Allan Berube Papers processed!

9 Feb

The GLBT Historical Society is happy to announce the opening of the Allan Berube Papers (#1995-17).  The finding aid can be viewed at:
http://www.glbthistory.org/research/FA/glbths_1995_17_AllanBerube_FA.pdf

Allan Berube was a historian, scholar, teacher and activist who devoted much of his life to researching history to better the world surrounding him. His archival collection, now available to access at the GLBTHS in San Francisco, encompasses his personal and professional life, offering a wide perspective on his life and work.

Allan was born in 1946. In the early 1950s, when Allan was a child, his family moved to Bayonne, New Jersey to the Sunset Trailer Park. Growing up in a working-class family, Allan had early insights into how class and race shaped and influenced the world around him.

Allan riding a bicycle, ca. 1950

Allan riding a bicycle, ca. 1950

The author of a well-known and influential book about gays in the military, “Coming Out Under Fire”, Allan began writing early in life, filling school notebooks with stories and poems. The poem below was written by Allan in the early 1960s, and is among other examples of early creative writing available to view in his collection.

Poem by Allan, ca. 1960-1964

Poem by Allan, ca. 1960-1964

Allan had many varied interests and talents, one of which was weaving. He taught classes in weaving and the creation of hats, and even made his own natural dyes from plants.

Weavings by, and modeled by Allan.

Weavings by, and modeled by Allan.

In 1983 Allan met British biochemist Brian Keith at a leather bar. The two quickly became close partners, and lived together for several years. In 1986 Brian was diagnosed with AIDS, and his health deteriorated rapidly. Brian died in 1987. A small collection of his papers are a part of Allan’s archival collection.

Brian Keith

Brian Keith

Allan scattering Brian's ashes

Allan scattering Brian's ashes

Allan devoted much of his life to understanding the history of the gay community. To share his findings, he wrote many articles, gave talks, and created illustrated slide shows which he presented to audiences throughout the country. An early slide show that gained much recognition was titled “Lesbian Masquerade” and told the story of women who had passed as men in the 19th and 20th centuries in San Francisco. His presentations were met with enthusiastic responses and helped to promote Allan’s work within the gay community, and beyond.

Lesbian Masquerade Flyer

Lesbian Masquerade Flyer

Allan spent many years working on a book about the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union, and in 1996 he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur award which allowed him to focus on his writing. Allan’s extensive research files, original oral histories, manuscript drafts and notes for this book are available for researchers at the GLBTHS.

MacArthur Award Letter

In the early 2000s, Allan moved to Liberty, New York, and became deeply involved in the local community. His writing stalled for several years while he joined the volunteer fire department, managed a local theater, helped to save historic buildings from demolition, and was elected twice as a Trustee of the Village of Liberty.

Snowman in Liberty, NY

Snowman in Liberty, NY

Allan Berube had a rich life devoted to the bettering of his community. He truly left the world a better place, and the GLBT Historical Society is pleased to offer his Papers to researchers and the public, so that his life, research and writings may continue to contribute many years many years from now. To make an appointment to use his collection, contact the Archivist.

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One Response to “Allan Berube Papers processed!”

  1. Toby Marotta February 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    The most thorough account of official military efforts made to educate English and American soldiers about the disease-preventing utility of post-sex hygiene is a British classic titled “Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity” by Ettie A. Rout (pseud). The first of its many editions was published by William Heinemann in London in 1922. I list and discuss several subsequent authoritative sources of this advice in my presentation on “Library Thing.”

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