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Collection Scope and Content Note

Photographs ranging from formal 19th-century portraits to candid 20th-century snapshots, Hollywood stars' studio portraits, and other genres that provide a wide view of men's bodies and gay men's lives, styles, and activities from the 1850s to 2010, plus associated scrapbooks, greeting cards, programs from events, sound recordings, magazines, comic books, calendars, and ephemera. In combing flea markets and other venues for these items, which exceed 10,000 in total, the collector looked for a wide range of images reflecting gay culture and paid particular attention to acquiring photographs of men of color. In the process, he also collected about 100 images of U.S. and European lesbians and women in drag.

Prominent in the collection are physique and nude photography by Bruce of L.A., George Platt Lynes, Luis Cuento (known as Karoll of Havana), Douglas of Detroit, Dave Martin, Athletic Model Guild (Bob Mizer), Al Urban, Sierra Domino (Black men), Ralph Kelly, Lon of N.Y., Russ Warner, David Alexander Studio (Black men), Third World Studio, Champion, Colt, Target, Ritter Brothers, and others. Other strengths include photographs of drag queens, of sexual activity and S&M (sadomasochism), and of men in the military, in athletics, and in ballet, opera, and theater; the topic of crime; and portraits of men together. The collection includes unique items such as the 3 volume hand-made "Buddy's Bedside Book" created by Robert Chapman "for Robert X. McCarthy, in partial repayment for the many pleasures I owe him, on December twenty-fifth, 1957" and hand-made gay Christmas cards. Many photographs are deeply personal, and there are even a few Cornell-specific items, including a photo of a man posed in the arms of the A.D. White statue on the Arts Quad.

Periodicals include mainly physique magazines and gay erotica. Also included are calendars, sound recordings, and gay-themed comic books.

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