Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Fairbanks (Harold) papers and photographs
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (76.23 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: Harold Fairbanks papers and photographs
    creator: Fairbanks, Harold, 1935-2014
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2016-009
    Physical Description: 15.8 Linear Feet 17 boxes.
    Date (inclusive): 1905-2011
    Abstract: Correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, clippings, diaries, audiocassettes, and other material documenting the life, family, and professional career of Harold Fairbanks (1935-2014), a Los Angeles-based journalist and film critic who wrote for the Advocate, Update, Entertainment West, and Newswest.


    The collection is divided into four series:
    Series 1. Newspaper administrative records
    Series 2. Personal papers
    Series 3. Spence family papers
    Series 4. Audiocassettes

    Biographical / Historical

    Harold Fairbanks was born George McKay Spence in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1935. He attended the State University of Iowa (approx. 1954-1958) where he was involved in film programming on campus. He moved to Los Angeles in 1959 where he began a career in film, working as a projectionist, film programmer for schools, booker in a film exchange, film editor, technician, and publicist. In addition, he helped produce two low-budget features. He assumed the name Harold Fairbanks for his career in journalism. He worked as a movie reviewer for the Advocate, where he often reviewed gay erotic films; and then became the Entertainment Editor for Newswest (1975-1977). In the 1980s, Fairbanks began writing obituaries while a staff writer for Update, bringing a more journalistic approach by interviewing friends and survivors rather than relying on biological family who would often exclude details of homosexuality and AIDS from the obituary ("AIDS Obituaries: The Newspaper Quilt [draft]," by Karen Ocamb, LA Times Sunday Magazine). Fairbanks died in 2014.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of David C. Allen, May 6, 2016.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Harold Fairbanks Papers and Photographs, Coll2016-009, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Scott Reed, 2016.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection includes administrative records, correspondence, press kits, drafts, clippings, sound recordings, and photographs from Fairbanks' career as a staff writer for publications such as Newswest and Update. Personal records include correspondence with friends Robert Arthur and Olin Wood, as well as early childhood records and photographs acquired from his family. The collection also includes materials from Fairbanks' parents and grandparents (on the maternal side), such as family photographs, correspondence, and diaries.

    Separated Materials

    The following newsletters have been separated to ONE's newsletter collection:
    Florida Gay Liberation News, Issue #19-20 (1977).
    Rainbow Project NoHo Newsletter [Project Rainbow North Hollywood], July 2004.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    AIDS activists -- California -- Los Angeles
    Duluth (Minn.)
    Film criticism
    Gay newspapers
    Journalism and motion pictures
    Motion pictures and gay men