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Meet the man behind one of the largest LGBTQ+ archives in the country

David Williams has dedicated over 40 years of his life collecting everything from rare books to fliers documenting Kentuckiana's LGBTQ+ history.

Tom Lally, Alyssa Newton

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Published: 4:02 PM EDT June 22, 2022
Updated: 9:36 PM EDT June 22, 2022

Below the University of Louisville's Belknap campus is one of the largest LGBTQ+ archives in the country. Housed in the basement of the Ekstrom Library, the Williams-Nichols Archive is home to thousands of pieces of LGBTQ+ history. 

From books and magazines, buttons and fliers, and dozens of handmade signs--everything is a reminder of how far the community has come.

Credit: Alyssa Newton | WHAS
David Williams has collected thousands of items that show Kentuckiana's LGBTQ history. It's not housed at the University of Louisville.

David Williams has been collecting these items, which many would have thrown away, for over four decades. Every piece adding to this unique collection documenting the LGBTQ+ movement and experience in Kentuckiana.

While many saw those old fliers and buttons as trash, Williams saw history.

But how did this collection start? "It's kind of a long story," he said.

It's one as incredible as the historic collection itself.

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