public awareness of queer histories.


Outfest UCLA Legacy Project for LGBT Moving Image Preservation (LOS ANGELES)

It is the largest publicly accessible collection of LGBTQ films in the world. Material available in the Legacy Project includes submitted and accepted festival entries, features and shorts, activist and experimental works, television programs, public service announcements, commercials, music videos and electronic press kits that provide a unique perspective on issues concerning gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and gender variant identities and experiences.


GLBT Historical Society (San Francisco)

The GLBT Historical Society collects, preserves, exhibits and makes accessible to the public materials and knowledge to support and promote understanding of LGBTQ history, culture and arts in all their diversity. Founded in 1985, we are recognized internationally as a leader in the field of LGBTQ public history. The GLBT Historical Society is a registered 501(c)3 educational nonprofit organization. 

  • Their Gayback Machine, archives of audio, interviews, and campy comedy from the '70s and '80s


Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Chicago)

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives believes that knowledge is the key to dispelling homophobia. A lesbian and gay library, archives, and cultural center, Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is dedicated to meeting the information needs of its unique community in a safe atmosphere that promotes research, exploration, and discovery.
    Hosting various programs and events that support its beliefs that knowledge is the key to dispelling homophobia and that affirming information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons is critical to fostering pride and self confidence, Gerber/Hart Library and Archives seeks to not only preserve and protect items of LGBT individuals and organizations, but to be a conduit for change.


The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (Toronto)

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives was established to aid in the recovery and preservation of our histories. Its mandate is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium, by and about LGBTQ2+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada; and to maintain a research library, international research files, and an international collection of LGBTQ2+ periodicals.



The Kinsey Institute Collections in Bloomington, Indiana, encompass print materials, film and video, fine art, artifacts, photography, and archives from across the sexuality and gender spectrum. The Institute has collected publications, objects, art, and data from six continents. Its holding span more than 2,000 years of human history, and run the gamut of technologies—from ink on paper, to microforms and CD-ROMs.

  • Some collections are available digitally through the hard to access Alexander Street archive


The Chris Gonzalez Library & Archives (Indianapolis)

The Gonzalez Community Library currently has over 10,000 individual titles. The Library & Archives contain items of interest to the community (i.e., back issues of LGBT publications, video tapes of local LGBT events, t-shirt, memorabilia, photos, art work).

  • Posted archive of local Indianapolis gay men’s magazine
    The Works


Tucson Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Museum

The Tucson Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender Queer LGBTQ Museum is dedicated to all those of the Tucson Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender Queer LGBTQ Community that have come before, are here now, and will take our places in the future of Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.


A reporter is an archivist too! When you meet someone with a good story, a good memory, or a good packrat instinct, see what they have to add to the record. Or do an oral history with them. Everything above — everything we know — was recorded and preserved and catalogued by someone. 


NATional Endowment for the humanities

The NEH Division of Preservation and Access supports the creation of Web-based resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, descriptive catalogs, and digital archives. The challenge is to preserve diverse formats of materials that are threatened by factors inherent in their physical structures or by the environments in which they are housed, and to create a level of intellectual control sufficient to enable users to find and use the materials relevant to them. Grant areas include:

  • The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR). Thousands of libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, art and material culture, and digital objects. Funding from this program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.

  • The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between NEH and the Library of Congress to create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963, from all the states and U.S. territories. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and will be freely accessible via the Internet.

  • Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections.

  • Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants aim to help institutions expand efforts to preserve and create access to outstanding humanities materials. Eligible activities include the documentation of cultural heritage materials that are lost or imperiled; the preservation and conservation of humanities materials; the purchase of equipment and software; the design, purchase, construction, restoration, or renovation of facilities needed for humanities activities; and collections sharing. Programs that involve collaboration among multiple institutions are eligible as well, but one institution must serve as the lead agent and formal applicant of record.


The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives

The NHPRC supports projects that promote the preservation and use of historical records collections to broaden understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.

  • Access to Historic Records: Major Initiatives: seeks projects that will significantly improve public discovery and use of major historical records collections. Projects may: Digitize historical records collections, or related collections, held by a single institution and make them freely available online; Create new freely-available virtual collections drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions; Provide access to born-digital records; Create new tools and methods for users to access records.

  • Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects seeks projects that ensure online public discovery and use of historical records collections. All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images. Projects may preserve and process historical records to digitize historical records collections and make them freely available online. The NHPRC encourages organizations to actively engage the public in the work of the project.

  • Public Engagement with Historical Records program seeks projects that encourage public engagement with historical records, including the development of new tools that enable people to engage online. The NHPRC is looking for projects that create models and technologies that other institutions can freely adopt. In general, collaborations among archivists, documentary editors, historians, educators, and/or community-based individuals are more likely to create a competitive proposal.

  • Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions program seeks proposals to publish documentary editions of historical records. Projects may ... cover broad historical movements in politics, social reform, business, military, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience. The goal of this program is to provide access to, and editorial context for, the historical documents and records that tell the American story.


Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR)

Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Enabling New Scholarship through Increasing Access to Unique Materials is a national grant competition administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for digitizing rare and unique content in collecting institutions. The program is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 


Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR)

Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Enabling New Scholarship through Increasing Access to Unique Materials is a national grant competition administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for digitizing rare and unique content in collecting institutions. The program is generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Contact : matt at matt dellinger dot com