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
Officially formed in the spring of 1975, Gays at Drexel was the first gay student group at Drexel University. A February 21, 1975 article in the Drexel Triangle titled "Gays Organizing at Drexel," quoted graduate student Richard Keiser (using only his first name) as saying, "We believe it is time for Gay students at DU to develop a Coffeehouse for both males and females and offer a series of lectures to be informative of the Drexel community." By April 15 of that year, the nascent student group had selected officers and had submitted an application to the Student Congress for probationary student group status. After being rejected for minor code violations, the application was resubmitted in November 1975 and was subsequently approved.
Among the group's activities were a campaign to have the Drexel University Libraries purchase books supportive of gay liberation. An October 27, 1975 memo to librarian Dick Binder states "Gays at Drexel feels these books present points of view which are not adequately covered in the Drexel Libraries' other holdings on this subject." Gays at Drexel sponsored several events including lectures by Barbara Gittings on May 13, 1975 ("Gay Liberation: What Every Heterosexual Should Know"), and by Franklin Kameny on February 10, 1976 ("Gays and the Civil Service"). They also publicly presented a forty-minute filmstrip with sound called "The Invisible Minority: Homosexuals in Our Society" in November 1975, and co-sponsored with the Drexel Psychology Club a program about counseling gays with guest Joan DeForrest, acting director of the Eromin Center, in December 1975.
According to co-founder Richard Keiser, "Gays at Drexel became inactive [in] 1977 because its members graduated and I was gone from Drexel, 1978-1979." Officers of the group included coordinators Allen Kratz and Richard Keiser, and secretary David Mowery; John M. Harkins is cited as a "co-representative" at the time of the group's first student group application in April 1975. The group was sponsored by Drexel University professor of psychology Gerald Fleischer.
This small collection is made up correspondence to and from the student group (including a letter and resume from Franklin Kameny); organizational records such as a statement of purpose, constitution, meeting schedules, and application for student status (including the signatures of both homosexual and heterosexual students and faculty supportive of the group); essays by graduate student Richard Keiser and faculty sponsor Gerald Fleischer; announcements and flyers for speakers and events; clippings from the Drexel Triangle and other local newspapers; and a small assortment of brochures, flyers, and records from other groups including Gays at Penn, WXPN's "Sunshine Gaydream" radio show, the ALA Task Force on Gay Liberation, and the National Gay Task Force.
Gift of Richard Keiser, 2015.
Approximately 18 issues of The Weekly Philadelphia Gayzette came with this donation and were incorporated into the Archives' periodicals collection.
- John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center
- Finding Aid Author
- John Anderies
- Finding Aid Date
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This collection is open for research use.
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