Harlan Greene. Photo Credit: The College Today via College of Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The College of Charleston has received a grant that will enable it to document LGBTQ history, the Post & Courier reported.

Launched by Harlan Greene, a gay library employee who heads up the Special Collections desk at the school, the archive will showcase important historical moments in the seaside town and surrounding area.

The idea came to him when a graduate student approached Greene seeking materials on Charleston’s LGBTQ history. He was taken back, the Post & Courier shared, and it served as a “watershed moment” for the library staffer.

“It’s happened,” he thought. “A student has walked in and assumed the collection library would have such materials. The student was not gay. It’s just a topic of study.”

Over time he had been “quietly collecting papers, photographs, books, objects and more for a few years, starting an LGBTQ collection unprompted and unfunded.” The effort paid off. Greene worked as the student’s dissertation adviser and the assembled documents are now archived at the school.

To boost the effort, the College of Charleston received a $200,000 Dorothy and Gaylord Donnelley Foundation grant. The project is also receiving support by John White, the college’s library dean. The model for the archive is based upon its Jewish Heritage Collection and African-American archives. It consists of both an oral history initiative and documentation on Lowcountry gay history. Greene has been in receipt of papers from well known area LGBTQ community members, including philanthropist Linda Ketner, gay rights activist and realtor Charlie Smith, Metropolitan Community Church of Charleston, poet John Ziegler and Alliance for Full Acceptance.

Women’s Health Research Team Director Beth Sundstrom and Cara Delay will spearhead the oral history component.

To read more about the archive, visit bit.ly/2C0m8l2. And, to contribute items for the archive or for more information, email Greene at greeneh@cofc.edu.

info: cofc.edu.

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.