“La Familia Duca”

16 Feb

The Guy Duca photographs and ephemera (2001-10) document the life and family history of Italian-American hairdresser and entrepreneur, Gaetano “Guy” Duca (1936-1989). Duca was from Philadelphia but lived in San Francisco for 25 years before succumbing to AIDS. The family photos in his collection date back to at least 1919 and feature “La Familia Duca” (taken directly from the captions on the back of Guy’s photos) in Italy and Philadelphia. There are also lots of photographs from Guy Duca’s Navy days. Here are some of our favorite snapshots of Guy and his friends and family.


Allan Berube Papers processed!

9 Feb Allan riding a bicycle, ca. 1950

The GLBT Historical Society is happy to announce the opening of the Allan Berube Papers (#1995-17).  The finding aid can be viewed at:

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.

Progress Report

27 Jan

We are into the beginning of the second year of the grant, and a lot has happened.  So far we have surveyed over 400 collections, about 1,300 linear feet, and have processed over 200 collections, which is over 350 linear feet.  Marjorie was very busy this past year!

With the survey Marjorie was able to dig into every box, and she collected information that we will end up using to update our collections catalog.  In our previous catalog we didn’t have consistent guidelines or standards, so the quality of the descriptions varied. We were recently able to locate an unpublished biography of Advocate publisher and gay rights advocate, David B. Goodstein, called “King of the Gays” for a patron. The manuscript was found in the Konstantin Berlandt Papers, and was only accessible because the description was enhanced during the survey.

Description before the survey:
Manuscripts of Berlandt and others, and scattered personal files.

Description after the survey:
This collection contains materials related to journalist and gay liberation activist, Konstantin Berlandt. Freelance journalist Berlandt was editor-in-chief of UC-Berkeley’s student newspaper, the “Daily Californian,” and author of the 1965 series on sexual minorities at Cal. The collection includes biographical materials; his high school yearbook; a diary; journalism and other writings by Berlandt;  typescripts of writings by other authors; and materials related to the estate and Trust of Morgan Pinney (Berlandt was one of three trustees). The Trust gave money to various LGBT causes. Pinney was an advocate of LGBT media and a former treasurer of the Gay and Lesbian Press Association. Included in Berlandt’s papers are a wealth of materials related to Pinney’s unpublished biography of “Advocate” publisher and gay rights advocate, David B. Goodstein, called “David: King of the Gays.”

Below are photos of Marjorie hard at work!

Ginny Knuth

19 Jan

Ginny Knuth (1934-1997) volunteered at Education TV Channel (ETVC), now known as TransGender SF. Her husband Don’s alter-ego was Nancy Ann Martine, and Knuth wrote a long-running column in the ETVC Newsletter, “Ginny’s Tales from the Other Side.” Knuth was so dedicated that TransGender SF renamed their annual volunteer award after her. The Ginny Knuth papers (1999-46) include oral histories; awards Knuth and Nancy Ann received; and photographs.

Nurse, Cosmetologist, Uncle, Lover, Friend, Part 1

11 Jan

Enrique Hermosillo (1952-1997) was a nurse and cosmetologist who lived in San Francisco off and on from the mid-1970s until his death. He was a close friend and one-time lover of one of the Historical Society’s founder’s, Willie Walker. His papers (1998-10) document his personal and professional life and include some great illustrated correspondence from his nieces and nephews, journals and wonderful photographs of family and friends, including the one of two women and one car we shared in our first post. Here are more glimpses into Hermosillo’s life. We look forward to publishing more photos from Hermosillo’s collection in the coming months.

Disco Mania

22 Dec

In celebration of the holiday season, the archivists at the GLBT Historical Society wish you a far out holiday season! Boogie Oogie Oogie.

The Marty Blecman papers (1998-16) contain the contents of a deconstructed scrapbook kept by the award-winning disk jockey. Blecman was also a record producer and co-founder of Megatone Records. He dj’d at the City Disco and Alfies and worked with Sylvester and Patrick Cowley.  Blecman died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1991.

Maria Sanchez, DJ

15 Dec

The Maria Sanchez papers (2006-19) contain materials related to her career as a DJ in San Francisco. Sanchez was born in Cuba on November 14,1953 and raised in New York City. She was a popular San Francisco DJ, who spun records at many venues, including the Sutro Bath Hose and the Fair Oaks Hotel. She also wrote a monthly disco gossip column in “Baseline: Bay Area Disco Report.”  Her collection includes reel-to-reel tapes of her music mixes from 1978-1979.