Cornell's primary sources on sexuality and gender

Cornell became an international leader in protecting and providing a better historical record of sexuality in 1988 when it established the Human Sexuality Collection. The vast primary sources belonging to the Human Sexuality Collection make possible ground-breaking research on sexual and gender identity and intersections with race and ethnicity, economic justice, disability, violence and social control, politics and the state, and more. Handwritten, typed, and printed text; photographs, moving images, and other visual resources; push-back pins expressing sexual politics; posters carried in demonstrations; significant items of clothing; and ephemera including matchbook covers from bars are here to provide insight on this important part of life and culture. The Sexuality Research Guide provides more information about starting research on these topics.

Further, Cornell University Library provides additional primary sources on sexuality and gender as it relates to university history, labor movements, the field of Home Economics, the history of science, and more.

Also see the Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies guide, and when you need research help, remember to Ask a Librarian.

Cornell's digital collections

Cornell Library has an ambitious program to digitize many of its own collections. The completed projects span many subjects and are available to browse and use here. Among the materials focused on sexuality and gender are:

Beyond Cornell's collections

Cornell Library provides its students, faculty, and staff access to additional online primary sources focused on sexuality and gender, including these. See more online sources in sections of the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Guide.

30 Day Trials

30 day trial Databases (until roughly May 30):

Primary sources: Create your own!

Create your own? Yes! The COVID-19 pandemic is an important world event. Help people in the future know what it was like.

Cornell University Library is participating with other local historical organizations to document the experiences of the Cornell community and of Tompkins County residents during this major upheaval. We invite everyone in these communities to fill out this online survey.

While answering the questions on the survey, I encourage you to reflect on issues of sexuality and identity, such as those below, and include your perspectives on these too:

  • How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your sex life?
  • Does your gender or sexual identity affect your access to health care in normal times? How has it affected your access to health care during the coronavirus pandemic?
  • Does your economic status, nationality, or other personal identity affect your access to health care in normal times? How has it affected your access to health care during the coronavirus pandemic?

You may add such reflections to any number of the survey's questions, or include it all in the last question: "Are there any additional comments, stories, or anecdotes about this situation -- serious, humorous, or otherwise -- that you should feel documented?"