From the Archives: New LGBTQ+ History Collections
Posted June 3, 2024

By Wendy Korwin, Archives Services Manager

How long has the Ohio History Connection been collecting, preserving and sharing LGBTQ+ history? It might be longer than you think! The Gay Ohio History Initiative (adorable acronym: GOHI) was launched in 2005. That's right, we're old enough to vote.

GOHI's efforts touch many areas of our organization, from roadside historic markers to our research library. Below, learn more about three recent additions to the GOHI collection. These papers and photographs can all be accessed in our Archives & Library, and you can discover much, much more through our LGBTQ+ research guide.

What’s the collection?

Therese Frare Photograph Collection, AV 466

What’s unique about it?

The New York-based HIV/AIDS group ACT UP declared January 23, 1991 as a nationwide Day of Desperation. Frare's photographs document the scene outside the offices of the Columbus Dispatch, where activists gathered to protest what they saw as the paper’s limited and biased coverage of the AIDS crisis.

What else should you know?

Frare was a graduate student at Ohio University when she took these photographs. Her images of David Kirby with his family, credited with “changing the face of AIDS,” had been published in LIFE Magazine just two months earlier.

What's the collection?

Tim W. Brown Papers, MSS 8826

What’s unique about it?

Brown was the first openly gay member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He represented District 3, located in northeast Ohio, from 2012-2016. His collection includes speeches Brown gave about Ohio's heartbeat bill, medical marijuana and other topics, and two public statements he released about legalizing same-sex marriage.

What else should you know?

Our museum collections also contain several artifacts from Brown, including his state representative name tag. These will be available for researchers to see soon, once we move them into our brand-new Collections Care Center!

What’s the collection?

Deborah Kuzawa Collection, MSS 8820

What’s cool about it?

Deb Kuzawa is a burlesque performer who organized events like LadyFest Ohio, which showcased female and queer musicians and other performers. Her collection includes fliers and promotion for LadyFest as well as her own show, “Ginger’s Mystery Box.”

What else should you know?

Deb’s collection came to our attention through work on the Summit Station historical marker. Deb recorded an oral history interview where she discusses the bar, being a performer and queer culture in Columbus in the early 2000s. Watch her interview here, and learn about a new documentary being created about Summit Station here!

Black and white photograph of activist speaking into a bullhorn in a leather jacked with ACT UP pins

Therese Frare Photograph Collection, AV466. Copyright Therese Frare.

Black and white photograph of a white man in a suit and tie

Tim W. Brown Papers, MSS 8826 AV

Color advertisement for Ginger's Birthday Mystery Box featuring a woman in a cardboard box

Deborah Kuzawa Collection, MSS 8820

Have something you'd like to donate to the GOHI collection? Reach out to us at [email protected]!

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