Scope and Content of Collection
Language of Material:
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Title: Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), records
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2008-052
3.3 Linear Feet
6 archive cartons, 1 archive flat box
Date (inclusive): 1969-1984
Date (bulk): 1970-1975
Abstract: Minutes, membership applications and lists, lawyer referral reports, newsletters, newspapers, and related ephemera of the
Homophile Effort For Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.). The organization was formed in 1968, in response to the
subjective and aggressive behavior of the Los Angeles Police Department Vice Detail. Members were offered general legal assistance
and if arrested for "homosexual activities" they were provided bail bonds and lawyer referral services. By the late 1970s,
societal changes practically eliminated the need for many of the services HELP provided.
Physical Description: 5 archive cartons, 1 archive half-carton, and 1 oversize box.
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.
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
Box #, folder #, Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), Records, Coll2008-052, ONE National Gay
and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Method and date of acquisition unknown.
Collection created in September 2008 by Michael C. Oliveira, with the assistance of Richard French, from materials in box
104-34, and in ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives "HELP, Inc. (Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated)" subject
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The organization that was to become the Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), began with a proposal
developed in early 1968. The first known meeting of the American Federation for the Advancement and Defense of Homophile Society
(AFADHS) organizers was in September 1968 at The Patch, a bar in Wilmington, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The organizers
proposed the establishment of an alliance of bar owners, personnel, and patrons to defend against harassment and provide legal
assistance in the form of bail bonds and attorney referrals. In a period of several weeks the AFADHS became the less ambiguous
Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated. HELP provided bail bond service and lawyer referrals to its members and
those vouched for by existing members. The primary focus of the organization was to provide support when its members were
arrested for "homosexual activities." The aggressive prosecution of victimless crimes by the Los Angeles Police Department
and the change in political climate led to the organization's rapid growth. HELP also supported the California State Committee
on Sexual Law Reform to change the laws regarding sex between consenting adults.
However, the organization was plagued by periodic episodes of infighting and was also not able to maintain the on-going support
of the bar owners. By the late 1970s, changes in society's attitude toward gays, recognition of gay political power, reforms
of California sex laws, and changes in police priorities practically eliminated the need for many of the services HELP provided.
Colburn, Cal. "Hotline."
Magpie, September 27, 1968, 3.
Richards, Yale. "From under My Soap Box."
Magpie, January 1969, 4-10.
Vincent, Cliff. "What Else Is Happening in L.A.?"
Magpie, December 20 1968, 20-24.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection contains the records of the Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (HELP, Inc.), an organization
that provided legal assistance in the form of bail bond service and lawyer referral to members for a nominal annual membership
fee. The organization coalesced after repeated raids on gay establishments by the Los Angeles Police Department Vice Detail.
The collection consists of five series: (1) Administrative Records, (2) Correspondence, (3) Bail Bonds and Attorney Referral
Records, (4) Financial, and (5) Printed Materials. The Administrative Records include minutes, membership lists, and applications.
The Correspondence Series contains chronologically organized and unorganized correspondence, as well as correspondence subject
files. The Bail Bonds and Attorney Referral Records consist of lawyer referral lists and lawyers' reports on the status of
defendants' cases. The Financial Records series contains unorganized bills, receipts, and a check register, along with records
of fund raising events. The Printed Materials Series contains HELP publications, brochures, and other materials by which the
organization informed its membership.
The series are arranged chronologically, with the exception of the Bail Bonds and Attorney Referral Records, which are arranged
with the attorney referral lists followed by the attorney referral reports, arranged alphabetically by attorney.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Legal assistance to gays -- California -- Los Angeles
Police -- Complaints against -- California -- Los Angeles
Gay clubs -- California -- Los Angeles
Police -- Los Angeles Police Dept. (LAPD) -- Vice Squad
American Federation for the Advancement and Defense of Homophile Society (Los Angeles, Calif.)