Finally, a large and inclusive archive of trans-related historical materials will be available online. The Digital Transgender Archive will be the largest online trove of historical documentation of the experiences of transgender people. Over 20 institutions, including Harvard University's, the San Francisco Public Library's James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, the Center for Sex and Culture, and the world's largest physical library, University of Victoria's Transgender Archives, are having their material digitized and added to a searchable database.
K.J. Rawson, an assistant professor at the College of Holy Cross, was the catalyst for the archive's creation, as he was frustrated by the difficulty of finding trans-related documents in academic collections. "A lot of trans-related materials were held in dissipated collections, and it wasn't really clear who had what, why they had it, how it related to other collections, and how it was accessible to researchers," Rawson told Hyperallergic. "Very few efforts like ours are made public, and what I think is a very rare thing that we have done is collaborate with so many different institutions. So partly the power of our project is in the collaboration — we have so many people on board and excited to contribute materials.
The materials in the archive cover a wide range of topics, from prose and poetry by trans writers, to personal photos from transgender activists like Alison Laing, to newspapers, letters, zines, and magazines for the transgender community. The archive is large--and getting ever larger,
Turnabout publication cover, 1960s. Digital Transgender Archive
1962 issue of 'Letters from Female Impersonators.' Digital Transgender Archive.
Female Impersonators on Parade, published between 1960–1961. Digital Transgender Archive.
Cross-Talk: The Gender Community's News & Information Monthly, No. 52 (February, 1994). Transgender Digital Archive.
Unknown. "Alison Laing on Deck." Photograph. Digital Transgender Archive
The Phoenix Society. "Fanfare Magazine No. 22 (May 1986)." Periodical. 1986. Digital Transgender Archive