Exploring the Carpenter Collection

The Mina Rees Library enjoys the support of an ongoing endowment from Ivor Kraft, a long-time member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies (founded in 1991 as the nation’s first university-based LGBTQ research center in the United States, located at The Graduate Center). Donated in 2000, Kraft’s generosity allows for yearly book purchasing in the field of LGBTQ Studies, and occasionally other purchases relating to streaming film/video.

The Library’s collection is thereby continually infused by the addition of new book titles with a queer focus, ranging across many subject areas and academic disciplines. For a few examples, in 2023 we were able to add the following titles to the shelves: Sacred Queer Stories: Ugandan LGBTQ+ Refugee Lives & the Bible; Queering Vocal Pedagogy: A Handbook for Teaching Trans and Genderqueer Singers and Fostering Gender-Affirming Spaces; Black and Queer on Campus; Queer Print in Europe. These various titles represent a tiny snapshot of the diversity among monographs recently added to the collection, addressing critical issues relating to gender, sexuality, and queer activist communities around the globe. The fundamental interdisciplinarity of LGBTQ Studies offers a unique expansiveness, allowing space for a queer perspective to emerge within many areas of study.

In 2022 and 2023, the Mina Rees Library established two consecutive years of LGBTQIA Consortium Fellowships, funded through an ongoing partnership with the LaGuardia Wagner Archives. Doctoral students in History, Anthropology, and Psychology engaged in project-based work relating to the CLAGS Research Archive: uploading material to Omeka, an archival display platform for digitized materials; creating a detailed inventory of print materials; researching historical context for educational initiatives within the organization over time.

We continue to be committed to the future of preserving queer history through the CUNY Digital History Archive, which includes a selection of digitized materials from CLAGS, such as letters, posters, Kessler lectures, calendars, and more. Similarly, the Library worked in 2019 to provide online access to CLAGS newsletters through the institutional repository, CUNY Academic Works. The newsletters include short essays and articles by scholars such as Susan Stryker, Paisley Currah, Barbara Smith, Cathy Cohen, and others, creating a vital record of an emerging field.

If you’re teaching or researching LGBTQ topics, we encourage you to check out our helpful Research Guide, which includes tips on how to navigate sources that may be spread across multiple platforms; make use of the circulating book collection; browse the catalog online for new titles; explore the archival materials available on the CUNY Digital History Archive, or other online repositories such as the Digital Transgender Archive. Please feel free to be in touch if you’d like to set up an appointment to discuss your research; we’re happy to help out.

About the Author

Elvis Bakaitis is currently the Head of Reference at the Mina Rees Library. They're also proud to serve on the University LGBTQ Council, and as a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies.