That's Not Clutter, That's Queer History:
Six Tips for Preserving Personal Archives
|The archives at the GLBT Historical Society include thousands of boxes of |
personal papers donated by individual members of the community.
Much of the raw material that will help future researchers understand how GLBT people have lived and created communities is stashed away in private homes. Many of us have boxes of personal letters, photos and other mementos, notes Marjorie Bryer, managing archivst at the GLBT Historical Society. She emphasizes that those boxes aren't just clutter; they're the vital materials of queer history.
How can you make sure your own archives are preserved for use by historians? There are steps to take even before you're ready to donate the materials to the Historical Society or another institution. Bryer offers six basic tips to get you started:
Save the Good Stuff. Diaries, correspondence, manuscript materials, photographs, scrapbooks, organizational records, unique artifacts and distinctive clothing such as queer t-shirts all can help historians and curators document GLBT lives and communities. You don't have to be famous; all of our stories matter.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place. Keep your personal papers safe for the future by protecting them from heat and moisture. An attic, garage or basement is often the part of a home where there's storage space -- but those are frequently the hottest or dampest places, too. Think twice before storing your archives there.
Do Basic Conservation. Some simple steps will help prevent damage to your personal papers: Remove rusting paper clips and staples; remove rubber bands, which are likely to decay; avoid using tape, which can cause stains; place your papers and photographs in acid-free folders and archival albums.
Identify Your Collection. Be sure to clearly identify your personal papers: Label the boxes and name the file folders in ways that will help future researchers understand the contents -- and consider writing a statement outlining key points in your life to help historians understand who gathered the materials.
Label Your Photographs. Whether you have old-school prints or new-school digital photos, be sure to provide caption details: Names of the people and places shown, the date the photo was taken and a brief note on why the picture is important. Those details will help future researchers understand and use your photos.
Plan Your Donation. Before donating your personal papers, contact the archivist. The Historical Society can advise you on what we're eager to acquire and what might find a better home in another institution. And be sure to donate your materials during your lifetime -- or clearly specify the donation in your will.
Summer Programs Feature Bears, Beatniks,
Queer Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement
What Is a Bear? Exploring and
Defining a Gay Male Subculture
Wednesday, July 24
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
What defines a "bear" in gay culture? The creation of a safe space for men whose bodies are larger, hairier or older has roots in the leather and biker cultures that emerged after World War II. In the following decades, a bear culture developed as clubs, bars and a media industry were created to promote an accepting and eroticized view of male bodies outside the conventional gay standard of beauty.
Today's bear culture has an endless list of labels for bodies and styles, from cub and otter to the traditional bear, wolf, black bear and panda. This panel discussion will explore what it has meant to be a bear in the past, how the self-image and media images of bears have changed over time, and how bears are creating a community of inclusion in San Francisco today. Panelists will include Mark Katzenberger, Harry Lit, Desmond Miller, Nick Sabatasso and Dan Taylor. Cosponsored by Bears of San Francisco.
Admission: $5.00 (general); $4.00 (BOSF members); $3.00 (California students); free for GLBT Historical Society members.
Thursday, August 15
From Beatniks to Gay Liberation:
Allen Ginsberg and Queer San Francisco
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.xxx
What was the world that Allen Ginsberg inhabited in San Francisco in the 1950s? How did the then-lively gay scene in the North Beach neighborhood interact with the rest of the city? And what happened to that scene between Ginsberg's controversial public reading of "Howl" at the Six Gallery in 1955 and the dawn of the era of gay liberation?
By reading passages from biographies and memoirs of Ginsberg, Jack Spicer, Sam Steward, James Broughton and Josť Sarria, as well historical studies, Michael Flanagan will recreate a vibrant world that has disappeared and will tell the story of how bohemian and beat San Francisco blended -- and didn't blend -- into one another. Flanagan is a reference librarian, writer and independent scholar who lives in San Francisco. His talk is cosponsored by the Contemporary Jewish Museum
. Admission: $5.00 (general); $3.00 (California students); free for GLBT Historical Society members.
March on Washington: 50 Years
Later -- Where Are We Now?
Wednesday, August 21
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.xxx
The Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition presents a panel discussion on civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, a gay man who was a prominent strategist for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Participants also will look at the journey of the African American community over the past half-century and where its stands in the new high-tech economy -- and will address the issues of queer economic status and demographics of today. Founded in 2006, the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition works to end racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia in all their manifestations.
Admission: $5.00 (general); $3.00 (California students); free for GLBT Historical Society members.
EXHIBITIONS & PROGRAMS
The GLBT History Museum
Location: 4127 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Admission: $5.00 general; $3.00 with California student ID. Free for members. Free for all visitors on the first Wednesday of each month (courtesy of the Bob Ross Foundation).
Mondays - Saturdays: 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sundays: Noon - 5:00 p.m.
ARCHIVES & READING ROOM
GLBT Historical Society
Location: 657 Mission St., Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-777-5455, ext. 3#
Weekdays: By Appointment & Subject to Availability
Members: Wednesdays - Fridays: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Nonmembers: Fridays: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays: No Appointment Needed
Open to members and nonmembers 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. the first and third Saturday of the month; no appointment needed. Hours subject to change; before visiting, check the GLBT Historical Society website.
An orientation for
volunteers for The GLBT History Museum is set
for 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. on
Tuesday, July 2. For
The GLBT History
Museum displays a
wealth of material
from San Francisco's
vast queer past.
In the Main Gallery: The "Bar Life: Going Out" display includes
a colorful array of matchbooks from lesbian, gay and transgender bars and clubs in the Bay Area (1950s-1990s).
The GLBT Historical
Society is home to one
of the world's largest
gay, lesbian, bisexual
The studio archives of photographer Robert
include thousands of
images documenting San Francisco gay life of the 1970s-1980s. Above is his shot of poet Steve Abbott interviewing poet Allen Ginsberg in 1984.
information on the
GLBT Historical Society
and The GLBT History Museum, visit
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For an overview of
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GLBT Historical Society