Often, the life stories of USF Libraries donors are every bit as interesting as the collections they donate. In this case, the two are tightly interwoven.
After a rather more conventional life in New York as a housewife, mother of three, teacher’s aide, and intensive care nurse, Edith “Edie” Daly moved back to her home state of Florida in 1981 with her colleague and then-romantic partner. Once in St. Petersburg, they came out, opened a bookstore, and helped establish a thriving lesbian community. Finding her true voice, Edie began advocating for peace, as well as human, women’s, and lesbian rights and has not slowed down to the present day. She is 78 years old, a proud, self-professed “old lesbian feminist,” and an undisputed leader in her community.
In 2006, USF Associate Professor Sara Crawley introduced Edie to the USF Tampa Library. Edie had a meticulously organized collection of community newsletters, ephemera, and other materials documenting the history of the lesbian community from 1981 that would form the basis of a new collection. A year after opening her bookstore, Edie had co-founded a lesbian feminist organization called the Women’s Energy Bank (WEB). WEB held monthly salons for women for 24 years, and produced a monthly publication, Womyn’s Words, for over 30 years.
In donating her archive of materials to the USF Libraries Special Collections department, Edie, in essence, began the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative. While the Initiative floundered under prior leadership, current USF Libraries Dean William A. Garrison recognized the strength of existing collections and the merit of building an LGBT collection of national significance. Sizeable additional donations from Edie and her partner Jackie Mirkin, Equality Florida, St. Pete Pride, USF Pride Alliance, and other prominent members of the local and national LGBT community comprise the current USF Libraries LGBT Collections. The USF Libraries LGBT Initiative launched anew in the fall of 2014 with a signature event featuring USF alumnus and accidental human rights hero Mitchell Katine, who took the landmark Lawrence v. Texas along its route to victory in the Supreme Court of the United States.
The USF Libraries LGBT Initiative continues to grow at a rapid pace. New materials and partnerships such as the 2014 collaboration with the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) are establishing the USF Libraries as a leading destination for researchers and policymakers in this arena.
Do you have materials which may merit inclusion in this collection, or wish to make a cash gift to grow and preserve the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development or by calling (813) 974-4433. If you would simply like to stay abreast of future events and news, sign up for our email list.