LGBT History: Collections
Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and Naturalization Service Legal Records
Anthony Corbett Sullivan, a gay man and Australian citizen living in the United States in the early 1970s, challenged the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) efforts to deport him, first based on his claim that he would be persecuted for his sexuality in Australia; and later based on his same-sex marriage to his partner Richard Frank Adams, which was performed in 1975 in Colorado, a state that issued marriage licenses to gay couples at the time. The INS ultimately denied Sullivan’s appeals, and he was ordered to leave the United States in 1985. After traveling in Europe with Adams, both men returned to the United States, where Sullivan continues to reside illegally.
The materials in this collection include general correspondence, legal records, court filings and exhibits, newspaper clippings, flyers, and fundraising solicitations related to the case.
Asian Pacific Lesbians and Gays (A/PLG) Records
Founded in 1980 to address the needs of homosexuals of Asian and Pacific heritage, A/PLG strives to provide its members with social and educational programming. In 1997, A/PLG was renamed Asian/Pacific Gays and Friends. The materials in this collection include newsletters, distribution records, meeting files, membership records, photographs, correspondence, receipt books, and promotional materials—spanning the years 1977 to 2012.
Bob Davis Collection
This collection includes the personal and professional papers (1977–2014) of Ms. Bob Davis, the first openly transgender tenured faculty member of City College of San Francisco. Researchers can find documents related to Davis’s activities as an adviser to queer student groups, conference materials, photographs, and ephemera associated with a variety of drag performers in the San Francisco area.
Dan Siminoski Collection on Federal Bureau of Investigation Surveillance of Gays and Lesbians
Political science professor Dan Siminoski sued the U.S. government in 1983 to obtain records of FBI surveillance of LGBTQ people and individuals from 1950 to 1982. Included here are photocopies of approximately 2,200 documents from FBI Headquarters and various regional offices, relating primarily to the Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Liberation Front, and the Mattachine Society, in addition to indexes, summaries, and various statistical analyses of these documents. Researchers will also find Siminoski’s correspondence with the FBI and attorneys, legal filings, and materials associated with the speaking tour Siminoski undertook to publicize the case. Miscellaneous documents include drafts of scholarly articles, conference presentations, Siminoski’s syndicated columns and other published work, and a copy of his will.
Gay and Lesbian Community, Support, and Spirit: Selected Newsletters and Periodicals
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society maintains one of the largest collections of queer historical materials in the world. Founded by activists and community historians during the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, its more than 3,000 titles document the building of queer communities from 1947 to 2004. Its content comes from big cities and small towns in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Latin America.
The content included points to the critical role that community-building and support groups played in the LGBT community. One highlight is the extensive selection of national and local newsletters from Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the largest support group for families, friends, and allies of LGBT people. There are also newsletters from some of the earliest groups that supported LGBT families, parents, and prospective parents.
This collection displays the important role that community events, professional groups, and religious and spiritual groups have played in LGBT history. A few examples of the content this archive offers includes newsletters that document the Gay Games, an Olympic-style athletic event; newsletters from professional groups like the Bay Area Network of Gay and Lesbian Educators (BANGLE), Bay Area Career Women, and the Golden Gate Business Association; newsletters from the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in San Francisco, the first church with a primary, positive ministry to the LGBT community.
Finally, this collection showcases the voices of older LGBT individuals. Groups like Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, SAGE (Seniors Active in a Gay Environment), and the Prime Timers (an international organization for homosexual men over 40) represent the effects of demographic shifts and aging on the LGBT population.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the study of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans history.
Herstory Archive: Feminist Newspapers
Entirely composed of historical newspapers and periodicals from across the United States that were written by, for, and about women, this collection provides a unique perspective on the events and ideas that mattered to women and feminists—particularly on a local and regional level within the United States. The publications span genres and topics such as news, advertising, literature and the arts, sports, opinion and editorial, business news, human interest and biographical content.
News-oriented materials discuss current events of the time, with feature articles and guest columns. Many publications examine business events and financial issues, particularly how they relate to feminism. Other content includes poetry, songs, book reviews, literary criticism, outdoor recreation, sports commentary and obituaries of notable women in their communities.
The continued maintenance of the archive into the twenty-first century allows historians to trace developments in the feminist community to more recent times.
Imperial Courts Collection
The Imperial Courts originated in San Francisco in 1965 as a homosexual community organization that ran social and fundraising events with a camp, Imperial theme. Covering the period from 1973 to 1994, the materials in this collection include photographs and negatives, flyers, organizational correspondence, court lists, polling sheets, clippings, notes, manuscripts, annual reports, and ephemera.
International Governmental and Non-Governmental Reports and Policy Studies Related to LGBTQ Issues, Activism and Health
Focused on the twenty-first century, this collection includes government documents from many nations around the world that supports the study of the history of homosexuality. These documents detail LGBTQ related policies, laws, reports, and other material from local, national, and pan-national NGOs, LGBTQ charities, and other interest groups. Documents in the collection present research and statistics that track levels of discrimination against people with a homosexual orientation, LGBTQ communities' awareness of their rights, the numbers of same-sex couples, families/parents, sexual behavior patterns, and much more. These documents have influenced strategies, policy making, and legislation—helping to build an understanding of the questions, problems, and solutions identified within LGBTQ communities.
Policy and legislative documents cover crucial legislation to drive the Gay Rights Movement forward, including the legalization of male and female homosexuality; implementation of same-sex marriage legislation; approaches to tackling sexuality-based discrimination and harassment; and monitoring LGBTQ rights, particularly for asylum seekers in jurisdictions where the tradition or religious beliefs result in the persecution of these communities. Annual reports from a selection of LGBTQ rights organizations present the issues important to the communities and provide insight into the level of social and political support such organizations offer.
International Vertical Files from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
The International Vertical Files from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives consists of a diverse collection of LGBTQ materials gathered from sources around the world. They offer a picture of LGBTQ life and issues in a wide variety of countries, covering organizations, people, and events.
J. David Latham Psychological Surveys
As part of his research on homosexuality within heterosexual marriages and on gay recovering alcoholics, psychologist J. David Latham conducted psychological surveys of subjects from 1977 to 1986. In addition to the surveys, research papers, correspondence, administrative materials, and other research materials, the collection includes a small number of audio recordings as well as correspondence and other miscellaneous writings.
Jim Kepner Papers
Jim Kepner (1923–1997) was a writer, historian, and activist who founded the Western Gay Archives (later renamed the National Gay Archives and then the International Gay & Lesbian Archives). Vigorously active in the gay liberation movement, Kepner began collecting gay and lesbian-related material in the 1940s and writing about the gay and lesbian community in the 1950s. The bulk of this collection consists of Kepner’s writings, including autobiographies, nonfiction books and essays, science fiction publications, journals, and notebooks as well as fiction, poetry, and erotica. Researchers will also find Kepner’s extensive correspondence files, class material for courses he taught in gay and lesbian studies, and minutes and organizational material for the many organizations in which he participated throughout his life.
Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
Originally founded in the United Kingdom in 1976 as the Gay Christian Movement, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) supported homosexual Christians experiencing discrimination within their churches, urged denominations to reexamine doctrines concerning homosexuality, advocated for civil rights within the church and through legislation, and networked with other groups. In 2017, the LGCM merged with another group to become OneBodyOneFaith.
The materials in this collection trace the changing attitudes toward male and female homosexuality in Britain during the latter half of the twentieth century as reflected within the church, government, and society. They also reveal LGCM’s emphasis on reasoned discourse as a tool to protest inequities and advocate for change. "Year files" contain LGCM’s extensive writings and speeches in response to numerous issues. Administrative items feature the organization’s founding documents, annual reports, financial materials, and press releases. Other files contain meeting minutes and working papers from subcommittees, such as those for evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Correspondence with individuals and with gay and lesbian faith-based groups worldwide round out the collection.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the study of the history of homosexuality.
Lesbian Herstory Archives: Subject Files
Documents about lesbian history begin with the Middle Ages, focus on the 1970s, and extend to the 2000s. Materials document political participation, lesbian and homosexual civil rights issues during the 1970s and 1980s, and specific demonstrations and rallies. Numerous items are devoted to particular legal cases or issues related to the legal system. Other focuses include bias, homophobia, and hate crimes.
The collection highlights the ethnic, geographical, and religious diversity of lesbians. There is an extensive selection of materials describing how lesbians built and maintained communities and their relationships and family life, including forms of sexual expression, domestic partnerships, same-sex marriage, adoption, artificial insemination, foster care, and custody. Issues of sexual orientation, gender identification, and common health issues are also included.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the research of lesbian history.
LGBTQ Newspapers and Periodicals Collection from the Lesbian Herstory Archives
This collection provides a thorough sampling of LGBTQ journalism. There are examples of alternative publications, including the feminist magazine It Ain’t Me Babe (1970–1971), the communist Come Out Fighting (1975–1978), and New York’s anarchist magazine Clone (1975–1978). Mainstream publications include issues of the Gay Community News, a Boston weekly newspaper with a national reach and that for a time served as the movement’s unofficial “paper of record;” Out Front, a daily news and entertainment paper that is the second-oldest independent LGBTQ publication in the United States; and Frontiers Newsmagazine, Southern California’s oldest LGBTQ newsmagazine.
These publications paint a varied picture of LGBT life in the late twentieth century by featuring stories of public figures coming out, bulletins on AIDS, articles about gay acceptance in the military, and stories about gay partnerships, same-sex marriage, and family life.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the research LGBTQ History.
Los Angeles City College Gay and Lesbian Student Union Records
Established in 1979, the Gay and Lesbian Student Union (GLSU) of Los Angeles City College (LACC) organized a series of speakers for a gay history month, advocated for the inclusion of gay studies courses at LACC, marched in the gay pride parade, and established a Harvey Milk Memorial Scholarship Fund for gay and lesbian students. Covering the years 1979 to 1980, the collection includes meeting minutes, correspondence, administrative records, event flyers, scholarship fund records, clippings, photographs, and publicity material.
Manuel boyFrank Papers
Manuel boyFrank (1916–1984) was a military serviceman, ONE Incorporated board member, and gay activist. This collection includes his 1940s-era correspondence with early gay activist pioneers Henry Gerber and Frank McCourt as well as his correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s with ONE Incorporated. Researchers will also find boyFrank’s unpublished fiction, clippings, transcribed texts from published materials, photographs, and notes and writings by boyFrank on various topics.
Martin Meeker Collection
Historian Martin Meeker’s collection, covering 1943 to 2003, includes interviews conducted from the 1940s to the 1970s as well as slides from Meeker’s presentation on homosexual communities in the 1950s and 1960s.
Multi-ethnic Gay and Lesbian Exchange Collection
Founded in 1983, the Multi–ethnic Gay and Lesbian Exchange (MEG/LE) was a coalition of gay and lesbian people of color organizations in Los Angeles, which included representatives from Black and White Men Together, Asian/Pacific Lesbians and Gays, Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos, Lesbians of Color, and other groups. The bulk of the collection is comprised of MEG/LE meeting minutes, but researchers will also find booklets, pamphlets, correspondence, flyers, a bibliography, and manifesto-type manuscripts and other materials collected by MEG/LE members.
National Transgender Library Collection
The National Transgender Library and Archive was founded by Dallas Denny, an Atlanta-based activist, writer, and organizer in the transgender community. Denny was also the founder and served as executive director of the American Educational Gender Information Service (AEGIS), a nonprofit advocacy group for individuals with gender dysphoria. AEGIS distributed materials and provided referrals to physicians, attorneys, clergy, and support groups within the community. In 1998, AEGIS was folded into Gender Education and Advocacy (GEA), a Georgia-based nonprofit.
This six part collection contains material relating to transgender individuals as well as the practice of cross-dressing and the cross-dressing community, including periodicals discussing transgender issues and cross-dressing, clippings from popular magazines, conference and workshop materials, photographs and articles from AEGIS, materials associated with shopping for items related to cross-dressing, medical information pertaining to sexual reassignment, electrolysis and breast augmentation, and Denny’s extensive index of books on transgender issues.
This collection is a great resource to supplement the research of transexual history and gender history.
Periodicals from Lambda Archives of San Diego
Three publications from Lambda Archives of San Diego provide a deep and powerful history of the LGBT community from the late twentieth century into the beginning of the twenty-first century and is a great resource to enhance the study of gay history. While these publications originated in, and focused on, San Diego, California, their reporting went much farther afield, covering issues of national and international concern. This collection is a wonderful resource for studying the community as well as its culture, arts, politics, events, and much more.
Originally titled Bravo! San Diego and focused on journalism, this publication covered stories that had an impact on the LGBT community locally, nationally, and internationally—offering a history of LGBT issues, concerns, politics, art, culture, and society. Update began publishing with the intention of "taking a fresh look at where we are as a gay people and as a unified gay community," by including everything from serious investigative stories to fun feature reporting. Initially published as the San Diego Gay Times, the weekly magazine eventually became the Gay & Lesbian Times, reporting on issues of relevance to the community locally, nationally, and internationally. It became known for its hard-hitting investigative journalism.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the research of gay and lesbian history.
Periodicals from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
This archive contains over 75 periodicals from the United States, Canada, and Europe (mostly the United States and Canada) as well as Guild Guides. All are published in the United States or Canada, except Modern Adonis which is from the United Kingdom.
Posters from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
A selection of posters from around the world colorfully depict LGBTQ social life, places and events, causes, and history. While these types of materials are generally intended for single use, and frequently do not survive beyond the activities they were designed to promote, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives has curated a substantial poster collection, preserving these windows on LGBTQ history for future generations.
Randy Burns Papers
The Randy Burns Papers, covering the years 1968 to 2002, include private and professional papers, clippings, correspondence, and research collected by Burns, a Native American activist and co-founder of Gay American Indians (GAI). The collection contains extensive materials on AIDS and associated outreach programs as well as documents related to the berdache, or two-spirit (third gender) tradition of Native American peoples.
Robert Rosenkrantz Letters
This collection includes the prison correspondence of Robert Rosenkrantz, who in 1985 shot and killed a schoolmate who bullied him for being a homosexual. Most of the letters date from October through December 1986.
Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile Records
The Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile (SCCRH) began in 1965 to bridge communication and understanding between members of the religious and gay communities in southern California. The SCCRH provided an extensive program of monthly lectures, discussion groups, and informal meetings of clergymen, church members, and members of the LGBT community; retreats and conferences exploring homosexuality and religion; "exposure education" for non-homosexual clergy and church members to learn about aspects of LGBT culture; assistance to churches developing policies relating to homosexuality and religion, and to homosexual law reform; and training for counselors, teachers, clergy, and others who counseled homosexuals. The SCCRH was later superseded by more activist organizations, and ceased operations in 1975.
The materials included here are copies of the articles of incorporation and by-laws of SCCRH; minutes from the pre-foundation planning committee, the Board of Trustees, and general membership meetings from 1965 to 1968; and several contemporary membership lists. Researchers will find the writings of various members of the group, correspondence, informational brochures, flyers and announcements of the organization’s monthly meetings and other activities, and copies of the nine issues of the organization's newsletter.
The Allan Berube Papers
The Allan Bérubé Papers document the life of Bérubé (1946–2007), a scholar and activist who helped found the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. Included in this collection are personal and professional papers, photographs, audiovisual presentations, and research files from Bérubé’s archive. Files pertaining to his extensive research on the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union (MCS) can be found here, including 70 oral histories taken by Bérubé during the course of his work on a book about the MCS.
The Papers of Douglas Sanders and the Association for Social Knowledge (ASK)
This collection includes ASK Organizational files. Founded in Vancouver in 1964, The Association of Social Knowledge (ASK) was the first organization for homosexual men and homosexual women in Canada.
Content dovetails well with U.S. organizations covered in Part I, like the Mattachine Society.
The Papers of Vera "Jack" Holme
This collection documents the colorful life of British actress, suffragist, chauffeur, and World War I ambulance driver, Vera Holme. Holme (1881–1969), who went by the name "Jack," wore men’s clothes and had a female partner, Evelina Haverfield. In 1908, Holme, a transgender woman, joined the militant suffrage group named the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), acting as chauffeur for the group’s leader. In World War I, Holme and Haverfield served in Serbia and ran an orphanage there after the war.
The materials collected here span the years 1899 to 2004 and include speeches, programs, photos of suffragists, lecture notes, diaries, postcards, poems, music, flyers and pamphlets, government certificates, and press clippings. Photos of Holme in men’s garb and her materials related to Haverfield depict a woman unafraid to express her gender and sexual identity despite potential disapproval.
This collection is a great asset to supplement the study of transexual history and gender history.
The Wolfenden Report: Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, 1954-1957
This collection contains the records of Britain’s Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution. The committee convened in 1954. Although homosexual acts had been illegal in Britain since 1885, prosecutions increased following World War II. By 1954, more than one thousand men were imprisoned for homosexual offenses. The government took up the issue only after several widely publicized prosecutions of well-known men, including artificial intelligence pioneer Alan Turing, had taken place. Sir John Wolfenden chaired the committee, and its 1957 final report is known as the Wolfenden Report. The report recommended that homosexual acts in private between consenting adults be decriminalized. The government rejected the committee’s recommendation and did not decriminalize homosexuality until 1967.
The testimony and committee materials represented here thus provide the backstory to a vital document of LGBT history. The collection’s files include the testimony of more than two hundred witnesses, committee papers, meeting notes and correspondence, meeting minutes, report drafts, and the final report. About half of the 155-page final report focused on homosexuality. This collection presents theories about homosexuality, estimates its prevalence in Britain, outlines existing laws, and discusses punishments and "treatments" before arriving at its recommendations.
Transgender San Francisco Collection
The Transgender San Francisco Collection includes administrative documents, clippings, and conference materials from Transgender San Francisco (TGSF). Founded in 1982 in the Bay Area under the name Educational TV Channel (ETVC), the group was started by a small group of cross–dressing individuals seeking a safe place to meet. ETVC eventually expanded beyond social gatherings, offering members educational seminars and promoting a positive image of transgendered people among the general public. In 1994, ETVC received non–profit status, and the group changed its name to Transgender San Francisco in 1998.
Wide Open Town History Project Records
The Wide Open Town History Project Records are the research files and oral histories compiled for Nan Alamilla Boyd’s history of queer San Francisco up to 1965, including photographs and audio of forty-one interviews. The earliest interviews date to the 1930s. In addition to recordings and photos, the collection is comprised of Boyd’s notes, primary sources, correspondence, and supplementary research.
Will Roscoe Papers and Gay American Indians Records
The Will Roscoe Papers and Gay American Indians (GAI) Records include private and professional papers, clippings, correspondence, and research related to gay American Indians. Founded in 1975, GAI was the first organization to focus on the homosexual Native American community. Roscoe served as the coordinator of GAI’s History Project and was involved in the founding of Nomenus, an Oregon-based nonprofit religious organization serving Radical Faeries, a group with roots in paganism and environmentalism that attaches a spiritual dimension to its members sexuality.
Roscoe’s papers, covering the years 1970 to 2007, include a bibliography and source materials on the berdache, or two-spirit (third gender) tradition of Native American peoples. Correspondence, clippings, and proposals related to the American Anthropological Association and the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists can be found here as well as materials associated with the Radical Faeries, such as correspondence, newsletters, member directories, and Nomenus documents. Additional materials include Roscoe’s collection of zines, poetry chapbooks, and pamphlets about radical politics, and records associated with his work with the San Francisco Queer Club & Circuit Party Outreach Project, a group which promoted harm reduction at dance clubs and circuit parties.
The GAI Records, spanning 1983 to 1998, include correspondence, audiotapes and interview transcripts, publicity and grant documents, business reports, newsletters, and AIDS outreach materials directed at the Native American community. In addition, researchers will find information associated with the publication of Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology, edited by Roscoe, including galleys, and publisher and contributor records.
The Private Case from the British Library
Established in the 1850s, the Private Case contains material that was segregated from the main British Museum Library collection on grounds of obscenity. Its name derives from being kept in lockable bookcases in the Keeper’s room; items were only issued to readers with his written permission. This prevented the British Museum from violating obscenity laws and deterred theft of rare and collectible items. Today, the Private Case contains approximately 2500 volumes but it has held many more in the past – books were moved in and out of the collection as the definition of obscenity evolved in society. The collection was transferred from the British Museum to the British Library in 1973.
The Private Case consists mostly of erotic printed fiction and poetry, with some social science material, dating from the late seventeenth century through to the twentieth century. The collection also contains some typescript, microfilm, and photographic material. It perhaps goes without saying that almost all the Private Case erotica was produced by men for men. The Private Case includes collections from the Spencer-Ashbee bequest, Eric Arthur Wildman, H. Pinkus, and Charles Reginald Dawes. The content is in a number of languages, with a large proportion in French.
The Private Case allows researchers to examine the forbidden book trade, trace social and institutional attitudes towards obscenity, expose moral strictures and better understand the history of human sexuality as a whole.
Sexual History and Sexology Books from the New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine was established in 1847 as an independent organization interested in regulating and improving the profession of medicine in New York City and in promoting the health of the public. Initially conceived of as a collection of contemporary materials for the use of the Fellows, the collection expanded as many of the early Fellows had an interest in the history of medicine
The Academy Library traditionally collected in all areas of medicine and its allied fields, and consequently accumulated extensive holdings in many subjects, including women’s medicine, gynecology, and obstetrics, the skills of a midwife and a wide range of materials about sex and sexuality. Found in the collection are advice books for parents and children; marriage manuals about expected male and female traits and characteristics; gender roles and responsibilities within the public and domestic spheres; birth control books; books advising parents on how to share information about sex with their children, many of them written by women; and cautionary works about the dangers of self-gratification. Whilst many of these texts reinforce patriarchal ideas and the notion of separate spheres, we can also see nascent feminism, particularly in female-authored texts, and evolving perceptions of womanhood.
This collection includes more than 1,500 scientific and literary texts from the Academy library in numerous languages, including large numbers in English, French, and German. Bridging the history of medicine, the humanities and the arts, these texts provide insight into the medical thinking in which contemporary medical practice is rooted, and demonstrate our attempts to understand our bodies, minds, and health across time and culture.
Kinsey Institute Special Subject Units from ‘Sex Research: Early Literature from Statistics to Erotica’
Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey (1894–1956) was an American biologist, professor of entomology and zoology, and sexologist. Known as the “father of the sexual revolution,” Dr. Kinsey's work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States and around the world. Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his research team founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University on April 8, 1947. The Institute had two primary goals: to continue the team's research on human sexual behavior and to administer research resources including a library, case histories, and other related research materials.
The books in the collection offer a view into the materials Dr. Kinsey acquired in order to continue his research into sexuality. They cover the topic of human sexuality as it was treated in the writings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are also books from the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, as well as some books that were reprints of older texts from previous centuries. These sources help modern readers assess how much of contemporary life reflects a real ‘sexual revolution,’ and how much is really rooted in the past.
Human sexual behavior as a subject and factor in human existence appears in works from almost every field of knowledge, therefore the items in this collection span subject categories as diverse as medicine, law, anthropology and erotic literature. It is the variety of titles and subjects in this collection that make the research opportunities intriguing.