Although the Library of Congress buildings remain closed to the public during the early months of 2021, its collections can still be a great resource during this time. While working from home, the staff of the Music Division’s Acquisitions & Processing Section has undertaken several surveys of our holdings, one of which focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) creators and artists within the Library of Congress’s performing arts special collections. The artistic community has always had many LGBTQ+ members, and this survey is a resource that highlights the lives and accomplishments of these artists.
Nearly 25% of the Library of Congress’s performing arts special collections, or 119 as of early 2021, include a connection to the LGBTQ+ community. Of these collections, 38 were created by or focus directly on LGBTQ+ individuals, while remaining 81 collections include various materials by or about these artists, including music by and correspondence with members of the LGBTQ+ community. This survey also emphasizes connections between and within our collections: familiar names like Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, for instance, appear throughout many of the collections, showcasing the interconnectedness of the performing arts world.
While well-known artists were and are certainly important, this survey also emphasizes that we have a wealth of information in our collections pertaining to other less prominent LGBTQ+ musicians, dancers, playwrights, and creators. Here are a few such names that you might not already be familiar with.
Direct to Complete Survey: LGBTQ+ Artists Represented in the Performing Arts Special Collections in the Library of Congress Music Division
50 pages; PDF.