Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Location: Butler Library (535 West 114th St.), 6th Floor
Research Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (currently by appointment only)
For more information: Contact [email protected] or (212) 854-5590.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia's principal repository for primary sources, including some 500,000 printed books and 90,000 linear feet (17 miles) of manuscripts, personal papers, and records. Its collection provides rich resources for the study of the Beats and other twentieth-century queer writers, composers, and prominent figures in New York gay cultural circles (e.g., Hart Crane, Tennessee Williams, Virgil Thomson, John Latouche, Leo Lerman), early sexology and psychoanalysis, the homoerotic English war poets, publishers of gay and avant-garde sexual literature (Greenberg and Grove Presses), queer cartoonists, Harlem’s queer literary scene (Alexander Gumby scrapbooks), and human rights organizations (Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch). 

The following guide describes papers in five categories:

  1. Personal Papers
  2. Beat Writers
  3. Organizations
  4. Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research
  5. Thematic Collections

Personal papers are listed in the order of the person’s birth; organizational records and thematic collections are listed alphabetically.

Note: all researchers, whether affiliated with Columbia/Barnard or not, must set up a Special Collections Research Account.