Leach, Robert J. Papers

Span Dates: 1930-2000
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 13.1 cubic ft.


The Robert J. Leach Papers include extensive autobiographical materials including his personal journals (1930-2000), tape recordings, correspondence, and writings on Quaker history. The collection offers a rich description of Leach's life as a closeted gay, his coming out, and his life as a gay American abroad and on Nantucket Island. His personal journals have consistent daily entries (1930-2000) as well as tape recordings and written reflections on those journals (1975-1979). The collection also includes autobiographical manuscripts (1963-1985), correspondence (1928-1994), calendars (1955-1996), school work, writing on Quaker history, and address books. Collection also includes correspondence from Robert Leach describing his donations, providing context for his collection at Cornell. Includes his mother's account of her trip to visit him in 1954 and ephemeral items, such as commonplace books of Leach's father and Jean Leach. The collection documents Leach's determination and expression of his sexual identity, his life as a closeted gay, his coming out, and his emotional life as a gay American abroad and on Nantucket Island, as well as the details of his family life, friendships, and Leach family genealogy.

Hist/Bio Note

Leach was born in 1916 in New England. He was a conscientious objector during World War Two and a teacher after the war. He has done extensive research on the history of whaling and Nantucket Quakers.

Finding Aid

An excellent finding aid is available online at the following web address.


The Robert J. Leach Papers are part of the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University Library.


Friends/Quakers | Massachusetts | New England