The Eric Garber papers document the professional work of this activist and groundbreaking historian who wrote extensively
about LGBT people in the Harlem Renaissance and alternative sexualities in science fiction, fantasy and horror literature.
Eric Steven Garber (1954-1995) was born in Pasadena, California, to Chuck and Dorothy Garber. His family moved around California
during his early years because of his father’s job at Chevron Oil and relocated to Colorado when Garber was in ninth grade.
They moved back to California two years later and he finished high school in Lafayette.
Garber attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for two years, coming out and turning most of his attention to gay politics.
He joined the Radical Gay Caucus of Boulder Gay Liberation and was an active speaker for the Boulder Gay and Lesbian Speakers
Bureau. After two years in Boulder, Garber moved to San Francisco, where he worked in a bath house, as a job placement counselor
for the City and County of San Francisco and at the San Francisco Public Library, where he stayed for over a decade. Garber
returned to school at age 30, graduating with honors from San Francisco State University. He received a Master’s in Library
and Information Science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Garber met the “Husband of his Heart,” Jeff Sunshine, in the summer of 1978. They maintained a bi-coastal romance for many
years until Sunshine moved to San Francisco in 1991. They became Domestic Partners in San Francisco that year and were married
in a group ceremony at the National Gay Rights March in Washington, D.C. in 1993.
Garber’s avocation and pastime was gay and lesbian history. He was a founding member of the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian
History Project in 1978 and one of the founders of the San Francisco Bay Area Gay and Lesbian Historical Society in 1985.
He edited the newsletter and served on the board until 1994. Garber and his colleagues at the Project communicated with gay
and lesbian historians around the country; many important works of queer history had their origins in the Project. Garber
wrote extensively about LGBT people in the Harlem Renaissance and alternative sexualities in science fiction, fantasy and
horror. Garber’s expertise in these subjects was recognized nationally.