LGBTQ+ alumni oral histories from Columbia’s Center for Oral History Research

Columbia statue with "gay dance" poster in lap
Cover of Pride of Lions, vol. 1, no. 1, April 1972

Jamie Beckenstein, Project Coordinator for LGBTQ+ Columbia Oral Histories, shared a few of the themes that emerged from interviewing Columbia alums for the Columbia LGBTQ Oral History Project: 

We were correct to assume that Columbia’s location in Manhattan allowed narrators potential access to public queer worlds, but the ways that the narrators choose to access these worlds were different than we guessed in our blueprint..What was most significant in terms of linking the interviews, however, were themes of community and its inverse, isolation. Narrators spoke with such great care and love about their mentors, their peers, and their friends. They were often in awe and pride of the people that they met during their Columbia years who led them into careers, relationships, and full and fulfilling lives.

You can read Jamie’s full post on the Columbia Center for Oral History’s website.

We expect to house the interviews completed thus far in the Columbia Center for Oral History Archives here in RBML. In the meantime, you can browse the finding aid for Columbia’s LGBT records 1961-1990. The collection consists of newspaper clippings, publications, correspondence, memos, meeting minutes, and promotional material related to the activities and interests of Columbia’s LGBT student groups. It also contains some syllabi, reading material on homosexuality, financial statements, surveys, and a few photographs.



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