Kessler Lecture

The annual David R. Kessler Lecture in Lesbian and Gay Studies was endowed by David R. Kessler to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to understanding lesbian and gay life.

CLAGS is pleased to announce that Joan Nestle, a co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, has been selected as the first honoree. The choice of Joan Nestle to inaugurate this prestigious annual lecture is singularly appropriate, for she has dedicated her life to gathering, preserving, and documenting lesbian heritage. Joan Nestle is a teacher in the SEEK Program at Queens College CUNY and a writer. Her published works include A Restricted Country, the anthology, Persistent Desires: A Butch-Fem Reader.

The Lesbian Herstory Archives began in 1973. For 20 years it was located in Manhattan and just this year has found its own home in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. The Archives’ extraordinary collections come from organizations and individuals worldwide. Dedicated volunteers and friends maintain its extensive holdings. In addition to education, community outreach, and presentations of cultural events, the Archives sponsors special projects, such as, the exhibit on black lesbians, “Keep On Keepin’ On” (which will be shown at the October 2nd CLAGS fundraiser).

Joan Nestle was the unanimous choice of the 1991-92 Kessler Committee, comprised of CLAGS Board members Martin Duberman, Cheryl Clarke, Esther Katz, Sylvia Molloy, and Joseph Wittreich .

The Kessler Lecture and a reception in honor of Joan Nestle will take place on Friday, November 20th at the CUNY Graduate School auditorium at 33 West 42 Street. This will be a special and exciting night for the entire lesbian and gay community.