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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Oral history interview conducted by Robert Sember
June 27, 1992
Call number: 1993.001.10
0:02 - Introduction and life before AIDS
10:50 - Diagnosis, Arthur's drug use and early signs of illness
19:50 - Her health and their sex life
28:22 - Life with a person with AIDS and active drug use
64:26 - Her husband Arthur's death
79:30 - Experience of being a partner to someone who died of AIDS and was an active user
88:47 - Impact of HIV on the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn
94:20 - Her worklife, assumptions, stigma and the underlying issues of AIDS
Oral History Interview with Donna Mulcahy
Donna Mulcahy, a White heterosexual woman, was thirty-one years old in 1992. Her partner Arthur died six months before the interview of AIDS-related causes. While she was born in the South, Mulcahy grew up in Long Island and moved to Brooklyn as an adult, where she met Arthur at a bar on Carroll Street. At the time of the interview, she was a lawyer. Previous to the death of her husband, whose life was impacted by his injection use of heroin, she had been active in the response to AIDS. After his death, Mulcahy was taking time to take care of herself.
In this interview, Donna Mulcahy discusses her experience as a partnered straight woman not living with HIV in Brooklyn in the early 1990s, married to a man who lived with HIV and an addiction to heroin. The narrator speaks at length throughout the interview about how her partner's addiction was harder to deal with than his status as an HIV positive person with AIDS. She speaks of a supportive family, a fulfilling work life and a community of people living with and impacted by HIV and addiction. For this narrator, the AIDS crisis was at first something she ignored, then something that was about people who used drugs and were dying, and eventually about other communities such as gay men and other partners of people living with HIV. Interview conducted by Robert Sember.
The AIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection includes oral histories conducted for an exhibition undertaken by the Brooklyn Historical Society in 1993. The project attempted to document the impact of the AIDS epidemic on Brooklyn communities. Recordings initially made on magnetic tape concerned the epidemic and were with narrators who had firsthand experience with the crisis in their communities, families and personal life. Narrators came from diverse backgrounds within Brookyn and the New York metropolitan area and had unique experiences which connected them with HIV/AIDS. Substantive topics of hemophilia, sexual behavior, substance abuse, medical practice, social work, homelessness, activism, childhood, relationships and parenting run through at least one, and often several, of the oral histories in the collection.
CitationMulcahy, Donna, Oral history interview conducted by Robert Sember, June 27, 1992, AIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection, 1993.001.10; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Mulcahy, Donna
- AIDS (Disease)
- Drug addiction
- Family life
- HIV infections
- HIV-positive persons
- Sexual health
- Social group work
- Stigma (Social psychology)
- Women's health services
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)
- New York (N.Y.)
- Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidAIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection