James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We are moving to Tumblr!

The James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center blog Queerest.Library.Ever is moving to Tumblr!
snapshot of our new tumblr page
Snapshot of our new Tumblr page, showing the title of  our Tom of Finland post.

The Tumblr platform will help us reach new audiences. It is also very mobile-device friendly!

Our screen name on Tumblr is sfplhormelcenter, and you can find us at https://sfplhormelcenter.tumblr.com/

And don't worry, you can still find all of our past Blogger posts, going back to our illustrious beginnings in 2009, on the Tumblr site.

Please find us and follow us on Tumblr; we look forward to interacting with you there!

Friday, December 1, 2017

NEH Grant to Digitize Historical Materials on HIV/AIDS in the San Francisco Bay Area

In recognition of World AIDS Day, we want to highlight a digitization project recently funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant supports the scanning of paper archives that document the experiences of people with AIDS, and the medical, political, and community responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco bay area. San Francisco Public Library, UCSF Archives and Special Collections, and the GLBT Historical Society will provide the primary source material from their extensive HIV/AIDS-related collections.

Article in Scrapbook 1
(San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Ward 5B/5A Archives)

The library's archival material is drawn from the San Francisco History Center and from the Hormel LGBTQIA Center. A few of the collections that will be scanned, in whole or in part, are: the Deaf AIDS Center Collection, the Vincent diaries, Gary Fisher's journals, and the San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Ward 5B/5A Archives. Portions of these collections will be unavailable during the scanning process.

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration, 1988
(San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Ward 5B/5A Archives)

The project is currently underway and will continue for another year and half. UCSF Archives and Special Collections just posted some additional information on the project with examples from their own collections. Once completed the digitized material will be available through Calisphere, a part of the California Digital Library. The San Francisco Public Library is excited to increase the visibility of these materials and to make them accessible to a wider audience.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Small Collection of Exaggerated Proportions

Tom of Finland Drawings (GLC 108)
LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
With the release of Dome Karukoski's film Tom of Finland, there is renewed interest in the life and work of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991). Better known as Tom of Finland, his work appeals to and represents an entire community of gay men who enjoy the erotic charge of leather, uniforms, and well-muscled men.

A search in the library’s online catalog reveals several books about Tom of Finland and a documentary. The books include: Tom of Finland: Life and Work of a Gay Hero and Tom of Finland: His Life and Times by F. Valentine Hooven, et al.; Tom of Finland: The Art of Pleasure, text by Micha Ramakers; Tom House: Tom of Finland in Los Angeles (2016); and Dirty Pictures: Tom of Finland, Masculinity, and Homosexuality by Micha Ramakers. The 1993 documentary is called Daddy and the Muscle Academy: Tom of Finland.

Tom of Finland Drawings (GLC 108)
LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library

However, you might not be aware that the library owns five original Tom of Finland drawings (GLC 108). In June 2015, Tom Nicoll contacted the LGBTQIA Center to see if we would be interested in some original artwork by Tom of Finland. Naturally, we jumped at the chance. Nicoll, who was a friend of Tom of Finland's, had a small collection of drawings that nicely represented the various themes of Tom of Finland's work: hyper-masculine men in uniforms or leather and in erotically charged scenarios.

Tom of Finland Drawings (GLC 108)
LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library
We selected 5 representative pieces. In one, a beach scene with five men, the jeans-clad fellow in the distance is Tom Nicoll. He also shared a copy of a photo taken in his younger years. These five original drawings are available through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. The artwork is housed, quite appropriately, in an oversized folder.

Tom Nicoll, Tom of Finland Drawings (GLC 108)
LGBTQIA Center, San Francisco Public Library

Monday, October 16, 2017

October at the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Join us for these free queer events at the Main Library!
Details and room info linked below.

Mondays Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tay Day in the Hormel center
LGBTQ youth ages 18-25

Thurs. Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 
Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book
A Hands On Experience

Tues., Oct. 31, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Undercover Girl
The Lesbian Informant Who Helped the FBI Bring Down the Communist Party
Presented by author Lisa E. Davis

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? Please contribute, and we'll respond. Thanks and hope to see you face-to-face at our programs!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Accession / Old Friend: Barbara Grier

Barbara Grier and Helen Bennett, 1958
(Barbara Grier--Naiad Press Collection)
As we close out the year, I thought it would be fun to share some photos from a recent accession. In July Donna McBride, Barbara Grier's life partner, mailed 16 cartons of additions to the Barbara Grier--Naiad Press Collection. Grier was a lesbian publisher, author, and one of the founders of Naiad Press. To be honest, opening the boxes felt a lot like Christmas morning.

Barbara Grier, December, 1962
(Barbara Grier--Naiad Press Collection)
The additional material includes correspondence, photographs, publicity, books and periodicals, and some manuscripts written by others. The correspondence with Jane Rule from 1964 through 1978 is probably the single-most significant part of this accession. Their letters discuss Jane's writing, the writing of other authors, mutual friends, family, and their personal relationships.

The photos captured my attention, too. What made me smile most are the snapshots and scrapbook pages that document Grier's two committed relationships: with Helen Bennett (1952-1972) and with Donna McBride (1972-2011). These are touching because they show a slice of life that we can all relate to: vacations, new clothes, new cars, Christmas celebrations, birthdays, family, and pets. As we flip through these images, we (re)discover the life of an old and dear friend.
Barbara Grier, January 27, 1963
(Barbara Grier--Naiad Press Collection)
Descriptions of these newly added materials are being incorporated in the existing finding aid for the Barbara Grier-Naiad Press Collection (GLC 30). The collection is available through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pat Parker Celebration

In anticipation of tomorrow's Celebration of The Complete Works of Pat Parker at the Main Library, we thought it would be fun to share some photos and one of Parker's poems from the Hormel Center's archival collections.

Pat Parker, circa 1972
(Lynda Koolish Photographs Collection GLC 40)

To Lynda
(Pat Parker Poems GLC 85)
The Pat Parker Poems (GLC 85), the Lynda Koolish Photographs Collection (GLC 40), and the Cathy Cade Photographs Collection (GLC 41) are available at the San Francisco History Center, on the 6th floor of the Main Library. There is also a lovely photo portrait of Parker taken by Robert Giard in the Robert Giard Photographs Collection (GLC 37). Photos are available during San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection hours.

Of course the library has many of Parker's books and even a video recording of Parker and Audre Lorde. We hope to see you at Saturday's Celebration and we encourage you to explore the library's collections.

"Gente Gospeliers," Oakland, California, 1975
L to R: Joanne Garrett, Anita Onang, Pat Parker, Linda Tillery, and Jay Casselberry
(Cathy Cade Photographs Collection GLC 41)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Looking Back to See Our Way Forward

In response to this morning's headlines about Donald Trump's election and my concern about future rights and liberties, I searched for inspiration in the archives. I found it in the Barbara Cameron Papers.

Cameron, a Native American activist, lesbian, and writer, gave a speech shortly after Ronald Reagan's election to the presidency in 1980.

[Freedom of Women], p.1 (Barbara Cameron Papers)

[Freedom of Women], p.2 (Barbara Cameron Papers)

Her remarks address freedom for women, specifically, but she writes more broadly to include the challenges faced by all marginalized communities. Here are a few more pages to give you a taste of Cameron's eloquence.

[Freedom of Women], p.4 (Barbara Cameron Papers)

[Freedom of Women], p.6 (Barbara Cameron Papers)

You can find the entire speech in the Barbara Cameron Papers, available in the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last Call! Final Week for 20th Anniversary Exhibition!

They say all good things must come to an end. And that is the case with our 20th anniversary exhibition Queerest.Library.Ever. One week from today, Sunday, August 7th is the last day to see the show before we begin to put back all of the letters, scrapbooks, photos, and objects.

Tom Nicoll viewing the Tom of Finland display
(Photo courtesy of Brian Castagne)

I know you're asking "What does that really mean?"

It means...
If you haven't had a chance to see Gay Monopoly, go to the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch library, go directly to EVA, do not pass go...there you'll see Queer and Quirky: OBJECTifying Ourselves.

It also means...
If you're wondering who was on the Hormel Founders Committee and what their hairstyles were 20-odd years ago, you should visit the Hormel Center exhibition on the 3rd floor of the Main Library. You'll find materials on the beginnings of the Center and photos from the Shades of LGBTQI collecting project along with original artwork from Reversing Vandalism.

(GLC 101 Collection on Sylvester)
And if you'd like to see a photo of a young Sylvester, and of an even younger Jewelle Gomez, you'll want to stop by the Main Library's Jewett Gallery (lower level). The exhibition showcases an array of archival material that highlights activism, community and the ways we find to come together, visual representation of ourselves and by ourselves, and lesbian love within literary and publishing circles.

And, finally, if you'd like to know what we had on display 10 years ago, visit the Main Library's 6th floor bridge to rediscover the traveling panel exhibition "Out At The Library."

Don't miss your chance to see the exhibition. Plan to visit this week.