Madison’s LGBTQ Community

ROTC protest on Bascom Hill, 1990
ROTC protest on Bascom Hill, 1990

The LGBTQ Archive contains oral histories, personal papers, photographs, ephemera and organizational records related to LGBTQ life in Madison and Dane County from the 1940s to today.  Beginning with only a few oral histories, the collection has grown to include an increasingly diverse array of materials and voices from the LGBTQ community.

This is a growing collection, focused on offering the most accurate reflection of the community possible.  To add your voice and story, please contact the UW-Madison Archives at  608-262-5629 or If you would like to make a financial contribution to the LGBTQ Archive, please complete the online form and thank you for your support.

Oral History Interviews

Since 2007, this ongoing collection has documented the stories and memories of politicians, professors, students, and activists. This project consists of nearly 170 oral histories from people on our campus, the Madison area, and around the state. As a whole, these oral histories help tell part of this community’s history in their own words.

This inventory gives an up-to-date accounting of all the Archives’ LGBTQ+ oral histories. The URL column in the document provide the pathway for patrons to access that interview online. This inventory was initially compiled by Samantha Garlock and finalized by Sophia Halverson & Troy Reeves with 2023 updates entered by David Advent.

Funded, in part, by the New Harvest Foundation, Inc. and the Archives’ Women Inspire & Dick Wagner LGBTQ+ Pride donations.


The multimedia project offers shared memories of organizations, civic actions, cultural spaces, and fights for justice.  All aspects of this project hold one thing in common: the story-tellers believe their anecdotes to be undeniably significant in the history of LGBTQ life at UW, Madison, the state, and country.


Madison’s LGBTQ Community Hotel Washington and Lysistrata on YouTube

Click to view Hotel Washington and Lysistrata transcript. [pdf]

Madison’s LGBTQ Community ROTC on YouTube

Click to view LGBTQ Community ROTC  transcript. [pdf]

Physical Archive

Building on the success of the oral history project, the UW-Madison Archives began creating an archive of physical materials related to the local LGBTQ community in the fall of 2015.  The archive includes an impressive collection of local LGBTQ history, from pictures of the early days at Apple Island to personal memories from pillars in the community.  From 1970s lesbian poetry, to 1980s gay political signs and posters, to newspapers going back as far as the 1950s, the collection is quickly growing to reflect the diversity and complexity of the LGBTQ community.

A summary of our current holdings is here.  Individual collections can also be found using the Library Catalog.  To arrange a visit to the Archives, or for more complete finding aids for any of the collections,  call 608 262-5629 or email

Funded by the New Harvest Foundation, Inc./Outreach and the George L. Mosse Program in History.