Celebrated writer and gay activist Larry Kramer is donating his papers and manuscripts to Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the University announced today.
Yale also announced a $1 million gift to support the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University. The gift, from Kramer's brother, Arthur Kramer, will support research and teaching in lesbian and gay studies, and will support the appointment of a full-time executive coordinator for the Initiative.
"Yale's resources in lesbian and gay students will be greatly augmented by the addition of Larry Kramer's papers and the generous gift from Arthur Kramer in Larry's name," Provost Alison Richard said. "Yale is thrilled to be the home of the writings of a celebrated alumnus who has brought about great change through both his art and his activism. Current and future generations of students and scholars will be able to study the works of one of the most creative, catalytic and controversial figures of late twentieth century American life."
Kramer's papers will join the Yale Collection of American Literature. As playwright, screenwriter, novelist, essayist and journalist, Kramer confronts life and death issues in the AIDS era. His 1985 play, The Normal Heart, has been compared to the work of Ibsen and Odets and last year was named one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th Century by Great Britain's National Theater. The Destiny of Me (1993) won an Obie Award. Kramer also published a novel of gay life, Faggots (1978), a book of his AIDS reporting, Reports from the Holocaust; The Making of an AIDS Activist (1994), and other plays. His screenplay for the film Women in Love (1969), which he also produced, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Kramer, who is a 1957 graduate of Yale College, co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis in 1982. In 1987, he founded the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), the international AIDS advocacy and protest organization.
Arthur Kramer graduated from Yale College in 1949. He earned his master's degree from Yale in 1951 and his LL.B from Yale Law School in 1953.
Lesbian and Gay Studies has a short but distinguished history at Yale. In 1987, the Research Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies was established to provide support for research projects being undertaken by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates on topics in the field of lesbian and gay studies. Subsequently, the fund was expanded to support visiting professors. Undergraduates can now concentrate in lesbian and gay studies within the Women's and Gender Studies Program, with courses in art, history, literature, psychology and other disciplines. The Kramer Initiative will allow a further strengthening of curricular offerings and related activities. The Initiative, to be housed on central campus, will be overseen by a faculty advisory committee chaired initially by Marianne LaFrance, Professor of Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies.