Speaking of Sex

February 14 - October 11, 2014
Hirshland Exhibition Gallery, Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University

Information for visitors

Cornell University Library’s new exhibition, Speaking of Sex, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the
Human Sexuality Collection.

A quarter of a century ago, the Library began to gather rare books, letters, photographs and original artwork, films, erotica, and all sorts of ephemera related to sexuality – much of which was ignored or shunned by academia and society at large. By focusing on marginalized and contested areas of sexuality, the collection encourages us to think about sex from many angles and is a vital resource for the emerging field of sexuality studies.

The exhibition showcases words and concepts – such as perform, desire, silence, trans, deviant, commercialization – that the collection’s objects inspire researchers and visitors to consider more deeply. It includes items from the original 1988 Mariposa archives gift through very recent acquisitions. Come see a 1730 Dutch wanted poster for sodomites, a century-old vibrator, and photographs of recent protests in India. The exhibition runs from Valentine’s Day to National Coming Out Day.

Archives benefactor David B. Goodstein, ’54 said “It is as if sexuality, this most vital of human concerns, is filled with too many dangers to allow it to be studied seriously.” We help correct that. Researchers emerge from our reading room ready to talk and write about sex. What are they saying? Speaking of Sex, we invite you to join the conversation.

View the online exhibition