Collections

The CLGA aspires to be a significant resource and catalyst for those who strive for a future world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ+) people are accepted, valued, and celebrated.

 

Why We Collect

The Archives' first mission statement was introduced by Ed Jackson at the New York conference of the Gay Academic Union in 1975. It reads:

"A conspiracy of silence has robbed gay people of their history. A sense of continuity, which derives from the knowledge of a shared heritage, is essential for the building of self-confidence in a community. It is a necessary tool in the struggle for social change”

Today, the CLGA's revised mandate articulates a renewed commitment to collecting broadly and widely the documentary heritage created by, for and about LGBTQ+ Canadians. It reads:

"The CLGA was established to aid in the recovery and preservation of our histories. Its mandate is to acquire, preserve, make accessible documentary heritage in any medium, by and about LGBTQ+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada. To support this function, the CLGA maintains archival collections of personal and organizational papers, as well as significant non-archival collections, which include the James Fraser Library, the LGBTQ+ Periodicals Collection, and the National Portrait Collection. It is our mandate to make this information available to the public for education and research."

 

History of Collection

The collections of the CLGA have evolved from the conscientious and persistent collecting efforts of dedicated individuals beginning in the early 1970s and continuing to the present day. Given that the CLGA's founders were also members of the collective that published The Body Politic, it should come as no surprise that our earliest holdings consisted of records from this influential gay and lesbian liberation newspaper. As the 1970s progressed and word of the Archives' existence spread across the country, donations started pouring in from organizations and private individuals. Today, the CLGA preserves a wide range of material including personal papers, organizational records, works of artphotographs, moving images, sound recordings, periodicals, posters and subject files. We also collect artifacts like buttons, board games, t-shirts, and matchbooks. In addition, we preserve significant collections related to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

The James Fraser Library, named for one of our most prolific volunteers, collects rare books and monographs and reference materials.

Our National Portrait Collection (NPC), established in 1998, honours those that have made a significant contribution to LGBT life in Canada. The NPC was founded with 25 portraits to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the CLGA. It has now grown to almost 80 portraits. Selections from this collection are regularly shown at the Archives and made available to community partners upon request. 

 

Collection Mission and Goals

The collection mission and goals are congruent with that of the CLGA. The collections that we develop, maintain and preserve, and to which we provide access are central to the overall mission of the institution. We collect print and non-print materials in all media that help to document, describe and inform all aspects of the LGBTQ+ experience, both historical and contemporary.

CONTACT US us for a copy of our Acquisitions Policy Statement, which outlines our collecting scope and acquisitions priorities.

 

Donating Materials to the CLGA

Your treasures are valuable, too! Before you throw out old papers and artifacts or sell your used books for pennies, consider donating to the CLGA. Our archivists and librarians will assess are available to accept donations during public service hours or by special arrangement. As a charitable heritage organization, we are also able to offer tax receipts for materials that we accept.

Please CONTACT US directly to learn more about how to contribute your own materials to the CLGA’s collections.

National Portrait Collection