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Finding Aid to the Henry Gerber Collection, circa 1940-1998

Finding aid prepared by Kyle Morgan, (c) 2013

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

Summary Information

Repository
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator - Creator
Gerber, Henry, 1892-1972
Title
Henry Gerber collection
Collection no.
Coll2013.034
Date [inclusive]
circa 1940-1998
Extent
0.2 linear feet., 1 archive carton
Language
English
Abstract
Often referred to as the forefather of the United States gay movement, Henry Gerber in 1924 created the first known gay organization in the United States, the Society for Human Rights, and the first known gay publication, Friendship and Freedom. The collection consists of Henry Gerber correspondence and writings as well as biographical information written about Henry Gerber, circa 1940-1998.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] Henry Gerber Collection, Coll2013-034, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

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Biography

Often referred to as the forefather of the United States gay movement, Henry Gerber was born in 1892 in Bavaria and moved to the United States in 1913. Gerber joined the United States armed forces in 1917 and continued on as part of the German occupation force through 1923. Becoming acquainted with the German group Bund fur Menshenrecht (Society for Human Rights), he tried to create a similar group when he returned to Chicago. Gerber signed the charter for the Society for Human Rights in 1924 and published two issues of Friendship and Freedom before being shut down by local police. Although the case was dismissed, the defense cost him his life savings, his job as a postal worker, and all materials related to the Society for Human Rights. Gerber reenlisted in the armed forces in 1927 and retired in New York City with an honorable discharge in 1945. From 1930-1939, Gerber published the periodical  Contacts as a conduit for pen-pal correspondence, but also discreetly to provide a means for gay men to make connections. He also wrote articles for the 1934 publication  Chanticleer defending homosexuality. Through the 1950s, Gerber worked at a distance for the Mattachine Society in New York and  ONE Magazine. His life ended at the United States Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C., in 1972.

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Scope and Contents

Henry Gerber correspondence and writings as well as biographical information written about Henry Gerber, circa 1940-1998. Correspondence consists of photocopies of letters with ONE Institute and periodical editors. Articles include Gerber's "In Defense of Homosexuality," "The Society for Human Rights--1925," and "Can Homosexuals Be Cured." The collection includes two copies of a black-and-white photographic print of Gerber.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
(c) 2013
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771
askone@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no 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

Most of the correspondence and articles consist of photocopies from the ONE Incorporated Records and Manuel boyFrank Papers as well as photocopies collected and donated by Anthony Segura at an unknown date.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2013.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

ONE Incorporated Records, Coll2011.001, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Manuel boyFrank Papers, Coll2013-028, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)

  • Gay activists--United States--History
  • Gay men's writings
  • Gays--Correspondence

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

 Correspondence, writings, and biographical information circa 1940-1998   [2 folders]

Scope and Contents note

Includes two copies of a black-and-white photographic print of Gerber.

1 1-2

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