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Robert Pruzan collection
1998-36  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Robert Pruzan (1946-1992) was a photojournalist, horticulturist, and mime whose vast library of photographs documented the queer history of San Francisco throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The Robert Pruzan Papers are arranged in two groups, Papers and Photographs.
Background
Robert Pruzan (1946-1992) was a photojournalist, horticulturist, and mime whose vast library of photographs documented the queer history of San Francisco throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His work was published in Drummer, Manifest, Sports Illustrated, and the San Francisco Examiner’s Image magazine, as well as in Geoff Mains’ book Urban Aboriginals; it also ran regularly in the Bay Area Reporter. Pruzan was born in Seattle. After graduating from Roosevelt High School, he went to New York for college at Columbia University. While in New York, he began studying the art of mime, first at Sterling Jensen’s Ecole de Mime of New York and then with Étienne Decroux at his Ecole de Mime de Paris. Pruzan taught mime under Decroux and became his assistant and occasional translator. He moved back to New York in 1967, returned to classes at Columbia, studied ikebana floral arrangement, and worked as a florist while teaching at the Ecole de Mime of New York. He also acted, playing the Duke of Burgundy and later the Fool in a Roundabout Theatre production of King Lear. It was at about this time that Pruzan began to pursue photography seriously. In 1973, Pruzan moved to San Francisco, where he began working as a horticulturist and photographer. He photographed the first Haight Street Fair in May of 1978, and continued to document it, the Castro Street Fair, early Pride Parades, and the Folsom and Up Your Alley Fairs through 1991. He also began to exhibit his work, first in small cafes and then in the Involution Gallery. The majority of his photography after 1980 centered on friends and gay events, especially cultural programs, street fairs and celebrations, and the leather world. Other favorite subjects were famous people visiting San Francisco, local politicians, drag queens, sailors, leather title contests, cityscapes, clouds, sunsets, and fireworks displays. Pruzan died of AIDS complications in 1992.
Extent
60 linear feet (3 cartons, 58 manuscript boxes, 7 half-size manuscript boxes, 5 small oversize boxes, 2 large oversize boxes, 1 extra-large oversize box)
Restrictions
Copyright to photographs in this collection has been transferred to the GLBT Historical Society. All requests for reproductions and/or permission to publish or quote from material must be submitted in writing to the GLBT Historical Society Archivist. For rights information regarding other material in the collection, please contact the GLBTHS Archivist.
Availability
Collection is open for research. The erotica in this collection may only be viewed by researchers age eighteen and over and it is made available for educational and research purposes.