A Celebration of Firsts

Welcome to the first edition of our electronic newsletter, The Nexus: Where the Past Inspires the Future. This regular publication will transport you into the world of the Women and Gender Collections at Georgia State University, highlighting our holdings and informing you about our practices. To celebrate this, our first edition of the newsletter, we will highlight some other important “firsts” for our collections.

As we slide toward the end of the year, I want to take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished in 2015. Our collections have increased in size: we have acquired 14 new manuscript collections, and received 13 additions. Together they take up more than 110 linear feet of shelf space. We have also conducted 26 oral histories. Throughout the year, we processed a number of collections, including the papers of Franklin Abbott, Carl Owens and Valerie Beynon, as well as the records of GSU’s Institute for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Gay Spirit Visions. Currently being processed are the papers of Lorraine Fontana, Maria Helena Dolan, and Dotsie Holmes, as well as the records of the American Association of University Women Atlanta (GA) Branch, and Joining Hearts, Inc.

I have presented information about the collections at two conferences – the Southern Association for Women Historians conference in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Society of Georgia Archivists conference in Columbus, Georgia. I have also written about our collections in a journal article (“Engaging Communities: Public Programming in State Universities’ Special Collections and Archives,” in Archival Issues), and a book chapter (“No Fame Required: Collaboration, Community, and the Georgia LGBTQ Archives Project,” in Kate Theimer’s Appraisal and Acquisition: Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections).

Using the records from our reproductive rights collections, I have taught and co-taught archival literacy and critical thinking to more than one hundred students, and because of the hard work of the Library’s Digital Projects Unit, we have added 366 new digital objects to our Digital Collections. Those objects are comprised of 9,681 individual pages, 44 artifacts, and four audio/visual items. In addition, approximately five hundred objects were created for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ exhibit, “Forward Together: A Look at Atlanta’s LGBT History Since Stonewall.”

To everyone who has supported our endeavors and for all of you who are just beginning to learn about our amazing collections, I welcome you and thank you. May your holidays be filled with peace and love, and joy.

Morna Gerrard signature




Morna Gerrard
Archivist, Women and Gender Collections
Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives