December 2015


In This Issue

From the Board Chair 

News Roundup   

Upcoming Events  

Visit Us 

DONATE -- Keep GLBT History Alive! VOLUNTEER -- Many Ways to Get Involved
Queens Moving Pictures
How the Archives Inspired a Director:
"Joyful Times Despite the Oppression"
"The idea for Reel In The Closet came from reading this very newsletter," says filmmaker Stu Maddux, whose feature-length film is currently touring the festival circuit, aiming for a wider release in 2016. The documentary showcases private home movies of nightlife, picnics, house parties, and tender moments in the pre-Stonewall era. Much of the newly unearthed footage is from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society.
What sparked the film? "It was an article about GLBTHS volunteer John Raines, who was digitally transferring and preserving hundreds of reels of videotape at the archives before they became unplayable," Maddux recalls. "As I began looking at the body of moving images that was already transferred, I was struck with a feeling pride I had never felt before.
"I was seeing people like me in the 1950s, '40s and even '30s carve out joyful times despite the oppression they faced. These were happy people documenting their lives. That's when I knew that it was important to create a documentary not simply using the moving images at the archives, but to make it about the hope they make you feel and the urgency to save them before they are lost forever."
The film also covers the upheaval of gay liberation. "The home movies by photographer Crawford Barton are fascinating. He documented his migration from rural Georgia to San Francisco in the 1970s with images that echo the experience of many LGBT people, capturing along his journey many early, historic LGBTs events. While filming the 1972 Gay Freedom Day Parade in New York, he caught several people who would later become important to queer history.
"For months I was particularly struck by a woman holding a hand made sign that reads, 'Parents of Lesbian's and Gays Unite.' I was able to confirm that it is Jeanne Manford, who founded PFLAG. These are the only known moving images of her marching for the first time. And Barton captured it all with the artistic eye he later became known for."
And how is the film being received? "The most heartening reactions to Reel in the Closet come from people starting out who have never seen personal moving images of LGBT people from the pre-Stonewall period. I had a college student tell me that she finally had something to show to her parents to prove them wrong. They had convinced her growing up that being gay started with Stonewall!"
For trailers and screening dates for Reel in the Closet, visit -- or request a temporary link to view the film online from Maddux by emailing
Board From the Board Chair 
Recapping a Fantastic Year of
Progress for the Historical Society 

This has been a fantastic year of progress. And believe me, there's more coming. A quick recap: We added seven new board members to maintain a wide array of skills and backgrounds representative of our community. We screened 14 candidates for our executive director position and interviewed six. Three are in final-round interviews as I write.

At the GLBT History Museum, we hosted thousands of visitors and launched two new exhibitions, one of which received a rave review in New York Magazine. At the archives, we acquired the personal papers of pioneering lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, and digitized hundreds of films and dozens of collections, all while supporting numerous researchers. We also visited 12 potential sites for the new, larger space where we plan to move the archives next year.

In the next several months, we'll hire a new executive director (and host an introduction party!), finalize negotiations on a new location for the archives and begin its renovation, and launch a series of periodic "Night at the Museum" events similar to those at the De Young to help showcase our dynamic exhibitions to new audiences. We also have plans to grow our staff to meet the growing interest in GLBT history not only among GLBT people but also in the wider community.

I am continually humbled and moved by the enthusiasm, dedication and motivation of our members, volunteers, donors and visitors. Simply put, the GLBT Historical Society exists because of your involvement. Please continue your support by helping spread the word about the museum and archives (by sharing and posting this newsletter, for instance) -- and by making a generous donation today.

Brian Turner is chair of the Board of Directors of the GLBT Historical Society.
Roundup News Roundup 

Digital Conversion Project Completed. The GLBT Historical Society has completed digital conversion of its collection of more than 400 amateur 8mm films. The project was carried out by media consultant John Raines, who donated his services, using a Retro8 film scanner lent by director Stu Maddux. The films were scanned in high definition one frame at a time. For sound films, Raines captured the audio separately, then manually matched it to the images. As a result, these irreplaceable moving pictures of LGBT life from the 1930s through the 1980s are now readily available to researchers.
Shopping at the Museum Store. Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the history buff in your life? The store at the GLBT History Museum offers exclusive t-shirts, mugs, whistles and more featuring historic queer graphics reproduced from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society. The latest additions are colorful postcards and a magnet with images of fantastic 1970s drag queens from the current Community Gallery exhibition "Reigning Queens: Roz Joseph's Lost Photos." Visit the museum at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco's Castro District.
Upcomingevents Upcoming Events

Illustrated Talk 
Missing Places: Lost & Endangered Queer Historic Sites of San Francisco & the Bay Area   
Thursday, January 14
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.
The GLBT History Museum

Drawing on examples from San Francisco and the Bay Area from the 1930s to the present, Historical Society founding member Gerard Koskovich looks at processes that have led to the loss of GLBT historic sites and to their absence from public memory. He'll also discuss ways to commemorate such missing places and will highlight forces that currently threaten sites central to the city's GLBT history.
Koskovich presented the talk to an enthusiastic audience at the University of London in November. The GLBT History Museum presentation marks its debut in the U.S. Cosponsored by San Francisco Heritage and Shaping San Francisco. Follow the conversation for this event on Facebook. (Photo: Fred Lyon; used with permission.) 
After Hours
I Love History: Celebrating Five Years of the GLBT History Museum 
Friday, January 29  
7:00-9:00 p.m.    
Admission: $10.00 general. $5.00 for members.
The GLBT History Museum

The GLBT History Museum celebrates its fifth anniversary in January. What better reason for queer history lovers to get together in the galleries for an after-hours party featuring drinks, refreshments and live DJs? Five special guests will lead a very short tour with each picking a favorite object in the museum and telling a five-minute story about why it caught their eye. And everyone who attends will be invited to engage in a bit of queer-history speed dating by posting photos of their own favorite objects to social media. (Meeting fellow queer history buffs for some real-live speed dating will be welcome, too.)  
Author Conversation 
The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics
Thursday, February 18  
7:00-9:00 p.m.    
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.
The GLBT History Museum

Author Ramzi Fawaz and queer comics artist and scholar Justin Hall come together for a lively discussion of Fawaz's recently published book The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics. The event also will highlight the work of San Francisco artist Paul Jermann, who created the cover illustration for the book (seen at left). A dialogue between Fawaz and Hall about queerness, comics and American culture will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Free Admission
The GLBT History Museum 
Wednesday, January 6 
Wednesday, February 3
11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.   
Admission to exhibitions at the GLBT History Museum is free the first Wednesday of every month courtesy of the Bob Ross Foundation.    
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Exhibitions & Programs

The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-1107
Monday & Wednesday-Saturday: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-5:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesday.

Special Holiday Hours
Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve: 11:00 a.m-3:00 p.m.
Christmas Day & New Year's Day: Closed 

Archives & Reading Room

The GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission St., Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 777-5455