Robert Graves

What is your name? 
Robert Graves

When did you start/how long have you been volunteering at ONE? 
I first volunteered in the fall of 2003.

What is your favorite part about volunteering at ONE? 
I'm an archivist by training but got hired into a librarian job that I loved. Volunteering at ONE allows me the chance to scratch that archivist itch, that passion to dig into a big pile of "who-knows-what" and figure out how to make sense of it and make it useful to others.

Do you have a favorite collection or item you have come across? 
The collection I spent the most time with was The Advocate collection, which I spent more than a year trying to reassemble into its original order before handing it off to the full-time archivists at ONE. Getting to see and touch so much of that late-1960s to mid--1970s queer history was fascinating.

What is the weirdest/funniest task you have done while volunteering? 
It wasn't something I did, but rather my mother. One weekend, years ago, when my mother was in town visiting, I brought her in to volunteer for the day, while I was working on a larger collection. I can't remember who gave her the task, but they gave my mother the task of sorting a couple boxes of pins. Hearing my mom giggle at some of the salacious statements on those pins as she sorted them is a memory I will always cherish.
What is something that you have learned about queer history while working with the collection that surprised you or you didn’t know before? 
Prior to working on The Advocate collection, I had never really heard of The Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans. The Advocate was one of, if not the only national news organizations that reported extensively on the story, so getting to see all of that primary source material from the magazine was fascinating.

What is something about ONE that people might not know but you wish they did? 
Its long, rich history, and the fact that it truly was the first of its kind.

What has brought you joy recently during the pandemic and uprisings? 
The Supreme Court ruling that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ in the workplace, and the subsequent appeals court ruling in transgender teen Gavin Grimm's case.