Scope and Content
Title: Clark P. Polak papers
Collection number: Coll2008-028
Polak, Clark P., 1937-1980
Collection Size: 1 archive carton.
0.2 linear feet.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: Correspondence, legal papers, notes, printed
ephemera and other material from activist and businessman Clark P. Polak.
Polak was an influential activist in the Philadelphia gay community throughout
the 1960s, who in 1963 became president of the homophile organization, Janus
Society. He also created, published and edited the Society's widely-circulated
Drum. By 1970, Polak relocated to Los
Angeles, where he became a real estate investor and art collector. In addition,
he continued to be an activist in the gay movement and helped to establish the
Stonewall Democratic Club and the Gay Rights Chapter of the ACLU.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Clark P. Polak papers, Coll2008-028, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives,
Los Angeles, California.
Donor and date of acquisition unknown.
Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama,
June 6, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded
by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records
Born on October 15, 1937, Clark Phillip Polak grew up in a Jewish
middle-class family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After dropping out of
Pennsylvania State University, Polak became a businessman and owner of
Frankford Personnel and Northeast Advertising Service.
An active and outspoken member of the Philadelphia gay community, Polak
joined the homophile group, Janus Society, in 1962, and was elected the
organization's president in 1963. As Janus Society's president, he was largely
responsible for building the Society's reputation as more politically
aggressive, publicly visible and sexually liberated than other homophile groups
of that period. In addition, he created, published and edited the Society's
Drum, one of the most widely circulated LGBT
magazines in the 1960s.
Outside of the Janus Society, Polak continued to own publishing and book
service businesses, which produced and distributed pornographic materials.
Because of his businesses and his contentious personality, Polak often had
confrontations with local law enforcement and subsequently moved to California
after being arrested on federal obscenity charges in 1969. He relocated to Los
Angeles where he became a real estate investor and art collector, and he
continued to be activist in the gay community. In Southern California, he
helped to establish the Stonewall Democratic Club and the Gay Rights Chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
By the late 1970s, Polak developed problems with hustlers, drugs and
money. He committed suicide in September 1980.
Source: Stein, Marc. "Polak, Clark."
Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender History in America
. 3 vols. Marc Stein, Ed. New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons: Thomson Gale, 2003. 388-389.
Scope and Content
This collection comprises correspondence, legal papers, notes, printed
ephemera and other material created or collected by businessman and gay
activist Clark P. Polak. The majority of the material dates in the 1970s and
documents his activities in Los Angeles and its gay community, such as his
participation in the Stonewall Democratic Club and the legal committee of the
Gay Rights Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Also included are
legal papers from his real estate investments and miscellaneous
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
ACLU of Southern California Lesbian
& Gay Rights Chapter
Janus Society of
Janus Society of Delaware
Polak, Clark P., 1937-1980
Stonewall Democratic Club
Janus Society Records, Coll2008-027, ONE National Gay & Lesbian
Archives, Los Angeles, California