We Are Everywhere: Lesbians in the Archive

We are Everywhere explores the relationship between lesbians, archives, and lesbian objects in archives. Beginning in the archives of the Harlem Renaissance and ending in the archives of the AIDS crisis, this exhibition asks the question: What does it mean to catalog an object as “lesbian” –or to not? In particular, the exhibition highlights moments where lesbians deliberately introduce themselves into the mainstream historical record with younger generations in mind: creating their own archives so, as Lisbet Tellefsen said, young lesbians of the future “trying to organize and do work will have it a little easier.” The objects in this show are a small sample of the material traces left by our vast, continually discovered queer history. We are everywhere. We write, we love, we care, we see. We name ourselves.

This project builds on an English Department senior essay and highlights materials from across Yale Library collections, including the Lisbet Tellefsen Papers at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Collection at Manuscripts & Archives.

Gabrielle Colangelo, Yale College, English ’22

We Are Everywhere: Lesbians in the Archive was curated by Gabrielle Colangelo ’22 for the 2022 Senior Exhibit Project for Yale University Library.

Gabrielle Colangelo is a senior in Branford College majoring in English. Born and raised in Connecticut, Gabby grew up dreaming of working in the Beinecke and is thrilled to have had the opportunity to use so many incredible Yale collections in this exhibition. At Yale, Gabby has taken a particular interest in lesbian life-writing: she is interested in how queer people remember themselves and each other in acts of love and radical self-preservation. Gabby is passionate about making under-researched special collections accessible beyond the reading room. Ultimately, every object and person featured on these pages could be the center of their own exhibit. Gabby hopes this exhibit can serve as an entry-point to the rich and varied queer historical collections at Yale, whether they’re catalogued as “lesbian” or not.