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 These collections include unpublished material such as letters, diaries and scrapbooks documenting the lives of both average people and community leaders.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.

Research hours

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.

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 Juliet Demeter.

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

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

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 …
Notable Collections in April & May - Throughout the months of April and May, Visions and Voices uncovered more meaningful GLBTHS collections that capture much of the everyday social and cultural lives of LGBTQ individuals in the 20th century. During this two month working period, I advanced the Visions and Voices project by surveying 14 new collections, processing 12, and creating and …
Tracking Down Deeds of Gift - Thanks to the Visions and Voices grant, I was able to enlist the temporary help of Alex Barrows in tracking down deeds of gift for 110 GLBTHS photographic and AV collections. Within an archival institute like the GLBTHS, why do deeds even matter, and what is involved in obtaining one? Alex eloquently explains their necessity in the …
Notable Collections in March - March marked the 2nd month of my work on the NHPRC grant-funded project Visions and Voices in GLBT History. While immersing myself in archival materials the way an archivist often must (by painstakingly identifying, implementing, and documenting a logical physical and intellectual arrangement, among other things, in order to facilitate public access), it can be …