Records of the Center for Sex and Culture, 1972-2015 (inclusive), 2000-2012 (bulk)
Correspondence, administrative and financial records; printed material including advertising postcards, catalogs, and flyers regarding sex and sexuality; event files, including pledge and release forms of the Center for Sex and Culture. Some material related to Good Vibrations and the Jon Sims Center for the Arts is also included.
- Majority of material found within 2000-2012
- Center for Sex and Culture (San Francisco, Calif.) (Organization)
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Collection is open for research. Researchers seeking to use the collection must sign a form agreeing not to identify by name or attempt to contact individuals who participated in the Center's events, as well as individuals for whom pseudonyms are given. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Center for Sex and Culture is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent11.59 linear feet ((25+1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 3 folio folders, 2 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 2 supersize folders, 1 photograph folder, 2 slides, 3 DVDs, 1 archived web site)
8.591 Megabytes (18 files)
The collection documents the activities of the Center for Sex and Culture and Carol Queen's work for Good Vibrations. It includes financial records (including tax forms, payroll and budget records, expense forms, "income deposit forms," credit card and bank statements, check registers); administrative records (including grant applications, meeting minutes, by-laws, strategic plan and analysis of the organization, training material; staff and volunteer surveys); publicity and planning materials for events, continuing education classes, and workshops; poetry and fiction by Queen and others (apparently submissions for Libido magazine); printed material (including bondage, film, and sex toys catalogs); memorabilia (including a dildo); DVDs; audiocassettes; posters; and photographs. The collection also includes electronic records, which were received on two compact discs, two USB memory sticks, and two 5.25" disks. Disks were imaged using FTK Imager. Selected data has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery. The Center's web site is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. The bulk of the folder titles were created by the archivist; the Center's titles, when used, appear in quotation marks.
Series I, ADMINISTRATIVE, FINANCIAL, AND PRINTED MATERIAL, 1972-2015 (#1.1-21.30, E.1-E.19, FD.1, FD.3, F+D.1, SD.1-SD.2), articles of incorporation, mission statement, and bylaws; minutes for board of directors and other meetings; clippings and press releases; and operations manual; personnel and financial records; correspondence; and brochures, catalogs, and other printed material related to various sexual orientations and practices. Some material related to the operation of the sex-positive store Good Vibrations, with which Carol Queen was affiliated as staff sexologist, is also included, as well as some biographical information on her. The series is arranged in the three subseries described below.
Subseries A, Administrative files, 1989-2015 (#1.1-8.12, E.1, FD.1, FD.3, F+D.1, SD.1-SD.2) documents the internal operation of the Center for Sex and Culture and includes the organization's articles of incorporation, bylaws, and mission statement; meeting minutes; correspondence; an operations manual and institutional history; grant applications, reports, and related documentation; correspondence; personnel records, including reports and evaluations completed by interns; and training materials, correspondence, and staff surveys of Good Vibrations. Some material related to the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, with which the Center for Sex and Culture collaborated, is also included. The subseries also includes submissions and background material for issues of the erotic magazine Libido. Also included are notes and erotic photographs sent by a male submissive identified as "CT" to the dominatrix "Mistress Sterling." The subseries is arranged with articles of incorporation and other organizational records appearing first, followed by an alphabetical arrangement.
Subseries B, Financial files, 1993-2014 (#8.13-18.8, E.2-E.19), consists largely of forms documenting the organization's expenses and income, with the latter represented by "intake forms" denoting small donations and contributions; the center rarely received large donations but was able to maintain operations due to the large number of supporters who contributed. The subseries also includes statements for the Center's various bank accounts and credit cards; check registers; and expense reports. Also included are electronic records (represented by #E.1-E.18) which closely resemble and may in some cases duplicate the paper files. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries C, Sexuality-themed printed material, 1972-2007 (#18.9-21.30), consists of pamphlets, leaflets, bibliographies, information sheets, erotica, catalogs for erotic films and sex toys, calendars, and other printed material related to a wide-range of human sexuality/sexual behavior. The Center for Sex and Culture arranged their collection of printed material of in categories such as "sex instruction," "BDSM," and "LGBT": the archivist maintained this arrangement and added some loose printed material to it. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Series II, EVENTS, 1991-2012 (#21.31-26.20, FD.2, F+D.2, OD.1), includes flyers for events (including some not directly affiliated with the Center); pledge, consent, and release forms for masturbate-a-thons; bid sheets for the Center's Nude Aid and Kink Ink art auctions; evaluations and related material for continuing education events organized by Good Vibrations; and publicity for events and classes featuring adult entertainment figures such as Candye Kane and Nina Hartley. Information on rental of the Center for Sex and Culture space for events is also included. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III. AUDIOVISUAL, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND MEMORABILIA, 1982-2007 (#DVD-150.1- DVD-150.3, PD.1sl-PD.2, 26.21m-27FB.3m), includes photographs; DVDs of a performance by S. Bear Bergman, a forum on pornography featuring Robert Lawrence, and a documentary on sex trafficking. The memorabilia includes a packing dildo, a plate with an erotic image, and a safe sex sampler kit. Also included are images of Carol Queen and Nancy Ava Miller. The series is arranged by format and thereunder alphabetically.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
The Center for Sex & Culture was founded by Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence. Queen, a sociologist long active in the sex-positive movement, is the author of the books Exhibitionism for the Shy: Show Off, Dress Up, and Talk Hot (1995), Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture (1997, 2002), and the erotic novel The Leather Daddy and the Femme (1998, 2003). She is also the author, with Shar Rednour, of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone (2015). She has produced adult movies, events, workshops and lectures and appeared as an instructor and star in the Bend Over Boyfriend films about female-to-male anal sex, or pegging. Since 1990, Queen has served as staff sexologist for Good Vibrations, the San Francisco-based sex-positive company selling videos, sex toys, and erotica. She has spoken at numerous conferences on sexuality in the United States and abroad. Robert Lawrence has also lectured nationally and internationally on health and sexuality. He was an associate fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Sexology, a member of the San Francisco Coalition for Health Sex, and Chapter Secretary for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. From 1970 until the early 1990s, he held various volunteer positions with San Francisco Sex Information, culminating with the position of training coordinator, which he shared with Queen.
In 1994, Queen and Lawrence began developing plans for a community organization in San Francisco, California, that would promote sex-positive and judgment-free sexual education to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum. They began operating the Center for Sex & Culture as an official nonprofit organization in 2001, opening a community space and library and archives in 2004. The Center's 2000 mission statement declared that the organization's mission included providing sex-positive sexuality education, research opportunities, cultural dialogue, and support to diverse populations by means of classes, salons, workshops, performances, social gatherings, practical skills-building events, and the like." The Center sponsored events including fundraising "Masturbate-a-thons"; readings, including an Erotic Reading Circle; "TMI Storytelling: Sex Worker Confidential"; "Kink Ink" and "Nude Aid" art exhibits and auctions; and sex education and instruction workshops. The organization also engaged in fiscal sponsorships with various other organizations and artists. The Center relied heavily on contributions from donors, fundraising, and occasional grants to support its programming and organizational costs. Due to rising rents, the organization relocated three times before closing its physical space in January 2019.
As part of its mission to document and represent the broad range of sexual behavior across the gender spectrum, the Center had collected and maintained a vast collection of queer literature, including sex-positive, trans, and leather histories which were held by no other repositories. The papers of individuals and records of organizations involved in the sex industry were also collected and housed at the Center. When the physical space closed, the bulk (over 300 linear feet of archival material and more than 5240 books and periodicals) of the library and archives were purchased by Houghton and Schlesinger Libraries at Harvard University, with Cornell University's Human Sexuality Collection, the University of Southern California, University of California, Santa Barbara, the GLBTQ Historical Society, the San Francisco Public Library, the Carter/Johnson Leather Library, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Leather Quest also acquiring portions of the collection. The sale of its archival collection enabled the Center to continue to function and hold events, even without a physical space: as of January 2020, the Center maintains its online presence and holds popup events.
The collection is arranged in three series:
- Series I. Administrative, financial, and sexuality-themed printed material, 1972-2015 (#1.1-21.30, E.1-E.19, FD.1, FD.3, F+D.1, SD.1-SD.2)
- Series II. Events, 1991-2012 (#21.31-26.20, FD.2, F+D.2, OD.1)
- Series III. Audiovisual, photographs, and memorabilia, 1982-2007 (#DVD-150.1- DVD-150.3, PD.1sl-PD.2, 26.21m-27FB.3m)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2019-M32
The records of the Center for Sex and Culture were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Carol Queen on behalf of the Center for Sex and Culture in February 2019.
Donors: Carol Queen
Accession number: 2019-M32
Processed by: Susan Earle
Material related to Richard Wolfe was removed from the collection and will be processed separately.
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Periodicals Division:
- Adam, Vo. 39 No. 9
- The American Matriarch, February 1995
- Ascent, Fall 2008, Fall/Winter 2010
- The Bay Area Reporter, Vol. 41 No. 42, October 20-26, 2011
- Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly, Vol. 2 No. 2 - Vol. 5 No. 2
- Cherrybomb, Winter 2002/03
- Collective Voices, Summer 2011
- Common Bonds, Issue # 21, Fall 1993
- Contemporary Sexuality, Vol. 40, No. 7 - Vol. 42 No. 2, July 2006 - February 2008
- Echoes from the Sanctuary, September 1992, November 1992
- Essemian Society Newsletter, August, n.y.
- The Essemian Way, Vol. 3 No. 8 - Vol.5 No.4, November 1980 - April/May 1982
- Flood Tide, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Winter 1992
- The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, July-August 2011
- GLBT Historical Society newsletter, Spring 2006
- Good Vibrations Store News, Summer 2002, Spring 2003
- Greenery: Lady Green's Newsletter for Women and Men Exploring Female Domination, Spring 1992
- Growing Pains, November 1980 - April 2009
- Kinsey Today, Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 1999
- Leather Archives & Museum Newsletter, Issue 10, Winter 2000
- Mayazine, 2001
- A Newsletter for Members and Friends of the Center for Sex & Culture, Winter 2006
- Newsletter: Society of the Essemian Orders, undated
- Nina Hartley's Hartbeat, Fall 1991
- On Our Backs, Volume 14, Issue 5, Feb./Mar. 2000
- Our Stories: Newsletter of the Gay, Lesbian, Tran Gender Historical Society of Northern California, Vol. 15 No. 3, Summer 2001
- Quartrefolio, Vol. 12 No. 4 - Vol.16 No.2, December 2002 - Spring 2006,
- Rice Combo: Asian & Pacific Islander, Vol. 2, issue 3, June/July 2001
- Scribbling Mob, Spring 2001
- SMC Newsletter, September 1982 - April/May 1983
- Spread: Illuminating the Sex Industry, Vol. 3 No. 4 - Vol. 4 No. 1
- The Sprinkle Report: The Newsletter Devoted to Piss Art, Vol. 1 no. 4
- Squirm: The Art of Campus Sex, Volume V, Spring 2003
- Standard Deviations, Issue 8, Spring 2009
- STD, Vol. 2 No. 4 - Vol. 5 Nos. 1 &2, Summer 1995 - Fall/Winter 1997/1998
- Sweet Gwen's Bondage Catalog, Vol. 1, 1984
- Tretter Letter: Newsletter for Friends of the Tretter Collection, Vol. 1 No. 1, January 2006
- Velvet Talks!, October 1981
- The Vibe Diatribe, Issue #114, September 2000
- Witches & Pagans, Issue 23
- Women Against Violence News Page, Vol. 5 No. 8 - Vol. 6 No. 3, August/September 1981 - March 1982
- Zi Teng Newsletter, Issue 28, March 2009
Processed: April 2021
By: Susan Earle, with assistance from Henry Shull and Johanna Carll
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
General processing procedures in place at the Library include the following: books (when not heavily annotated) by and about the collection's creator and on subjects which fall within the Library's collecting area are removed and cataloged separately with information about their provenance; other books and serials are not retained. Other material not normally retained include: clippings that are not by or about the collection's creator; research files; financial documents such as checkbooks, cancelled checks, bank statements, etc. (when there is financial documentation at a higher level); invoices, receipts, orders, airline tickets, etc.; and envelopes (when they do not contain additional information).
When samples of weeded documents are retained, it is indicated in the finding aid.
- AIDS (Disease)--Prevention
- Bondage (Sexual behavior)
- Business records
- DVD-Video discs
- Electronic records
- Erotic stories
- Financial records
- Gender nonconformity--United States
- Leather clubs (Organizations)
- Leather lifestyle--United States
- Masturbation--United States
- Men--Sexual behavior--United States
- One-person shows (Performing arts)
- Press releases
- Sadomasochism--United States
- Safe sex in AIDS prevention
- Sales catalogs
- San Francisco (Calif.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Sex instruction
- Sex--United States
- Sexual dominance and submission
- Sprinkle, Annie, 1954-
- Trade catalogs
- Transgender people--United States
- Web archives
- Women--Sexual behavior--United States
- Center for Sex and Culture (San Francisco, Calif.) (Organization)
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by the Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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