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Robert Gaylor Collection

Scope of the Collection

Gaylor collected broadly on every aspect of GLBT studies for several decades..

Every work in the collection addresses a topic related to homosexuality or features an LGBT fictional character. 

Additionally, all works have at least one or more of the following characteristics: written by a GLBT author, published by a GLBT publisher, or featuring at least one character who is GLBT. 


Fun Facts about the Gaylor collection

Gaylor’s favorite novel is Splendora by Edward Swift.

Gaylor has marked the books he personally read with his initials and the date in the corner of the back cover page.

Some books are signed by their author, sometimes with personal notes to Gaylor or Bernard Oppenneer, Gaylor’s friend.


Cover of German MoneyGerman Money by Lev Raphael (inscribed to Gaylor)

Cover of Stage FrightStage Fright by Ellen Hart (inscribed)

Cover of NightworkNightwork by Joseph Hansen (inscribed)

Cover of Here There Be DragonsHere There Be Dragons by Robert Bentley (inscribed)

Autograph of Robert Bentley on front pageA Simple Suburban Murder by Mark Richard Zubro (inscribed to Oppenneer)



James Baldwin

Famed African American author James Baldwin (Aug. 2, 1924- Dec. 1, 1987) dealt with topics of race, racial tensions and sexuality in America as he saw it, though he wrote and published most of his early works while living abroad. The Gaylor collection has the majority of his works, including two of his most famous novels: Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953), and Giovanni’s Room (1956). Giovanni’s Room, his second novel, was a groundbreaking work because he was not only black but also openly gay. Yet it was well received by both European and American audiences.  During the 1960s, he returned to live in the United States, drawn to the activities of the civil rights movement He also continued to write.

LGBT mystery novels

The Gaylor Collection contains a large numbe of LGBT mystery novels, many given to Gaylor by his friend Bernard Oppenneer. Prominent authors include:

Ellen Hart (b. August 1949) is a mystery novel author who began her career in the late 1980s. She is openly lesbian and the Gaylor collection includes 21 of her 30 novels so far. Her first book, Hallowed Murder, was originally published in 1989; her first award winning book, Small Sacrifice, was published in 1994 and received a  Lambda Literary Award (given yearly to the best books within each genre), the first of six awards in total. The book also received the Minnesota Book Award, an award Hart would go on to win two more times.  The most recent of her books in the Gaylor collection is her 2009 Mirror and the Mask, which is the 17th of 23 books so far in her Jane Lawless series.

George Baxt (June 11, 1923 – June 28, 2003) was an openly gay author and screen writer who made a huge impact in the genre of mystery novels with his very first book A Queer Kind of Death. Published in 1966, his not only black, but also gay protagonist, Pharoah Love, caught the attention of many, including New York Times book reviewers. As a screenwriter, he primarily wrote horror films and he was fairly well known in the field. The Gaylor collection has the entirety of his Pharoah Love books (five books, published between 1966 and 1995), along with 16 of his other novels.

Joseph Hansen (July 19, 1923 – Nov. 24, 2004) was a gay mystery novelist who began his career in the 1960s.He used the pseudonyms "James Colton" and "Rose Brock" as well as his own name beginning with his famous 1970 book Fadeout, which premiered his well-known character Dave Brandstetter- a gay insurance investigator and detective. This was one of the first mystery novels to feature a gay protagonist, notably after Baxt’s Pharoah Love. Hansen was also a prominent activist for gay rights in both New York and California.

Michael Nava (b. Sept. 16, 1954) is a gay mystery novelists as well as a lawyer from California. His first novel, Little Death, was published in 1981 and was the start of his award-winning series about Henry Rios. The character is (similar, also gay lawyer working in California). Nava has also written a number of poems, essays, short stories, and one non-fiction book, Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America, which he coauthored and published in 1994. The collection contains that book as well as the 7 Henry Rios novels, the most recent of which was published in 2000.

(Text by Rose Walsh, Fall 2016)

Created by Name / Updated on February 13, 2019 by Name

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