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Finding aid to the Advocate records Coll2012.030
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Administrative History
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Separated materials

  • Title: Advocate records
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2012.030
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 26.4 linear feet. 14 records boxes + 7 flat boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1953-2001
    Abstract: The records, 1953-2001, comprise the editorial and administrative records of the Advocate, 1967-2001, with the bulk from 1967-1974 when it was under the direction and editorship of Dick Michaels and Bill Rand. The records include article drafts, clippings, artwork and illustrations, negatives, photographic prints, mock-ups, story notes, correspondence, promotional materials, posters, and other records used in publishing the Advocate.
    creator: Advocate (Los Angeles, California).

    Administrative History

    First published in September 1967, the Advocate was a revised extension of the newsletter of the Los Angeles gay rights organization P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Rights through Defense and Education). P.R.I.D.E. was founded in May 1966 by Steve Ginsberg to foster pride in the Los Angeles gay community. P.R.I.D.E.'s tactics were more activist in nature than existing local gay organizations. On January 1, 1967, several New Years revelers indulged in celebratory, same-sex kisses at the Los Angeles gay bar the Black Cat and were arrested as a result. P.R.I.D.E., which helped to organize protests of the arrests in mid-January and early-February, passed out special editions of their newsletters at the protests and received a boost in their membership. Dick Michaels and Bill Rand, a longtime couple, attended the mid-January rally and soon took an interest in P.R.I.D.E.'s struggling newsletter, which up to that time had been surreptitiously copied by a P.R.I.D.E. member who worked the graveyard shift at ABC Studios.
    Over the summer of 1967, Michaels and Rand worked together with artist and illustrator Sam Winston to overhaul the newsletter and transform it into a magazine format. Their first issue, dubbed the Los Angeles Advocate, debuted in September 1967 and was transformed from the P.R.I.D.E. newsletter’s standard of several photocopied, hand-typed pages into a more professional-looking 32-page publication. The first issue had a run of 500 copies and was sold from under the counter of Los Angeles' gay bars. Parallel to the overhaul of the magazine, the P.R.I.D.E. organization was disintegrating due to management infighting, and Ginsberg agreed to sell rights to the publication to Dick Michaels for one dollar.
    Though the content of the first few issues was negligent, Dick Michaels aimed to make the magazine a solid source of news to the gay community, and started to work with local writers such as Jim Kepner, and beginning in 1971, chief news editor Rob Cole. Over the first year, he expanded upon the magazine's content, and with the October 1968 issue, printed its first typeset issue. The magazine's print run also jumped to 5,500 issues and began being openly sold in coin-operated machines in gay-friendly neighborhoods. In January 1969, the publication changed from its magazine-sized format to the larger tabloid newspaper format it would continue to publish until the early 1980s. In June 1969, the magazine dropped the words Los Angeles from its title, becoming simply the Advocate.
    The magazine would grow to become the largest gay and lesbian news publication of its time and played a prominent role in the shaping of the gay community across the years. The Advocate covered many of the most significant gay news stories of the period, including protests and pride celebrations, contentious relations with police officials and politicians, the founding of numerous pride and faith organizations across the country, tragedies such as fire bombings of gay bars and churches, victories such as the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness, and many battles that continue well into the 2000s such as gays and lesbians in the military and marriage equality. The Advocate also offered pop cultural coverage of theater, film, television and celebrities.
    In December 1974, Dick Michaels sold the Advocate to San Francisco-based millionaire David B. Goodstein, who took the magazine forward with a different vision. Michaels hired author and journalist John Preston and photographer and art director Dennis Forbes to help him transform the magazine, and in their first issue, dated January 29, 1975, they announced on the cover: "This issue begins a new era for gay people." From that point forward, the magazine shifted from the news-oriented coverage that Dick Michaels favored to a more graphically-oriented magazine format.
    Goodstein shuttered the magazine's Los Angeles offices in 1975 and moved its operations to San Mateo, California. Goodstein donated to ONE Incorporated their supply of back issues and inactive files, and for several years forward, those inquiring with the Advocate for back issues were directed to ONE to purchase them. As of 2012, the Advocate continues to be published by Here Media Incorporated.
    Thompson, Mark (ed.). Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1994.
    Thompson, Mark. Advocate Days & other Stories. Queer Mojo: Bar Harbor, Maine, 2009.


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

    Publication Rights

    Researchers wishing to publish material must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as the physical owner of the material. Note that permission to publish does not constitute copyright clearance. ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials from the copyright holder(s).

    Acquisition Information

    The bulk of the records were gifted to the archive in the beginning of 1975 upon the sale of the Advocate to David B. Goodstein and the subsequent move of operations from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Additional materials were added from longtime Advocate senior editor Mark Thompson, who worked with the magazine from 1976 through the 1990s.

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, folder #, Advocate records, Coll2012-030, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Processing Information

    Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    Collection materials came from the ONE Subject Files collection and boxes 103-37 and 104-53.
    Collection processed by Robert Graves and Kyle Morgan, 2012.

    Scope and Contents

    The records, 1953-2001, comprise the editorial and administrative records of the Advocate, 1967-2001, with the bulk from 1967-1974 when it was under the direction and editorship of Dick Michaels and Bill Rand. The editorial records include article drafts; clippings; artwork and illustrations; publicity materials for films, theater, and entertainers; negatives and photographic prints; mock-ups; and story notes collected and/or used by the editorial staff for publication in the Advocate. The administrative records consist of those for operations, advertising, conferences, reader relations, and human resources; and include correspondence, clippings, promotional materials, photographs, drawings, and posters. Of note among the materials are the extensive coverage of the Advocate-sponsored Groovy Guy competitions, 1968-1972, and the boxes of oversized political cartoon illustrations.


    The records are organized in the following series:

    Related Archival Materials

    Rob Cole Papers, Coll2009-019, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    Other John Klamik (pseudonym Buckshot) political cartoons can be found in the NewsWest Collection, Coll2011-059, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Separated materials

    The following T-shirts were separated from the collection:
    Two female symbols, interconnected; two male symbols, interconnected. Black shirt.
    The Advocate--Touches Your Lifestyle. White shirt.
    The Advocate / Twenty-five years of the Advocate. White shirt.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay press publications
    Gays--United States--History--20th Century