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LGBT History of San Diego  
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About the Collection

Lambda Archives of San Diego (LASD) has been established to preserve and make available for research and educational purposes the tangible record of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community with a special emphasis on those materials relating specifically to San Diego County and northern Baja California. LASD views all aspects of LGBT life as important to the understanding of our communities' values, interests and issues. To this end, LASD actively seeks to acquire and preserve materials that reflect the diversity of our communities in respect to: gender and sexual identity; racial and ethnic identity; age; and the broad range of our communities' activities and concerns including politics and social activism, social groups, support groups, athletics, spiritual groups, arts and culture, business and finance, and general community resources. LASD collects not only material related to the communities' past history, but documents current events as well.

These collections are kept in archival quality acid-free storage containers to insure their long life. Although most of our collections date from 1960 to the present, there are some original materials dating back to the 1920′s. If you have papers, documents, miscellaneous items of LGBTQ historical significance that you would like to donate to the Archives we would like to hear from you. Let us know what you have for the Archives.

What's New?

Check out some of our amazing collections that have been digitized as part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project:

We have a growing online photo collection on Flickr. Visit the Archives' Flickr page.

Finder's Guides: We have several Finder's Guides to our Collections.; Use the Menu below and to the right to view particular collections and their Finder's Guides.

  • Audio Interviews      > Video Catalogue
    The audio-visual collection includes numerous video & audio tape interviews, LGBT music, educational films, and footage of numerous Pride parades in San Diego County and northern Baja California. Lambda Archives holds over 600 audio cassettes, nearly 1000 VHS tapes, and hundreds of CDs and DVDs.
  • Bisexual Archives Collection - The Bisexual Archives is a stand-alone collection is located at the Lambda Archives of San Diego. The purpose of this collection, one of very few archives devoted to Bisexual material, is to preserve the history of matters related to Bisexuality for future research. This archival collection was established and donated by Regina Reinhardt and Fritz Klein and has continued to grow. The collection contains books, periodicals, ephemera, notes and correspondence, newspaper clippings, conference programs, bibliographies and resource lists, research surveys, and other material. 
  • Books & Newsletters
  • Correspondence (miscl)
  • Clippings Project - The Lambda Archives Clippings Project has Newspaper articles with LGBT-related content clipped from primarily non-LGBT San Diego based newspapers. The project was begun in the late 1970's and is ongoing. Articles are photocopied onto acid free paper and organized into the following Subject Headings and arranged chronologically therein.
  • Ephemera - "Ephemera" are materials that are produced to be discarded when an event is over, such as flyers, invitations, pamphlets, stickers, etc. Lambda Archives Ephemera collections contains thousands of items on a wide range of topics relating to LGBT people and organizations, businesses, activities, and events in San Diego County and northern Baja California. These richly visual collection are a valuable and evocative source of information about any time period. The Ephemera inventory indicates folders each holding 5-100 unique items.
  • Objects and Artifacts - Lambda Archives memorabilia collections include thousands of objects such as clothing, posters, buttons/badges, jewelry, original artwork and more relating to LGBT people, organizations, businesses, events, etc. in San Diego County and northern Baja California. Items from various collections or independently donated are housed with other like items to receive the care specific to that type of material. Inventories are maintained for T-shirts, buttons, plaques, posters, banners, and framed items and artwork.
  • Personal and Organizational Records
    Lambda Archives preserves and makes available the tangible record of the community including the personal documentation of individuals who have lived, worked and been active members of our communities, and the organizational records of business, community and service groups that have served our needs and interests. These collections include original and unique records and personal papers of local LGBT activists, organizations and political campaigns including the records of the first openly gay person to run for public office in San Diego, and the records from campaigns to stop homophobic ballot initiatives, from "No on 6" in 1978 to "No on 8" in 2008. Large collections include the records of Update, Dignity San Diego, and Doug Moore's Pride Collection.
  • Periodicals
    LASD houses complete or nearly complete runs of virtually all San Diego and Tijuana (and some significant regional or national) LGBT periodicals, most of which are not available elsewhere and some of which may have not survived outside LASD's facilities. Newsletters for more than 40 local LGBT organizations (AIDS, art, sports, business, women's Latino, Asian, Native American, religious, service, social, transgender, bisexual, leather and other interests) demonstrate the diversity of the region's LGBT community. The periodical collection holds over 300 titles, including journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, directories and more.  If you have an issue that is marked as "missing" in the periodical inventories, we would be very interested to hear from you!
  • Photographs and Slides - Lambda Archives of San Diego holds hundreds of thousands of images in print, slides and negatives. While the photos are primarily from the 1970ís and later, some document the early LGBT history of San Diego, dating as early as the 1920ís. The photo collection includes images of important local LGBT events, organizations, and individuals creating a vast visual record of our city's rich LGBT history.
  • Photograph Digitization Project - Digitization of images is of the utmost importance, as even with the best of care, they will lose color and the quality of the image will degrade over time. Properly creating a digital copy of these images preserve in perpetuity this visually rich record of San Diegoís LGBT history. A digital copy also allows students and researchers to view the images without fear of damage to the original or risking gradual degradation due to exposure.
    Find out more about the Photograph Digitization Project here
  • Special Projects
  • Lesbian History Project
  • Queer Artists Project
  • Pride Collection
  • Gay and Lesbian Times (publication)
  • Veterans' History Project

see:  Preservation Education

You may also view our collections in:
Numerical order  |  Alphabetical order  |  Excel Spreadsheet

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