Scope and arrangement
The Karla Jay Papers consist of personal and professional correspondence, typescripts, research materials, publishing contracts, audio recordings, and other materials. A large portion of the collection pertains to her work as a writer and an academic. Documentation of her involvement with Redstockings and the Gay Liberation Front is present in the Miscellaneous Correspondence files of 1968-1970, the Redstockings file in Box 43, and early correspondence from 1968 to1971 (Boxes 35 and 38). Some files document her activism and consciousness raising efforts, and the dynamics of feminist publishing in the 1970s and 1980s. Many files contain a mix of material, reflecting the range of Jay's activities, and the intersection of her academic, writerly, political, and private life. Personal Correspondence includes letters from many prominent writers and gay and lesbian rights activists. Business and Professional Correspondence contains Jay's correspondence with her literary agent, publishers, and alternative presses, as well as with academic and professional organizations. This series also contains material concerning conferences, workshops, and other events in which Jay participated as an author and academic. Writings consists of drafts of Jay's dissertation, her books, published essays, and articles. Series IV, Other Materials, includes printed matter, Jay's dissertation note cards, and four carousels of slides for her presentation on notable Lesbians and Feminists in Paris. Audio Recordings is comprised mostly of interviews with Jay or conducted by her from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The Karla Jay papers are arranged in five series:
- 1961-2002, undated
This series consists of outgoing and incoming correspondence (chiefly the latter) with relatives, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues of Jay, mostly from the 1970s to the 1990s. Among the notable correspondents represented in Boxes 1-8 are Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Deming, Jeanette Foster, Barbara Grier, Anaïs Nin, Felice Picano, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Steinem, and Jane Vance Rule. Of note in the file for "Parents" in Box 6 are letters from Jay to her father and an aunt, 1976, in which she discusses her sexual identity.
This Series includes Jay's correspondence with publishers, periodicals in which she published articles, files documenting her student years at N.Y.U. and her early years teaching at Pace University, her involvement with the establishment of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the City University of New York, and her work with a grant agency, the Money for Women Fund. These files include draft and prepublication typescripts and copies of Jay's critical, literary, and journalistic writings; as well as typescripts by other writers, mainly those who contributed to her anthologies. Photocopies of published articles by or about Jay appear frequently throughout this series. The files of Jay's literary agent, editors, and publishers contain contracts, records of sale, and royalty information.
- circa 1970-2000s
The materials in Series 3 are mainly typescripts and computer printouts of drafts of Jay's works. Box 22 also includes readers' completed copies of the surveys that were the basis for The Gay Report. Of additional interest are the two drafts of Dyke Life (Box 28), which differ somewhat from the published version. Short Works include articles, essays and chapters by Jay.
- circa 1980-1995
This series includes a typescript, "Making the World Safe for the Missionary Position", by Kay Adams, for Lesbian Texts and Contexts; two photographs of Jay, ca. 1995; four carousels of slides for Jay's lecture on feminists in Paris; a French lesbians' magazine, La Grimoire ("The Book of Spells"), a spiral-bound, photocopied journal of politics and the arts, produced in limited quantities (Box 30); and Jay's note cards for The Amazon and the Page (Box 31).
- circa 1974-1999, 2013
The audio recordings include interviews with Jay and others, recordings of radio programs, and academic panels.