Robert Giard’s Archival Connections

August 28, 2020

By Gabrielle Colangelo

American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997.

This video provides an introduction to Giard’s work and mission to “define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither.” As the Robert Giard Foundation describes, the photographs provide a visual record of queer voices in the wake of the Stonewall Rebellion and AIDS crisis. 

READ more about Giard’s photographs.

VIEW many of Giard’s photographs, digitized in the Beinecke’s Digital Library

EXPLORE the finding aid for the Robert Giard papers, which contain diaries, datebooks, correspondence, and other materials which provide context for Giard’s photographs. 

The Giard archive provides a significant resource for the study of literary America in the late twentieth century. Giard kept detailed diaries of his portrait session, and frequently corresponded with subjects for years. This page explores the archival lives of several of Giard’s subjects.  



Dodie Bellamy & Kevin Killian | The Bloodroot Collective | Joe Brainard | Alfred Corn | Christopher Cox | Samuel R. Delany | Robert Ferro & Michael Grumley | Charles Henri Ford | Marilyn Hacker | Joy Harjo | Wayne Koestenbaum | Larry Kramer | David Leavitt | Audre Lorde | Carl Phillips | Felice Picano | James Purdy | Sam Steward | Kitty Tsui | Paula Vogel | Edmund White | Jonathan Williams 

Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian

Novelist Dodie Bellamy and poet Kevin Killian were photographed by Giard in 1989. He also photographed each artist separately.  

EXPLORE the Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy papers at the Beinecke, consisting of correspondence, writings, personal papers, and other media documenting the personal and professional lives of Bellamy and Killian. 

VIEW other materials related to Bellamy and Killian in the Digital Library. 

The Bloodroot Collective 

The founders of the Bloodroot Collective—Noel Furie, Selma Miriam, and Betsey Beaven—were photographed by Giard in June 1995. 

EXPLORE the Bloodroot Collective records in Yale Manuscripts and Archives. The records document the lives and roles of its two remaining members, Selma Miriam and Noel Furie, who maintained the materials. The records consist of correspondence, writings by members and other feminist thinkers, restaurant reviews, photographs, and other topical files related to the collective. 

Joe Brainard

Artist Joe Brainard was photographed by Giard in March 1990.

EXPLORE the Ron Padgett papers at the Beinecke Library, which contain many objects related to Joe Brainard, including files for the White Dove Review, edited by Joe Brainard, Dick Gallup, and Ron Padgett while they were high school students in Tulsa. 

VIEW other materials related to Joe Brainard in the Digital Library. 

Alfred Corn 

Poet Alfred Corn was photographed by Giard in January 1987. 

EXPLORE the Alfred Corn papers at the Beinecke Library. The collection consists of correspondence, writings, and printed and digital material documenting aspects of Corn’s work as a poet and writer as well as his relationships with other poets and writers. 

Christopher Cox

Writer, director, and producer Christopher Cox was photographed by Giard in August 1989. 

EXPLORE the Christopher Cox papers at the Beinecke Library. The collection consists of writings, correspondence, and personal papers of Cox and his partner, art historian William Olander. 

Samuel R. Delany 

Novelist and critic Samuel Delany was photographed by Robert Giard in March 1987. 

EXPLORE the Samuel R. Delany papers at the Beinecke Library. The collection consists of writings, correspondence, personal papers, printed material, photographs, artwork, professional papers, and other media. Selected materials from the papers are available in the Digital Library. 

WATCH Delany’s upcoming 2020 Windham-Campbell Lecture, which will be livecast at 5PM EST on September 16th.  The Windham-Campbell prizes are hosted by Beinecke. 

Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley 

Novelists and partners Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley were photographed together by Giard in November 1985. They were also photographed individually.  

EXPLORE the Robert Ferro papers at the Beinecke, consisting of personal correspondence and material related to Ferro’s published and unpublished writing, particularly four novels which, with their semi-autobiographical themes of homosexuality, family, and illness, tell much about his community in the 1970s and 1980s. 

EXPLORE the Michael Grumley papers at the Beinecke. The collection consists of writings and supporting research material, with a small amount of personal correspondence and personal papers. 

Charles Henri Ford 

Author and editor Charles Henri Ford was photographed by Giard several times in October 1989: once alone, and twice with his partner Indra Tamang

EXPLORE the Charles Henri Ford Papers at the Beinecke, containing correspondence, writings, and artwork that document Ford’s activities as an author and journal editor. 

VIEW other materials related to Ford available in the Digital Library

Marilyn Hacker 

Author and translator Marilyn Hacker was photographed by Giard in September 1987. 

EXPLORE the Marilyn Hacker papers at the Beinecke, containing correspondence, personal papers, photographs, and other material relating to the life and work of Hacker. Kenyon Review materials document Hacker’s tenure as editor of the journal, including controversy surrounding her dismissal. 

VIEW other materials related to Hacker available in the Digital Library

Joy Harjo 

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo was photographed by Robert Giard in March 1990. 

READ correspondence between Joy Harjo and James Welch, held in the James Welch papers at the Beinecke. 

LISTEN to Harjo read her poem “Grace” on “Poetry on Record: 98 poets read their work, 1888-2006, available in Beinecke Collections. The full poem is available online via Poetry Foundation.

READ “In honor of Mo who is our cat, and we are hers,” a poem by Harjo published as a limited edition broadside, printed and designed by Susan Makov and Patrick Eddington, available in Beinecke collections. The poem can be read in full online via Abebooks

Wayne Koestenbaum 

Poet Wayne Koestenbaum was photographed by Giard in March 1992. 

WATCH Koestenbaum’s contribution to the “Creativity in Isolation” video series. While discussing what he has been thinking about in this time of isolation and quarantine, he shows viewers his childhood Super-8 projector, and discusses why, in times he doesn’t want to write, he makes mini-movies. 

EXPLORE Koestenbaum’s archive, recently acquired by the Beinecke as part of the Yale Collection of American Literature. 

Larry Kramer 

Playwright and activist Larry Kramer was photographed by Giard in December 1989. 

EXPLORE the Larry Kramer papers at the Beinecke Library. The collection documents the career of Kramer as a playwright, author, advocate for gay rights, and activist in the fight against AIDS. The collection contains substantial material relating to the founding of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). 

VIEW materials related to Larry Kramer available in the Digital Library

EXPLORE research files and exhibit panels relating to The Pink and the Blue: Lesbian and Gay Life at Yale and in Connecticut, 1642-2004, an exhibit produced by the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale. The collection is held by Manuscripts and Archives at the Yale University Library.  

David Leavitt 

Novelist and biographer David Leavitt was photographed by Giard several times in February 1987, alone and with his partner Gary Glickman.

EXPLORE the David Leavitt papers at the Beinecke, consisting of correspondence, writings, scrapbooks, and audiovisual material documenting the life and writing career of David Leavitt. 

VIEW other materials related to Leavitt in the Digital Library

Audre Lorde 

Writer and activist Audre Lorde was photographed by Giard in May 1987. 

EXPLORE the Lisbet Tellefsen papers at the Beinecke Library, which contain correspondence between Tellefsen and Lorde. Much of the rest of the collection centers around the creation of Aché, which was first issued in 1989 as a journal and existed as a collective in the Bay Area until 1994. 

EXPLORE the Langston Hughes papers at the Beinecke, which contain several typescript poems by Audre Lorde, including “Pirouette,” “Yearstone,” “Father Son and Holy Ghost,” and “And Fall Shall Sit in Judgement”. 

Carl Phillips 

Poet Carl Phillips was photographed by Robert Giard in August 2000. 

WATCH Carl Phillips’s contribution to the Beinecke’s Creativity in Isolation video series, a project where writers and artists discuss what they have been working on and thinking about in this time of isolation and quarantine. Phillips discussed his Instagram cooking show, how his cancelled book tour has made him rethink the point of writing poetry, and read his poem, “Pale Colors in a Tall Field.” 

EXPLORE the rest of Beinecke’s Creativity 2020 series, featuring poets and writers such as Garry TrudeauPeter Cole, and Susan Bee

Felice Picano 

Author Felice Picano was photographed by Giard in September 1985. 

EXPLORE the Felice Picano papers at the Beinecke, containing writing, journals and diaries, and correspondence with Picano’s publishers and colleague Andrew Holleran. 

James Purdy 

Novelist James Purdy was photographed by Giard in November 1987. 

EXPLORE the James Purdy papers at the Beinecke, documenting aspects of the literary career of Purdy, particularly its earlier years. 

VIEW other materials related to James Purdy, including many photographs by Carl Van Vechten, available in the Digital Library

Sam Steward 

Poet Samuel Steward was photographed by Giard in January 1988. 

EXPLORE the Samuel Steward papers at the Beinecke Library, containing correspondence, writings, diaries, photographs, artworks, and other materials related to the life and work of Steward. Correspondents include Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, George Platt Lynes, and Thornton Wilder. Writings include drafts of homoerotic novels written under the nom de plume Phil Andros, and a translation of Querelle of Brest by Jean Genet. 

VIEW other materials related to Steward available in the Digital Library

Kitty Tsui

Poet and bodybuilder Kitty Tsui was photographed by Robert Giard in January 1988. 

READ The Words of a Woman Who Breathes Fire at the Beinecke, the first known book by a Chinese American lesbian, published in 1983. 

Paula Vogel 

Playwright and teacher Paula Vogel was photographed by Giard in February 1999. 

EXPLORE the Paula Vogel papers at the Beinecke Library. The collection contains writings, correspondence, photographs, and other media documenting the life and work of Paula Vogel. Writings include scripts, drafts, production materials, and research materials relating to plays by Vogel, including Hot and Throbbing, How I Learned to Drive, Civil War Christmas, and others. 

EXPLORE the National Ubu Roi Bake-Off Collection, 2018 at the Beinecke Library.  The National Ubu Roi Bake-Off was a playwriting workshop organized by Vogel in response to contemporary United States Politics. More information related to the Bake-Off can be found on Vogel’s website

Edmund White

Novelist and essayist Edmund White was photographed by Giard in September 1985. 

EXPLORE the Edmund White papers at the Beinecke, comprised of correspondence, drafts of writings, research files, and other material providing insight into the professional and personal life of White. 

VIEW materials related to Edmund White available in the Digital Library

EXPLORE the Keith Fleming Papers relating to Edmund White at the Beinecke Library. The papers contain manuscripts, research files, and biographical material created and collected by Fleming while working on the biography Original Youth: The Real Story of Edmund White’s Boyhood. 

Jonathan Williams 

Poet and photographer Jonathan Williams was photographed by Giard in March 1991. 

EXPLORE the James S. Jaffe collection of Jonathan Williams and the Jargon Society, held by the Beinecke Library. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, galley proofs, and artwork collected independently by James S. Jaffe, which documents a varied sample of projects undertaken by Williams and the Jargon Society. The collection includes especially rich documentation of William’s professional and personal relationship with Thomas A. Clark, a poet and publisher. 

EXPLORE the Jonathan Williams photographs, including portraits of many members of Williams’ social circle, particularly poets, painters, writers, artists, and friends. 

VIEW other materials related to and by Williams, available in the Digital Library

- Gabrielle Colangelo, Y ‘21

Yale Collection of American Literature Student Research Assistant