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Human Sexuality: Manuscripts

Primary and secondary sources in the Special Collections Research Center that cover human sexuality issues.

Primary Manuscript Sources With Online Finding Aids

Primary Manuscript Sources Without Online Finding Aids

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Sue Fite (1910-1920) Papers Series. Sue Fite (1887-?) lived with her family and worked as a telephone operator in Tell City, Illinois before pursuing an education in nursing in 1911. This collection of 105 letters consists of correspondence from Sue’s love interests. She had intimate relationships with several women and one man. Letters from one girlfriend, Marie, who lived in Maywood, Illinois, detailed the struggles she faced as a homosexual woman. Marie was Catholic and often wrote to Sue about attending church and going to confession. She hid her relationship with Sue from her family and often expressed suicidal thoughts in the letters. Sue also was involved with a teacher, who later married a man as a way out of the teaching profession. Once Sue entered the Illinois Training Academy for nurses, she developed close relationships with a few fellow students. While dating Florence Herrick, who was working for the Red Cross in Wisconsin in 1918, Sue also was involved with Budd Holmer (1889-?), who was drafted during World War I. Holmer wrote Fite often from Camp Wheeler, Georgia, but complained that she never wrote to him. Holmer’s letters offer insight into the mentality of men drafted for World War I. He described a number of desertions in the camp and one soldier who attempted to commit suicide. After tending to her ill mother in Tell City in 1920, Fite moved to Manhattan where she worked as a nurse. Also included in the collection are a number of photographs of Sue Fite’s girlfriends and boyfriend. (Accession #2009MS132)


Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Rowland (Roland) G. Railey Papers (1899-1929) Series. Rowland (or Roland) G. Railey was born on February 9, 1868 on a farm in Monroe County, Kentucky, the oldest of five children  of Anthony “Jettie” and Adilada Railey.   After completing his primary education, in 1889 in attended the State College of Kentucky. He completed his college degree at Southern Normal School in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1892, and in 1893 graduated from Northern Indiana Normal University in Valparaiso with honors in Columbian Classical Class.  Among his professional pursuits, he taught school in Kentucky, was principal of Summer Shade Normal School (1891) and Horse Cave Normal School (1895), worked for the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, worked for the Centennial Exposition in Nashville, Tennessee in 1897, was elected Circuit Clerk of Monroe County, KY. In 1897, and was elected in 1900 as a member of the Monroe County Republican Executive Committee. He was also a lawyer who practiced general law, and a farmer who grew ginseng and other herbs. These papers mainly consist of correspondence to Railey from women all over the Midwest who responded to advertisements Railey took out in newspapers requesting either romantic interests or pen pals. The letters often contain physical descriptions of the women respondents (as well as one photograph), as well as local news. Railey apparently met with several of the women who responded to his advertisement, although he never married. There are a couple of letters that deal with legal matters. Railey died on February 13, 1932 at age 64. (Accession #2009MS132)


Larry J. Hopkins Collection, 1979-1993. Politician and Member of Congress. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served during the Korean conflict era, Hopkins (1933- ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. His family moved to Wingo, Kentucky when he was very young, and after graduating from high school and marrying he moved to Lexington, Kentucky. First elected County Clerk in Fayette County, he eventually served in the Kentucky House of Representatives (1972-76) and the state Senate (1976-1978). He defeated the Democratic incumbent, John B. Breckinridge, for Kentucky's Sixth Congressional seat in 1979 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives until 1993. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor against the Democrat, Brereton C. Jones, in 1992. This collection consists of the papers of his Washington, D.C. and Sixth District offices. In Congress, Hopkins served on the Agriculture Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, including the Research and Development Subcommittee and the Investigations Subcommittee. He served on the Armed Services Committee during the investigation of the bombing of the Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, and also during the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991). (Accession #1997MS100) See files on homosexuality.

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