The Firebrand Books Headquarters: Making an LGBTQ Landmark in Upstate New York

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This thesis explores the conservation of LGBTQ heritage in Upstate New York, an oft-neglected geography in the field of LGBTQ history and LGBTQ historic preservation practice, through the built environment. It takes as a case study the Firebrand Books Headquarters in Ithaca, New York, a resource with exceptional LGBTQ significance. Firebrand Books was a nationally recognized and multiple award-winning feminist, lesbian, and anti-racist press founded by community organizer, editor, and publisher Nancy K. Bereano in 1984. Its headquarters were located at 141 The Commons from 1984 to 2000. Chapter 1 explores the “place of place,” or the role and importance of place, within the lives of LGBTQ people in the United States and in the development of LGBTQ history and historic preservation as fields in order to better contextualize the significance of the Firebrand Books Headquarters. Chapter 2 offers a sample National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Firebrand Books Headquarters, including a building description and Statement of Significance. Using the Firebrand nomination as a basis, Chapter 3 provides research-based recommendations for the further conservation and interpretation of LGBTQ heritage in Ithaca and Upstate New York, including a sample Ithaca LGBTQ Print Culture Walk & Talk and recommendations and priorities for National Register nominations and updates with LGBTQ significance. The project concludes by outlining logical next steps for LGBTQ historic preservation efforts in Upstate New York as one way to work toward a more geographically holistic vision of LGBTQ life and experience in the United States.

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188 pages


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Architecture; Gender; Historic Preservation; LGBTQ; Place; Public History


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Tomlan, Michael

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Vider, Stephen

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City and Regional Planning

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M.A., City and Regional Planning

Degree Level

Master of Arts

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dissertation or thesis

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