Belinda Mason papers, 1978-2000

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.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Belinda Mason papers, 1978-2000
Creator
Mason, Belinda Ann, 1958-1991
Extent
2.5 cubic feet
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.
Arrangement
Series and subseries arranged alphabetically by topic.
Finding Aid Author
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Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

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.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
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.

Contents of the Collection

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
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Promotional materials and publications pertaining to a biographical film, Belinda [produced by Appalshop, 1993-1994]

  • Box 1, Folder 2
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Clippings relating to Belinda Mason's AIDS activism, 1987-2000

  • Box 1, Folder 3
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Obituaries, 1991-1992

  • Box 1, Folder 4
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CORRESPONDENCE, 1985-1990

Cards and letters written by Belinda Mason, 1985-1990

  • Box 1, Folder 5
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NATIONAL COMMISSION ON AIDS, 1990-1991

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
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Material produced by the National Commission on AIDS, 1990-1991 [includes biography and speech]

  • Box 1, Folder 7
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WRITTEN WORK, 1978-1991

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
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Incomplete handwritten draft of chapters 1-6

  • Box 2, Folder 9
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MONOLOGUES

"Monologues sent to Louisville Exp. Theatre," 1986

  • Box 2, Folder 10
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NON-FICTION

Letters and editorial pieces related to HIV/AIDS, 1988-1991 and undated

  • Box 2, Folder 11
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PLAYS

The Gifts of the Spirit, 1986

Correspondence with Ron Short, multiple drafts, outline/proposal

  • Box 2, Folder 12
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Final version, copyright by Roadside Theatre

  • Box 2, Folder 13
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Published excerpt

  • Box 2, Folder 14
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Untitled

Outline and notes for a play about the War on Poverty, undated

  • Box 2, Folder 15
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Incomplete draft for a play about the War on Poverty, undated

  • Box 2, Folder 16
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POETRY

"For Lisa" and Untitled, published, 1978; also includes unpublished poetry, some handwritten, undated

  • Box 2, Folder 17
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SHORT STORIES, 1984-1987; undated

"Weekender," 1984 [draft with critique by Jim Wayne Miller]

  • Box 3, Folder 18
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"A Fruitful Season," 1985 [drafts]

  • Box 3, Folder 19
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"A New Age," outline and various drafts [incomplete], December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 20
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"A New Age," Part one: 1980, December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 21
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"A New Age," Part two: 1924, December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 22
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"A New Age," Part three: 1948, December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 23
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"A New Age," Part four: 1972, December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 24
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"A New Age," Part five: 1980, December 1985

  • Box 3, Folder 25
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"Passing Through the Garden," 1985 [completed version with fragment of draft]

  • Box 3, Folder 26
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"A Man to Come Home to," 1985 [completed draft with letter from Ploughshares editor]

  • Box 3, Folder 27
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"The Reunion," December 1985 [draft]

  • Box 3, Folder 28
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"A Lesson in Motion," 1986 [published in The American Voice]

  • Box 3, Folder 29
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"A Perpetual Care Deal," 1986 [draft (2 copies)]

  • Box 3, Folder 30
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"A Christmas Lesson," 1987 [published version and various drafts; published in Appalachian Heritage]

  • Box 3, Folder 31
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"Of Fire and Water," undated [incomplete drafts]

  • Box 3, Folder 32
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"A Man to Come Home to," undated [draft with comments by June Thompson]

  • Box 3, Folder 33
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"Ladies Night," undated [incomplete draft]

  • Box 3, Folder 34
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Untitled, undated [incomplete draft]

  • Box 3, Folder 35
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Appears to be an earlier draft of "Weekender" manuscript found in Box 3, Folder 18; incomplete and undated

  • Box 3, Folder 36
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Untitled Short Stories

Draft; incomplete

  • Box 3, Folder 37
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Draft; incomplete

  • Box 3, Folder 38
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Fragments of drafts

  • Box 3, Folder 39
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NOTES

Writing ideas, fragments, notes

  • Box 3, Folder 40
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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
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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
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Copy 1: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 2: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 3: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 4: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 5: Large poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 1: Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
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Copy 2: Small poster advertising an event honoring Belinda Mason and her work as an author and activist

  • Box 4, Folder 41
To top

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If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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