The Brian McNaught and Ray Struble Historical Collection of LGBTQ Artifacts

Hosted by the Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the Stonewall National Museum & Archives is a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility housed in a building owned by the city’s public library system. It has carefully assembled a significant collection of historic gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer artifacts. From its founding in 1973, the SNMA has grown into the largest lending library of its kind in the United States. The circulating library holdings now number over 18,000 books and audio-visual materials. The archives document a century of LGBTQ cultural and social history, and contain more than 5,000 items including periodicals, oral history collections, business and association records, manuscripts, and relevant ephemera. The library and archival collections have been professionally catalogued and are maintained according to accepted conservation and preservation standards.


Named "the godfather of gay diversity training" by The New York Times, Brian McNaught, a forty year veteran of the gay civil rights movement, worked with Fortune 50 and U.S. government (NSA) senior managers in offices around the world, helping them build competence and confidence in their proactive response to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. A Ft. Lauderdale resident, he has worked with heterosexual audiences in churches, classrooms, and boardrooms since 1974, after he was fired by the Catholic Church in Michigan for being gay. His many books and DVDs are extensively used as educational resources. In 1979, he published an open letter to Anita Bryant that resulted in him debating on television Anita Bryant Ministries in Miami. From 1982 - 1984, Brian served as the Mayor of Boston's Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community. More recently, he was an advisor to former Surgeon General David Satcher on matters of national sexual health.

One of the first openly gay people on Wall Street, Ray Struble was Lehman Brothers’ Senior Managing Director of Global Equity Sales, and prior to that served as head of the firm’s Atlanta office. He retired from Lehman Brothers in 1997. He and Brian McNaught have been life partners since 1976, and were married in Canada in 2003.

The Brian McNaught and Ray Struble Historical Collection - Partial Listing

These historical artifacts, collected and given to each other with love at Christmas, Valentine's Day, and on birthdays, represent years of scouring auction listings, antique shops, and used book stores. They have been on our shelves and our walls for nearly 40 years. Our historical collection, which we intend to have grow, is being hosted by the Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Ft. Lauderdale with the hope that many generations of people, of all sexual orientations, and gender identities and expressions, might find in them a sense of history, understanding, appreciation, and pride. They are given to the Stonewall National Museum & Archives on the condition that the Stonewall National Museum & Archives displays excellence in the preservation and presentation of these gifts, and that the gifts always be displayed as coming from the “Brian McNaught and Ray Struble Historical Collection."

Walt Whitman

Two Rivulets (one of 100 copies) by Walt Whitman, 1876. This very rare copy is also distinctly one-of-a-kind because it is not only personalized to his best friend, signed, and dated, but Whitman, in his own hand, has made three last-minute changes to typed sentences.

There were only 100 copies printed of this very special centennial collection of some of Walt Whitman’s works, under the title Two Rivulets. This extraordinary copy belonged to Whitman’s best friend. In it, Whitman not only signed and personalized the book, but also, in his own hand, crossed out type on three pages and made last-minute changes.

Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt 1794 Letter - Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography was foundational to the field of biogeography. He was gay.

Oscar Wilde

The Poems of Oscar Wilde Modern Library edition

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde, 1909

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde, the Complete Text, with Introduction by Vyvyan Holland

The Poems of Oscar Wilde, 1916

The House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde, illustrated, 1891

The Portrait of Mr. W.H., Oscar Wilde, 1921, First Edition
The Rise of Historical Criticism, (one of 225 copies printed) by Oscar Wilde, 1905, First Edition, 1949
Flowers of Gold, Hand cut and printed booklet of Oscar Wild poems (very unusual)
Sixteen Letters from Oscar Wilde, (one of 550 copies) 1930, London

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, January 21, 1888, one-of-a-kind four page letter to “My Dear friends – Mr. and Mrs. Pillsbury & their Helen –” begging them to attend the Suffrage Council of the Pioneers“Mrs. Stanton will of course preside – and Lucy Stone is to make the first 30 minute speech…” Parker Pillsbury September 22, 1809 – July 7, 1898 was a minister and advocate for abolition and women’s rights. There is an irrefutable connection between the abolition movement, the suffrage movement, and the gay liberation movement. Women became outspoken critics of slavery at a time when they were not supposed to be vocal about political matters. It was an easy transition from abolition work to the liberation of women for people such as Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone. The women's movement opened the doors to questioning gender roles and gender expression.

Susan B. Anthony, one of the best known leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, writes here to a male friend urging him to attend a great gathering at which Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and other important feminists would be speaking. The remarkable four-page letter, is on the official stationery of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. It is believed that Anthony had a romantic relationship with another woman, but her significance in our collection is also based on our belief that there would not have been an LGBTQ movement without there having been the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton Signature and photo – alleged to be gay in Gay American History.

Charles Sumner
Charles Sumner signature and photo, Massachusetts politician and abolitionist said to be gay.

George Gershwin
Beautifully framed picture of George Gershwin, with Gershwin's signature on a check made out to the Quaker Ridge Golf Club, to which he belonged. It has long been believed that Gershwin was bisexual.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt 1947 Typed and signed letter. It is believed that the First Lady had a lesbian relationship.

Tennessee Williams

Significant, very personal, handwritten note, on a Marriott hotel note card, from Tennessee Williams to his friend Jim, regarding the deteriorating health of Robert Carroll, Williams lover.

Tennessee Williams Letter written on Mariott note card regarding his concern for the mental health of his partner.

Tennessee Williams, the great American playwright, penned this note while staying at a Marriott Hotel. In the note, Williams writes with concern about the emotional stability of his lover, Robert.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson Letter from and photo – alleged to be gay in Gay American History by Jonathan Katz

Margaret Sanger
My Fight for Birth Control, personalized in a long message by Margaret Sanger, 1931 Maragaret Sanger defied the Comstock Laws by mailing birth control information to women without having a medical degree. She is the inspiration behind the work of Planned Parenthood. There is a direct link between the dissemination of sex education and the liberalization of attitudes toward homosexuality. Brian received the Margaret Sanger Award from Syracuse University Institute for Family Research and Education.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, signature and photo, minister, abolitionist, said to be gay

Gertrude Stein

How to Write, (one of 1000 copies) by Gertrude Stein, Paris, 1931, personalized and signed.

The celebrated author, Gertrude Stein, wrote a short, funny message to a friend in her elaborately packaged book, How to Write.

Three Lives by Gertrude Stein, 1933

Portraits and Prayers, Lost manuscript by Gertrude Stein, 1934

Alice B. Toklas
What is Remembered, by Alice B. Toklas, 1963

Willa Cather

Lucy Gayheart, (No. 472 of 749 signed copies) by Willa Cather, 1935, First edition. Willa Cather wrote popular novels about the Great Plain states where she lived as a child. She was born December 7, 1873. She wrote O Pioneers!, My Antiona, and Song of the Lark. In college, she referred to herself as William, dressed in men's clothing, and cut her hair short. She lived most of her adult life in New York with Edith Lewis.

Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone - Handwritten letter. Stone was a Boston-based orator, suffragette and abolitionist, 1891. She was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and was well-known in the Suffrage Movement. She is mentioned in our Susan B. Anthony letter as a speaker at the gathering the suffragettes were holding. Elizabeth Cady Stanton credits Stone with being the first person to stir the hearts of Americans on women's issues. Lucy Stone was the first woman to receive a college degree in Massachusetts. She was a heterosexually-married feminist

Radcliff Hall

Radcliff Hall 1926 signed photo - "From your cousin" Hall wrote The Well of Loneliness.

We've donated early copies of the book to Stonewall.

Sappho Painting

Charles Warren Stoddard

Summer Cruising in the South Seas, Charles Warren Stoddard

Poems (one of 750 copies), by Charles Warren Stoddard, 1867. First Edition. Charles Warren Stoddard was born in Rochester, NY in 1843. He was a poet and wrote books about his Bohemian adventures in the South Seas. He taught at both Notre Dame University and Catholic University of America, but left each institution because of their positions on homosexuality. He corresponded with Herman Melville and Walt Whitman. Noted English writers felt that Stoddard didn't receive the acclaim in America that he deserved.

Truman Capote
Other Voices in Other Rooms signed by Truman Capote - Unlike fingerprints, which are unchosen representations of ourselves, signatures are created to express our uniqueness. The value of a signed book is not that the book came in contact with the author or the subject matter, but rather that the signature provides a key to understanding the individual's life experiences and expectations. Handwriting analysis is an important component of understanding historic figures.

Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson

Unseen photograph of Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson on vacation together in Tupper Lake, NY (The Adirondacks). 1966. Nabors and Hudson flank Wanda Magrino, a waitress at the Blue Anchor restaurant, who requested the photo. The restaurant burned down the next day. This photo hangs on the wall of the Swiss Kitchen restaurant, which is a few doors down from the former Blue Anchor. Ray and I asked permission to make a copy. The old time, local people, all remember the day the two closeted celebrities came to town.

Bill Tilden

Letters from Prison by Bill Tilden written in pencil. Bill Tilden was the most celebrated athlete (tennis player) in the first half of the 20th Century. He went to prison for having sex with an underage young man.

Bill Tilden, considered on of the greatest tennis players of all time, and one of the most celebrated athletes of the first half of the 20th Century, was charged with a misdemeanor for having sex with a minor, and, like Oscar Wilde, believed his celebrity status would prevent him from going to prison. He pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for a year. This hand written letter, in pencil, is from prison. After his release, Tilden lost his fortune and his status.

Tomie dePaola
First Edition, personalized and signed copy from Tomie dePaola on Oliver Button is a Sissy. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. Tomie dePaola is one of the country's best known and loved Children's Book authors and illustrators. Tomie introduced children to the legends of Strega Nona, and Old Befana. Oliver Button is a Sissy, celebrates a boy, once called "sissy,"and later called "star."
Personal handwritten note from Tomie dePaola to Brian McNaught and Ray Struble regarding his desire to meet someone for a relationship.
Postcards to Brian and Ray from Tomie, and Party Invitation.
Poster size lithograph of a cat, signed by its creator, Tomie dePaola.

Doctors Pamphlet

This very old pamphlet was printed for the use of doctors who were working with homosexual patients. It’s a very early record of how a homosexual man would describe himself and his life.

Keith Haring

Stamped envelope signed by Keith Haring, with print of Haring art, and stamped at Stonewall Station on the 20th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Maurice Sendak

Lithograph Go Tell Aunt Rhody from Lullabies and Night Songs, signed by Children's Book author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak.

Signed note from Maurice Sendak, recently deceased, beloved Children's Book author and illustrator with drawing of the character, Moishe, from his famous book, Where the Wild Things Are.

First edition copy of Where the Wild Things Are.

Charles B. Willard
Whitman's American Fame by Charles B. Willard, 1950

Dr. Tom Dooley
The Edge of Darkness, 1958, signed by Dr. Tom Dooley. Tom Dooley was a gay, medical doctor who devoted his life to working with indigent people in Southeast Asia. Catholic school students in Brian and Ray's generation collected money to buy medical supplies for Dr. Dooley. Brian received the Tom Dooley Award from Notre Dame University's gay alumni association.