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Michigan Organization for Human Rights Records, 1973-1994

13 linear feet (in 14 boxes) — 1 oversize folder — 232.4 GB (online)

A coalition of state and local human rights organizations, served as resource, lobbying and educational agent for organizations and individuals engaged in struggle to eliminate all forms of discrimination, gay and lesbian rights became an early focus of MOHR. Records document founding and administration of the organization and numerous, legislative lobbying efforts and other activities.

The records of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, measuring 10 linear feet, were donated to the library by M.O.H.R. in four accessions: May 1983, February and September 1994, and September 1998. The audio materials span the time period 1973 to 1980, while the manuscript materials cover the period from 1977 through the disbanding of the organization in Spring, 1994. The records are arranged in eight series: Administrative, Correspondence, Topical, Clippings, the Robert Lundy Papers (two series), Visual Materials, and Audio Materials. The series provide documentation of the founding, growth, and topical interests of a grassroots political and social organization, including the stresses involving fundraising and personality conflicts that occurred as M.O.H.R. experienced rapid growth during the late-1970s and early-1980s.

The two Robert Lundy series (1970-1995, 4 linear feet) were donated to the library in several accessions over a period of years. There is some overlap as each series contains files on legislation, files relating to his work with M.O.H.R., and topical files on issues organizations and events with which he was active in his capacity as M.O.H.R.'s legislation officer.


Same-Sex Affection and Gender Studies Photograph Collection, ca. 1850s-1940s

approximately 150 photographs

The Same-sex affection and gender studies photograph collection contains approximately 150 examples of photographs that illustrate closeness between subjects of the same sex as well as aspects of non-traditional gender presentation.

The collection includes photographic examples in multiple formats with real photo postcards, tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, and small format mounted photos being the most numerous. 145 images are contained in Box 1 of the collection while an additional 5 photographs on larger format card mounts are stored in Box 2. Images mainly consist of portraits of men posing familiarly with other men, women posing familiarly with other women, and portraits of groups and individuals engaged in cross-dressing. Due to the subjective nature of assessing these images combined with historical differences in what was considered socially acceptable displays of affection and the general lack of verifiable context, many of these photographs remain open to a variety of interpretations.

Numerous photographs show same-sex duos and larger groups holding hands, placing their hands on each other, leaning on each other, or demonstrating affection in some other observable way. Most subjects are unidentified, though occasionally individuals have been identified through the presence of inscriptions. In some cases, individuals pictured together have been confirmed to be relatives.

Numerous photographs of male and female individuals and groups engaged in cross-dressing are also present. In many instances, the cross-dressing most likely occurred for humorous reasons.

Examples of images of interest include:
  • Postcard showing two men embracing with the printed caption "We're looking for girls at Lansing, Mich."
  • Real photo postcard bearing a studio group portrait of two men, one of whom appears to have an unbuckled belt.
  • Cabinet card studio group portrait by Beardsley of Charlotte, Michigan, showing two men, one of whom holds a guitar, whose arms appear to align behind them in a manner that suggests they may have been holding hands.
  • Two different group portraits of the same female couple identified through inscriptions as "Agnes Davis" and "Anna Wickerham."
  • 1940s group portrait of four men included in a souvenir packet for “Swing Rendezvous,” a New York City-based lesbian/gay bar.
  • Real photo postcard bearing a portrait of an unidentified man wearing women's clothing, including a dress, flower-laden hat, and beaded necklace.
  • Postcard showing a man wearing women's clothing sat on a bench with the printed caption "The Male is late!"
  • Outdoor portrait of two women dressed in men's clothing captioned "A pair of Peaches."
  • Real photo postcard captioned "Four of a kind" showing two cross-dressed male-female couples sitting together, with the women sat in the men's laps.
  • Series of four images showing a woman posing in World War I-era soldier's uniform.