Scope and arrangement
The Richard Plant Papers document the literary activity and academic career of the author and educator best known for his book The Pink Triangle (1986), a study of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, research files, news clippings, personal papers, printed matter, photocopies, photographs and audio recordings. This material is in German and English, and spans from 1916 to 1998. The papers provide insights on the life and work of a representative German émigré scholar who was a pioneer in the field of gay history. A substantial portion of the collection relates to Plant's extensive research and writing about the lives of gays in Germany during the 1930s-1940s. There is also material that documents his work as a film critic, literary scholar, translator and lecturer, as well as his role in the composition of the opera Lizzie Borden (1965). The Richard Plant Papers are a valuable source of information on Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the historiography of the Third Reich, 20th-century German literature and gay politics and culture in the United States.
The Richard Plant papers are arranged in seven series:
- 1948-19981.5 linear feet
Richard Plant's correspondence files contain incoming and outgoing letters, postcards and miscellaneous enclosures. The majority of items are written in English, but there are as well substantial numbers written in German, Plant's native language. Topics discussed include the author's historical research, his academic career, his writings and his personal affairs. Prominent correspondents include composer Jack Beeson, author Heinrich Böll, sociologist Rüdiger Lautmann, historian Hugh Trevor-Roper and gay activist Ian Young. The files contain a great deal of information related to Plant's study of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the composition of his book on the subject, The Pink Triangle. Particularly important in this regard are letters exchanged with Rüdiger Lautmann, Albert de Cocatrix, Jim Steakley and Ian Young. There is also material relating to Plant's collaboration, with Jack Beeson, on the composition of the opera Lizzie Borden, and his work as editor and translator of the German writers Heinrich Böll and Marie Luise Kaschnitz
- 1926-19965 linear feet
This series contains published and unpublished writings by Richard Plant including short stories, critical essays, newspaper and magazine articles, histories, translations, memoirs, and novels, as well as several folders of sketches, outlines and fragments. Writings are in English and German, and are arranged alphabetically by the title of the work, when known. Many folders contain correspondence, news clippings and printed material gathered by Plant in the course of his research for the project concerned. There are also reviews, newspaper clippings and promotional materials regarding several of Plant's most important works, including Lizzie Borden and The Pink Triangle. The earliest items date from Plant's student years in Germany and Switzerland. They include papers written for university classes, dramatic sketches, short stories and film and book reviews. After his emigration to the United States in 1938, Plant authored book, film and theatre reviews that appeared in The Saturday Review, The Nation and numerous German-language publications. This series includes dozens of examples of these critical essays, many of which focus on German literature of the 1940s-1960s. In addition, there are several reviews that appeared during the 1970s-1980s in The Advocate and Christopher Street regarding new titles in the field of gay history. Examples of Richard Plant's work as a novelist include a photocopy of the printed edition of The Dragon in the Forest (1948) together with dozens of reviews of the book, and a typescript of the unpublished Mimosa. There is important material relating to Richard Plant's collaboration, with composer Jack Beeson and writer Elmslie Kenward, on the composition of the opera Lizzie Borden (1965), including drafts, outlines, research notes, promotional material, reviews, librettos and vocal scores. These items are complemented by correspondence regarding the opera contained in Box 1 Folder 22. During the 1970s-80s Plant devoted himself to a study of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. This series contains numerous essays, newspaper articles and notes on the subject, as well as typescripts, galley proofs and reviews of Plant's monograph The Pink Triangle (1986).
- 1949-19911 linear foot
These files contain typescripts, outlines, research notes, news clippings and promotional material for classroom lectures and public speeches given by Richard Plant during the 1950s-1990s. Many undated items appear to be from the 1960s-1970s. The bulk of the material is in English, but there are as well a few items in German. Folders are arranged alphabetically in title order. Subjects of Plant's public speaking include prominent German authors, gay history, Nazi Germany and the experience of European émigrés to the United States. Several files on the subject of homosexuals, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany contain materials directly related to Plant's published writings on these subjects.
- 1920s-1990s6 linear feet
Filed here are materials gathered by Richard Plant in the course of his research for numerous writing and teaching projects. The alphabetically arranged files document Plant's research methods and his broad reading on subjects including 20th-century German literature and history, the Nazi regime's persecution of homosexuals, and gay culture in the United States. Included are research notes, news clippings, journal articles and books, photocopies and printed ephemera. Many items are annotated by Richard Plant, and several of the books contained in boxes 25 and 26 are inscribed by his friends and colleagues.
- 1940-1990s1 linear foot
This small series of miscellaneous papers contains address and appointment books, resumes, interviews and biographical portraits of Richard Plant and genealogical information regarding his ancestors and relatives.
- 1916-19801 linear foot
Filed here are photographs of Richard Plant, his family and friends, and a sculptural collage made by an unidentified artist on the subject of the opera Lizzie Borden.
- 1949-1995.5 linear feet
Included are audio recordings of interviews of Richard Plant, in German and English, an audio recording of the opera Lizzie Borden and a video recording of the documentary film Pink Triangles (1982), which includes footage of Richard Plant. Original audio and video recordings contained in Boxes 35-36 are unavailable for research for preservation reasons. Service copy duplicates of the original tapes have been made and are available for research. Please request service copies of audio and video recordings by control number.