The Paul Riesman papers include material on the Fula peoples of West Africa from Riesman's research in Burkina Faso during the 1960s and 1970s. Riesman's research among the Fula peoples is primarily focused on social life and child-rearing practices. The collection consists of fieldnotes, journals, correspondence, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The Paul Riesman papers reflect Riesman's anthropological fieldwork among the Fula peoples of West Africa. Riesman began his fieldwork in Burkina Faso in 1966 while earning his PhD from the University of Paris. Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s Riesman resided among the Fula peoples, primarily researching social life and child-rearing practices. Riesman's research is documented in this collection through extensive fieldnotes which encompass Fula culture and Riesman's own personal reflections on life, an aspect of research which Riesman employed in his introspective approach to anthropology. Additionally, there is both personal and professional correspondence between Riesman and others. This collection contains fieldnotes, journals, and correspondence. Also present are five photographs of Riesman taken during his fieldwork.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Biographical / Historical:
Paul Hastings Riesman (1938 – 1988) was an anthropologist who studied the Fula peoples of West Africa and was active from the mid to late 20th century. Following the footsteps of his father, American sociologist David Riesman, Paul Riesman graduated from Harvard University in 1960 with a B.A. in Social Relations. After completing his undergraduate degree, Riesman began his fieldwork in Burkina Faso among the Fula peoples while earning his PhD in Ethnology from the University of Paris. While researching Fula social life and child-rearing practices, Riesman also studied how the ethnographer's personal and cultural backgrounds are implicated in anthropological research. Riesman continued his fieldwork after earning his PhD in 1970 and would return to Burkina Faso frequently for research after becoming Associate Professor at Carleton College and later, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Paul Riesman died of an aneurysm at the age of 50 in 1988. Following his death, colleagues helped to complete Riesman's unpublished manuscript on child-rearing practices based on his research among the Fula.
The Carleton College Archives holds the Paul H. Riesman papers.
Received from Suzanne Riesman in 1998.
Access to the Paul Riesman papers requires an appointment.
Paul Riesman papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
A collection of pulp fiction titles centering on lesbian characters and lesbianism.
A collection of eighty-five pulp fiction titles dealing with lesbian characters and lesbianism. Parts of this collection are extremely fragile and should be handled with care. The collection is arranged chronologically by date of publication.
Collection arranged by date of publication into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Between 1950 and 1965, over 500 distinct lesbian pulp novels were published in the US. These novels were exceptionally influential on lesbian communities in a time where LGBT media was extremely limited. Sold at the counters of grocery stores and in other common shops, these novels became a tangible way for many women to interact with a community they would otherwise have been unable to access. Some of the best loved books were the work of lesbian or bisexual women, many of whom—such as the influential Artemis Smith (Dr. Annselm L.N.V. Morpurgo) and Ann Bannon (Ann Weldy)— went on to become vocal activists and scholars in LGBT matters. Authors of this genre generally used pseudonyms for publication, which helped conceal their identity both as writers of explicit content and potentially as lesbians. Pseudonyms frequently crossed or confused the author's gender, such as in the case of Kay Addams (male author Orrie Hitt), Randy Salem (lesbian author Pat Perdue), and March Hastings (lesbian author Sally Singer). Some writers chose to use multiple pseudonyms, such as Gilbert Fox (published under Dallas Mayo and Paul Russo, among others), and some chose to use a separate name for each genre of pulp novel which they produced. This practice had the benefit of concealing some authors' outright connection to lesbian culture but was also a practice of pulp more generally. Because pulp was poor quality literature, due primarily to the constraints of cheap publishing and quick production, writers often intended these novels to be their introduction to large publishing houses. Authors would begin by writing pulp and then, once they had become accustomed to the industry, would move onto more serious works without having trashy pulp as part of their reputation.
The majority of lesbian pulp novels are original stories created for mass production by American writers. A few key exceptions to this rule existed. The first was reproductions of older lesbian literary works, including Radclyffe Hall's influential The Well of Loneliness (original 1928), Lillian Hellman's script for the play The Children's Hour (original 1934), and Anna Elisabet Weirauch's The Scorpion (original 1919, published in German). The other exception is international works, which would be translated and printed in pulp for the US. Tereska Torrès's Women's Barracks (1950), the novel which started the lesbian pulp genre, was translated from its original French for its mass production in America. Other translated works include Lucie Marchal's, The Mesh (original French, published as pulp in 1959), Francoise Mallet's The Loving and the Daring (original French, also known in English as The Illusionist, published as pulp in 1952), and Torrès's By Cecile (1963). Many of these republished works are among the most favorable to lesbians, as they reflect personal experiences of the author or are canonical entries into broader lesbian literature. While many of the best-regarded novels in the genre were written by lesbian or bisexual women, the bulk of what was produced by American publishers was by male authors for a male audience. Considered perverse erotica, lesbian pulps were written and marketed towards male gratification.
These pulp novels occupy a conflicted space in lesbian culture. Because they were published and distributed en masse, these books became a way for closeted lesbian and bisexual women in areas where there were no strong LGBT communities to find self-recognition and connection with others. Some found the books changing how they thought of their sexuality, particularly if they had only experienced straight relationships. However, buying and keeping these books could be taboo, despite their general popularity. Purchasers often tried to buy lesbian pulps as covertly as possible, and many took advantage of the disposable quality of pulp and abandoned or destroyed the books when they had finished reading them. Publishers were willing to produce lesbian novels because they were an extremely profitable genre, but the US Post Office refused to deliver "explicit" materials, including any promotion of lesbian relationships—regardless of the actual sexual content within. Authors circumvented this issue by creating narratives which appeared to condemn lesbianism. Characters would frequently be killed, go insane, convert back to heterosexuality, or be otherwise fatally punished in the conclusion of the book. In others, the entire novel's plot would include a pervasive element of shame or corruption when a young woman would be manipulated into a lesbian relationship. Compounding these issues is the trite or formulaic nature of the plots, which were often a product of the hastened publishing schedule and low budget for production. These factors create difficulty for many in the current lesbian community to relate to the condemning nature of the genre, particularly as many works of far better quality in both writing and representation have appeared in recent decades.
The cover artwork of these novels is another important aspect. Although there were some strong communities of LGBT women, particularly in urban areas, many had difficulty finding or accessing them. Particularly for those who lived in rural areas or with deep homophobia, the covers of pulp novels would be the first time they saw themselves reflected in popular culture. Lesbian pulp covers usually contained a depiction of two or more women, at least one of whom was exhibiting an identifiable lesbian desire. Common themes included women undressing in private or in communal rooms, women ignoring men in favor of gazing at another woman's body, or women in the midst of a romantic encounter. These covers generally teased at the sexual content within the books, which was typical of all pulp romances. Every identified artist for this collection's covers is a man. Although some women did paint for pulp novels and magazines, they would be frequently relegated to less controversial subjects, such as demure heterosexual romances, and in the rare case horrors, mysteries, and thrillers. Many of the artists for the lesbian novels also produced for many other pulp publications. Artists would receive the covers as an assignment from their publishing company, often without any contact with the author. Because of the tight production schedule, they would often be working off skimming the book's contents, its (publisher-generated) title, or in the lucky case a plot synopsis. Due to this, although some covers hint at community subgroups such as butch and femme aesthetics, they are generally inaccurate to the fashion of real lesbian communities.
Some cover artists of the novels remain unidentified, which can be for a multitude of reasons. First, in the early 1950s many pulp publishers did not allow artists to keep the rights to their work, and so the paintings were considered the sole property of the company. Some publishers would even reuse covers, as is the case for Kay Addams's Warped Desire (1960) and Richard Villanova's Her Woman (1962). Although artists were eventually given more rights, many were unable to claim important works as their intellectual property. Second, because of the controversial nature of the genre, many artists chose not to include specific covers in their portfolio. Like the authors, pulp was sometimes considered a way to launch a more extensive fine arts career, although successful artists often committed to long-term work in the industry. It was far more acceptable to use works from other pulp genres like mystery and horror as promotional and professional material. Paul Rader is one of the few artists who was able and willing to sign his covers. Many pulp illustrators were fresh graduates of New York art schools, but Rader entered the industry later in life. Rader's work was exceptionally suited to the demands of romance and lesbian pulps, because he was notably better at depicting "sexy" bodies than painting for other genres, like sci-fi. When Midwood Books was founded in 1957, he was one of the first to paint for them and quickly became a favorite of the publisher. Six of the novels in this collection have covers that can be attributed to Rader.
Lesbian pulps were the backdrop to an extensive fight over the right to produce and sell explicit content. The publication of Women's Barracks is famous as the event which precipitated the formation of the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials from 1952-1953. The Committee ultimately accomplished little in restricting pulp novels, but it did cause editorial changes to the book (the addition of a disapproving narrator) and demonstrated political attitudes towards the genre. In 1956, a bookseller was punished with 30 days of imprisonment for selling copies of Mark Tryon's Sweeter than Life, republished after the lawsuit as The Twisted Loves of Nym O'Sullivan. This case was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court, resulting in the Smith v. California (1959) decision, which voided the California law preventing the sale of "obscene" content on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment right to free speech. Over the course of the 1960s, lawsuits continued to erode the restrictions on explicit content. Rather than boost the lesbian pulp genre, however, this caused its collapse.
The expansion of publishers' rights meant that the Postal Service could no longer deny delivering lesbian-friendly or pornographic novels on content alone. However, mass publishers were not willing to print works which portrayed lesbianism positively or which increased the amount of graphic content. Smaller presses and collectives began to emerge, which were able to siphon the market for pulps with novels that were better written and more satisfying for their audiences. Unable and unwilling to meet this new competition, publishers like Midwood and Beacon-Signal turned towards the other genres of pulp fiction. The year 1965 marks the end of the lesbian pulp era. Though lesbian fiction had improved in quality, smaller presses were unable to reach the same closeted and isolated women that pulps appealed to as they were considerably limited in their geographic distribution by the size of their operations and the cost of shipping. For many lesbians who had relied on pulps in lieu of community, their access to LGBT content became incredibly restricted in the coming decades. However, lesbian pulp fiction incentivized a new generation of writers to produce better literature through the 1970s and 80s. Publishing houses like Naiad Press were established, which were able to support the ambition of these new authors. Although genuine pulp manufacture had ceased, these presses would continue to reprint the most influential lesbian pulps for the next generation to enjoy. (Written by Sara Kunkemueller.)
Blakemore, Erin. "Pulp Fiction Helped Define American Lesbianism," Jstor Daily, 2019. Accessed through https://daily.jstor.org/pulp-fiction-helped-define-american-lesbianism/.
Fonesca, Sarah. "Reality Is a Drag: I'd Rather Live in Lesbian Pulp Fiction," them, Mar. 2019. Accessed through https://www.them.us/story/lesbian-pulp-fiction.
Frost, Natasha. "The Lesbian Pulp Fiction That Saved Lives," Atlas Obscura, May 2018. Accessed through https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/lesbian-pulp-fiction-ann-bannon.
Hermes, Joke. "Sexuality in Lesbian Romance Fiction," Feminist Review, no. 42, Autumn 1992, pp. 49-66. Accessed through https://www.jstor.org/stable/1395129.
Keller, Yvonne. "'Was It Right to Love Her Brother's Wife so Passionately?': Lesbian Pulp Novels and U.S. Lesbian Identity, 1950-1965," American Quarterly, vol. 57, no. 2, Jun. 2005, pp. 385-410. Accessed through https://www.jstor.org/stable/40068271.
Munroe, Lynn. "The Notebooks of Paul Rader," Lynn Munroe Books, n.d. Accessed through http://lynn-munroe-books.com/list64/RaderHome/RaderNotebooks-home.htm.
Rabinowitz, Paula. "Slips of the Tongue: Uncovering Lesbian Pulp," American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street, Princeton University Press, 2014, pp. 184-205. Accessed through https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvdxq.11.
Many cover artists for this collection identified through:
"Pulp Covers: The Best of the Worst," n.d. Accessed through pulpcovers.com.
Saunders, David. "Alphabetical Index of Pulp Artists," Wild American Field Guide to Pulp Artists, n.d. Accessed through https://www.pulpartists.com/index.html.
Collection purchased from Swann Auction Galleries, New York, New York in September 2021. Funds for purchase provided by the Jackson Fund, NMAH.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Portions of this collection are extremely fragile; any photocopying must first be approved by the on-site reference archivist.
The Waldo R. Wedel and Mildred Mott Wedel papers are open for research. Personnel files and grant proposals sent to Waldo Wedel to review are restricted. Waldo and Mildred Wedel's monographs are stored at an off-site facility.
Access to the Waldo R. Wedel and Mildred Mott Wedel papers requires an appointment.
NAA.1990-20, Waldo R. Wedel and Mildred Mott Wedel papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The papers of community organizer and affordable housing developer Marie Satenik Nahikian measure 3.46 linear feet and date from 1971 to 1998. The collection contains correspondence; certificates; photographs; newsletters; campaign ephemera; editions of various Washington, DC community newspapers; as well as recordings of Nahikian's speeches. The bulk of the collection contains documents pertaining to Nahikian's work with the Adams Morgan Organization.
The papers of community organizer and affordable housing developer Marie Satenik Nahikian measure 3.46 linear feet and date from 1971 to 1998. The collection includes copies of the Rock Creek Monitor, the newspaper of Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan and Mt. Pleasant communities of Washington, DC. Present in the collection are also proclamations, newspaper clippings, writings by Nahikian and materials related to her role for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC-1C (in Adams Morgan) and unsuccessfully campaign for D.C. City Council.
Biographical / Historical:
Marie Satenik Nahikian was a co-founder and the first Executive Director of the
Adams Morgan Organization (AMO – founded in 1972). Prior to
Washington, DC having Home Rule, AMO put into practice a local,
elected self-governance structure that advocated for issues of concern to
neighborhood residents. AMO served as the main model for the Advisory
Neighborhood Commissions that were created as part of Home Rule's
implementation in Washington, DC. Marie S. Nahikian, particularly through
her work with AMO, was a staunch advocate and partial architect of three
landmark pieces of tenant rights and anti-displacement legislation in DC:
the 1975 Rental Accommodations Act, the 1978 Residential Real Property
Transfer Excise Tax, and the 1980 Rental Housing Conversion and Sale
Nahikian successfully ran for Advisory Neighborhood
Commissioner for ANC-1C (in Adams Morgan) and twice ran for D.C.
City Council (unsuccessfully). She was appointed by Mayor Walter
Washington (1915-2003) to serve two terms as a Tenant Commissioner on the D.C. Rental Accommodations Commission. She later served under Mayor
Marion Barry (1936-2014) as head of the Tenant Purchase Program that enabled largely low- and moderate-income tenants to purchase and become cooperative owners of their buildings.
After leaving Washington, DC, she went on to work for Mayors in Philadelphia and New York City. Nahikian also worked in the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development under President Barack Obama.
Marie Satenik Nahikian currently hosts the Usable Past podcast, where activists share their stories of past and present organizing to create better lives for as many people as possible.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Marie Satenik Nahikian papers are the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.