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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Gruber Papers
    Dates: 1933-2000 (bulk 1948-1985)
    Collection Number: GLC 66
    Creator/Collector: Gruber, James "John" Finley, Jr., 1928-2011.
    Extent: 5 cartons, 1 flat box (5.5 cubic feet)
    Online items available
    Repository: San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center
    San Francisco, California 94102
    Abstract: Gruber was one of the founding members of the Mattachine Society, a homophile organization. The papers contain letters, clipped news items, draft writings and photographs.
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright owned by the San Francisco Public Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist.

    Preferred Citation

    John Gruber Papers. San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

    Acquisition Information

    The John Gruber Papers were donated by John Gruber on July 23, 2006.

    Biography/Administrative History

    "John" Gruber was born James Finley Gruber Jr. in Des Moines, on Aug. 21, 1928, he moved to Los Angeles in 1936 with his family, which included three older sisters. He was an original member of the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest homophile organizations in the United States. He served in World War II and was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1949. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Occidental, he became a writer and taught high school and college in Northern California, where he moved in 1960. He was featured in a 2002 documentary, "Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay," directed by Eric Slade. Gruber enjoyed relations with both men and women, and considered himself bisexual. His unpublished manuscript, "The Deviant: an Illustrated Autobiography," chronicles his life across the twentieth century year by year, including references to movies, books, songs, newspaper clippings, and images of current events, movie stars, and family photographs.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers contain letters, clipped news items, draft writings and photographs. The collection is arranged into 4 series: Series 1. Letters. Etc.; Series 2. It's News to Me; Series 3. Personal Writings; and Series 4. Photograph Albums and Scrapbooks.

    Indexing Terms

    Gay men--Social life and customs--20th century.
    Gay men--History--20th century.
    Gruber, James "John" Finley, Jr., 1928-2011--Archives.
    Mattachine Society.