LAGAR Newsletter, No. 19 (December 1999)


New Collections


Schlesinger Library

The Schlesinger Library announces the acquisition of two collections, the papers of unrelated people named Smith, which challenge traditional views of sex and gender. 

Abraham B. Smith, a self-described 'outsider' who undertook the legal and physical procedures necessary to become a man in 1970, has donated his journals from 1980 to 1998. Smith writes that he is 'a strongly-motivated opponent and challenger of religion's intrusion into human life and freedom.' His journals include meditations upon his family, past and present; descriptions of daily life; his attitudes towards some of the social, political, and religious issues of the day; as well as photographs, letters, clippings, and flyers. A finding aid to the collection is available at the library and will soon be accessible in HTML or SGML from the Harvard/Radcliffe finding aids site at: 

The papers of Mark Ethan Smith, an anti-nuclear activist and biological female who lives as a male, primarily document his anti-discrimination lawsuit against the Navy, for which he worked as a civilian. In addition to the court records and supporting material, the collection includes essays, personal correspondence, and financial records. It is unprocessed but available for research. 


University of Minnesota


Receives Gay Rights Collection


original from Minneapolis Star Tribune, 26 Oct. 1999


by Rosalind Bentley

Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, created a collection of gay ephemera over the last several decades. In time, it became the largest such collection in the Midwest. The University of Minnesota recently acquired the collection and will use it to build a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Archive. When the archive becomes available for use is unknown. Beth Zemsky, director of the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Programs Office, feels that the collection will provide a foundation for future collecting. 

New Publications 

A new book in the lesbigay library and archives world, Daring to Find Our Names : The Search for Lesbigay Library History, edited by James V. Carmichael, Jr., came out in 1998. It includes an essay by Brenda Marston. An detailed review of the book by Michele Besant <>,

School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, appears on from which this material has been extracted. 

Recognizing the contribution of Gay and Lesbian Library Service by Ellen Greenblatt and Cal Gough published in 1990, Besant indicates that the earlier book focused on library patrons while this new book looks at research and GLB librarians. 

Daring to Find Our Names has four parts within it, "Finding Our Names," which covers the difficulties lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered librarians face, both as professional librarians and as researchers into lesbigay library history; "Telling our Names," which recounts history of Gay and Lesbian Task Force (GLBTF) of ALA; "Saving Our Names," which provides a good look at four very different gay and lesbian archives; and "Owning Our Names," which contains the personal accounts of three recent gay graduates from library school. 

LAGAR guide to LBGT primary source material, Lavender Legacies, 

Review of SAA Session(s)

in Pittsburgh 


by Brenda J. Marston 

At SAA an excellent session on increasing diversity in archives took place. Three participants discussed what their institutions are doing. 

A professor at the University of Maryland library school discussed four approaches they are taking to increasing diversity in their student body and hence the library profession from which many archivists come. First, the Library school obtained a large grant allowing them to offer scholarships to minority students. Secondly they regularly seek additional scholarship money through fund raising campaigns. The school gives an award and features an annual speaker on the contributions of African-Americans to the profession. Finally, they are recruiting students from historically black colleges and from the ranks of paraprofessionals. In Washington, DC, the paraprofessionals make up a more diverse work force than the professionals. Most library school students have worked in libraries and are not coming directly from undergraduate schools. 

Kathleen Roe, spoke about initiatives in New York State to improve the documentation of New York history. Of the more than 1500 repositories in the state, only 2 focus on documenting one of the state's largest ethnic groups: Latinos. Kathleen thinks improving the documentation of the diversity of New York's population is a good way to encourage more kinds of people to consider entering the profession. She asks, "when most of our collections reflect the history of white, privileged men, why are we surprised that people from marginalized groups aren't flocking to the profession?" 

LAGAR member, Nancy Richard, talked about a project at Northeastern University to document four communities in Boston. The project experiments with some new ideas on appraisal. NHPRC is funding the project through a grant written by Joan Krizack. 

Brenda Banks moderated the session and emphasized that there are lots of ways to work on this issue. She drew our attention to the Task Force on Diversity's final report to SAA Council, available at: http://www.archivists./ 

News Items 


Gay, Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California

"When HBO made its movie version of And the Band Played On, its producers came here for posters to decorate a gay man's apartment, circa 1981. When Showtime dramatized Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, the cable channel's people came here to do their research on gay San Francisco in the 1970s. Here, in this case, is the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California," writes Ms. Carol Ness, in "Gay Archive Faces Financial Crisis," San Francisco Examiner, 5 October 1999. 

The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California (GLHS/NC) houses numerous collections of papers, flyers, books, films and artifacts documenting the times, lives and politics of the Bay Area's gay community for more than a century. While it has found grateful patrons among the community, historians and even Hollywood, to provide source materials for publications and historical perspective to films and television programs, GLHS struggles to meet its financial necessities. 

According to the Examiner article, the archives' expenses have grown suddenly. The society member's dues used to cover the $12,000 budget, but on 1 October of this year, the rent almost doubled from $2,762 to $5,262 per month. This year the budget surpasses $100,000. The Society had asked The City for help twice in the past; this year The City provided $35,000. 

The society started in 1985 when Willie Walker, a nurse, realized that gay history was dying along with victims of the AIDS epidemic. As no one else was preserving the records of gays' and lesbians' lives, Walker set out to do it. He began sorting items in his own spare room; soon, the materials filled two. In 1990, the society moved into its own space, in the basement of Theater Rhinoceros on 16th Street near Mission Street. The collections grew constantly, and by 1995 the archive needed more space. The Historical Society moved into 3,700 square feet on the fourth floor of 973 Market St. 

Among its important collections are the papers Donald Lucas, one of the founders of the Mattachine Society, and the papers of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, pioneer lesbians, who were among the founders of the Daughters of Bilitis. 

The Historical Society holds a large collection of gay erotica. It has preserved the murals, fixtures and other details of the interior of the Bulldog Club, one of the sex clubs famous in pre-AIDS life in San Francisco. In addition to these rather 'public' materials, the Society also holds scrapbooks, photo albums, diaries, and other mementoes of private lives. 

The following information came from Willie Walker on the effects of the news articles. A couple of foundation directors, staff for three city supervisors, the mayor's office, and the state assemblywoman for the district in which GLHS is located have called to offer help. Several individuals and couples simply called up to join over the phone. The Society's Annual Awards Dinner, one of its most important fundraisers, was sold out two days after the articles appeared. 

For those of us in LAGAR who cannot attend the awards dinner, we can still join GLHS and maintain our membership. Similarly, we can send in checks for donations. Make checks payable to Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California and send them to GLHS/NC, 973 Market St., suite #400, San Francisco, CA 94103 or to GLHS/NC, Box 424280, San Francisco, CA 94142 

Human Sexuality Collection Update

by Brenda Marston.

The Cornell University Library's Human Sexuality Collection (HSC) has a new web site with revised content: 

The updated web site features a new Sexuality Research Guide designed to address better the needs of online researchers, some of whom have little experience with primary source research. The goal of the Sexuality Research Guide is to give tips about how to approach a range of questions and research topics on sexuality and to clarify when and how Cornell's Human Sexuality Collection may be of use. The goal of HSC is that this guide will prove helpful to many people doing research in this field, whether or not they end up using sources in the HSC. 

The guide points users to good sources for secondary literature and to help on general research topics, provides sexuality-specific research advice, explains the process of using primary sources, and explains how to access relevant material in the Human Sexuality Collection. It also provides resources for those teaching LBG Studies. 

Since site is still in development, Brenda is looking for feedback on the guide's effectiveness and invites all to review it and share your ideas. A feedback form is available at the footer of each page. 

U. Southern Cal Renovations

for Gay Resources Archive

Remain Incomplete

By Jason Raphael

Daily Trojan

(University of Southern California, Los Angeles)

Nov. 11, 1999(Thanks to Willy Walker and Gerard Koskovich ) 

In 1995, the University of Southern California provided a former fraternity house located at 909 W. Adams Blvd. to house the ONE Institute International Gay and Lesbian Archives, the largest library of its kind, as part of the agreement whereby the Archives became part of the USC library holdings. Walter Williams, the USC anthropology professor who originally proposed the building donation, said that the agreement was seen as being mutually beneficial. "Besides being a big step for ONE, it was an advantage to USC to build up its library and archival collection in specific areas," said Williams. "UCLA was very interested in housing the archives as well, so it was a victory for USC to attract it." 

Four years later, however, renovations to the building given to hold the collections have yet to be completed. ONE Institute ar chives remain in scattered locations throughout L.A. Todd White, associate editor for ONE Institute press, said the West Adams Boulevard building is in poor condition. "It's in an incredible state of disrepair," White said. The problems include broken windows, roof leaks, and improperly working interior lighting. The front gate breaks regularly. 

"It's a great building, but it requires extensive renovation for the library," Williams explained. "There's been some progress within the last several months, but it's not going as fast as it could. USC needs to finish the things that it's supposed to do." In a letter to the Daily Trojan, Maurice Hollman, of Felicities [sic] Management Services, wrote that USC did agree "to make certain basic repairs to the building," and the ONE Institute was to "raise funds for interior remodeling and renovation." Although fundraising efforts did not reach the necessary goals, ONE Institute has organized volunteer labor efforts to complete the interior refurbishment. USC provided $200,000 for the renovations, White said, adding that he did not know the total cost for the construction.

Copyright, 1999 Daily Trojan via U-WIRE 

Library Research Grants

Duke University

Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections


The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library of Duke University announces the availability of grants for researchers whose work would benefit from access to the library's archival and rare printed collections. These grants are offered by the library's research centers: The Center for Women's History and Culture; The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African-American Documentation; and The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. Researchers may apply for grants from more than one center. The maximum award per applicant is $1,000. 

The Center for Women's History and Culture 

Particular strengths of the CWHC include printed materials and manuscript collections reflecting the history and culture of the American South. Collections of personal and family papers from the 19th and 20th centuries complement print sources such as women's prescriptive literature, periodicals, and fiction. A number of women writers have placed their personal and professional papers at Duke, and the Center for Women's History and Culture holds the archives of several individuals and women's organizations focusing on feminism, women's rights, and lesbian culture. 

For more information about the Center for Women's History and Culture, please see the web site at or contact Elizabeth Dunn, Women's Studies Reference Archivist,, tel. (919) 660-5967, fax (919) 660-5934. 

John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African-American Documentation 

The holdings of the Franklin Research Center include letters, diaries, ledgers, photographs, films, and rare books documenting some three centuries of African-American experience. The Center is especially strong in two areas: nineteenth-century slavery and African-American life in the post-World War II civil rights era. 

Noteworthy collections include the archives of the Behind the Veil oral history project, with more than 1,000 oral histories collected from black southerners who lived during the Jim Crow era. Oral history interviews with civil rights activists conducted by historian Joe Sinsheimer form another important collection. Leroy T. Walker Africa News Archive is the research, clipping, and publication files of Africa News Service, one of the nation's most respected sources of information from and about Africa. Finally the repository holds the papers of prominent African Americans, such as Asa and Elna Spaulding and Fannie B. Rosser. 

For more information about the Franklin Research Center, consult the web site at or contact Joseph Thompson, Director,, tel. (919) 660-5922, or fax (919) 660-5934. The finding aids of collections from these three research centers are available at Duke University's on-line library catalog is available at A guide to all collections at the William R. Perkins Library of Duke University as of 1980 can be accessed at

Grant money may be used for travel to the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, for costs of copying pertinent archival resources, and for living expenses while pursuing research here. One may obtain an application form from any of the Web sites or contact people mentioned above. Submit the completed form and required attachments to "Grants Program" at the address below or to the appropriate research center via e-mail. If you wish to apply to more than one center for the same project, simply check the appropriate boxes at the top of the application form to indicate that you have chosen this option. Grants will not exceed $1,000 even if awarded jointly. 

The next cycle of awards will be for use between March 2000 and August 2001. Request application information at any time; forms will be sent out beginning in October 1999. Applications must be received or postmarked by January 18, 2000. Awards will be announced on March 15, 2000. 

Snail mail address for all three centers is Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library; Box 90185; Duke University; Durham, NC 27708-0185. 

Labor History Conference

Had Sessions on

Sexual Identity

The announcement for the Twenty-first Annual Labor History Conference held at Wayne State University came to me. Some papers focused on relations of Labor movement and sexual identity and would have interest for us. Sadly, the newsletter comes out so late that the conference will be over before this arrives in your hand. For your interest, however, I'm listing the titles of the more applicable papers with their authors and, when available, institutions and addresses. 

The call for papers for the next annual conference, with the theme "The Future of Labor: Class, Vision, and the Millennium" has already gone out. Contact Elizabeth Faue, Coordinator, North American Labor History Conference, Dept. of History, 3094 Faculty Administration Bldg., Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202 or via e-mail at 

One entire section was entitled "Class, Queerness, and Community in North America." Two papers presented in this session were "Union Work and Lesbian/Gay Identity: Leadership, Organizing and the Coming-Out Process" presented by Miriam Frank of New York University, and "'I've Never Known Him to be Anything But a Straight-Forward Man': Class, Job and Homosexual Relations among Working Class and Immigrant Men, Toronto, 1900-1940," presented by Steven Maynard of Queen's University. Chair of the session was Dana Frank of the University of California at Santa Cruz; comments were by Frank and by Susan Johnson, University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Another session, "Categories in Conflict: Nation, Class, Sexuality," consisted of four papers, one of which particularly applies to us. Kevin Floyd of Kent State University presented a paper entitled "'Midnight Cowboy' and the Closing of the Heterosexual Frontier." Fred Moten of New York University made comments on all papers and Karen J. Miller of Oakland University functioned as moderator. 

Several other papers and some sessions focused on gender issues. The next conference will occur 19-21 Oct. 2000 at Wayne State University. 

Volunteer Experiences 

The following is the first of a series of first hand accounts by members of LAGAR or SAA who volunteer in the archives of lesbian, gay, transgendered organizations. The newsletter editor welcomes additional submissions. 

Let's Rodeo! 

By Diane Shannon, Archivist and Assistant Director, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center Archives, Chicago 

Hoots and hollers sound from the stands as a mustached person in a blond beehive wig, metallic blue gown, and cowboy boots enters the arena. She parades about for a few minutes, then throws her black leather purse to the side of a chute gate and faces chute number four anticipating the emergence of the next bull rider. Before stating the name of the next rider, the announcer threatens to levee a fine on this blond-haired beauty for "illegal use of fabric," and the crowd bursts into cheers and applause. 

Welcome to the world of gay rodeo, where some rodeo clowns look like drag queens; where some drag queens ride steers; and where it's not at all uncommon to see women riding bulls and bucking broncs, and wrestling steers to the ground. It's in this wacky, exciting world that I've volunteered my services as secretary and archivist for the past three years, maintaining the archives of the Illinois Gay Rodeo Association (IL.G.R.A.). 

Gay rodeo began in 1976 when Phil Ragsdale, Emperor of the local Imperial Court, organized a rodeo in Reno, Nevada, to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. For several years, the National Reno Gay Rodeo flourished and attracted large crowds. The final National Reno Gay Rodeo occurred in 1984. 

In the meantime, the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association (CGRA) organized in 1982, and in June 1983, Denver became the second city to host a gay rodeo. The Texas Gay Rodeo Association (TGRA) was organized in 1983 and hosted its first rodeo the next year. The Golden State Gay Rodeo Association (GSGRA) representing California was formed in 1984 and held its first rodeo in March of that year. Later the TGRA held its first rodeo, and the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association was founded. 

In September 1984, Denver hosted the first International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) convention. At this time the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo was admitted to the IGRA. The Big Sky Gay Rodeo Association representing Montana and the Utah Gay Rodeo Association became members of IGRA in 1989. By 1990, IGRA had become a fourteen-member association in nineteen states. Currently IGRA has nineteen member associations in the United States and Canada. IL.G.R.A. joined IGRA in 1993, and has hosted four rodeos and raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities. 

I got involved in gay rodeo in 1995, when I met my now life partner, Anna, at a Chicago country and western bar. Anna had joined IL.G.R.A. earlier that year after moving to Chicago from Germany, where she'd competed for years in a European rodeo circuit. Though I had never worked around ranch animals, and had never before attended a rodeo, I had for several years been involved in country dance. So, when Anna invited me to an IL.G.R.A. meeting, I agreed to attend. I was soon hooked by the friendliness of the group, and by its efforts to support the country-western lifestyle in the gay community. 

The IL.G.R.A. archives includes in its holdings minutes of board and general membership meetings; by-laws; budget information; rodeo programs, stickers, pins and contestant forms; election records, documenting the elections of board members and of the fund-raising, "royalty" positions of Ms., Miss and Mr. IL.G.R.A.; and association newsletters. 

In 1996, these records became highly valuable to the new board elected that year. IL.G.R.A. had registered a heavy financial loss with its rodeo the previous year; the board members wanted to figure out how to pay off debts while continuing to support the designated charities. By studying past budget information, contracts with services used at IL.G.R.A. rodeos, past board minutes, etc., the new board identified the mistakes; the 1998 and 1999 rodeos were financially successful without scrimping on the extras. 

In addition, the archives has proved useful to the planning of smaller fund-raising events IL.G.R.A. hosts throughout the year to raise money for local AIDS charities. One major activity has been the IL.G.R.A. royalty competitions; men run for the position of Mr. IL.G.R.A., women run for Ms. IL.G.R.A., and drag queens run for Miss IL.G.R.A. Judging forms, rules, and contact information for local organizations are all kept in the archives. Not only is money raised for charity by the contestants as they vie for the royalty titles, but the winners go on to plan IL.G.R.A. fundraisers throughout the year. The annual competition forms an important part of the work the association does each year. The archives has made important contributions to the success of IL.G.R.A. 

Though I plan to resign as IL.G.R.A. secretary to compete for Ms. IL.G.R.A. in October, I will continue to serve as the association's archivist, supporting gay rodeo in Illinois so that announcers will continue to open IL.G.R.A. rodeos with the cheer of "Let's rodeo!" 


Your Artwork Here:

30 Years of the

Alternative Press

an Exhibit at University of Michigan, Special Collections Library

Through 4 December 1999 

In 1996, the University of Michigan Library acquired the archives of The Alternative Press. In order to provide a medium for publishing and distributing the writings and artwork of emerging artists in Detroit, Ken and the late Ann Mikolowski started the Alternative Press in 1969. The archives consists of more than 35 linear feet of material that includes virtually all the printed material, portions of the "multiple original" series, and all correspondence and business files related to the press. 

Now Special Collections Library in the Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan presents "Your Artwork Here: 30 Years of the Alternative Press." The exhibit showcases not only the finished, printed, or original pieces that carry the imprint of The Alternative Press, but also

the correspondence between artist, friends, and poets and the Mikolowskis. The correspondence illustrates the relationship among artists and between the writer and the printer that resulted in finished pieces. Within the exhibit, the works and writings of the late Allen Ginsberg, Jim Gustafson, and Ann Mikolowski are singled out for attention. 

For further information, contact tel. (734) 764-9377, fax (734) 764-9368, or e-mail: 

Email Update

I have e-mail addresses for the people on the following list. If you have e-mail and are not on the list, please let me know your address for the LAGAR database. Send me a message to 

R. Jackson Armstrong-Ingram, John R Barden, Laurie A Baty, Susie R. Bock, Mimi Bowling, Jim Cartwright, Bill Casari, Wendy Chmielewski, Carol A. Corbett, Veronica Colley Cunningham, Lisa Daulby, John Paul Deley, Susan Edwards, Leslie Fields, Douglas M Haller, Paula Jabloner, Caitlin Jones, Marvin Kabakoff, Michael Kelly, Jamie Lambing. 

Anne Maguire, Kathy Marquis, Brenda Marston, James Martin-Black, Daniel Bruce May, David McCartney, Stephen E Novak, Richard Pearce-Moses, Patricia C. Pettijohn, Katy Rawdon,  Jo A. Rayfield , Nancy Richard, Susan von Salis and Kim Brookes, Joan M. Schwartz, David Seubert, Diane Shannon, Kathy Smith, Jill Snider, Terry Snyder, Abby Tallmer, Richard C. Wandel, Todd Welch, Geoffrey B. Wexler , Thomas M. Whitehead, Rutherford W. Witthus, An Xiaomi. 

Newsletter Benefactors 

The following have contributed to the production of the last two issues of LAGAR Newsletter in either money and or in kind. Thanks from me, your editor, and hopefully from the rest of LAGAR membership to all of you:

Kim Brookes& Susan von Salis

Susan Edwards

Douglas Haller

Paula Jabloner

John Paul Deley

Brenda Marston

Stephen Nonack

Nancy Richard

Diane Shannon

Willie Walker


From LAGAR Co-Chair

Susan Edwards 

Greetings Lagarites!

It was nice to see so many people make it to Pittsburgh. Conference highlights included Nancy Richard's talk about her work on documenting gays and lesbians in Boston and, of course, the fabulous Lagar reception at the Andy Warhol Museum. Many thanks to Lagarite John Smith for arranging the reception at his place of work. We have high standards to uphold for next year so if anyone has any ideas about Denver or wants to help out with making arrangements for a reception, please contact me at <mailto:<> or Dan May <mailto:<> . 

At the business meeting, we decided to go ahead with a LAGAR ListServ and an "Archibuddy" project. Brenda Marston is taking care of the ListServ. Paula Jabloner and Debbie Richards will coordinate the Archibuddy project. This project will seek to provide help to small LBGT archives from among us. Updates on each should be forthcoming in the next newsletter. 

Thanks, Brenda, Debbie and Paula. 

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