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Jeanne C. Barney papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-4483

Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence, writings, legal documents, photographs, ephemera, and artwork concerning Jeanne C. Barney, leather culture, and gay rights activism in California, circa 1968-1982. Present are original letters and typescript drafts for Barney’s advice columns, subscription forms and correspondence for the Leather Fraternity, and legal documents concerning Barney’s arrest and trial after the Mark IV raid. Also included are letters from Robert A. Sullivan, who was convicted of the 1973 murder of Donald Schmidt; John Wojtowicz, who was convicted of robbing a bank in 1972; and other gay prisoners, which Barney used for her “Prison Rap” column and to coordinate pen pal programs for gay prisoners. The collection also includes photographs, artwork, and paste-ups for Leather Fraternity publications and H.E.L.P. events, including drawings and prints by Sean, one of the pseudonyms of artist John Klamik.


  • 1968 - 1982


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Jeanne C. Barney Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from William Reese Co. (Swann Galleries Pride sale, New York, 2019 June 20, lot 137-138) on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2019. Purchased from Langdon Manor Books, LLC on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2019. Purchased from Daniel Oliver LLC on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana and Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2021.


Organized into three groupings: May 2021 Acquisition; October 2019 Acquisition; July 2019 Acquisition.

Related Materials

Associated material: Leather Fraternity Records (WA MSS S-4490), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


4.17 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Jeanne C. Barney was a writer and gay rights activist involved with leather culture, particularly in California. In 1975, Barney and John H. Embry founded Drummer magazine, and Barney served as editor-in-chief for the first eleven issues. Barney was also involved with the Leather Fraternity, which used personal ads in Drummer and a correspondence network to connect members of the leather community. She also wrote advice columns for The Advocate, Drummer, and NewsWest. Barney was arrested in 1976 when the Los Angeles Police Department raided a Leather Fraternity “slave auction” themed charity event at the Mark IV bathhouse. Barney, Embry, and two others pled guilty to felony charges and were sentenced to community service.

Separated Materials

Printed material received with the collection was removed for separate cataloging and can be accessed by searching the library's online catalog.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, titled according to the month and year of acquisition.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Processing Information

Many folder titles have been transcribed directly from Jeanne C. Barney's original folders. Devised folder titles and additions to existing folder titles have been enclosed in brackets.

Guide to the Jeanne C. Barney Papers
Stephanie Bredbenner
2021 September
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.