International Gay Information Center collection

Collection History

Gays and lesbians in the United States began to mobilize politically in the 1950s with the founding of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in California. This activist impulse spread nationwide, but did not reach critical mass until the late 1960s due to the influence of the African American civil rights, feminist, and anti-war student movements. In the wake of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed in New York City by an alliance of both veteran and youth activists. GAA, along with the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and Lesbian Feminist activists, made major transformations in the politics of sexuality and gender in the United States.

Among the many activist groups that worked to archive this history was the International Gay Information Center (IGIC), which grew out of the History Committee of GAA. The IGIC archives operated as a community-based repository until 1988, when the organization's directors gave the collection to The New York Public Library. The IGIC archives, along with other archives and collections subsequently donated to the Library, such as the Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen Gay History Papers and Photographs, comprehensively document the gay and lesbian civil rights struggles in New York since the 1950s and have made NYPL one of the most important archives of LGBT history in the United States.

During the 1980s-90s, activists in New York City drew upon the tactics of these earlier LGBT organizations to face the challenge of the AIDS crisis. They renewed these strategies in order to fight social stigma, demand treatment and support for people with HIV/AIDS, and create positive strategies to prevent the spread of the disease. Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP were among the most pivotal of these pioneering organizations. Building upon these growing strengths in LGBT history, the Library expanded its focus to document the history of HIV/AIDS activism in New York City, collecting the archives of major organizations, activists, and artists connected with this social movement.

Related Resources

1969: The Year of Gay Liberation <>

Carter, David. Stonewall: the Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

Clendinen, Dudley. Out for Good: the Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Crimp, Douglas. AIDS Demo Graphics. Seattle: Bay Press, 1990.

Duberman, Martin B. Stonewall. New York: Dutton, 1993.

Eisenbach, David. Gay Power: An American Revolution. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006.

Gould, Deborah. Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight against AIDS. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2009.

Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS epidemic. New York: St Martin's Griffin, 2007.

Collection Data

International Gay Information Center collection
International Gay Information Center (Collector)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1951 - 1994
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 2017
AIDS (Disease)
Associations, institutions, etc -- New York (N.Y.)
Gay liberation movement
Biographical/historical: The International Gay Information Center, Inc. (IGIC) was founded in New York City in 1982 for the purpose of collecting and preserving historical records and papers which document the movement for gay rights in America. Since its founding the IGIC has collected the records of organizations and the papers of individuals who have been active in the gay rights movement.It has also collected and preserved an extensive file of gay periodicals and imprints; audio-visual materials; and a large mass of printed and near-printed ephemera which document the social and political activities and events of local gay organizations and groups in various cities throughout America. Since its founding John Hammond has served as president, and Bruce Eves as vice-president and treasurer
Physical Description
Extent: 208.5 linear feet (135 cartons, 103 boxes). 285 sound recordings, 35 moving images.
The collection documents the gay liberation movement in New York City and America from the 1950s to the 1980s. Included are records of the Gay Activists Alliance, the Gay Alliance of Brooklyn, Gay Switchboard of New York, the Mattachine Society Inc. of New York, and records of miscellaneous organizations including Christopher Street That New Magazine, Inc., and the periodicals Gaysweek, and New York Native. Personal papers include papers of Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., Arthur Bell, Billy Wilder Blackwell, Perry Brass, Robert Clement, Don Jackson, Walter Porczak, and Sam Staggs. There are also miscellaneous records of IGIC, including correspondence, minutes, memoranda, photographs of gay rights demonstrations, scripts of plays by gay writers, and printed ephemera issued by gay, lesbian and AIDS organizations in the United States.|||Audiovisual materials include recorded interviews with gay leaders such as Hal (Harold) Call, Curtis Dewees, Franklin Kameny, James Kepner, Morris Kight, Henry (Harry) Hay, Dorr Legg, and Donald Lucas, which chronicle the history of early gay and lesbian organizations such as the Mattachine Society, One, Inc., the Daughters of Bilitis, the Society for Individual Rights, and the Gay Liberation Front. There are also sound recordings of a number of radio and television programs on gay-related issues, most of which were broadcast on Pacifica Radio stations in the early 1980s. These record news and issues of concern to the gay community, such as bias crimes, homophobia, and the spread of AIDS. In addition, the collection includes recordings of lectures, conferences, public forums, and other meetings organized by gay and lesbian groups, some of which include performances by gay entertainers. Most of these gatherings took place in the New York City area in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Audiovisual materials also include television programs (and outtakes) produced in the early 1970s for broadcast on Open Channel, a public access cable channel in New York City. In addition, there are two erotic films, and a documentary entitled, "A Gay View/Male," which was released in 1974.
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number) : b11686548
MSS Unit ID : 1517
UUID: 3f487530-c602-012f-f6c0-58d385a7bc34
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