Finding Aid to the William A. Koelsch Papers, 1942-2014 Coll2014-009

Kyle Morgan
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007
(213) 821-2771

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Title: William A. Koelsch papers
creator: Koelsch, William A.
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2014-009
Physical Description: 1.6 Linear Feet 1 archive box + 1 archive carton
Date (inclusive): 1942-2014
Abstract: Articles, manuscripts, correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, press releases, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the writings, projects, activities, and personal interests and history of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. Koelsch was a Boston gay rights activist best known for his column series in Gay Community News, Esplanade, Integrity Forum, and Bay Windows, written under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay.
Container: 1-2

Separated Materials

Separated to the ONE periodical collection
Fellowship News, Lesbian and Gay Fellowship of the Trinity Church (November 1996, January 1997, September 1997, Winter 1997, Spring 1998, Summer 1998)
Gay Information: A Quarterly Journal (Autumn 1981)
Genders, no.2 (Summer 1988)
Integrity, news of the Boston chapter, (June, September, November/December 1978; January, May/June, September, November, Advent 1979; January/February, February/March, April, June, July, Early Autumn, November, December 1980; January-December 1981; January-October, December 1982; January-September 1983)
Integrity Forum, v.4, no.5 (June-July 1978)
Jim Kepner's Song & Dance, no.2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8a, and 10 (1994-1997)
Separated to the ONE programs collection
Ars Nova, Boston's chorus for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, "Holiday Concert" (December 8, 1991)
Coro Allegro, Boston's chorus for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, Schubert, Poulenc, Brahms and Bach concert (November 22, 1992); "Spring Concert" (May 14, 1994); "Chant" (February 12, 1995); and Rossi, Fine, Barber, and Pinkham concert (May 19, 1996).
The Names Project National Tour, Boston, Massachusetts, June 16-19, 1988.
Non-LGBT magazine cover story collection
Trinity Life, the newsletter of Trinity Church in the City of Boston (May 1997)
Separated to the International Gay and Lesbian Archives collection
International Gay and Lesbian Archives materials including Archives Bulletins (Fall 1983, Summer 1984, January 1986, May and November 1987, and Spring-Summer 1991), Archives Events (no.20 March 1981, no.41c June 1982, no.46 December 1982, and no.64 February 1988), archives reports, progress reports, meeting reports, fliers, mass mailings, and letters from the curator.


William A. Koelsch was born in 1933. He received a bachelor's degree at Bucknell University in 1955 and a master's degree at Clark University in 1959. Koelsch graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in American history in 1966. He was hired as an assistant professor of history and geography at Clark University in 1967 and soon became a tenured professor. During a sabbatical in 1973, he rented an apartment in Boston and became involved in the burgeoning gay movement. Under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay, Koelsch wrote a column for the newly published newspaper Gay Community News (GCN). The first column appeared in issue #13 on September 15th, 1973, and would continue, in different guises and for different publications, for the next fifteen years.
By 1974, Koelsch began speaking before groups on gay topics, organizing "coming-out" raps, and attending services with the gay-supportive religious groups Integrity, Dignity, and the Metropolitan Community Church. In 1975, Koelsch taught a course on the gay liberation movement, one of the earliest such classes in New England. Koelsch volunteered for Thanksgiving dinners for the elderly poor through a group called the Fengays, which operated out of a Fenway gay bar, then a Back Bay gay bar called "Buddies." Koelsch became involved in the fledgling Massachusetts Gay Political Caucus which worked to support anti-discrimination bills and gay-supportive candidates. He worked with activist Barbara Gittings on gay bibliography projects and for the American Library Association's Lesbian and Gay Task Force annual book awards.
Koelsch wrote his A. Nolder Gay column for GCN, Esplanade, Integrity Forum, and Bay Windows. In 1978, he published the best of his GCN and Esplanade columns in the book The View from the Closet: Essays on Gay Life and Liberation. In 1990, he compiled the best of the history columns from all his publications in Some of My Best Friends: Essays in Gay History and Biography.
Shaken by the newly emerging AIDS epidemics, Koelsch, in the fall of 1982, began incorporating AIDS into his undergraduate health and disease course, one of the earliest treatments of the subject in a college context. He joined the Province I (New England) Episcopal AIDS Network, chaired the AIDS Task Force of his diocese, served on the Worcester Ecumenical Council's AIDS Committee, and volunteered locally and nationally for the NAMES Project's AIDS Memorial Quilt displays. Koelsch spoke to numerous groups about AIDS and AIDS ministry.
Since retiring, Koelsch has focused on his scholarly writing, publishing twenty-some professional articles and review essays as well as the book Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography's Forgotten Past. As of 2014, Koelsch and his partner "A Younger Gay" have been together for forty years.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2014.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] William A. Koelsch Papers, Coll2014-009, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.


Donated by William A. Koelsch, February 2014.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Scope and Contents

Writings, correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, press releases, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the projects, activities, and personal interests and history of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. The collection includes the fifteen years of column articles and two books published under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gay men's writings, American
Gays -- Correspondence
Gay activists -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Koelsch, William A.
Gay, A. Nolder (pseudonym)


Personal, project, and subject files Series 1. 1942-2014

Physical Description: 0.4 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, transcripts, clippings, programs, fliers, guides, biographical information, and photographs documenting the projects, activities, history, and personal interests of William Koelsch, 1942-2014. Projects, activities, and output related to Koelsch's writing career are documented in the Publishing-related records series.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order.
Box 2, Folder 33

A. Nolder Gay collection donation and provenance materials 2013-2014

Box 2, Folder 36

Association of American Geographers talk, "Gays, Lesbians, and Gay/Lesbians Studies in Geography" 1992

Box 2, Folder 35

Association of American Geographers talk, "Reading Between the Spaces in George Chauncey" 1994-1995

Box 1, Folder 3

Biographical information 1974-2014

Scope and Contents

Includes a curriculum vitae (2014), horoscope (1974), the autobiographical article "Through the Looking Glass: 'A Nolder Gay' Meets 'The Movement,'" and clippings.
Box 1, Folder 5

Boston Archives Project 1974

Box 1, Folder 6

Buddies' Thanksgiving dinners 1982-1985

Box 1, Folder 7

Coro Allegro 1992-1998

Box 1, Folder 8

Educational material circa 1992

Box 1, Folder 9

Exodus Center 1976-1992

Box 1, Folder 11

Gay Boston subject file 1980-1988

Box 1, Folder 17

Intregrity/Boston 1977-1986

Box 1, Folder 18

Integrity convention, Boston 1980

Box 1, Folder 19

Integrity convention, Boston, self-guided walking tour 1980

Box 1, Folder 20

International Gay and Lesbian Archives 1980-1994

Box 1, Folder 21

Interview transcript Summer 1983

Box 1, Folder 23

Ludwig II postcards and information undated

Box 1, Folder 24

National Gay Archives and Library Committee 1975-1977

Box 1, Folder 25

New England Gay Conference 1975

Box 1, Folder 26

New England NAMES Project 1988

Box 1, Folder 27

Obituaries and memorial service materials of friends and acquaintances 1977-2006

Box 2, Folder 34

Photographs 1942-1998

Scope and Contents

Seventeen photographic prints of Koelsch at different times of his life. Includes images of his longtime partner "A. Younger Gay" and their cat Mischief.
Box 1, Folder 28

Price, Lucien, subject file 1943-1992

Box 1, Folder 29

Sermon: Boston Metropolitan Community Church August 1974

Box 1, Folder 30

Sermon: Service of Light, Pakachoag Church 1994

Box 1, Folder 31

Talks to gay groups 1987, undated

Box 1, Folder 32

Trinity Church Lesbian and Gay Fellowship 1995-1998


Publishing-related records Series 2. 1954-2013

Physical Description: 0.6 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Column articles and manuscripts published by William Koelsch, primarily under the pseudonym A. Nolder Gay, as well as the administrative records of his writing-related projects, 1954-2013. The bulk of the administrative records consists of correspondence, including with Barbara Gittings for the Gay Book Award and The Gay Experience book project. The administrative records also includes clippings, editorial material, published works, and fliers.


This collection is arranged into three sections: 1) Column articles, 2) Manuscripts, and 3) Administrative records.

Column articles 1973-1989

Box 1, Folder 39-41

Gay Community News 1973-1975

Box 1, Folder 42

Gay Community News and Esplanade 1976

Box 1, Folder 43-45

Esplanade 1977-1979

Box 1, Folder 46-47

Integrity Forum 1980-1982

Box 1, Folder 48-52

Bay Windows 1983-1987

Box 1, Folder 53

Bay Windows, never published 1988

Box 1, Folder 54

The Pastoral Staff 1989


Manuscripts 1978-1992


Some of My Best Friends 1985-1992

Box 1, Folder 55

Correspondence and fliers 1985-1990

Box 1, Folder 56-57

Manuscripts 1988

Box 1, Folder 58

Reviews and other materials 1991-1992

Box 1, Folder 59

Signed books 1990

Box 1, Folder 60

"Two Days," original version 1980


The View from the Closet 1978-1987

Box 1, Folder 61

Books (1 signed, 1 unsigned) 1978

Box 1, Folder 62

Fan letters 1978-1987

Box 1, Folder 63

Reviews 1978-1979


Administrative records 1954-2013

Box 1, Folder 1

Alyson Features Syndicate 1985-1986

Box 1, Folder 2

American Library Association, Gay Task Force, Gay Book Award 1979-1987

Box 1, Folder 4

Bay Windows, correspondence 1983-1991

Box 1, Folder 10

A Gay Biography, 6th edition 1974-1980

Box 1, Folder 12

Gay Caucus of authors, booksellers, and publishers 1979-1980

Box 1, Folder 13

Gay Community News, 30th anniversary celebration 2003

Box 1, Folder 14

Gay Community News and Esplanade, correspondence 1975-1979

Box 1, Folder 15-16

The Gay Experience book project 1982-1986

Box 1, Folder 22

LGBT history textbook project 1954-2013

Box 1, Folder 33-38

Union Park Press, correspondence 1978-1994


Correspondence files Series 3. 1974-2014

Physical Description: 0.6 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Primarily letters, postcards, and greeting cards documenting the correspondence between Koelsch and others. Includes clippings, fliers, press releases, and other materials.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order, with fan letters and miscellaneous correspondence listed at the end.
Box 1, Folder 64

Canfield, Bill 1990-1998

Box 1, Folder 65

Charles, Right Reverend Otis 1994-1997

Box 1, Folder 66

Denneny, Michael 1981

Box 2, Folder 1

Ferguson, Stephen 1974

Box 2, Folder 2

Fisette, Jay 1996

Box 2, Folder 3

Frank, Barney 1978

Box 2, Folder 4

Freedman, Estelle 1989-1992

Box 2, Folder 5

Gallup, Grant 1976-1985

Box 2, Folder 6-8

Gittings, Barbara 1975-2006

Box 2, Folder 9

Graves, John 1975-1998

Box 2, Folder 10

Guiet, Michel 1978

Box 2, Folder 11

Hansen, Bert 1984-1985

Box 2, Folder 12

Hurley, Tom 1975-1976

Box 2, Folder 13

Kepner, Jim 1980-1992

Box 2, Folder 14

Lotman, Loretta 1975-1978

Box 2, Folder 15

Manners, Robert J. 1993-1998

Box 2, Folder 16

McNaught, Brian 1979-1997

Box 2, Folder 17

Monette, Paul 1988-1995

Box 2, Folder 18

Morgan, Kyle 2012-2014

Box 2, Folder 19

Noble, Elaine 1974-1977

Box 2, Folder 20

Philips, Walter 1984-1995

Box 2, Folder 21

Preston, John 1984-1987

Box 2, Folder 22

Revson, James 1974-1988

Box 2, Folder 23

Rofes, Eric 1992

Box 2, Folder 24

Saslow, James 1976-1995

Box 2, Folder 25

Scondras, David 1985

Box 2, Folder 26

Weinrich, James D. 1977-1997

Box 2, Folder 27

Williams, Walter 1980

Box 2, Folder 28

Wood, James 1983

Box 2, Folder 29

Fan letters 1974-1984

Box 2, Folder 30-32

Miscellaneous correspondence, A-Z 1975-1998