James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Some Matchless Objects of Our Affection

We dismiss many objects from everyday life because they are commonplace and readily available. Think paper napkins, postcard notices for upcoming events, business cards, political buttons and pins, T-shirts with slogans, matchbooks, and even pencils engraved with business names. These items (called "realia" in library lingo) most often find their way to trash cans or recycling bins.

But on some occasions, they make their way to the archives where they serve as a fun piece of history. The exhibition Queer and Quirky: OBJECTifying Ourselves highlights objects from the  James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center's archives. This portion of the Hormel Center's 20th anniversary exhibition is on display at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library. Other portions of the Queerest. Library. Ever. exhibition are on display at the Main Library.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Harvey Milk Photo Center Pride Exhibition

We are pleased to announce the opening of

LGBTQ: Chronicled: 1933–2016

Harvey Milk Photo Center
50 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

The exhibition runs from June 18-July 16, 2016.
Opening reception: Saturday, June 18 from 4-9 p.m.

The event is free to the public.

Harvey Milk with Navy friends taken in Hollywood, between 1953-1954
(Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection)

The exhibition features work by Saul Bromberger, Sandra Hoover, Chloe Jackman, Preston Gannaway, Skot Jonz, Bill Wilson, Hossein  Carney, Paul Margolis, Rick Gerharter, Minor White, Rink, Hal Fischer, Daniel Nicoletta, David Ayllon, Efren Ramirez, Dwayne Newton, Peter Thoshinsky, CJ Lucero, and Lucky Milo Whitburn-Thomas.

The library is pleased to partner with the Harvey Milk Photo Center and has provided 14 photos from 6 of its archival collections: the John Gruber Papers, the Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection, the Harry Hay Papers, the Peter Adair Papers, the Rikki Streicher and Mary Sager Photograph Albums, and the Cliff Anchor Papers. For more information about these collections, visit the archives at the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Guest Blogger: Q. L. E. Curator Jim Van Buskirk's Favorite Things

I was delighted to be invited back to guest curate "Queerest.Library.Ever #Hormel at20". Here are seven of my favorite items in the show:

outpost flyer, 1991
"Absolutely Queer" poster. This was a guerilla campaign from the summer of 1991, by two AIDS activists, who were lovers, and friends of mine. I urged them to donate a set of the posters to the Hormel Center with the provision that their identities not be revealed.  

A. Jay "Adventures of Harry Chess" detail
(A. Jay Papers)
Allen ("A. Jay") Shapiro drawings. I wasn't previously familiar with his cartoon strip "The Adventures of Harry Chess" and found it witty, provocative, and artistically excellent. Its inclusion exemplifies a goal of the exhibit: to recontextualize provocative material historically.
Gay Bob in his original packaging...
Yes, it is a very well appointed closet!
(LGBTQIA Realia Collection)
The Gay Bob doll entered the picture late in the game, when in the course of my research I realized the Hormel Center didn't own one. I lamented the lacunae to a lesbian friend who immediately ordered one and donated it. "No self-respecting Gay & Lesbian Center should be without one," she insisted. Exhibition designer Ann Carroll and I had fun one afternoon posing Bob in various positions in and around the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch.

Jewelle Gomez (center), undated
(Jewelle Gomez Papers)
"Lesbian Literary Love" was a labor of love partly because so many of the women included have become friends: Michelle Tea, Ann Bannon, Jewelle Gomez, Katherine Forrest, and Carol Seajay of Feminist Bookstore News. Developing this section was a wonderful collaboration with library school intern Mariah Sparks, whose dad processed the very first Hormel Center collection, that of poet Lynn Lonidier.

"Yellow Is For Hermaphrodites" scrapbook, 1995-2014
(David Cameron Strachan Intersex Collection)
David Cameron Strachan's contribution to intersex activism is important. In the process of proposing and planning a pioneering public program in 2001, David helped me develop the library's collections and taught me everything I know about intersex, starting with the fact that people with one of the myriad of conditions under the rubric of "intersex" were formerly referred to as hermaphrodites. We went on to collaborate on an article about intersex resources for the valuable anthology Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users: Essays onOutreach, Service, Collections and Access edited by Ellen Greenblatt.

#20 Movie Star, 2000
(Chloe Atkins Photographs Collection)
Chloe Atkins is a versatile photographer and a friend. Her various series includes portraits of drag kings and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, as well as her well-known lesbian nightclub photos. For several years Chloe hosted the very successful series "Queer Photo Salon" at the LGBTQ Community Center and the SFPL. Her cross-dressing self portrait "Movie Star #35" hangs in my living room. Not only did the Hormel Center purchase a portfolio of her images, but Chloe generously donated her entire archives.

Gay and Lesbian Center Founders Committee, 1993
(San Francisco Public Library Records)
The Hormel Center Founders photograph was taken at a fabulous fundraising event at Jan Zivic's home in Sonoma. Bob Sass generously donated his copy of the framed photograph, even though ironically he is not included. Over the years Jan and I have become friends and I am delighted to have reconnected with Bob. The commitment of the Hormel Center's founders endures in many important and unimaginable ways.

The Queerest.Library.Ever. #Hormelat20 exhibition continues through August 7, 2016.

--Jim Van Buskirk