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Guide to the Gay and Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection
 MSS 116 MSS 116

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Processed by: Theresa Smalec, 2002.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on February 11, 2014
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Gay and Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection is a part of the general special collections at the Fales Library, New York University. The Fales Library is the primary special collections division of the NYU libraries, housing over 200,000 volumes of English and American literature from 1700 to the present. Strengths of the collection include the development of the English and American novel, with an emphasis on the Gothic and the Victorian novel.

The Fales Library's collection of Gay and Lesbian pulp fiction spans four decades (1950s-1980s), and includes the works of several prominent gay and lesbian writers. Among these are Ann Bannon (The Marriage, 1960), Phil Andros (The Greek Way, 1972), and Jane Rule (Against The Season, 1975). The collection also includes titles from a very early period in American queer culture. Flora Fletcher's Whisper of Love (1955) and Andre Tellier's Twilight Men (1957) are two examples of the preliminary steps that America's gay and lesbian writers took in giving literary expression to "the love that dare not speak its name."

The list of publishing houses represented within the Fales collection includes Avon, Bantam, Bathhouse, Blueboy, Eros Goldstripe, Gay Parisian Press, Greenleaf, Lambda, Phenix, Spade Classics, Star Distributors, Surrey, and Traveler's Companion. This collection also includes some foreign publications.

As far as content goes, the Fales collection of gay and lesbian pulp fiction is rather extraordinary. The novels are set in a vast range of geographical areas and historical periods. Many narratives take place in diverse regions of the United States: the Eastern Seaboard, Deep South, Midwest, Texas-Mexico border, and West Coast. Others are set as far away as the oil fields of apartheid South Africa, villas of ancient Greece, Nazi work camps of Eastern Europe, and massage parlors of London. They depict the gay and lesbian lifestyles and/or experiences of ranchers, bikers, businessmen, college students, housewives, soldiers, policemen, movie stars, truck drivers, artists, criminals, teachers, prostitutes and hustlers, as well as a plethora of other actual occupations.

Authors in this collection do more than simply describe the regional specificities and landmarks of a particular locale. They also include vivid accounts of the social, political, and economic circumstances of a specific community. What is it like to live as a black man who desires other men in apartheid South Africa? What sorts of erotic and social-political bonds may exist between a Native American Indian and the white man attracted to him? What fantasies do gays and lesbians have about rape, incest, criminality, and other so-called "aberrations" of social norms? What limited role(s) do women play in gay and lesbian pulps novels of this period? These are just a few examples of the political issues explored by our writers. The authors also grapple with contemporary issues such as crime (including hate crimes), racism, homophobia and misogyny, fascism, as well as the personal/professional opportunities available to gays and lesbians in the second half of the 20th century.


The Gay and Lesbian Pulp Fiction collection at Fales came to us in three shipments, and we processed each shipment as a separate accretion. The first accretion consists of thirty-three boxes; these boxes are labeled as 1-33. The second accretion consists of five boxes; these boxes are labeled as 34-38. The third accretion consists of seven boxes; these boxes are labeled as 38-44.

Within each accretion, the gay and lesbian pulp fiction is organized alphabetically, by series title. For example, the first box in the first accretion contains novels published under the following series names: "Academy Press," "Adams Gay Reader," "Adonis Classic," "Adults Only," and "Adult Books." The first box in the second accretion contains novels published under the following series names: "Ace," "Adam's Gay Reader," "Adonis Classic," "Ballantine," "Blueboy," "Charter," "Combat," "Corgi," and "Driveshaft." In short, one will need to examine each of the three accretions in order to locate all of the titles belonging to a particular series. Within each separate accretion, the novels are first organized alphabetically, then chronologically, according to series number.

In the event that a novel does not belong to a particular series, the book is then organized by its title. For example, Robert Guy's Boy For Hire can be found in Box 6, appearing alphabetically after "Boudoir Classics 0001," and before "Brandon 933."


Books are arranged alphabetically by the publisher's series name (if none by title) and then by title.

The files are grouped into 3 sets of accretions. Each accretion begins a new alphabet.

  1. First Accretion
  2. Second Accretion
  3. Third Accretion