Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
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|Title:||William J. Canfield papers|
|Dates:||1965-1999 (bulk 1970-1990, 1998-1999)|
|Volume:||3.50 cubic ft. (8 boxes)|
|Scope and Content Abstract:||This collection was assembled by William J. Canfield II. It documents homophile groups (the Homophile Union of Boston (HUB), Student Homophile League (SHL)), services, and publications (Esplanade, Fag Rag, Gay Community News) in Boston in the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. In addition, the collection includes planning documentation for the Gay Liberation Reunion (GLR) of 1990 and the Boston Gay Reunion (BGR) of 1999.|
|Historical Abstract:||William J. Canfield II was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1946. He was a gay activist in Boston and was involved in the Boston gay liberation movement between 1970 and 1975. In 1971-1972, Canfield was president of Homophile Union of Boston (HUB). The Homophile Union of Boston was founded in 1969 by Frank Morgan in order to broaden awareness of gay lifestyles and seek civil rights for gays and lesbians. Along with John C. Graves (MIT professor, psychologist, co-founder of Homophile Community Health Services (HCHS), an organization that served Boston's gay population, providing psychological counseling, medical services, draft counseling, and referrals for homeless teens.), Canfield was a primary force behind the second attempt at collecting materials for a Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives.|
|Arrangement:||Organized into 5 series: 1. Boston and Vicinity Gay Movement; 2. National Gay Organizations; 3. Gay Publications; 4. Boston Gay Reunions; and 5. Boston Gay Archives Microfilmed Selections.|
|Subjects and Contributors:||
|Restrictions:||The collection is unrestricted.|
|Processor:||Finding aid prepared by Michael Blech, January 2002|
Scope and Content Note
This collection was assembled by William J. Canfield II. It documents homophile groups (the Homophile Union of Boston (HUB), Student Homophile League (SHL)), services, and publications (Esplanade, Fag Rag, Gay Community News) in Boston in the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. In addition, the collection includes planning documentation for the Gay Liberation Reunion (GLR) of 1990 and the Boston Gay Reunion (BGR) of 1999. There is information about the Homophile Union of Boston, Student Homophile League, and gay issues and organizations from the Boston area, as well as gay organizations from around the country. Included in this collection is a small amount of information about the Daughters of Bilitis. A large portion of the collection is material that Canfield created and collected about the planning of the Gay Liberation Reunion and the Boston Gay Reunion. There are also five rolls of microfilm which document selections from the second Boston Gay Archives, including selected portions of the Canfield collection and the related John C. Graves collection, as well as articles on gay topics, and Homophile Union of Boston and Student Homophile League materials. Other contributors to the microfilm are John Mitzell, Craig Thiersch, and Stan Tillotson.
William J. Canfield II was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1946. He was a gay activist in Boston and was involved in the Boston gay liberation movement between 1970 and 1975. In 1971-1972, Canfield was president of Homophile Union of Boston (HUB). The Homophile Union of Boston was founded in 1969 by Frank Morgan in order to broaden awareness of gay lifestyles and seek civil rights for gays and lesbians. After Canfield's presidency, the Homophile Union of Boston continued to operate under three more presidents until it disbanded in 1975. Canfield was also co-founder and business manager of the Gay Community News (GCN), 1973-1974. In June 1973, the first issue of Gay Community News appeared on selected newsstands, providing Boston with its first newspaper written and operated by a collective of gay men and lesbians. In 1989, Canfield and several Boston acquaintances decided to organize a reunion for gay activists who were involved in the Boston gay liberation movement in the early 1970s. The 1990 Gay Liberation Reunion was followed by a second reunion, the Boston Gay Reunion, in 1999.
Activists involved in establishing homophile organizations in Boston in the late 1960s and the 1970s privately maintained documentation created during their years of operation. Together a small group of activists decided that Boston needed a gay community archives to preserve this documentation permanently. Later, materials were collected from individuals working in Boston's early gay liberation movement with the agreement that they would be transferred to an appropriate archives when it was established. The first attempt at collecting organizational records, flyers, and printed materials for a Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives failed when the records were inadvertently destroyed in the 1980s.
Along with John C. Graves (MIT professor, psychologist, co-founder of Homophile Community Health Services (HCHS), an organization that served Boston's gay population, providing psychological counseling, medical services, draft counseling, and referrals for homeless teens.), Canfield was a primary force behind the second attempt at collecting materials for a Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives. In 1990, materials brought together by Canfield, Graves, and others were microfilmed as one collection. A formal Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives was never formed. The collection was later separated, and John Graves donated his portion to The History Project (THP), a volunteer organization that seeks to document Boston's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender history, and The History Project donated it to the Northeastern University Archives.
Other contributors to the selected materials microfilmed in the Gay and Lesbian Archives:
Rich Braun was involved in Gays at MIT (GAMIT), previously the Student Homophile League (SHL); changed to Gays at MIT in 1976.
Lois Johnson was involved in Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), an organization that aimed to broaden awareness of gay lifestyles and seek civil rights for lesbians. Its Boston chapter was founded in 1969.
Jim McCassie was involved in Homophile Union of Boston, founded 1969.
Student Homophile League co-founded by Stan Tillotson, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was founded in 1969 and adopted its constitution in 1970.
John Mitzell and Craig Thiersch were a part of Boston's first Gay Community Center, opened in Cambridge in 1971.
"Multicultural Timeline." The History Project. June 22, 2000. http://www.historyproject.org/timeline/index.php (October 5, 2001)
1. Boston and Vicinity Gay Movement, ca. 1967-1999 (bulk 1970-1975)
|Volume:||1.00 cubic ft.|
This series contains flyers, programs, newsletters, and administrative files from and about gay issues and organizations in the Boston area. The information provides some history on the growth of the gay movement in Boston. There are several files concerning Homophile Union of Boston and Student Homophile League. Although most of the material is about gay men, this series also contains a few files about feminism/lesbianism and the Daughters of Bilitis. Daughters of Bilitis was founded in San Francisco in 1955 and formed in Boston in 1969. In addition, there are two folders with materials from MIT courses on homosexuality. Also in this series are flyers, correspondence, and schedules regarding the Boston Pride Parade collected from several years between 1970 and 1978. The History Project folder contains a timeline of gay activities in New England, 1950s-1979.
|1||1972 Democratic Convention||1972|
|1||Boston Gay Male Liberation Statement to Massachusetts Psychological Association||1972 Apr|
|1||Boston Gay Men's Chorus||1989-1990|
|1||Boston Lesbian and Gay Community Center (The Center)||1989-1992|
|1||Boston University Homophile Club Flyers||1970|
|1||Council on Religion and the Homosexual Conference File||1970 Nov|
|1||Daughters of Bilitis, Focus||n.d.|
|1||Entre Nous and the Vikings Motorcycle Club||1976|
|1||Gays at MIT: History and Flyers||ca. 1970|
|Gay Community Center:||n.d.|
|1||Gay Community News: "The Gay Cruise-Aider Guide to Boston and Cambridge||1974|
|1||Gay Community News: Miscellaneous||1973-1974|
|1||Gay Growth Center||ca. 1971|
|1||Gay Jubilee: A Guidebook to Gay Boston||1980|
|1||Gay Legislation '75 and '76||1975-1976|
|1||Gay Liberation Front Flyer||1970|
|1||Gay Liberation: Red Butterfly||1970|
|1||A Gay Manifesto: Carl Wittman||1970|
|1||Gay Men's Center||1975|
|1||Gay Recreational Activities Committee Brochure and Newsletter||1975-1976|
|1||Gay Rights Alliance Massachusetts Legislature Flyer||ca. 1975|
|1||Gay Study Group Administrative File||1970-1971|
|1||Good Gay Poets Broadside||ca. 1970|
|1||The Griffin: News of Gay Liberation||1970-1971|
|1||Harry Reems Legal Defense Fund Brochure||1976|
|1||Hetopathic Terms Explained||ca. 1972|
|1||The History Project||1969-1999|
|1||Homophile Community Health Service Brochure and Events||1971-1972|
|1||Homophile Organizations of the United States||ca. 1971|
|1||Homophile Union of Boston (6 folders)||1970-1973|
|1||The Homosexual in Society Coursework||ca. 1970|
|1||Homosexuality: General||ca. 1967-1975|
|1||Homosexuality and Mental Health||ca. 1969-1972|
|1||Homosexuality and Militancy||ca. 1970-1974|
|1||Homosexuality and the Military||ca. 1970-1974|
|1||Legislation||ca. 1975-1976 (1972-1983)|
|1||Letter from [Dee White] to Craig Thiersch||1973|
|1||Library Services and Gays American Library Association||ca. 1971|
|1||Lost in America: Odyssey of a Radical Lesbian postcard||1971|
|1||MIT Course on Homosexuality: Stan Tillotson||1972|
|1||MIT Student Homophile League Administrative File||1970-1974|
|1||North American Man/Boy Love Association Statement||1981|
|1||New England Gay Conference (3 folders)||1973-1976|
|1||One Institute Quarterly||n.d.|
|1||Pride (7 folders)||1970-1981|
|1||"Sexual Minorities and Employment," Richard C. Pillard||1972|
|1||"Sports and the Macho Male," John Mitzell||1973|
|1||Student Homophile League (4 folders)||1970-1975|
|1||Venereal Disease Brochures||ca. 1971|
2. National Gay Organizations, 1967-1974 (bulk 1970-1973)
|Volume:||0.35 cubic ft.|
Alphabetical by state.
This series comprises flyers, pamphlets, newsletters, and articles relating to gay organizations in the United States and Canada. Included is documentation of events, advertisements, and writings, ca. 1970-1973. Of special interest are newsletters from the Mattachine Society in the New York files.
|2||California (3 folders)||1966-1973|
|2||Illinois (2 folders)||1970-1973|
|2||Michigan and Minnesota||ca. 1972-1973|
|2||New York (5 folders)||1970-1974|
|2||Washington, D.C.||ca. 1971|
3. Gay Publications, 1970-1987
|Volume:||1.00 cubic ft.|
This series comprises scattered issues of seven Boston area publications that focused on gay men and lifestyles. It contains issues of several Boston publications: Old Mole: a Radical Bi-Weekly, Lavender Vision, Hysteria, Fag Rag, Boston Gay Review and Esplanade, as well as 13 rolls of microfilm of the Gay Community News from 1973 to1987.
|Old Mole: A Radical Bi-Weekly|
|3||Number 42||1970 Jun 26-Jul 9|
|3||Week of November 20, 1970||1970 Nov|
|3||Hysteria||1970 Nov 6|
|3||Vol.1 No.2||1971 May|
|3||September 11, 1976||1976 Sep|
|3||October 6, 1976||1976 Oct|
|3||October 13, 1976||1976 Oct|
|3||October 27, 1976, Issue 8||1976 Oct|
|3||November 12, 1976||1976 Nov|
|3||December 24, 1976||1976 Dec|
|3||January 28, 1977||1977 Jan|
|3||February 11, 1977||1977 Feb|
|3||March 25, 1977, Vol.1, Issue 19||1977 Mar|
|3||October 19, 1978||1978 Oct|
|4||Fag Rag: June 1971, No.1 - 1987, No.44, with gaps||1971-1987|
|Gay Community News on Microfilm||1973-1987|
|4||Boston Gay Review: No.1, Fall 1976 - No.9, Winter 1981||1976-1981|
4. Boston Gay Reunions, 1989-1999 (bulk 1989-1990, 1998-1999)
|Volume:||1.00 cubic ft.|
Arranged in two sub series: A) Gay Liberation Reunion (GLR) 1990 and B) Boston Gay Reunion (BGR) 1999
This series is comprised of planning notes, financial information, correspondence, and a small number of photographs, relating to the planning of the two reunions. The majority of information in both sub series is correspondence, much of which documents Canfield's efforts to locate "lost folks".
|A. Gay Liberation Reunion (GLR) 1990|
|8||The Advocate||1990 Oct 23|
|8||Notes About Homophile Union of Boston and Student Homophile League||ca. 1989-1990|
|8||Photographs and Copy Negatives||1970s-1990|
|8||Planning Group Notes||1989-1990|
|8||Reunion Book: Originals||1990|
|B. Boston Gay Reunion (BGR) 1999|
|8||Bill Canfield Interview||1998?|
|8||Old Lists||ca. 1998|
|8||Planning Group Notes and Details (2 folders)||1997-1999|
|8||Returned Reservation Forms||1999|
5. Boston Gay Archives Microfilmed Selections, ca. 1974-1990
|Volume:||0.15 cubic ft.|
This series contains 5 original rolls of microfilm reproducing selections from the second attempt to organize a Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives. Roll 1 contains information about the 1990 Gay Liberation Reunion planning much of which is duplicated in series 4. Roll 2 has magazines and newspapers, Lois Johnson's Gay Pride correspondence, and Homophile Union of Boston and Student Homophile League materials, which include Canfield's proposal to become a Homophile Union of Boston presidential candidate. This roll duplicates some of the material in series 1-3. Rolls 3 and 4 contain selected materials from the related John C. Graves collection, including material concerning the Gay Academic Union (GAU), gays and church, gay rights legislation, Homophile Community Health Services, and Gay Community News. Roll 5, labeled Stan Tillotson, contains articles, newspapers, and handwritten materials about gay history, gays and politics, religion and MIT.