Celebrate Pride Month and 50 Year Anniversary of Cincinnati Pride with New Digital Collection

By Clarity Amrein, Community Content Coordinator, Genealogy and Local History, Downtown Main Library

This June, the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library commemorates the 50-year anniversary of the first Cincinnati Pride! Cincinnati LGBTQIA+ Pride began as a small protest on Fountain Square with a modest crowd of about 75 people in 1973. Today, the parade and festival at Sawyer Point draws over 150,000 people (and growing!) from all around the region and has been ranked the #1 charity festival by CityBeat for 8 years in a row, marking the incredible progress we’ve made as a city.

To honor LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and the historic occasion, CHPL’s Genealogy & Local History Department has created a special collection of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky LGBTQIA+ historical community artifacts on our Digital Library.

A Digital Collection of Cincinnati Pride

This collection includes photos of Prides, posters, city proclamations, public access TV shows like Out Front and PrideTV, local publications, and much more. These artifacts have been collected thanks to the great help of the Ohio Lesbian Archives, Michael Chanak, Cathy Allison and Crossport, David Wolff, Bruce Preston, Dr. John Maddux, and many others. New artifacts are being added to the collection and it will continue to grow long beyond Pride month.

In addition to one-of-a-kind community artifacts, Community Content Coordinator Clarity Amrein has conducted over 30 oral history interviews with Cincinnati LGBTQIA+ community elders and leaders to capture the stories of the last 50 years since Cincinnati Pride began. These oral history interviews will also be added to the digital collection – and we’re still looking for more if you or someone you know would like to participate!

View the entire playlist of LGBTQIA+ interviews on our YouTube channel.

In partnership with Cincinnati Pride and Cincinnati Preservation Association, CHPL is also helping to compile information about local LGBTQIA+ historic sites and create interactive maps and walking tours in preparation for this year’s festival and parade. These interactive maps will include images and multimedia from this growing digital archive.

To culminate this community historic preservation effort, CHPL will release a feature-length documentary this fall commemorating the 50-year anniversary of Cincinnati Pride, which will be screened in partnership with Cincinnati Pride.

Visit the CHPL booth and view samples of our digital collection this year at the Cincinnati Pride Parade on Saturday, June 24 at Sawyer Point, and be on the lookout for the documentary release this fall. Happy Pride, Cincinnati!