Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago

Photo Credit: 
Chicago Maroon, University of Chicago Photographic Archive

Exhibition Dates

  • March 30 – June 12, 2015


  • Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery

  • 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637


The oldest material in the exhibition documents relationships between the first generation of female faculty and graduate students at the University at the start of the 20th century. The exhibition also explores the consequences faced by male instructors caught in vice raids of the 1940s, the founding of Chicago Gay Liberation in 1970, the impact of AIDS on the University of Chicago community, anti-gay violence in the 1980s, and activism for partner benefits for same-sex couples and improvements to the campus climate for queer, transgender and gender non-conforming students. As the Chicago Maroon declared in 1980, “The University of Chicago may be gayer than you think.”

Drawing on the rich holdings of the University of Chicago Library—including the papers of Marion Talbot and Ernest Burgess, administrative records, and a multitude of campus publications—and other major archives, the exhibition displays letters, academic papers, and student newspaper articles, as well as posters, ephemera, photographs, a square of the AIDS Memorial Quilt made by UChicago students, and other visual documentation tracing this complex history. 

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