USC Libraries

University of Southern California

skip navigation

Archives at USC

« back to Archives at USC Search

Finding Aid to the William A. Koelsch Papers, 1942-2014

Finding aid prepared by Kyle Morgan, (c) 2014

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
Koelsch, William A.
William A. Koelsch papers
Collection no.
Date [inclusive]
1.6 linear feet., 1 archive box + 1 archive carton
Articles, manuscripts, correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, press releases, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the writings, projects, activities, and personal interests and history of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. Koelsch was a Boston gay rights activist best known for his column series in Gay Community News,  Esplanade,  Integrity Forum, and  Bay Windows, written under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] William A. Koelsch Papers, Coll2014-009, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

Return to Table of Contents »


William A. Koelsch was born in 1933. He received a bachelor's degree at Bucknell University in 1955 and a master's degree at Clark University in 1959. Koelsch graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in American history in 1966. He was hired as an assistant professor of history and geography at Clark University in 1967 and soon became a tenured professor. During a sabbatical in 1973, he rented an apartment in Boston and became involved in the burgeoning gay movement. Under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay, Koelsch wrote a column for the newly published newspaper Gay Community News (GCN). The first column appeared in issue #13 on September 15th, 1973, and would continue, in different guises and for different publications, for the next fifteen years.

By 1974, Koelsch began speaking before groups on gay topics, organizing "coming-out" raps, and attending services with the gay-supportive religious groups Integrity, Dignity, and the Metropolitan Community Church. In 1975, Koelsch taught a course on the gay liberation movement, one of the earliest such classes in New England. Koelsch volunteered for Thanksgiving dinners for the elderly poor through a group called the Fengays, which operated out of a Fenway gay bar, then a Back Bay gay bar called "Buddies." Koelsch became involved in the fledgling Massachusetts Gay Political Caucus which worked to support anti-discrimination bills and gay-supportive candidates. He worked with activist Barbara Gittings on gay bibliography projects and for the American Library Association's Lesbian and Gay Task Force annual book awards.

Koelsch wrote his A. Nolder Gay column for GCN,  Esplanade,  Integrity Forum, and  Bay Windows. In 1978, he published the best of his  GCN and  Esplanade columns in the book  The View from the Closet: Essays on Gay Life and Liberation. In 1990, he compiled the best of the history columns from all his publications in  Some of My Best Friends: Essays in Gay History and Biography.

Shaken by the newly emerging AIDS epidemics, Koelsch, in the fall of 1982, began incorporating AIDS into his undergraduate health and disease course, one of the earliest treatments of the subject in a college context. He joined the Province I (New England) Episcopal AIDS Network, chaired the AIDS Task Force of his diocese, served on the Worcester Ecumenical Council's AIDS Committee, and volunteered locally and nationally for the NAMES Project's AIDS Memorial Quilt displays. Koelsch spoke to numerous groups about AIDS and AIDS ministry.

Since retiring, Koelsch has focused on his scholarly writing, publishing twenty-some professional articles and review essays as well as the book Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography's Forgotten Past. As of 2014, Koelsch and his partner "A Younger Gay" have been together for forty years.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Contents

Writings, correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, press releases, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the projects, activities, and personal interests and history of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. The collection includes the fifteen years of column articles and two books published under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
(c) 2014
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771

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.


Donated by William A. Koelsch, February 2014.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2014.

Return to Table of Contents »

Related Materials

Separated Materials note

Separated to the ONE periodical collection

Fellowship News, Lesbian and Gay Fellowship of the Trinity Church (November 1996, January 1997, September 1997, Winter 1997, Spring 1998, Summer 1998)

Gay Information: A Quarterly Journal (Autumn 1981)

Genders, no.2 (Summer 1988)

Integrity, news of the Boston chapter, (June, September, November/December 1978; January, May/June, September, November, Advent 1979; January/February, February/March, April, June, July, Early Autumn, November, December 1980; January-December 1981; January-October, December 1982; January-September 1983)

Integrity Forum, v.4, no.5 (June-July 1978)

Jim Kepner's Song & Dance, no.2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8a, and 10 (1994-1997)

Separated to the ONE programs collection

Ars Nova, Boston's chorus for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, "Holiday Concert" (December 8, 1991)

Coro Allegro, Boston's chorus for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, Schubert, Poulenc, Brahms and Bach concert (November 22, 1992); "Spring Concert" (May 14, 1994); "Chant" (February 12, 1995); and Rossi, Fine, Barber, and Pinkham concert (May 19, 1996).

The Names Project National Tour, Boston, Massachusetts, June 16-19, 1988.

Non-LGBT magazine cover story collection

Trinity Life, the newsletter of Trinity Church in the City of Boston (May 1997)

Separated to the International Gay and Lesbian Archives collection

International Gay and Lesbian Archives materials including Archives Bulletins (Fall 1983, Summer 1984, January 1986, May and November 1987, and Spring-Summer 1991),  Archives Events (no.20 March 1981, no.41c June 1982, no.46 December 1982, and no.64 February 1988), archives reports, progress reports, meeting reports, fliers, mass mailings, and letters from the curator.

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings


  • Gay men's writings, American

Personal Name(s)

  • Gay, A. Nolder (pseudonym)


  • Gay activists--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Gays--Correspondence

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1. Personal, project, and subject files 1942-2014   0.4 linear feet.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the projects, activities, history, and personal interests of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. Projects, activities, and output related to Koelsch's writing career are documented in the Publishing-related records series.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order.

Box Folder

 A. Nolder Gay collection donation and provenance materials 2013-2014 

2 33

 Biographical information 1974-2014 

Scope and Contents

Includes a curriculum vitae (2014), horoscope (1974), the autobiographical article "Through the Looking Glass: 'A Nolder Gay' Meets 'The Movement,'" and clippings.

1 3

 Boston Archives Project 1974 

1 5

 Buddies' Thanksgiving dinners 1982-1985 

1 6

 Coro Allegro 1992-1998 

1 7

 Educational material circa 1992 

1 8

 Exodus Center 1976-1992 

1 9

 Gay Boston subject file 1980-1988 

1 11

 Intregrity/Boston 1977-1986 

1 17

 Integrity convention, Boston 1980 

1 18

 Integrity convention, Boston, self-guided walking tour 1980 

1 19

 International Gay and Lesbian Archives 1980-1994 

1 20

 Interview transcript Summer 1983 

1 21

 Ludwig II postcards and information undated 

1 23

 National Gay Archives and Library Committee 1975-1977 

1 24

 New England Gay Conference 1975 

1 25

 New England NAMES Project 1988 

1 26

 Obituaries and memorial service materials of friends and acquaintances 1977-2006 

1 27

 Photographs 1942-1998 

Scope and Contents

Seventeen photographic prints of Koelsch at different times of his life. Includes images of his longtime partner "A. Younger Gay" and their cat Mischief.

2 34

 Price, Lucien, subject file 1943-1992 

1 28

 Sermon: Boston Metropolitan Community Church August 1974 

1 29

 Sermon: Service of Light, Pakachoag Church 1994 

1 30

 Talks to gay groups 1987, undated 

1 31

 Trinity Church Lesbian and Gay Fellowship 1995-1998 

1 32

Return to Table of Contents »

Series 2:  Series 2. Publishing-related records 1954-2013   0.6 linear feet.

Scope and Contents

Column articles and manuscripts published by William Koelsch, primarily under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay, as well as the administrative records of his writing-related projects, 1954-2013. The bulk of the administrative records consists of correspondence, including with Barbara Gittings for the Gay Book Award and The Gay Experience book project. The administrative records also includes clippings, editorial material, published works, and fliers.


This collection is arranged into three sections: 1) Column articles, 2) Manuscripts, and 3) Administrative records.

 Column articles 1973-1989 

Box Folder

 Gay Community News 1973-1975 

1 39-41

 Gay Community News and  Esplanade 1976 

1 42

 Esplanade 1977-1979 

1 43-45

 Integrity Forum 1980-1982 

1 46-47

 Bay Windows 1983-1987 

1 48-52

 Bay Windows, never published 1988 

1 53

 The Pastoral Staff 1989 

1 54

 Manuscripts 1978-1992 

 Some of My Best Friends 1985-1992 

Box Folder

 Correspondence and fliers 1985-1990 

1 55

 Manuscripts 1988 

1 56-57

 Reviews and other materials 1991-1992 

1 58

 Signed books 1990 

1 59
Box Folder

 "Two Days," original version 1980 

1 60

 The View from the Closet 1978-1987 

Box Folder

 Books (1 signed, 1 unsigned) 1978 

1 61

 Fan letters 1978-1987 

1 62

 Reviews 1978-1979 

1 63

 Administrative records 1954-2013 

Box Folder

 Alyson Features Syndicate 1985-1986 

1 1

 American Library Association, Gay Task Force, Gay Book Award 1979-1987 

1 2

 Bay Windows, correspondence 1983-1991 

1 4

 A Gay Biography, 6th edition 1974-1980 

1 10

 Gay Caucus of authors, booksellers, and publishers 1979-1980 

1 12

 Gay Community News, 30th anniversary celebration 2003 

1 13

 Gay Community News and  Esplanade, correspondence 1975-1979 

1 14

 The Gay Experience book project 1982-1986 

1 15-16

 LGBT history textbook project 1954-2013 

1 22

 Union Park Press, correspondence 1978-1994 

1 33-38

Return to Table of Contents »

Series 3:  Series 3. Correspondence files 1974-2014   0.6 linear feet.

Scope and Contents

Primarily letters, postcards, and greeting cards documenting the correspondence between Koelsch and others. Includes clippings, fliers, press releases, and other materials.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order, with fan letters and miscellaneous correspondence listed at the end.

Box Folder

 Canfield, Bill 1990-1998 

1 64

 Charles, Right Reverend Otis 1994-1997 

1 65

 Denneny, Michael 1981 

1 66

 Ferguson, Stephen 1974 

2 1

 Fisette, Jay 1996 

2 2

 Frank, Barney 1978 

2 3

 Freedman, Estelle 1989-1992 

2 4

 Gallup, Grant 1976-1985 

2 5

 Gittings, Barbara 1975-2006 

2 6-8

 Graves, John 1975-1998 

2 9

 Guiet, Michel 1978 

2 10

 Hansen, Bert 1984-1985 

2 11

 Hurley, Tom 1975-1976 

2 12

 Kepner, Jim 1980-1992 

2 13

 Lotman, Loretta 1975-1978 

2 14

 Manners, Robert J. 1993-1998 

2 15

 McNaught, Brian 1979-1997 

2 16

 Monette, Paul 1988-1995 

2 17

 Morgan, Kyle 2012-2014 

2 18

 Noble, Elaine 1974-1977 

2 19

 Philips, Walter 1984-1995 

2 20

 Preston, John 1984-1987 

2 21

 Revson, James 1974-1988 

2 22

 Rofes, Eric 1992 

2 23

 Saslow, James 1976-1995 

2 24

 Scondras, David 1985 

2 25

 Weinrich, James D. 1977-1997 

2 26

 Williams, Walter 1980 

2 27

 Wood, James 1983 

2 28

 Fan letters 1974-1984 

2 29

 Miscellaneous correspondence, A-Z 1975-1998 

2 30-32

Return to Table of Contents »