Rhode Island LGBTQ+ Community Archive
A home for the histories of RI's LGBTQ+ communities where all can learn, reflect and engage.
RI LGBTQ+ Community Archive at PPL is a community archives initiative to collect and provide access to the current and past stories of LGBTQ+ people in Rhode Island. We are focused on ensuring the preservation of materials chronicling the social, cultural & political history of RI LGBTQ+ people and organizations.
We strive to develop collections & resources that reflect the full range of the lived experiences of Rhode Island's LGBTQ+ communities. We especially aim to reflect key perspectives on the issues and experiences of those who have been historically marginalized in mainstream LGBTQ+ movements including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, disabled, trans and gender non-binary, economically disenfranchised, and otherwise marginalized people.
We do this by:
- Collecting, preserving & providing access to publications, archival materials, oral histories & ephemera that document Rhode Island LGBTQ+ history.
- Offering free consulting services for records management and preservation to individuals, activists and organizations within the community.
- Maintaining a research guide to & working with other related local historical collections and community resources for researchers.
Donate Items to the Archive
You can donate materials to the RI LGBTQ+ Community Archives. In fact, we need and want donations - that's how the archives grows and serves the community!
The things you have sitting in a desk drawer or boxes in storage may be the only evidence that an event happened or of a person who left an impact. There is so little available to the public about the lives of LGBTQ+ people that adding your things to the archive can enrich that history. Some things that we collect include: Photographs, Audio-Visual recordings, Personal papers such as diaries or correspondence, Ephemera such as flyers, event tickets, stickers or buttons, Organizational records, and more.
If you have materials you think might be helpful to add to the archives, the best way to start that process is to contact us.
Visit the Archive
We love to have people visit! The RI LGBTQ+ Community Archives is housed in the PPL Special Collections. You can visit as an individual to view materials in the collections and to do research. We can also accommodate group tours and small classes. Please contact us for more information.
Learn more about RI LGBTQ+ history in our Incomplete Timeline of RI LGBTQ History.
Queer StoRIes Project
The RI LGBTQ+ Community Archives at Providence Public Library is collecting oral histories about LGBTQ+ life in Rhode Island as told by those who lived it. Listen to past interviews online. Let us know whose story needs to be told! Nominate yourself or somebody else to be included in our oral history project. We will follow up with them about participating in our Queer StoRIes oral history project.
Community Advisory Board
We are guided in this work through deep collaboration with an Advisory Board that is composed of members from within the Rhode Island LGBTQ+ community and PPL Collections staff who provide guidance in crucial decision-making on issues related to collecting, access and outreach.
- Tai Bacani, SAGE RI, Actress & RI, MA Realtor
- Rodney Davis, President of RI Pride
- Jodi Glass, Au.D & Community Activist
- Jesús Hernandez, Assistant Director of Engaged Scholarship, Swearer Center, Brown University
- Bret Jacob, Providence LGBTQIA+ Liaison and Deputy Director of Policy
- Matthew Lawrence, Arts writer & event curator
- Jazz Lee Johnson, Artist, Editor, Curator and Scholar
- Joe Pari, Co-founder & Executive Director of TEN31 Productions
- Virginia Thomas, Assistant Professor of Art History and Women's and Gender Studies at Providence College
- Volta Tran, Trans Health Education and Policy Specialist at Thundermist Health Center
- Mikel Wadewitz, Director of Partnerships at Project Weber/RENEW