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, please contact the UW-Madison Archives at  608 262-5629 or

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Oral History Interviews

Since 2007, this ongoing collection has documented the stories and memories of politicians, professors, students, and activists. This project consists of 80+ interviews 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.

Browse Madison’s LGBTQ Community interviews in MINDS@UW:

  • Go to the Oral History Program’s collection page in  MINDS@UW.
  • From this page, key word search on the term “LGBT Community” in the Search and browse box

Funded, in part, by the New Harvest Foundation, Inc 


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.