May 4, 2015

ONE Archives at the USC Libraries has recently completed a collaboration with the GLBT Historical Society to process 111 collections of primarily California-based LGBTQ pioneers and organizations. Funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the Out West project included the digitization of over 400 photographs and the development of a dynamic website showcasing the collections and images, accessible here.

The Out West collections and images document the personal relationships, professional lives, non-profit organizations, and cultural phenomena that have paved the way for the continued growth and liberation of the LGBTQ community. The records provide a new understanding of the wartime gay and lesbian community in the 1940s, the homophile movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the gay liberation movement of the 1970s, and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. The records of non-profit organizations detail the tireless work behind some of the seminal LGBTQ rights moments in U.S. history, while the personal papers of activists and artists document the daily experience and community identity of rich and poor; old and young; African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos.


2003-43 Cora Latz and Etta Perkins photographs
Cora Latz and Etta Perkins wedding ceremony. 1973. Cora Latz and Etta Perkins Photographs. GLBT Historical Society

The newly accessible collections include the papers of Patricia Nell Warren, celebrated author of the first gay-themed book on the New York Times bestseller list; Thomas Coleman and Jay Kohorn, preeminent attorneys for sexual civil liberties; Phil Wilson, LGBTQ African-American and AIDS activist leader; Jeanne Córdova, foundational LGBT activist; and Michael Kearns, actor, writer, director, and AIDS activist pioneer. Organizational records include those of Beth Chayim Chadashim, the world’s first LGBTQ synagogue; the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, one of the first nonprofit arts and educational centers dedicated solely to women; GLAAD, the leading media watchdog for the LGBTQ community; Pride Foundation, the organization behind the Pride Center at 330 Grove in San Francisco; Asian/Pacific Lesbians and Gays, one of the earliest Asian/Pacific groups in the U.S., and Blue Max, a pioneering motorcycle club.


Coll2013-055 Blue Max Motorcycle Club records
Police officer talking to male motorcycle riders with “Just Married” sign on bike. Circa December 1969. Blue Max Motorcycle Club Records. ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

These collections preserve the history of struggle for LGBTQ civil rights and shed new light on LGBTQ studies and history. ONE Archives and the GLBT Historical Society are truly grateful for all the help of our staff and the hundreds of volunteers and students who devoted their time in support of this ambitious project to preserve and share the stories of our LGBTQ legacy.


Image: (Top) José Sarria and the Imperial Court at Finocchio’s. 1965. José Sarria Papers. GLBT Historical Society