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 These collections include unpublished material such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks documenting the lives of both average people and community leaders.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.
All visits to the archives are by appointment. To request an appointment, please email the reference staff.
GLBT Historical Society members. Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nonmembers. Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Hours are subject to change. Please check our calendar for the latest updates.
The archives are at 989 Market Street, Lower Level, in downtown San Francisco.
By BART: Take any San Francisco train to Powell Station, then walk one long block west toward Sixth Street.
By Metro: Take any line to Powell Station, then walk one long block west toward Sixth Street.
By Streetcar: Take Line F to Market & Taylor (westbound) or Market & Sixth (eastbound).
By Bus: Take Lines 6, 7, or 9 to Market & Taylor (westbound) or Lines 6, 9, or 21 to Market & Sixth (eastbound).
By Car: Metered street parking is available, but may be very difficult. There is a valet pay lot off Stevenson Street. Self-parking is available at the Fifth & Mission civic garage.
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
The catalogs of our archival holdings can be searched right from your browser, as can the full contents of selected collections. Choose from the following:
- Archives, Periodicals & Oral Histories: Catalogs
- Selected Audio Collections: Digitized Contents
- Bay Area Reporter: Complete Back Issues
- Bay Area Reporter: Obituaries
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.
SAN FRANCISCO ACT UP ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
The GLBT Historical Society has launched a new oral history project to chronicle, preserve and share the history of ACT UP/San Francisco and other militant AIDS activists in the Bay Area from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. The project also will document the queer political and cultural context in which the group operated. For more details, visit the San Francisco ACT UP Oral History Project page.
Visions & voices of GLBT history
Managing archivist Joanna Black shares her latest finds among the media collections.