Starting in 2005, LGBT History Month has been celebrated in the UK each February. For many in the LGBTQ community, it is a dedicated opportunity to reflect on and raise awareness of their history and heritage. Here at the Sackler Library we marked the beginning of 2018’s LGBT History Month (and launch of the Sackler’s blog) with Helen Worrell’s LIKE @ SAC! post focusing on R. B. Parkinson’s A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World, published by the British Museum in 2013 as part of the effort to increase access to LGBTQ-related objects in the museum’s collections.
To follow on from this post, and to continue marking LGBT History Month, Sackler Readers Services staff have put together a Sackler book display showing some of the LGBTQ-related works held by the library. Entitled LGBT History Month at the Sackler, the display brings together, from across the Library, a selection of publications with an emphasis on the long history of LGBTQ people, communities and themes, and their representation through word and image.
The aims of the display are twofold. Firstly, we hope it will provide a chance for readers to encounter a theme they may not have explored in depth before and to reflect on LGBTQ representation in the library space, visual culture, and the wider world. In addition, we hope to raise awareness of the diversity of the Sackler’s collections and how many different aspects of the collection can be read with, or against, each other in interesting or new ways.
As well as being visually striking, the items on display are intended to be picked up and read too. Readers may wish to start with the National Trust’s book Prejudice & Pride: Celebrating LGBTQ heritage, as its inside cover features an introductory timeline of key moments in legal and literary LGBTQ history.
From there, the display can be explored chronologically through books on, for example, homosexuality and society in the ancient and medieval worlds. Alternatively, the display can be read thematically, as it showcases many different aspects of LGBTQ life past and present, such as desire, censorship and misunderstanding.
Anyone looking for a broad overview of the LGBTQ theme in the visual arts can turn to Gay and Lesbian Studies in Art History. There are also books on Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio, and how they and their works have been interpreted over time, as well as publications on 20th century American artists such as Charles Demuth, Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe.
LGBTQ responses to and influences on architecture and shared spaces, such as library space, are also represented in the display, for example through the article “Locating the Library as Place among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer Patrons” by Paulette Rothbauer, open on the table and ready to read. This also serves as a reminder that many journal articles and book chapters explore LGBTQ themes in the visual arts and can be found using SOLO or other bibliographic databases such as Art Full Text (accessible via SOLO or OxLip+).
We hope LGBT History Month at the Sackler highlights a new way of thinking about and engaging with our collections, by a broad theme rather than narrow historical period, school of art, or medium. Look for the display opposite the Ground Floor Circulation Desk, next to the Self-Issue Machine, in the perfect place for readers to stop by on their way in or out of the library. The display itself will run until the end of LGBT History Month, but the list of books on display will remain accessible after that via this blog post.
We welcome (and encourage) suggestions for future book displays.
Graduate Trainee Librarian
Betsky, A., 1997. Queer space: architecture and same-sex desire, New York.
Boehringer, S., 2007. L’homosexualité féminine dans l’antiquité grecque et romaine, Paris.
Cook, M. & Oram, A., 2017. Prejudice & pride: celebrating LGBTQ heritage, Warrington.
Davidson, J. N., 2007. The Greeks and Greek love: a radical reappraisal of homosexuality in ancient Greece, London
Davis, W., 1994. Gay and lesbian studies in art history, New York.
Dover, K. J., 1978. Greek homosexuality, London.
Parkinson, R. B., 2103. A little gay history: desire and diversity across the world, London.
Mapplethorpe, R., Martineau, P., & Salvesen, B., 2016. Robert Mapplethorpe: the photographs, Los Angeles.
Mapplethorpe, R., Terpak, F., Brunnick, M., Smith, P., & Weinberg, J., 2016. Robert Mapplethorpe: the archive, Los Angeles.
Meyer, R., 2003. Outlaw representation: censorship & homosexuality in twentieth-century American art, Boston.
Mills, R., 2015. Seeing sodomy in the Middle Ages, Chicago.
Rorato, L., 2014. Caravaggio in film and literature: popular culture’s appropriation of a baroque genius, London.
Rothbauer, P. Locating the library as place among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer patrons, in eds. Buschman, J., & Leckie, G. J., 2007. The library as place: history, community, and culture, Westport; London.
Spike, J. T., Brown, D. A., Joannides, P., De Groft, A. H., Rogers, M., & Bisogniero, C., 2015. Leonardo da Vinci and the idea of beauty, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Warhol, A., Feldman, F., & Defendi, C., 2003. Andy Warhol prints: a catalogue raisonné: 1962-1987, New York.
Weinberg, J., 1993. Speaking for vice: homosexuality in the art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the first American avant-garde, New Haven; London.
Weinberg, J., 2004. Male desire: the homoerotic in American art, New York.
Williams, C. A., 1999. Roman homosexuality: ideologies of masculinity in classical antiquity, New York; Oxford.