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Finding aid to the Lawrence Berner vs. John Briggs Collection, 1940-2004
GLC 75  
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Series 1 Case Files, 1964-1982

Physical Description: 1.2 boxes


The Case Files are arranged into three sections: Chronological File, Alphabetical File, and Exhibits.

Chronological file, 1978-1982

Physical Description: 33.0 folders


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

Contains originals and copies of the legal papers filed for the case. These include the original and amended complaint for damages and depositions by John Briggs, Lawrence Berner, Lee Lee and others. Some depositions are annotated.
Box 1, Folder 1

Correspondence, 1978-1982

Box 1, Folder 2

Pleadings, 1978-1979

Box 1, Folder 3

Complaint for damages (defamation of character), June 22, 1979

Box 1, Folder 4

Amended complaint, November 14, 1979

Box 1, Folder 5

Summons on amended complaint, November 30, 1979

Box 1, Folder 6

Deposition of Leona Ellen Lee, August 22, 1980

Box 1, Folder 7

Deposition of Leona Ellen Lee [annotated], August 22, 1980

Box 1, Folder 8

Answers and objections of Plaintiff Lawrence Berner to first set of interragatories propounded by Defendant John Briggs, September 26, 1980

Box 1, Folder 9

Deposition of Lawrence Berner, September 26, 1980

Box 1, Folder 10

Deposition of John V. Briggs. Mr. Rugen copy [annotated], October 21, 1980

Box 1, Folder 11

Deposition of John V. Briggs; and Examination by Mr. Rugen, October 21, 1980

Box 1, Folder 12

Plaintiff's further responses to Defendant Briggs' first set of interrogatories, November 1980

General note

Includes May 29, 1980 Interrogatories.
Box 1, Folder 13

Deposition of Lawrence Berner, February 4, 1981

Box 1, Folder 14

Deposition of Lawrence Berner. Michael L. Rugen copy. With notes. Includes photocopied newspaper articles, February 4, 1981

Box 1, Folder 15

Deposition of Ernest van den Haag. Original with corrections in pencil, July 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 16

Deposition of Ernest van den Haag [annotated], July 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 17

D.E. Smuckler's Summary of quotable articles as of..., October 27, 1981

Box 1, Folder 18

Deposition of Penelope McMillan [original], December 18, 1981

Box 1, Folder 19

Deposition of Penelope McMillan [copy], December 18, 1981

Box 1, Folder 20

Deposition of John F. McGrew, December 21, 1981

Box 1, Folder 21

Deposition of John F. McGrew [annotated], December 21, 1981

Box 1, Folder 22

Declaration of Michael L. Rugen in support of Plaintiff's motion to compel, December 29, 1981

Box 1, Folder 23

Memorandum of points and authorities of Plaintiff Lawrence Berner to compel further answers to interrogatories and further responses to requests for admission by Defendant John Briggs, December 29, 1981

Box 1, Folder 24

Notice of motion of Plaintiff Lawrence Berner to compel further answers to interrogatories and further responses to requests for admission by Defendants John Briggs, December 29, 1981

Box 1, Folder 25

Notice of motion by Plaintiff to preclude testimony of Dr. Ernest van den Haag, December 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 26

Memorandum of points and authorities in support of Plaintiff's motion to exclude testimony of Dr. Ernest van den Haag, December 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 27

Declaration f Michael L. Rugen in support of Plaintiff's motion to exclude testimony of Dr. Ernest van den Haag, December 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 28

Proposed order, December 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 29

Michael L. Rugen. Proof of service by delivery, December 30, 1981

Box 1, Folder 30

Proposed order, January 4, 1982

Box 1, Folder 31

Further answers to interrogatories, March 31, 1982

Box 1, Folder 32

Deposition of Arnold C. Forde [original and copy], April 30, 1982

Box 1, Folder 33

Final accounting. Finances including David Kessler payment and Lawrence Berner settlement, September 1 and 9, 1982


Alphabetical file, 1973-1982

Physical Description: 18.0 folders

Scope and Contents

These majority of these files contain copies of newspaper articles arranged by the name of the reporters. Files may include memoranda about the strength of the article for use in the case, or notes on conversations with the reporters. The chronology of events and the campaign literature folders are of particular interest. The files on Kessler and van den Haag contain photocopies and reprints of scholarly articles on the subjects of homosexuality, teaching, and children.


Arranged alphabetically.
Box 1, Folder 34

Barnett, Catherine. Exhibits 25, 26a, 49, 1978

Box 1, Folder 35

Briggs' finances, 1978-1980

Box 1, Folder 36

Campaign literature "No on 6," 1978

Box 1, Folder 37

Campaign literature "Vote Yes on Prop. 6," 1978

Box 1, Folder 38

[Case notes on depositions (Lee Lee, Briggs, Berner, van den Haag), and items on emotional distress and libel law], [1981-1982?]

Box 1, Folder 39

Chronological listing of events, 1977-1978

Box 1, Folder 40

Circulation information, 1981

Box 1, Folder 41

Healdsburg School District. Records pertaining to Lawrence Berner, 1973-1980

Box 1, Folder 42

Kessler, David R. Articles and curriculum vitae, 1982

General note

Includes articles written by Kessler and collected by him regarding gays and lesbians in the medical profession and the article "Relating to Children: Gays as Role Models" by Dorothy I. Riddle ( Journal of Social Issues, 1978).
Box 1, Folder 43

McManus, Doyle. Exhibits 37 and 42, 1978

Box 1, Folder 44

McMillan, Penelope. Notes by Smuckler, and Exhibit 2, 1978, 1980

Box 1, Folder 45

Olson, Karl, 1978, 1981

Box 1, Folder 46

Roberts, Jerry. Interoffice memo from D. Smuckler to C. Freibrug (Octo. 16, 1982), and Exhibit 24, 1978, 1981

Box 1, Folder 47

Shilts, Randy. Interoffice memo and Exhibit 39, 1978, 1981

Box 1, Folder 48

Stuckey, Michael. Exhibits 22, 44, 45, 47, 52, and 55, 1978

Box 1, Folder 49

Swartz, Susan. Interoffice meme and exhibits 4A, 40, and 51, 1978, 1981

Box 1, Folder 50

Todd, John. [Notes of telephone conversation], undated

Box 1, Folder 51

van den Haag, Ernest, 1981

General note

Includes correspondence, articles by van den Haag, and notes on possible approaches to questioning.

Exhibits, 1964-1982

Physical Description: 5.0 folders

Scope and Contents

The majority of the exhibits files contain copies of newspaper articles published during the campaign. The Kessler file contains photocopies and reprints of scholarly articles on the subjects of homosexuality, teaching, and children.


Arranged in original order.
Box 1, Folder 52

List of exhibits with notes on relevance and admissibility, undated

Box 1, Folder 53

Exhibit A [David R. Kessler, M.D.], 1981-1982

Box 1, Folder 54

Exhibit B, 1964-1981

General note

Contains: State of Oregon, Department of Human Resources "Final Report of the Task Force on Sexual Preference" (December 1, 1978). Photocopied portions from the following books: Pedophilia and Exhibitionism; a Handbook by J.W. M ohr, R.E. Turner, M.B. Jerry (University of Toronto Press, 1964); Adult Sexual Interest in Children edited by Mark Cook (London: Academic Press, 1981); Hidden Victims: the Sexual Abuse of Children by Robert L. Geiser (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979). Photocopies of several articles on adult and adolescent sexuality.
Box 2, Folder 1

Exhibit C, undated

Box 2, Folder 2

Photocopies of exhibits, 1978-1979


Series 2 Lawrence Berner Papers, 1940-1984

Physical Description: 18.0 folders

Scope and Contents

The Berner Papers include non-trial material that documents aspects of Berner's life. Of particular interest are his speeches, some of which are on notecards, and a folder of personal memorabilia. The memorabilia includes a copy of Berner's birth certificate, confirmation program, graduation programs, transcripts, Air Force honorary discharge certificate, and resumes. It also includes his remarks given on his 8th grade graduation and a charming story about his dog Blackie. Photographs of Berner in military uniform are also in this series. The series also includes letters of support, two scholarly articles about the Briggs Initiative and its effect on the gay rights movement, and a transcript of an interview with Berner after his lawsuit was settled.


Arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Box 2, Folder 3

Ballot measure, voter pamphlet, November 1978

Box 2, Folder 4

"Defending Gay Rights: the Campaign Against the Briggs Amendment in California," ( Radical America, vol. 13 no.4), July-August 1979

Box 2, Folder 5

John Mehring's "Interview with Larry Berner upon announcement of the settlement of Berner v. Briggs," [1982]

Box 2, Folders 6-7

Letters of support, 1978

Box 2, Folder 8

[Notes on meetings and activities], 1978-[1979?]

Box 2, Folder 9

Personal memorabilia and vital records, 1940-1984

General note

Includes copy of birth certificate, church confirmation service program, eighth grade graduation speech, "My Dog: Blackie" paper, high school and college diplomas, college transcripts, United States Air Force commissioning ceremony materials and honorable discharge certificate, teaching credential certificates, November 1978 ballot stub, and resumes.
Box 2, Folder 10

Photographs, 1964, 1969, undated

General note

Includes Air Force uniform portrait, driver's license.
Box 2, Folder 11

Photographs. Contact sheet. Photography by Cookie (Oakland, California), 1978

Box 2, Folder 12

"Sexuality and the State: the Defeat of the Briggs Initiative and Beyond, " Interview with Amber Hollibaugh ( Socialist Review #45, vol.9, no. 3), May-June 1979


Speeches, 1978-1979

Physical Description: 8.0 folders
Box 2, Folder 13

[Draft remarks regarding No on Proposition 6 campaign], [1978]

Box 2, Folder 14

National Education Association Conference (17th: Washington, D.C.) includes draft remarks, 1979

General note

Includes Report of the 17th Annual Conference on Human and Civil Rights in Education. Rise of the New Right: Human and Civil Rights in Jeopardy . Session: "Among Constitutional Rights: Whatever Happened to Privacy?" Berner was a panelist.
Box 2, Folders 15-19

[Remarks on notecards], [1978]

Physical Description: 5.0 folders
Box 2, Folder 20

"You attack me because I am a role model...," [1978?]


Series 3 Newspaper Clippings, 1977-1982

Physical Description: 15.0 folders

Scope and Contents

Contains newspaper and magazine articles on gay political issues in Miami and California. Subjects include: John Briggs, Proposition 6 (also known as the Briggs Initiative), Anita Bryant, Lawrence Berner, Lee Lee, the California election of November 1978, the Healdsburg School District, and the Berner vs. Briggs lawsuit and trial. Some of these articles were used as exhibits in the lawsuit.


Arranged chronologically.
Box 2, Folder 21


Box 2, Folder 22

January-March 1978

Box 2, Folder 23

April 1978

Box 2, Folder 24

May 1978

Bin 2, Folder 25

June 1978

Box 2, Folder 26

July-August 1978

Box 2, Folder 27

September 1978

Box 2, Folder 28

October 1978

Box 2, Folder 29

November 1978

Box 2, Folder 30

December 1978

Box 2, Folder 31


Box 2, Folder 32


Box 2, Folder 33


Box 2, Folder 34


Box 2, Folder 35



Series 4 Audiovisual Materials, 1978-2004, undated

Physical Description: 10.0 items (8 audiocassette tapes, 1 DVD-ROM, 1 VHS)

Scope and Contents

The audiorecordings include an oral history with Berner that begins with his childhood and includes his experiences in the Air Force and later. Several audiotapes address the Briggs Initiative and the reactions of the Healdsburg community both for and against Proposition 6. "Memories of Rodger" is a video history of Rodger Brooks. It contains Rodger's recollections of life with Berner in 1977-1978 during the Briggs campaign; it also describes his life from childhood through his years as an HIV/AIDS survivor. Two tapes contain Berner's musings on life in Japan and his observations of cultural differences between the United States and Japan.


Arranged alphabetically.

Briggs: "Scout Trip," "Heterosexual Molestation," [1978]

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

General note

Includes clips of two statements made by John Briggs: the first is about not wanting Berner on a scout trip; the other is that "majority of child molestion cases are heterosexual teachers."

Briggs Initiative, Briggs Debate, Fruit Punch-KPFA, 1978

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

Healdsburg Interviews, Part II, [1978]

Larry Berner and Healdsburg community Interviews: [1978]

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

General note

Larry Berner and Healdsburg community residents discuss their views on Proposition 6, gay and lesbian teachers, and the rights of both teachers and parents.

[Japan 1] "Larry," [1984?]

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

General note

Side A contains Japanese-English vocabulary. Side B contains a stream-of-consciousness journal of Berner's experience in Japan with friend Hiroshi.

[Japan 2] "Love, Larry," October 18, 1984

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

General note

Side A contains music. Side B contains Berner's journal of his life in Japan with friend Hiroshi.

[Japanese television program on AIDS with Berner on panel], 1994

Physical Description: 1.0 videotape
Languages represented: In Japanese.

Larry Berner Discussing Briggs Initiative, undated

Larry Berner Discussing Briggs Initiative

Physical Description: 1.0 audiotape

"Memories of Rodger" [videotaped history of Rodger Brooks], [2004]

Physical Description: 1.0 item (DVD-ROM)

[Oral history] Larry Berner (sessions 1-4), undated

Larry Berner's Oral History: undated

Physical Description: 2.0 audiotapes