Expanding and Activating LGBTQ Community Archives in Small Urban Centers


Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships




Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center


The project expands holdings in small urban LGBTQ archives by building collections through work with community organizations, including organizations led by transgender people and people of color, and showcases the value of LGBTQ political history in small urban centers. Through collaboration with the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archives, the project explores how LGBTQ activists in eastern Pennsylvania drew upon the strategies of cosmopolitan radicals and diverged from them in order to address the specific challenges of our small urban center, surrounded by conservative rural communities. With an exhibition about the political work of LGBTQ activists from 1969-present and scholarly articles, the project shows how activists in small urban centers contribute to statewide and national progressive movements while modeling the value of scholarly work in community archives. The host organization for this project is Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center (Allentown, PA), which developed regional LGBT community archives in 2016 and continues to support archival expansion and exhibition to enhance knowledge of regional history. The project will help to integrate public humanities work into graduate programs at Lehigh University by creating more sustainable structures to support both faculty and graduate students’ community engagement and public scholarship.