Temporary closure

The archives are temporarily closed while we move into our new location at 989 Market Street in San Francisco. We will re-open to the public on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Until then, researchers and guests are unable to visit the archives but can still access our online catalog as well as select research guides and digitized materials through our website, the Online Archive of California, and Calisphere. During this time, telephone and email responses will be extremely limited. Patron services, including reproduction requests, are also suspended during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. To make an appointment to visit the archives, please email our reference staff.

Research guides

The following subject guides cover frequently researched topics in our collections; these guides are by no means comprehensive, but intended to showcase some of our collections’ offerings as well as outside resources.

Our collections

794[1]The archives of the GLBT Historical Society contain approximately 800 collections of personal papers, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and organizational records. These collections include unpublished material such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks documenting the lives of both average people and community leaders. They also include the records of many community organizations, businesses and political campaigns. The archives hold over 70 linear feet of ephemera; 5,000 periodical titles; tens of thousands of photographs; approximately 1,000 t-shirts; thousands of posters; more than 500 oral histories; approximately 1,000 hours of recorded sound; and approximately 1,000 hours of film and video. The archives also has extensive holdings of historic textiles, fine and graphic arts, and artifacts.

Donating materials

The GLBT Historical Society focuses its collections on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer life in the wider San Francisco Bay area and Northern California. Currently, we are seeking accessions to fill particular gaps in our holdings. We seek materials documenting LGBT life prior to the 1970s, as well as LGBT people of color, lesbian and bisexual women of all social/cultural backgrounds, LGBT working class communities, and bisexual and transgender people. To inquire about donating a collection or for more information, please email Joanna Black.

Search the collections

Many of our collections can be searched right from your web browser. Choose from the following:

jojoVisions and voices of GLBT history

Managing archivist Joanna Black shares her latest finds among the media collections.

Collection Donors: the Key to Context - Over the last few months here in the GLBT Historical Society Archives, we’ve been focusing the bulk of our efforts on preparing to move the collections from our current space at 657 Mission Street to a much larger location down the road at 989 Market Street. A collection move of this size is no small …
Here Comes Mister Marcus - After far too many moons since a Visions and Voices update, we are back with some exciting news; the GLBT Historical Society has a new website! So go ahead and explore the sections, click on links, and see what amazing virtual nuggets of LGBT history await you. In other exciting news, Visons and Voices is …
The BML Videos collection now open to researchers - One of the larger collections that the NHPRC grant has brought to light in the archives is a videotape collection from the now disbanded group BML Videos. Coming in at just over 16 linear feet, this collection contains over 400 VHS and SVHS tapes created mainly during the mid-1980s through the late 1990s, documenting numerous …
We Got PRIDE! - One of the city’s most celebrated events, the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration is the culmination of LGBT Pride month events that take place over the month of June. More than just a parade, this whirlwind of rainbow flags, wild costumes, and celebratory smiles has been overflowing with love vibes …