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Library Opens Transgender Collection (2004)

Library Opens Transgender Collection (2004)
©2004, 2013 by Ashley Dinges and Michigan Daily
Source: Dinges, Ashley. (2004, 26 March). Library opens transgendered collection. Michigan Daily.
About the Thumbnail Photo: The Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan collects material about often-unpopular social movements.






Library Opens Transgendered Collection
By Ashley Dinges, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 26, 2004


At age 13, Dallas Denny went to the library in her Southern hometown and looked up the words “transvestite” and “transsexual” in the library card catalogue. She found two results.

Yesterday, Dallas was present at the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, where her personal collection of more than 1,500 titles related to transgender issues —the National Transgender Library and Archive — was officially unveiled as part of the University’s Labadie Collection.

Denny, founder of the American Educational Gender Information Service, spoke at the ceremony. She is also the editor-in-chief of Transgender Tapestry, one of few publications to deal specifically with transgender issues.

“What was expected for me was to disappear into society. Now, someone can be questioning their identity and come to the library,” Denny said.

Several groups were vying for the collection, including the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Center in San Francisco, Calif. Finally, it was decided that the University would receive the collection, and the GLBT would receive duplicates of any items in the library.

“We had to think — is it going to be there 50 years from now, or will it always be scraggling for money?” Denny said.

The archive includes items ranging from books to two pairs of shoes worn by Virginia Prince, a transgender activist, more than 50 years ago. Other items include buttons, pins, photographs, playbills and flyers.

The first item, a book titled The Man-Maid Doll, was purchased in the late 1970s. All items in the collection were either purchased by Denny or donated by others, and can be found by searching MIRLYN, the library’s electronic card catalogue.

Julie Herrada, curator of the Labadie Collections, oversaw the transfer of the collection from Atlanta to Ann Arbor in 2000, and helped to catalogue all of the items over the last four years.

“We are still collecting contemporary materials related to social protest. You can imagine the work we have cut out for us because the struggle never really ends,” Herrada said of the Labadie Collection. Certain items, such as personal letters to Denny, cannot be accessed by the general public unless identifying information is removed.

“I’m glad (the University) has that sensitivity. A lot of the people writing were pouring their hearts out for help,” Denny said.

Other speakers at the event included University Provost Paul Courant and State Sen. Liz Brater.

“I think that it’s just so wonderful that now, in 2004, we talk about GLBT and people are starting to understand what that means. We’re so proud to have (the collection) here,” Brater said.

Also speaking at the event was Prof. Bruce Frier, who serves as chair of the University’s Provost Task Force on TBLG Concerns. The task force recently made alterations in the nondiscrimination policy to include gender discrimination.