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Belinda Mason papers, 1978-2000

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Title

Belinda Mason papers

Date

1978-2000

Repository

University of Kentucky Libraries, Special Collections

Arrangement

Series and subseries arranged alphabetically by topic.

Organized into the following series: Biographical Materials (1987-2000), Correspondence (1985-1990), National Commission on AIDS (1990-1991), Written Works (1978-1991), and Promotional Materials (1987-1992).

Written works are arranged by genre; thereunder chronologically within each folder.

Conditions Governing Access note

Permission from the donor is required for publication of any part of the collection. This collection is not to be photocopied for any reason. The collection is a deposit, not a gift, and may be returned at the donor's request.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Belinda Mason papers, 1978-2000, 1997MS348, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington

Extent

2.5 cubic feet

Abstract

Belinda Mason, proud native of Eastern Kentucky, was an author and AIDS activist. This collection contains completed manuscripts and drafts of her literary writing, including plays, poetry, monologues, a novel, and short stories. Also included are biographical clippings, obituaries, documentation of Mason's work with the National Commission on AIDS, and information on "Belinda", a documentary film about Mason that was produced by Appalshop.

Biography/History

Belinda Mason was a proud native of Eastern Kentucky. In her all too brief 32 years she was a reporter for two weekly papers-- The Ohio County Times-News in Hartford, KY., and The Appalachian News-Express in Pikeville, Ky. She was a gifted short story writer, a self-proclaimed "occasional performer of country music and reliable Tupperware party guest", a wife, a mother, and an AIDS activist. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky in 1980. Mason worked with Appalshop's Roadside Theater, in Whitesburg Kentucky, as a playwright beginning in 1985, and in 1986 her story "A Lesson in Motion" was published in the well-regarded The American Voice. In 1987 she was awarded an Al Smith Fellowship for writing from the Kentucky Arts Council. That same year, her story "A Christmas Lesson" was published in Appalachian Heritage.

In January of 1987 she was infected with HIV. She went public with her status in 1988 and became an advocate for AIDS prevention, education, treatment and human rights. In July of that year, she became the first person with AIDS to be appointed to the National Commission on AIDS. She was quite critical of President Bush at the time, contending that his stance on AIDS was more about morality rather than a concern for public health.

With Ron Jerrell, Mason co-founded the Kentuckiana People with AIDS Coalition (KIPWAC) in the late 1980's. She was elected president of the National Association of People with AIDS in 1989. She lost her own battle with AIDS on September 9, 1991.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of Belinda Mason's literary writing, including plays, poetry, monologues, a novel, and short stories. Some of the manuscripts were considered finished, while others are drafts in various stages of editing. The collection also includes biographical clippings, obituaries, documentation of Mason's work with the National Commission on AIDS, and information on "Belinda", a documentary film about Mason that was produced by Appalshop.

Subjects

  • Mason, Belinda Ann, 1958-1991
  • United States--National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
  • AIDS activists--Kentucky.
  • Activists, Human rights--Kentucky.
  • AIDS (Disease)--Patients--Kentucky--Biography.
  • AIDS (Disease)--Social aspects.
  • AIDS (Disease) in Women.
  • Authors, American--Kentucky.
  • Appalachian Region--Fiction.
  • Appalachian Region--Social aspects.

Collection Inventory

BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 1987-2000
Playbill for Passing Through the Garden, "a play based on stories and essays by Belinda Mason" [produced by Appalshop, September 21, 1996]
[Box: 1, Folder: 1]
Promotional materials and publications pertaining to a biographical film, Belinda [produced by Appalshop, 1993-1994]
[Box: 1, Folder: 2]
Clippings relating to Belinda Mason's AIDS activism, 1987-2000
[Box: 1, Folder: 3]
Obituaries, 1991-1992
[Box: 1, Folder: 4]
CORRESPONDENCE, 1985-1990
Cards and letters written by Belinda Mason, 1985-1990
[Box: 1, Folder: 5]
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON AIDS, 1990-1991
Scope and Content Note:

The National Commission on AIDS was established by former president George Bush in 1989 for the purpose of developing a national policy regarding AIDS and the HIV epidemic. Belinda Mason was the first person with AIDS to serve as a member of the commission.

Publications of the National Commission on AIDS, 1990-1991 [includes Mason's writing]
[Box: 1, Folder: 6]
Material produced by the National Commission on AIDS, 1990-1991 [includes biography and speech]
[Box: 1, Folder: 7]
WRITTEN WORK, 1978-1991
Scope and Content Note:

Published and unpublished work by Belinda Mason, arranged by genre, then chronologically

BOOKS
Merle's Story, 1988
Incomplete draft, chapters 1-6 submitted to editor; contains letter with suggestions from editor
[Box: 2, Folder: 8]
Incomplete handwritten draft of chapters 1-6
[Box: 2, Folder: 9]
MONOLOGUES
"Monologues sent to Louisville Exp. Theatre," 1986
[Box: 2, Folder: 10]
NON-FICTION
Letters and editorial pieces related to HIV/AIDS, 1988-1991 and undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 11]
PLAYS
The Gifts of the Spirit, 1986
Correspondence with Ron Short, multiple drafts, outline/proposal
[Box: 2, Folder: 12]
Final version, copyright by Roadside Theatre
[Box: 2, Folder: 13]
Published excerpt
[Box: 2, Folder: 14]
Untitled
Outline and notes for a play about the War on Poverty, undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 15]
Incomplete draft for a play about the War on Poverty, undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 16]
POETRY
"For Lisa" and Untitled, published, 1978; also includes unpublished poetry, some handwritten, undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 17]
SHORT STORIES, 1984-1987; undated
"Weekender," 1984 [draft with critique by Jim Wayne Miller]
[Box: 3, Folder: 18]
"A Fruitful Season," 1985 [drafts]
[Box: 3, Folder: 19]
"A New Age," outline and various drafts [incomplete], December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 20]
"A New Age," Part one: 1980, December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 21]
"A New Age," Part two: 1924, December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 22]
"A New Age," Part three: 1948, December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 23]
"A New Age," Part four: 1972, December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 24]
"A New Age," Part five: 1980, December 1985
[Box: 3, Folder: 25]
"Passing Through the Garden," 1985 [completed version with fragment of draft]
[Box: 3, Folder: 26]
"A Man to Come Home to," 1985 [completed draft with letter from Ploughshares editor]
[Box: 3, Folder: 27]
"The Reunion," December 1985 [draft]
[Box: 3, Folder: 28]
"A Lesson in Motion," 1986 [published in The American Voice]
[Box: 3, Folder: 29]
"A Perpetual Care Deal," 1986 [draft (2 copies)]
[Box: 3, Folder: 30]
"A Christmas Lesson," 1987 [published version and various drafts; published in Appalachian Heritage]
[Box: 3, Folder: 31]
"Of Fire and Water," undated [incomplete drafts]
[Box: 3, Folder: 32]
"A Man to Come Home to," undated [draft with comments by June Thompson]
[Box: 3, Folder: 33]
"Ladies Night," undated [incomplete draft]
[Box: 3, Folder: 34]
Untitled, undated [incomplete draft]
[Box: 3, Folder: 35]
Appears to be an earlier draft of "Weekender" manuscript found in Box 3, Folder 18; incomplete and undated
[Box: 3, Folder: 36]
Untitled Short Stories
Draft; incomplete
[Box: 3, Folder: 37]
Draft; incomplete
[Box: 3, Folder: 38]
Fragments of drafts
[Box: 3, Folder: 39]
NOTES
Writing ideas, fragments, notes
[Box: 3, Folder: 40]
PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS
POSTERS
University of Kentucky Women Writers Conference, April 1-4, 1987, Lexington, KY
Poster advertising Women Writers conference; Belinda Mason listed as participant
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
In Her Own Words, September 12, 1992, Lexington, KY
Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 1: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 2: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 3: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 4: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 5: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 1: Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]
Copy 2: Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist
[Box: 4, Folder: 41]

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