The following are descriptions of manuscript collections and
rare books held by the Rubenstein Library at Duke. These
materials are suggested as possible primary sources for the history
of sex, sexuality and the construction of gender. Similar titles
and archival collections are available at public, university, and
community libraries throughout the world. Contact your local
librarian for items available in your area. Feel free to enlist the
help of the
Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture if you
need more information about such materials at Duke.
Early Works: 17th and 18th Century
- Artus, Thomas, sieur d'Embry. Description de l'isle des
hermaphrodites, nouvellement dÃ©couverte, contenant les moeurs, les
coutumes & les ordonances des habitans de cette isle, comme
aussi le discours de Jacophile Ã Limne, avec quelques autres piÃ¨ces
- Pour servir de supplement au journal de Henri III. 1724.
(Utopia 12 mo A792D)
- Aubignac, FranÃ§ois-HÃ©delin. AbbÃ© d'. Les conseils d'ariste
a Celimene sur les moyens de conserver sa RÃ©putation.
- Courtesy book addressed to a young woman soon to be married.
Depicts social world of female courtier as fraught with danger. (E
- BarnabÃ© Brisson, Antoine Hotman and FranÃ§ois Hotman. De
veteri ritu nuptiarum & jure connubiorum. 1662.
- Legal texts on ancient and modern laws of marriage by three
influential French legal theorists. (E 12mo B859D)
- Nevizzano, Giovanni. Silva Nuptialis, 1602 (originally
published in 1521).
- Celebrated legal miscellany on numerous judicial problems
connected with marriage and sexual matters, with much on domestic
manners and morals of the period. Contains virulent passages
against the female sex, which were modified in later editions. (E
- Petit, Pierre. De Amazonibus Dissertatio, 1685.
- Treatise on the Amazons, with accounts taken from various
sources--some asserting, some doubting their existence. Includes
engravings, which are mostly depictions of Amazons taken from coins
and monuments. (E P489A)
- Restif de La Bretonne. Le pornographe, ou, IdÃ©es d'un
honnÃªte-homme sur un projet de rÃ©glement pour les prostituÃ©es :
propre Ã prÃ©venir les malheurs qu'occasionne le publicisme des
femmes : avec des notes historiques et justificatives / par M.
RÃ©tif de-la-Bretone. 1776.
- A contemporary of the Marquis de Sade, Restif, derided as the
"Rousseau of the Gutter," wrote volumes about the "peasant" class
and the subject of "vice," from incest to prostitution. This
volume, part of a series of works under the general title of Les
idÃ©es singuliÃ¨res, is Restif's utopian vision of reform for the
casual or brothel whores of Paris, ahead of its time in its call
for regulation of the industry. (E #4190)
- Schalkhausen, Virginius Liebtreu von. Jungfraw-Spiegel :
das ist eigentlicher Bericht von der Natur und Eigenschaft,
ZufÃ¤llen, Freyheiten und Rechten ... / durch Virginium
Liebtrew von Schalckhausen.
- German erotica. 20th-century facsimile of the 1627 ed. (Jantz
- X. Y. Z. Der Grosse Klunkermuz.
- German erotica. 20th-century facsimile of the 1671 ed. (Jantz
- Advertising Archives.
- See "20th Century," below.
- Anthologie satyrique: rÃ©pertoire des meilleures poÃ©sies et
chansons joyeuses parues en franÃ§ais depuis ClÃ©ment Marot jusqu'Ã
nos jours; publiÃ© par et pour la SociÃ©tÃ© des bibliophiles
- 8 volumes of poems and songs in the tradition of
Rabelais--extravagant, robust, boisterously satirical. (E
- Eugenia Hargous Balch Papers.
- Correspondence from family and friends, mostly women, concerns
the role of women in Victorian society. A lengthy 1892 letter from
Alice Faucon describes her dilemma as an unwed pregnant schoolgirl
trying to find someone to perform an abortion in Paris.
- David Barrows Papers.
- Ca. 1850s letters from Ann Rusby and diary entries by Barrows
reveal much about their courtship, their sexual relationship, and
their secret marriage. Barrows was a working class English emigrant
to Philadelphia and Rusby was his "adult ed" teacher. Racy
- John Emory Bryant Papers.
- A series of letters to Bryant from his wife Emma in 1873
provide one side of a heated argument arising from his accusations
that her relationship with her gynecologist was out of line. Her
responses contain graphic descriptions of her gynecological
problems and examinations, as well as extensive feminist rhetoric
on trust and obedience in married life.
- Cottin, Sophie Marie Risteau. Mathilde, ou MÃ©moires tirÃ©s
de L'Histoire des Croisades . 1805.
- Depicts awakening of a young girl to passion, while hinting at
forbidden imaginings. Christianity conquers but does not erase
passion. (SCL DOSS 843.69 C848M)
- Davenport, John. Curiositates eroticÃ¦ physiologiÃ¦; or,
Tabooed subjects freely treated . 1875.
- Written to combat the "exaggerated delicacy" with which his
contemporaries treated the subject of "the Reproduction of the
Human Race," Davenport tackles head-on six related areas
(generation, chastity and modesty, marriage, circumcision,
eunuchism, and hermaphrodism), placing them in historical and
scientific context. (E D247C)
- Walter Patterson Duke Papers.
- Letters between several unmarried brothers (J.E. Duke et al.)
in the late 1860s and 1870s describe intimate love relationships
- Mary Wager Fisher Papers.
- Papers of a pre-eminent Victorian journalist contain letters
with women friends that offer unusual insight into the emotionally
intense friendships that flourished among professional women of the
- William Holgate Papers.
- Large collection of family papers include the personal
correspondence, 1872-1911, of Fannie Holgate. Letters in 1879 and
1880 contain frank discussions about birth control and abortion
with a newlywed relative. Evaluate these and other letters between
the women for their level of intimacy and power of sharing "taboo"
or sexual information. Compare with letter in Jacob H. Bechtel
Papers (9/12/1860) where Jacob jokes to a male relative about his
ideas of birth control.
- Howard, Clifford. Sex Worship: An Exposition of the Phallic
Origin of Religion. 1897.
- (SCL DOSS 291.212 H848)
- Kelly, Walter Keating. Erotica: The Elegies of Propertius,
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, and The Kisses of Johannes
- Literally translated and accompanied by poetical versions from
various sources. To which are added, the love epistles of
Aristaenetus translated by R. Brinsley Sheridan and Mr. Halhed. (E
- Burwell Boykin Lewis Papers.
- Letters during the 1860s and 1870s between Boykin and his wife
Rose concern love and sexuality, women's health and pregnancy, and
raising teenage daughters.
- Many manuscript collections contain courtship letters between
men and women. Levels of intimacy and passion vary, but you might
want to try Walter Lee Sutton Papers (1883-1886); Rawley Martin
Papers (1850s); James Otis Moore Papers(1851-2), written prior to
his marriage to his wife, Mary Elizabeth Ross; Mildred J. Howe
Letters (1886-1902); Clydie Scarborough Papers (African American
family 1920s). The Hinsdale Family Papers is a large collection of
family papers contain the courtship letters of sisters Elizabeth
(and Jack Winfree), 1903-1904, and Annie (and Harold Joslin),
- Emily Georgiana Elise Benyon Pigot Diary.
- An extraordinary farrago of narrative and desire from her life
before and after her 1850 marriage to Sir Robert Pigot, a man 25
years her senior. Lady Pigot documents her feelings of
stultification within her passionless marriage, as well as her
frenzied lust for Captain Glastonbury Neville, with whom she had an
- Over 7,000 items spanning years 1820 to 1940. Song lyrics and
cover graphics reflect stereotypes of women's sexuality from the
promiscuous coquette to the virginal and pure. You might want to
look at a particular time period (Victorian, Roaring 20s), a
particular sexual category (vamps, Madonnas), or ethnic distinction
(African-American women as Jezebels or sexless mammies). This
requires some digging around and can be time-consuming (but
- John Addington Symonds Papers.
- Letters written by Symonds, a British author and critic, to
Edmund Gosse discuss Symonds's writings on male homosexuality in
ancient Greece. Other passages concern Symonds's frustration and
anger with Victorian repression and condemnation of homosexuality;
the effect of reading Greek classics on schoolboys; and his
admiration for German bodybuilder Eugene Sandow. Symonds is also
the author of A Problem in Greek Ethics: Being an Inquiry into the
Phenomenon of Sexual Inversion: Addressed Especially to Medical
Psychologists (1901), which we hold in the Rubenstein Library. (E
- William Eliza Terrell Papers.
- Includes letters to Eliza Terrell from her friend Mary Telfair
of Savannah, Ga. in the mid-1800s which contain much gossip about
mutual friends. Some letters allude to the scandalous conduct and
lesbian tendencies of a particular acquaintance.
- 19th Century Prescriptive Literature.
- The 19th and early 20th century gave rise to a vast body of
literature that instructed men and women on their proper place in
society. These instructive books cover etiquette, education,
household management, medicine, marriage, and parenting. They
contain all sorts of information about sex roles, sexuality, and
sexual practices (including birth control, masturbation,
concubines, VD, and prostitution). For specific titles see the
bibliography Nineteenth-Century Prescriptive Literature for
20th Century and Contemporary
- Kathy Acker Papers.
- Manuscript drafts, rare editions, and art work of contemporary
punk novelist and essayist whose provocative works focus on sexual
adventures, alternate sexualities, and gender distortion. Check the
on-line catalog for Acker's printed works.
- Archives of two large advertising agencies (JW Thompson and DMB
& B) plus an historic (19th century) advertising collection
provide a wealth of information on sex role stereotypes and the use
of sex to sell products. Consult the Hartman Center Reference
Eaton, for specific product lines and advertising
- Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance Archives and Periodicals
- The ALFA Archives contains early records of ALFA and other gay
and counterculture groups active in Atlanta and the southeast
during the 1970s and early 1980s and are particularly rich in
documenting lesbian activism and culture. The ALFA Periodicals
contain numerous grassroots newsletters and periodicals including
Black & White Men Together, Lavender Tide
(Tuscaloosa, Al.), Lesbian Feminist Flyer (Richmond, Va.),
Maize, A Lesbian Country Magazine,On Our Backs
(lesbian erotica), Tits and Clits Comix - the list is
endless. Several newsletters and periodicals related to AIDS,
prostitution, pornography, celibacy, etc. Detailed guides are
available in the Rubenstein Library for these
- Nikki Craft Papers.
- Craft, a contemporary radical activist, uses guerrilla theater
to protest the media's control of women's bodies: anti-porn,
anti-beauty contest, topless rights, exposing sex offenders, etc.
Small collection of flyers, photos, and newspaper accounts of her
- The Joy of Sex (1972) and More Joy (1974).
- Classic How-to manuals published just after the sexual
revolution and at the height of women's liberation movement.(E
#1143 and E #2551, respectively)
- Kearney, Patrick J. The Private
- Case: An Annotated Bibliography of the Private Case
- Collection in the British (Museum) Library. 1981.
- A follow-up to Peter Fryer'sPrivate Case-- Public
Scandal (1966), Kearney has meticulously cataloged erotica
held by the British Museum Library through 1975. Good starting
point for researching the collection and preservation of erotica
and forbidden books in public institutions. (Biblio K24P)
- Lesbian Pulp Novels.
- A small but growing collection of literature published from
1950s-1970s. See the
Queer Pulp Fiction bibliography for specific titles.
- Love letters.
- See entry under "19th Century."
- Julia Penelope Papers.
- Kicked out of both Florida State University and the University
of Miami in 1959 for being an "obvious" lesbian, Penelope, a
separatist, later went on to a prolific career as a writer. This
collection contains a prodigious amount of information about
lesbian sexuality--some of it assimilated, some not.
- Postcard Collection.
- Another source of popular culture images spanning the years
1910 to the present. Postcards are indexed geographically and by
subject matter, and images ripe for race and gender analysis can be
found throughout. Graphics range from work scenes to pinups to the
- Sheet Music Collection.
- See entry under "19th Century."
- Florence Moss Smith Papers.
- Consists of letters, 1942-1945, exchanged between Florence and
Frank Smith during their courtship and early marriage while Frank
was serving in WWII. There is also a long letter "intended as a
lecture" from Smith to her daughter ca. 1960s the topic of which is
"to not be alarmed of BOYS." Smith is concerned that her daughter
is spending too much time with girls and not enough time getting to
know the opposite sex.
- Alma Strikeleather Wall Papers.
- Includes the 1928 adolescent "boy-crazy" diary of Kathryn Wall
as well as correspondence and scrapbooks entries focused on her
sister Margaret, whose career as a scientist was abruptly halted
when she was accused of being a lesbian and suffered a nervous
breakdown in 1942.
- Wood-Allen, Mary, M.D. Almost a Man: Teaching Truth
- A woman physician's advice to young men in matters of sex and
reproduction. (E 12mo #4175)
Compiled by Diane McKay and Ginny Daley for the Special
Collections Library, 8/95