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NY Historical Society Museum Unveils First of Many Edie Windsor Exhibits

After a multi-year period of preparation and organization, the Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer Foundation is readying to donate the Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer estate collection for longterm preservation and exhibition at leading cultural heritage institutions.

We are pleased to announce that physical artifacts from the collection will be housed permanently at the New York Historical Society, which will preserve items such as apparel, jewelry, memorabilia, household items and collectibles.

As an introduction to the collection in June 2022, the Museum mounted an installation in their first floor gallery entitled “Edie Windsor: Champion for Marriage Equality” displaying the clothes and shoes that Windsor wore on the day of her Supreme Court victory including a replica of the “circle of diamonds” pin given to her by Thea Spyer. Also on display was a stack of U.S. v. Windsor Supreme Court briefs from Edie’s collection, one of which was personally dedicated to Edie and signed by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Copies of “The People’s Brief” also on display included sticky notes that Edie had placed on pages where people she knew personally were named as co-signers of the brief.

Edie Windsor: Champion Of Marriage Equality installation at NYHS Museum, June 2022
Edie Windsor: Champion Of Marriage Equality installation at NYHS Museum, June 2022

On the day of the installation’s opening, the Museum hosted a reception and a Q&A panel discussion. Panelists included Judith Kasen Windsor, Karen Sauvingé (longtime friend of Edie & Thea) and Thea’s cousin Dr. Ginny Spyer from the Netherlands. In her remarks welcoming guests to the reception, Museum President Louise Mirrer noted that this would be the first of many exhibits based on the Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer Collection. In attendance on the day were friends and family of Edie & Thea, NYC Council member for District 3 Erik Bottcher, NY State 76th Assembly District representative Rebecca Seawright, and other distinguished guests.

The New York Historical Society is also developing a partnership with the new American LGBTQ+ Museum which is currently in development. The new museum will begin as part of an “incubator” within NYHS and will exhibit items from their collection until it grows into its own distinct institution with unique collections and archives documenting and preserving LGBTQ+ history in NYC and beyond.

Moving forward with the rest of the bulk of the collection, papers and documents, photographs, ephemera, and other memorabilia will be donated to New York University Libraries and housed in the Fales Library at their Special Collections Center archive.

Select items from the Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer Collection will be donated to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. The Barack Obama Presidential Library is the 14th Presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a federal agency. Unlike other Presidential Libraries administered by NARA, plans are for the Barack Obama Presidential Library to be the first fully digital presidential library. The Obama Foundation is constructing the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side in Jackson Park. The Center will be a privately operated, non-federal organization. NARA will loan a substantial number of items (records and artifacts) on display at the Obama Presidential Center to the Obama Foundation, allowing visitors to engage with presidential materials.

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