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Marcus Hernandez (Mister Marcus) collection
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Collection Overview
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The Marcus Hernandez (Mister Marcus) collection documents San Francisco-based columnist, photographer, and leather-advocate Marcus Hernandez, from 1933 to 2009. The collection is arranged in two series - photographic and AV materials, and non-photographic and AV materials - and includes materials such as personal and professional photographic snapshots, correspondence, writings, memorabilia, awards and plaques, and leather vests and other apparel.
Marcus Hernandez (1932-2009) was a San Francisco-based writer and leather activist, as well as the first Emperor of the Imperial Court. Known more commonly as Mister Marcus from his weekly Bay Area Reporter (B.A.R.) column on leather culture and events both in San Francisco and around the United States, he wrote for B.A.R. for 38 years, from 1971 to 2009, while also contributing articles and photographs to Drummer Magazine, The Leather Journal, and many other publications. Hernandez, whose first name was Gilbert, was born in Los Angeles on March 22, 1932. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles but departed before completing his degree. In 1952, Hernandez married Marian Givens, with whom he had four sons. They met, according to Givens, while working at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. A few years after their marriage, Hernandez joined the U.S. Air Force and served in both the United States and Europe until he was honorably discharged in 1960. He separated from his wife that same year and continued to live in Los Angeles until 1968 when a friend suggested moving north to San Francisco (according to one of his sons, Curt, 1968 was also the year that Hernandez came out as a gay man). In his first decade living in San Francisco, Hernandez managed a variety of leather bars and began writing for the Bay Area Reporter, for which he would be honored numerous times as Outstanding Columnist in the public voting for San Francisco’s Cable Car Awards (Mister Marcus would eventually be taken out of contention and placed in that category’s Hall of Fame). Additionally, Hernandez also served briefly as the appointment secretary for then Mayor Joseph Alioto of San Francisco. During the 1980s, Hernandez took up photography, attending and photographing leather contests in San Francisco and, eventually, all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. He was frequently a judge at many of these contests and spent much of his time traveling across the country to attend and/or judge an estimated 250 contests during his years as a columnist, including various Mr. Leather, Mr. Drummer, and International Mr. Leather contests (for which he became the Judge Emeritus for life). He also played a major role in the production of the Bare Chest Calendar. In addition to his involvement in the leather community, Hernandez was actively part of the Imperial Court of San Francisco, one of the largest and oldest LGBT organizations in the world. In 1972, Hernandez became the first Emperor of the Imperial Court, or Emperor I After Norton. During his reign, he established the Spoon Awards which were presented to individuals in 20 different categories for continuously “stirring the pot”. He continued his involvement with the Imperial Court throughout his life, judging contests for many years. In the summer of 2009, Hernandez was hospitalized when his health worsened; he passed away a few months after due to complications from diabetes and arteriosclerosis on October 9, 2009 in Pacifica, California. He was 77.
29 Cartons; 3 Manuscript Boxes; 13 Oversize Boxes (43.08 linear feet)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Managing Archivist at the GLBT Historical Society. Permission to publish is given on behalf of the Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner.
Collection is open for research. Funding for processing this collection was provided by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).