Scope and arrangement
The Lester Q. Strong Papers reflect Mr. Strong's personal life, his career as a writer documenting gay culture, and his documentation of his family's World War II experiences. The majority of the collection consists of project files relating to Strong's articles, including research materials, interview notes, drafts, final versions, relevant correspondence and copies of publications. Many of these project files contain transcripts and sound recordings of interviews he conducted. Prominent interviewees include Edward Albee, Anthony Burgess, Quentin Crisp, Harvey Fierstein, Edward Lucie-Smith, and John Rechy. The collection also contains his personal and professional correspondence as well as the Strong family's collected letters written during World War II, while Strong's father Dale was held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in the Philippines. Dale's narrative of his experience "My Reminiscence" is also contained in the collection.
The Lester Q. Strong papers are arranged in six series:
The bulk of the correspondence (1966-2001) is arranged alphabetically in two subseries: A. Personal; and B. Professional. The personal correspondence consists mainly of incoming cards, letters and picture postcards from friends, colleagues and family, containing personal anecdotes, critiques of published and unpublished works, discussions of gay issues. There are a few outgoing letters by Mr. Strong including his coming out letter (6-21-78) to his mother, Lena Strong, and copies of two letters (11-22-81 and 11-5-82) to Sebastian Lopez, an Argentinean refugee who later became a citizen of the Netherlands. The Flint file contains correspondence with Shirley and Richard Flint, authors and scholars of the Spanish colonial period in New Mexico.
The professional correspondence (1980-2001) includes both incoming and outgoing letters. Among these are cover letters sent with manuscripts submitted for publication; rejection letters; and a few letters to editors discussing travel and other common interests. Filed at the end of the subseries is a folder of miscellaneous correspondence with editors arranged chronologically.
The files contain research materials, interview notes, occasional photographs, rough drafts, final publication versions, relevant correspondence and copies of the various publications where the writings appeared. Many of the files contain Mr. Strong's handwritten content descriptions.
The bulk of the papers in this series, arranged chronologically, consists of Mr. Strong's notes, exams and papers from St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico (1964-1968), and The New School for Social Research, New York City, New York (1968-1973). Included is a booklet profiling the first graduating class of St. John's College, of which Mr. Strong was a member, and Mr. Strong's seminar paper written for Hannah Arendt (Fall, 1971), with her handwritten comments. This paper was used as the basis for Mr. Strong's 1995 article, "'I Have Become a Problem to Myself': Augustine's Theory of Will and the Notion of Human Inwardness" [see Series 2 (Writings)].
This series is arranged chronologically and contains early writings by Mr. Strong during his high school and college years, and copies of school newspapers, yearbooks, and literary magazines in which his work appeared.
This series documents the experiences of Mr. Strong's father, Dale Strong, during World War II, and consists of correspondence and handwritten and typed manuscripts of Dale's memoir, "My Reminiscence."
The correspondence (1941-1965) is arranged alphabetically and contains letters, telegrams, photographs, POW postal cards and War Department circulars from 1941-1953. Correspondents include Lena Strong, Dale Strong, the Red Cross, the War Department and Richard French, who was responsible for typing Dale's memoir. Most notable are letters, cards and a government telegram received by Lena concerning a November, 22, 1944 POW message, supposedly from Dale, broadcast on Radio Tokyo [see Series 6 (Audiovisual Materials)]; American and Japanese POW postcards [see also Series 2 (Writings)]; the War Department's official correspondence concerning prisoner of war status, family allotments, repatriations (including letters from Gen. George Kenney and President Truman) and claims for compensation; and Dale's diary started in April, 1944, and written on the backs of Lena's 1943 letters. The page order of this diary is arranged by the date of Lena's letters, resulting in the diary entries being out of date order.
Dale Strong's eyewitness account of the war years, 1941-1945, include descriptions of air raids in the Philippine Islands and Tokyo; his experiences on the Bataan Death March, beginning at Marvales and ending at San Fernando La Pompanga; the regimen of the POW Camps O'Donnell and Clark Field; his transfer to Japan and life in the steel mill between Yokahama and Tokyo and the mining town, Ashio; liberation in September, 1945; and his arrival in San Francisco a month later. Included is a notebook which records various activities and army songs and poems. Dale's handwritten manuscript of "My Reminiscences", a typed, laminated version and an unpublished account of Dale's experiences as a prisoner of war at Clark Field in the Philippines, written for Reader's Digest by Richard French, are included.
The collection includes a sound recording of the POW message read over Radio Tokyo November 22, 1944, supposedly from Mr. Strong's father, Dale Strong, to his mother, Lena Strong and 41 audiocassettes of interviews conducted by Mr. Strong in connection with his writings.