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Robert Gentry Papers
MS.R.167  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Historical Background
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Arrangement
  • Related Collections

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: Robert Gentry papers
    Creator: Gentry, Robert F.
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.167
    Physical Description: 0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes) and 2.4 unprocessed linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1964-2006
    Date (bulk): 1983-1999
    Abstract: This collection comprises the political and professional papers of Robert F. Gentry, the first openly gay elected official in southern California and first openly gay mayor in the state of California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in the city of Laguna Beach, California, serving from 1982 to 1994, and also served as Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. Materials include correspondence and hate mail, awards, and clippings by and about Gentry as well as the AIDS-related death of his longtime partner Gary Burdick.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

    Access

    Processed components of the collection are open for research. Unprocessed additions may contain restricted materials. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives in advance to request access.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert Gentry papers. MS-R167. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Bob Gentry, 2013 and 2019.

    Processing History

    Processed by Audra Eagle Yun, Alix Norton, and student assistants; 2013.

    Historical Background

    Robert F. Gentry was born in 1938 in Massachusetts. In the 1970s he moved to California, and in 1982 he was elected the mayor of Laguna Beach, becoming the first openly gay elected official in southern California and first openly gay mayor in the state of California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in Laguna Beach, serving the local community from 1982 to 1994. He was also Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. During his time as mayor, he spearheaded efforts to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and to allow same-sex couples the rights of married heterosexual couples. Gentry led the city's effort to pass a domestic partnership ordinance granting gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights as heterosexual married couples and a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gentry and his spouse Dennis Amick Gentry benefited from these efforts as they were the first registered domestic partners in Laguna Beach in 1992; subsequently, they legally married in California in 2008. Gentry was also involved in many environmental projects around the Laguna Beach area.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection comprises the political and professional papers of Robert F. Gentry, the first openly gay elected official in southern California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in the city of Laguna Beach, California, serving from 1982 to 1994, and also served as Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. Materials include correspondence and hate mail, awards, and clippings by and about Gentry as well as the AIDS-related death of his longtime partner Gary Burdick.
    While a considerable amount of Gentry's materials were destroyed in the Laguna Beach fire of 1993, this collection provides strong evidence of his role as an advocate for gay rights, environmental protection, and neighborhood preservation.

    Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in 3 series:
    • Series 1. Professional papers, 1983-1989
    • Series 2. Awards, 1990-1994
    • Series 3. Clippings and programs, 1964-2004
    This collection also contains one unprocessed addition:
    Accession 2019.001. LGBTQ materials unprocessed addition, 1970-2006. 2.4 linear feet.

    Related Collections

    Related materials can be found in the following collections: AS-151, Christine Browning Files on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues at the University of California, Irvine

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Environmentalists -- California -- Orange County
    Gay rights -- California -- Orange County -- History -- Sources
    Laguna Beach (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
    Domestic partner benefits -- California -- Laguna Beach
    University of California, Irvine. Office of the Dean of Students