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Harvey Fierstein papers

Call Number: MS 1864

Scope and Contents

The collection primarily documents the professional career of Harvey Fierstein as noted writer and performer. Files of writings, topical files, clippings, and audiovisual materials additionally illuminate the theater industry as a whole, particularly the production of plays ranging from independent, low-budget productions to major theatrical endeavors, and how the media has depicted a prominent gay artist in the late twentieth century. There is also documentation related to the political and social causes in which Fierstein has been involved.


  • 1896-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1971 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site. The computer files are unprocessed and may contain sensitive information or be in a physical state that would prohibit use. Researchers wishing to request access should email . The request should outline the scope and purpose of the research project, why the researcher believes the material is relevant to their project, and contact information. If possible the request should also include a list of specific material of interest including collection, box, and folder numbers (or folder descriptions if folders are not numbered). The review may take several weeks. Copies of commercially produced audiovisual materials contained in this collection cannot be made for researcher use outside of the repository.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creator of this collection for materials he has authored or otherwise produced. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


Arranged in five series and four additions: I. Writings, 1972-2005. II. Performances, 1966-2006. III. Topical, 1896, 1919-2005 (inclusive), 1967-2005 (bulk). IV. Clippings, 1971-2005. V. Audiovisual, 1966-2004.


45.48 Linear Feet ((134 boxes) and 10.6 gigabytes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection documents Harvey Fierstein as author, actor, and gay activist. The papers include scripts, professional correspondence, publicity materials, clippings, legal documents, scrapbooks, photographs, audio recordings, and videotapes.

Biographical / Historical

Harvey Fierstein, award-winning playwright, actor and gay rights activist, was born on June 6, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in 1973. Aware of his sexuality as a young man, he appeared as a female impersonator in Manhattan nightclubs in his early teens. His career as an actor began in 1971 when he had the lead role as a lesbian maid in Andy Warhol's Pork. His first play, In Search of the Cobra Jewels, was produced in 1973. The International Stud, the first of three plays that eventually comprised the Torch Song Trilogy, was produced in 1976. Followed by Fugue in a Nursery and Widows and Children First, the trilogy won two Tonys, and was made into a movie, starring Fierstein, in 1988. Fierstein also won Tonys for his book for the musical La Cage aux Folles and for his role in the Broadway production of Hairspray. He has appeared in more than ten movies, and his voice has been featured on The Simpsons television show and in the Disney animated film, Legends of Mulan. His appearances on television include the 1994-1995 series, Daddy's Girls, and Family Guy.

Custodial History

Gift of Harvey Fierstein, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2017.

Guide to the Harvey Fierstein Papers
compiled by Scott Libson and Camila Zorrilla Tessler
April 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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