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Carmen Vázquez papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00557

Scope and Contents

The Carmen Vázquez Papers document Vázquez's activism for gay, lesbian, bi and transgender rights; they include materials pertaining to gay and lesbian health issues, as well as Vázquez's interest and involvement in broader issues of race and class. The collection includes diaries, correspondence, biographical information, an interview, photographs, memorabilia, writings speeches by Vázquez re: LGBT rights; files pertaining to Vázquez's work for LGBT rights, including the LGBT Community Center, Empire State Pride Agenda Federation, and Equality Federation Institute. The activities of the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center are also well-documented.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1951 - 2011


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections. Accession 2008-S-0075 was formerly closed until December 31, 2018.

Conditions Governing Web Access

Correspondence between Marcia Gallo and Carmen cannot be published on the web until 24 Sept. 2035.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by the creator of this collection. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

The oldest of seven children, Carmen Vázquez (b. 1949) was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem. She attended the City University of New York, earning a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Education. Vázquez lived and worked in San Francisco for almost two decades, becoming a seasoned activist and movement leader in causes ranging from immigrant rights to lesbian health. She was the founding director of the Women's Building in San Francisco, the Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Coordinator of Lesbian and Gay Health Services for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She was also the co-founder and co-chair of Somos Hermanas, a Central American Women's Solidarity Network.

She returned to New York in 1994 as the Director of Public Policy for the LGBT Community Center in New York City. She published in many journals, magazines, and anthologies and was a featured speaker at activist conferences including the NGLTF's Creating Change. Beginning in 2003 Vázquez worked as the Deputy Director of Empire State Pride Agenda and lived in Brooklyn. Vázquez died from complications of Covid-19 in 2021.


16.273 linear feet (19 containers)

0.03475 Gigabytes

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


Lesbian activist. The Carmen Vázquez Papers document Vazquez's activism for gay and lesbian rights; they include materials pertaining to gay and lesbian health issues, as well as Vazquez's interest and involvement in broader issues of race and class. The collection includes diaries, correspondence, biographical information, an interview, photographs, memorabilia, writings speeches.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Carmen M. Vázquezin, 2006, 2008, and 2014. Additional materials were transferred from the San Francisco's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in 2011. Some correspondence was donated by Marcia M. Gallo in 2008.

Related Materials

Associated material: oral history in the Voices of Feminism Oral History Project, Sophia Smith Collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2006.

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Some media was unable to be copied. See the log files linked in the container list for more details.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.

Finding Aid to the Carmen Vázquez papers
Finding aid prepared by Burd Schlessinger.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-05-15: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063