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 These collections include unpublished material such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks documenting the lives of both average people and community leaders.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.
Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open by appointment to members only. Non-members may schedule a Friday visit subject to availability. For an appointment, contact our reference staff.
First and third Saturday of the month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Open to the public on a walk-in basis.
The archives will be closed after Friday, December 18, for the winter holiday.
The archives are at 657 Mission Street, between Third and New Montgomery Streets in downtown San Francisco. By BART: Take any San Francisco train to Montgomery Station, then walk three short blocks south to Mission Street. By Metro: Take any line to Montgomery Station, then walk three short blocks south to Mission Street. By Streetcar: Take Line F to Third Street, then walk three short blocks south to Mission Street. By Bus: Lines 10, 12, 14, 30 and 45 call at nearby intersections. By Car: Metered street parking is available, but may be very difficult. Parking is also available at the Moscone Center and Fifth & Mission civic garages.
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 Juliet Demeter.
Search the collections
Many of our collections can be searched right from your web browser. Choose from the following:
Visions and voices of GLBT history
Project archivist Joanna Black shares her latest finds among the media collections.