USC Libraries

University of Southern California

skip navigation

Archives at USC

« back to Archives at USC Search

Steve Berman Papers

Finding aid prepared by Erick Hawkins, © 2012

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Summary Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator - Creator
Berman, Steve, 1946-1983
Steve Berman Papers
Collection no.
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1980-1983
Date [inclusive]
2.5 linear feet., 1 archive box + 2 archive cartons + 1 shoebox
The Steve Berman papers are a collection of notes, correspondence, and personal information created and maintained by the psychologist and activist in the 1970s and 1980s. The bulk of the collection, from 1980-83, chronicles Berman’s life during and after college as he pursued his career in psychology and worked for greater rights and recognition for the gay and Jewish communities.

Preferred Citation

Box #, folder #, Steve Berman Papers, Coll2012.141, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

Return to Table of Contents »


Steven Phillip Berman was born August 21, 1946 in Illinois and grew up in the greater Chicago area. After graduation from high school, Berman obtained a B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1970. Relocating later that year, Berman began work on his M.A. in psychology at California State University, Long Beach. While at CSULB, Berman founded the Gay Students Union and the Gay Students Council of Southern California, often speaking at local colleges and universities. As a graduate student, Berman focused his studies on personality and ability testing, working with prominent lesbian psychologist Betty Berzon. In 1973, prior to completion of his degree, Berman underwent neurosurgery for removal of an arteriovenous malformation. This surgery left Berman with seizures and other neurological conditions that would plague him the rest of his life.

During his schooling and for some time after, Berman worked for several Southern California agencies involved with general mental health and gay support services, including the newly founded Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center where he worked with parolees reentering the workforce. Berman moved to the San Francisco Bay area around 1981, continuing his social services work and becoming increasingly involved with Jewish organizations and congregations. As a member of Jews for Social Responsibility and later the Jewish Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Berman lobbied the San Francisco community for increased awareness of Middle East conflicts and for greater rights for lesbians and gays in the Bay Area.

Berman’s most notable work was as a case manager for North of Market Multipurpose Senior Services in the early 1980s. Berman worked with gay seniors, frequently referencing them to gay and lesbian organizations in the area for specialized attention and support. He also worked with San Francisco City Hall to clarify policy for city employees, seeking (and winning) grievance rights for same-sex partners of city and county employees.

Berman died on July 17, 1983, collapsing after completing a race to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research.

Sources: Steve Berman Papers, Coll2012-141, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection, from 1980-1983, chronicles Berman’s life during and after college as he pursued his career in psychology and social services. The specific areas of his work involve gay and lesbian senior services, Jewish community groups, and psychological studies of the homosexual population. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, medical records, newspaper and magazine articles and photographs.

Return to Table of Contents »


This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1. Community Service and Activism

Series 2. Personal Life, Academics, and Medical Beliefs

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
© 2012
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771


The collection is open to researchers. There are limited access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Date of acquisition unknown.

Processing Information

Formerly housed in box 103-15. Collection processed by Erick Hawkins, November 2012.

Return to Table of Contents »

Related Materials

Separated Materials Note

Removed to newsletter collection: Center News, circa 1980;  Center NewsVolume 2, Issue 1, 1982

Removed to poster collection: Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center Now We Need You Even More

Removed to manuscripts: Seaman, Maida Joan (1974) The Effect of Sex and Sexual Preference Upon Sex-Role Attitudes; Pinka, Allan T. (1974)  Self-Disclosure of Sexual Orientation and Psychological Functioning in Gay Males

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings


  • Gay activists--United States--California
  • Gay and lesbian rights--United States--California
  • Homosexuality--Psychological aspects
  • Jewish gays
  • Social work with gays

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1. Community Service and Activism 1972-1983  (Bulk, 1980-1983)

Scope and Contents Note

This series documents Berman's work with the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in Los Angeles and gay and Jewish support services in the San Francisco Bay Area, with specific emphasis on care and rights for gay seniors, domestic partnership, and Jews for Social Responsibility. Included are correspondence, personal notes, news clippings, and formal papers on gay psychology. Folders contain subject file information unless otherwise specified.


The files are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder

 Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, correspondence 1972-1975 

1 1

 Association of Gay Psychologists, correspondence 1972-1975 

1 2

 Association of Gay Psychologists, newsletters 1973-1975 

1 3

 Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, correspondence 1975 

2 1

 Clippings, Gay Issues and HIV/AIDS 1975-1983  (Bulk, 1980-1983)   [3 folders]

2 2-4

 The Lost Tribe 1978 

2 5

 Clippings, Israel-Palenstian conflict 1978-1982   [2 folders]

2 6-7

 Clippings, Jewish issues 1978, undated 

3 1

 Tribue to Ivy Bottini 1980 

1 4

 Carl's Jr. protest 1980 

1 5

 Jewish organizations, correspondence 1981-1983 

1 6

 North of Market Senior Services 1981-1983, undated 

1 7

 North of Market Senior Services 1981-1983, undated 

3 2

 Brochures 1981-1983, undated 

2 8

 Congregation Sha'ar Zahav 1982 

1 8

 Board of Supervisors, San Francisco 1982 

2 9

 Lesbian and Gay Jewish Activities 1982 

1 9

 Domestic partnership, Morris Kight 1982 

1 10

 Domestic partnership, opposition 1982 

1 11

 Seniors' rights 1982, undated 

2 10

 Jews for Social Responsibility 1982, undated 

1 12

 Judaism, general 1982-1983 

3 3

 Gay and lesbian senior lover grievance 1982-1983 

1 13

 Pride Center 1982-1983 

1 14

 Tenderloin outreach project 1982-1983 

3 4

 Jewish Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights 1983 

2 11

 Congregation Ahavat Shalom 1983 

1 15

 Gay and lesbian elders 1983, undated 

1 16

 Domestic partnership legislation, drafts 1983, undated 

1 17

 Project confrontation youth undated 

1 18

 Gay services case conference undated 

2 12

 A Night at the Olympics, photographs undated 

Physical Characteristics Note

(6) 3x5" photographs, one typewritten note on context.

Scope and Contents Note

Photographs are external views of the Headlines Theater marquee.

1 19

Return to Table of Contents »

Series 2:  Series 2. Personal Life, Academics, and Medical Beliefs 1964-1983  (Bulk, 1970-1983)

Scope and Contents Note

The bulk of this series comprises transcripts, papers, and tests from Berman's school years; personal medical records from his hospital visits; and personal correspondence, resumes, financial information, and job applications. The series also contains clippings and articles from trade papers regarding the rights of patients. Along with these clippings are his personal notes, professional correspondence, and psychological case studies.


The files are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder

 The Fox and Farmer Jones, poem 1964 

1 20

 Checkbook registers 1964-1980  (Bulk, 1964-1980)

1 21

 Probation officer, correspondence 1968-1970, 1973 

1 22

 California State University Long Beach, coursework 1970-1972 

1 23

 Personal correspondence 1970-1983, undated  (Bulk, 1981-1983)

1 24

 Personal correspondence 1970-1983, undated  (Bulk, 1981-1983)

3 5-7

 Academic transcripts 1971-1973 

1 25

 California State University Long Beach, coursework 1972-1973, undated   [2 folders]

1 26-27

 Tax records 1972-1977  (Bulk, 1972-1977)

1 28

 Day planners 1972-1980 

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

(8) day planners.

Box Folder

 Hospital records 1973 

1 29

 M.A. and Ph.D applications 1973 

1 30

 Association of Humanistic Psychology, correspondence 1975 

1 31

 Department of Motor Vehicles, correspondence 1976-1979 

1 32

 Financial management 1979-1981 

3 8

 Collection case, Mr. and Mrs. Martinez 1980 

1 33

 Patients notes 1980-1983, undated   Contains restricted material.

1 34

 Patients' rights, general 1980-1983, undated 

1 35

 Hospital records 1981   [2 folders]

1 36-37

 Resumes 1981, undated 

1 38

 Job applications 1981-1983, undated 

2 13

 Job evaluations and memorandum 1975-1976, 1981-1983  (Bulk, 1981-1983)

1 39

 Personal greeting cards 1981-1983, undated 

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

Contains (1) metallic butterfly lapel pin from G.S. Brisson.

1 40

 Photographs 1981-1983 

Physical Characteristics Note

(85) 3x5" photographs, (6) 4x6" photograph, (5) 5x7" photographs, (1) wallet-sized photograph, (1) cardboard montage of four wallet-sized photographs, and (25) strips of negatives.

Scope and Contents Note

Photographs and negatives contain portraits of individuals and groups. Titles of photograph envelopes include "Winter 82-83," "NOM Retreat 5/83," "Israeli Independence Day, 5/2/82," and "Halloween at NOM, 10/30/81" along with unlabeled photographs.

1 41

 Patients' rights, electroshock 1982, undated 

2 14

 Professional memos and correspondence 1983, undated 

2 15

 General social services 1983, undated 

2 16

 Psychiatry and mental health notes undated 

1 42

 Growth Group Plus undated   [2 folders]

1 43-44

 Psychiatry and mental health notes undated 

2 17

 Gay growth groups undated 

2 18

 Death and funeral 1983 

3 9

 HIV/AIDS documents 1983, undated 

3 10

Return to Table of Contents »