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Finding Aid to the Henry Gerber Collection, circa 1940-1998 Coll2013.034
Coll2013.034  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
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.
Background
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.
Extent
0.2 linear feet. 1 archive carton
Restrictions
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.
Availability
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.