Held at: John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center [Contact Us]1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Girlfriends Motorcycle Club (GFMC) was formed in the fall of 1983 by thirty charter members for the purpose of raising funds for charity. Their club was founded on the principle that there were "no rules, no dues, no meetings..and no officers." Their home bar was the Post Bar, which was located at 1705 Chancellor Street, and this was where many of their events were organized and often held. The founder of the club was Gene (Ginger) Hershour, and the media contact was Larry Jarrett (Lady J). To become a member, one simply needed to go to The Post, "ask Ginger, and choose a skirt name." By 1985, chapters of the GFMC existed across the United States, in the UK, and Singapore, boasting 300+ members internationally. Their largest event was known as The Prom, which was held annually and raised money for a different charity each year. The Prom was an event that offered a buffet, live band, contests, raffle, and "class awards" to its attendants, who paid a fee to attend. Their first annual senior prom was held in 1984 at Ulana's Lounge & Disco. That year, they also hosted a benefit after a showing of the film Torch Song Trilogy in which they raised $340 for the AIDS Task Force. Additionally, they held a Valentine's Day social that raised $905 for Children's Heart Hospital of Philadelphia. In 1985, they held a Chinese New Year Party that raised money for the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force Hepatitis B Project. The Prom in 1985 was held at the Warwick Hotel Ballroom and was a benefit for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty that raised $1000. The Prom in 1986, also held at the Warwick Hotel Ballroom, was a fundraiser for the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force housing project. This event raised $6500 for the charity. In 1987, The Prom raised money for the John Locke fund, which offered financial support for non-medical expenses to persons living with AIDS. The GFMC also hosted various rummage sales to raise money for their events, and typically asked their members to supply the rummage.
This collection consists of four scrapbooks, 1984-1987, containing photographs from various events of the Girlfriends Motorcycle Club, flyers advertising the events, correspondence, clippings, and articles. There are also eight framed items, six of which consist of scrapbook pages.
Scrapbook 1 includes photographs from The Prom held June 22, 1986 at the Warwick Hotel Ballroom; Flyers, Official Prom Ballot, dance card & admission ticket from The Prom; Letters from Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives and Philadelphia AIDS Task Force regarding donated funds; Detailed listing of events and plans for 1986-1987; Flyers and photographs for rummage sales and Valentine's Day event.
Scrapbook 2 includes photographs from The Prom 1987; Letter addressed to the Girlfriends signed by Hildi-Heidi Hampton; Flyers for rummage sales and Atlantic City social trip; Photographs from social events; Articles, flyers, prom ballot, dance card and admission ticket from The Prom 1987; Listing of all girlfriends by "skirt name".
Scrapbook 3 includes letter from Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation; Flyers, articles, prom ballot, and raffle tickets from The Prom 1985; Photographs from Prom 1985 and other social events; Flyers and letters regarding rummage sales and other events.
Scrapbook 4 includes list of "skirt names" of members; Dance card, flyers, prom ballot, and articles for Prom 1985; Letter from Philadelphia AIDS Task Force regarding donation; Flyers for rummage sales; Letter dated July 22, 1993 addressed to former club members trying to reorganize as a social club; Photos from various events at the Post Bar.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia directly for more information.
- John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- Finding Aid Date
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.