Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Steve Berman Papers Coll2012.141
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Arrangement
  • Biography
  • Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Materials Note

  • Title: Steve Berman Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2012.141
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.5 linear feet. 1 archive box + 2 archive cartons + 1 shoebox
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1980-1983
    Date (inclusive): 1964-1983
    Abstract: The Steve Berman papers are a collection of notes, correspondence, and personal information created and maintained by the psychologist and activist in the 1970s and 1980s. The bulk of the collection, from 1980-83, chronicles Berman’s life during and after college as he pursued his career in psychology and worked for greater rights and recognition for the gay and Jewish communities.
    creator: Berman, Steve, 1946-1983


    This collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series 1. Community Service and Activism
    Series 2. Personal Life, Academics, and Medical Beliefs


    Steven Phillip Berman was born August 21, 1946 in Illinois and grew up in the greater Chicago area. After graduation from high school, Berman obtained a B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1970. Relocating later that year, Berman began work on his M.A. in psychology at California State University, Long Beach. While at CSULB, Berman founded the Gay Students Union and the Gay Students Council of Southern California, often speaking at local colleges and universities. As a graduate student, Berman focused his studies on personality and ability testing, working with prominent lesbian psychologist Betty Berzon. In 1973, prior to completion of his degree, Berman underwent neurosurgery for removal of an arteriovenous malformation. This surgery left Berman with seizures and other neurological conditions that would plague him the rest of his life.
    During his schooling and for some time after, Berman worked for several Southern California agencies involved with general mental health and gay support services, including the newly founded Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center where he worked with parolees reentering the workforce. Berman moved to the San Francisco Bay area around 1981, continuing his social services work and becoming increasingly involved with Jewish organizations and congregations. As a member of Jews for Social Responsibility and later the Jewish Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Berman lobbied the San Francisco community for increased awareness of Middle East conflicts and for greater rights for lesbians and gays in the Bay Area.
    Berman’s most notable work was as a case manager for North of Market Multipurpose Senior Services in the early 1980s. Berman worked with gay seniors, frequently referencing them to gay and lesbian organizations in the area for specialized attention and support. He also worked with San Francisco City Hall to clarify policy for city employees, seeking (and winning) grievance rights for same-sex partners of city and county employees.
    Berman died on July 17, 1983, collapsing after completing a race to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research.
    Sources: Steve Berman Papers, Coll2012-141, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California


    The collection is open to researchers. There are limited access restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections 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.

    Acquisition Information

    Date of acquisition unknown.

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, folder #, Steve Berman Papers, Coll2012.141, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Processing Information

    Formerly housed in box 103-15. Collection processed by Erick Hawkins, November 2012.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the collection, from 1980-1983, chronicles Berman’s life during and after college as he pursued his career in psychology and social services. The specific areas of his work involve gay and lesbian senior services, Jewish community groups, and psychological studies of the homosexual population. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, medical records, newspaper and magazine articles and photographs.

    Separated Materials Note

    Removed to newsletter collection: Center News, circa 1980; Center NewsVolume 2, Issue 1, 1982
    Removed to poster collection: Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center Now We Need You Even More
    Removed to manuscripts: Seaman, Maida Joan (1974) The Effect of Sex and Sexual Preference Upon Sex-Role Attitudes; Pinka, Allan T. (1974) Self-Disclosure of Sexual Orientation and Psychological Functioning in Gay Males

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay activists--United States--California
    Gay and lesbian rights--United States--California
    Homosexuality--Psychological aspects
    Jewish gays
    Social work with gays